Inspire your child… inspire the world…
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is a self-realized and profound mystic of our times. As an author, poet and internationally renowned speaker, he has been able to touch millions of people. Here he speaks on the modern education and how we can motivate the child.
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev: If children are very unhappy at school, we need to examine the teachers there because it's just a natural human trait that when you get to know something that you did not know, it brings much joy to you. Learning is a natural human trait. If learning is making people miserable, then we have not understood what learning is.
Unfortunately you are not sending your children to school because you want them to learn, because you want them to gather knowledge; you are sending them to school because you want them to earn. That's not education. You want them enslaved to what you call as economic well-being. The teachers are just doing that job for you. They cannot be blamed. So you better change your attitudes about education.
If the thirst for knowledge is kindled in the child, you cannot stop him from learning. But now, instead of kindling that, you are suppressing it, beating it down with your idea of what education is, and your idea of education is social status and money. This is a wrong way of approach towards education.
Children… these joyful bursting pieces of life, slowly become sad, because you are just disorienting them completely with the kind of compulsions that you have built within yourself. You are trying to put the same compulsions upon the children, which is not necessary. For most parents it is not about education; it is about first rank. All they want is - they want their children to sit on top of every other child's head. Everybody cannot sit on top of the pile. So then, naturally many others will get suffocated under the pile. And the final outcome is that, most of the children are not interested in learning, they are not interested in education, they are not interested in career… they are not interested in anything!
If your attitudes change, the schools will change. They want to run the business the way it works. They are just trying to cater to your wishes because you are paying them. They are just trying to fulfill their job, to make you happy. In the course of your activity, the child is getting ruined, but it doesn't matter to you. Your child is unhappy, it doesn't matter to you. This is a kind of sickness.
True human genius will not flower in this scenario. True human capabilities will not find expression in competition. True human capabilities will find expression only in absolute relaxation. Your mind and your body will work best; will find their fullest expression, only when you are joyful and peaceful and quiet within yourself. When they are forced to race with somebody, even the children are only thinking of going one step ahead of the other person. We are just ruining a whole generation of people with the kind of schooling we are providing.
Somebody becomes or turns successfully spiritual when he has developed a certain openness about life, when he has no conclusions about anything, when he has the willingness to look into everything. This is something that has to be cultivated in the child - that he should look at every aspect of life with absolute openness, without prejudice, without any religious, cultural or any other kind of inclinations. If that happens, whether you talk spirituality to him or you don't, he will anyway turn spiritual. Spirituality will be a natural part of his life. The very purpose of educating people is to broaden their horizons. As more and more people are getting educated, are they broadening their horizons or are they becoming very narrow?
Just fifty years ago, everywhere in the world, people lived in large families; in India there still are such families. But with the advent of modern education, we have reached at a situation where we cannot even live with our own parents anymore. Now, especially in the western societies, family means just you. Even the husband or the wife lives in a separate house, children go on their own once they turn sixteen. Even two or three people find it difficult to live together in one place. This is what education has done to you.
Education itself is spirituality because education is about broadening your horizons, not about talking about God or some nonsense. Children should grow up keeping their intelligence intact - where a child's thirst to know is kindled but he's not forced to learn – it should not be suppressive education. People are successful in their lives not because they have degrees, not because they have university certificates; people have become successful because of their capability to live, which has been instilled into them from a young age.
In the ancient Gurukuls, the very purpose and the basic function of the Guru was to destroy all the things that you have assumed as true. The Guru did not have to impart skills to the child to go and survive in the society, because if your father was a cobbler you naturally became a cobbler, if your father was a king, you became a king. The Guru was only educating them towards their realization. So the job was much simpler. But now they have to equip the child to live in the modern world and still see to it that he does not get messed up with the nonsense that's happening in the name of modernity. So it is a much bigger challenge today than what it was back then.
And in those times, once the parents gave the children to the teacher, they left him there in his complete authority. But now the parents want to constantly meddle with the child, they want to put their own stuff into him. The Guru did not have to equip the student for a modern university. In those days, only a few children who had a highly academic bent of mind or a highly scholastic bent of mind were trained in scholarly matters.
The education process itself should be such, where there is no messing with the child’s mind - no influence, no religion, no imposition of any kind of ideas or beliefs - where the child has to figure out things for himself. If you are allowed to do that, there is no other way but to turn inward, to look deeply into your life. If you go on listening to the Bible or Gita or what this person said or what that person said, then you will not have the inclination to look inward. When you start looking at life, when you start thinking deeply about life, you will realize that the only place to look is naturally inward.
So, we have to teach the children how to use their brains, not just to read and write. Education should stimulate your brain, not dull your brain. Today, education scientists around the world are saying that if a child goes through twenty years of formal education, seventy percent of his intelligence is irrevocably destroyed. That means you're coming out as a ‘knowledgeable idiot’, and that's a huge disservice to humanity. The best brains in the world have worked to create the most violent ways to kill humanity. Because the intelligent person in the world has cooperated, now the violent man can kill millions with a single stroke. What should have been a blessing has become such a big curse, and education is definitely playing a huge role in that.
One big lapse that is happening today in the world is that our educational systems have become 100% informative, there is no inspiration. Without inspiration, no human being raises beyond the limitations in which he lives. It's only when he's inspired that a human being wants to go beyond the limitations in which he exists right now. Unfortunately, today’s teacher is not somebody that is worth looking up to. When all that is provided is information, you can as well get it from an audio, or a video or internet. You don't really have to listen to a teacher. If the teacher's role is to inspire people, to create a thirst for knowledge, only then does it have some worth.
Every human being in the world is concerned about human well-being. Even a criminal is concerned about human well-being, but his idea of humanity is just himself. Somebody's idea of humanity is him and his family; somebody else's idea of humanity is him and his country; somebody else's includes the whole world. We need to do something about inspiring the children and youth in an organized way for the well being of the society. Haphazardly, here and there, individuals are doing this and that is fine, but a very organized effort has to be made to inspire people without creating an external enemy. To make people understand that his biggest enemy is always within himself - this inspiration is what is needed.
When we are not inspired, we tend to function only within the limitations in which we are placed. Only when we are inspired, we go beyond and do things that human beings wouldn't normally do. Only then, the society surges ahead and does something worthwhile. In normal peaceful situations, when there is no strife and no war, people should be inspired. When everything is well, when everything is in order, to be highly inspired and to create the situations that we want in this country and in this world - that is what is needed.