Dignity of labour: RP Devgan

With the lockdown , children are spending all their time at home with the parents. It is a good time as any to pass on two qualities the children can benefit from in their later years. The qualities being Dignity of labour and Adaptability.

Some of the children coming from affluent homes who have not been to boarding schools are very snobbish about menial jobs. They feel it is below their dignity to do them. For example, sweeping and washing dishes or digging in the garden would be considered sacrilegious. 

In my experience, it is largely the parents who are to blame for these kind of thoughts. I have known of children who go home after school and expect the domestic help to take of their shoes. In the day schools I have headed, the first thing I did was to stop all students below 18 years of age coming to school driving a two wheeler or a car. Once I caught a boy guilty of driving - parking his car 100 yards away from school. I suggested that since he didn’t live too far, he could easily take a cycle rickshaw to school. His reply stunned me when he said that only poor people used cycle rickshaws. Such is the mindset of many of our younger generation who are born with a golden spoon in their mouth. It is upto the parents and then the school to drill some humility in them. Now is the time for parents to teach their children that no work is below anyone’s dignity. We are all human beings and should be able to do our own work; especially now  during lockdown when no outside help is available the children must share the household chores.

I must admit that most residential schools do a good job of teaching dignity of labour to the children. In one particular school all the workers went on a lightning strike and the students, staff and their wives ran the school till the workers put up their hands and came back to work. During those days, everyone got together as a team and worked, right from cleaning toilets to cleaning the campus, washing utensils and cooking meals. It’s genuine social service boarding schools do that make the students self reliant.
In todays world if you adapt, you succeed, if you don’t, you perish.
Lockdown is a good time to learn the great skill of adaptability . Adaptability is the skill to make the best of what you have and do so happily. The world is not going to change for you so the sooner you learn to adapt the happier you will be. Children at home today have learnt to adapt even without making an effort. With a complete lockdown , fast food has not been  available. Those who thrived on ‘Fast food’ had to stick to ‘ Mama’s cooking’. 

It's a part of life that when there is no choice, one has to adapt. Indian students not willing to adapt often suffer when they go overseas to study. The biggest hurdle is the food they eat. To expect rajma chawal or parathas at every meal is just not possible. It’s in school that they should learn to accept and eat all kinds of food and be prepared for the future. The same goes for adapting to different cultures and people.

Once again diversity comes in. Children and students who can handle diversity adapt easily. 

- Rajinder Pal Devgan

Chairman of Learning Forward India

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