Archive for July 11th, 2012

From: “Ranjiit Deva”….@varun…
To: am-global@earthlink.net
Subject: Wrong Way to Teach Children
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2012 22:23:46



In the US, nowadays some primary and high school students are paid money by the government – and even by educators and parents – as an incentive for attending class, studying, and doing their homework. We should think: Is this appropriate or not?

Some parents, guardians, teachers, policy-makers, and researchers believe this is a very good way to motivate students. They think a monetary incentive will inspire them to study.

Yet, on this very matter, Baba teaches us that children should not be given a monetary incentive or forced to learn. They will not retain any of that knowledge if it is forced upon them.


In the general society, there are three main ways that parents and educators force learning upon today’s children:
(a) Offer students money and gifts for studying and achieving academic attainment;
(b) Punish students in various ways if they do not study by employing fear tactics or taking away their favourite food and dessert etc;
(c) Give the allurement of prestige, professional status, or guarantee a bright future.

These are the common ways that parents and educators pressure or force students to study.

But, according to Baba, this is not the way to motivate students. This notion of pressuring them to study creates bad habits that will carry on throughout their life, in all realms of existence.

For instance, regarding point (a), if you give kids money as a means of motivating them to study, that type of psychology will spill over to other arenas of life. The day their mother is sick, they will only go to the store to get medicine if they get paid handsomely by their sick mother. So this idea of paying students to study will just make them spoiled and indulgent. It will wipe out their ability to grow into idealistic, sacrificing, and socially responsible human beings. Why? Because when they are young is the time to teach them these core values, but those are not inculcated. Instead, parents train them with monetary incentives. So children adopt materialistic, business relations as their ideal. In that case, everything is done for monetary return, and they are never given the chance to cultivate an inner drive to help and serve others.

Second, if punishment or fear tactics are used to force kids to study, then the day that fear is gone, they will neither remember what they learned, nor retain any of that information. For example, if a father threatens a child to study then the moment that father is not there, that child will not study. So this approach of forcing a child to learn is not effective. (See Note #1)

Third, the matter of prestige does not work with kids aged 5 – 11; and for teenagers this is not the right incentive because they will become prestige oriented and not care what is proper. They will indulge in whatever will make them popular, regardless of what effect it has on them. They will do everything for the sake of getting more prestige. So if their parents do not have prestige in society then those kids will not go out in public with their parents.


So these three aforementioned techniques do not work. What then is Baba’s guideline for motivating students?

Baba clearly states that the “thirst for knowledge” should be aroused. That is the main approach that teachers and parents should adopt.

It is nature’s law: Every child has the capacity to develop a great thirst for knowledge. It is the duty of parents, family members, teachers, and school officials to cultivate this longing – and not to extinguish it. The child’s inquisitiveness and intellectual growth should be wholeheartedly encouraged. (See Note #2)


Unfortunately, due to defective educational strategies and human misunderstanding, often such educators and parents stifle that inner drive in students.

How does this happen?

Well, when children are very small and start speaking, they ask all kinds of questions: What is this? How does it work? Children at that age are extremely inquisitive and pose innumerable queries. Often times parents and caretakers become overwhelmed. To quiet children, they terrorise them, or give false answers, or scare them. In that way, children become timid and lose their curiosity and zest for knowledge.


Baba guides us that the best way to help the child and foster their growth is to answer their questions truthfully. So, either give an honest answer based on the facts; or, if you do not know the answer, then directly say, “I do not know, but I will find out and tell you.” That will be extremely helpful and will advance the child’s learning. Whereas, scaring them or telling them lies is very dangerous, and indeed quiet harmful, with long-term negative repercussions.

Every child enters this world with the potential for so much inquisitiveness and a strong desire to learn. That quality should be encouraged in a very natural way. Then the child will develop the inner inspiration to learn and grow as a human being. Then there will be no need to offer some type of external incentive to learn – such as giving them money.

If that innate longing is already crushed, then it must be rekindled. Then it is the job of parents and educators to awaken that thirst for knowledge through story, queries, or other ways that interest and challenge the child. That will create hunger to learn in which case the then real learning process will start. This should be done by parents, family members, caretakers, teachers, and general citizens – all are involved in raising the child.

Baba says, “The thirst for knowledge will have to be awakened among students, and reverence, devotion, orderliness and discipline will have to be taught as well.” (Problems of the Day, pt #33)

Ranjiit Deva


Here is Baba’s teaching that employing fear tactics to force children to study is a defective approach. Rather it is important to cultivate a genuine desire to learn.

Baba says, “So as I was saying, it will not do to impart education through intimidation. A thirst for knowledge must be awakened, and, to quench that thirst, proper education must be given. Only then will education be worthwhile and develop the body, mind and ideals of the student.” (Human Society-1, Education)


Here Baba guides us that educators must inspire children to develop a desire to learn; in result, the child’s innate curiosity will awaken and they will want to know more.

Baba says, “Education must awaken the thirst for knowledge in the students’ minds. The students themselves will create environmental pressure by persistent demands for answers to queries like: What is the answer? Is it correct? The longing, “I wish to know…I wish to understand and assimilate the entire universe” should be created. Such a thirst for knowledge should be created in the minds of students…So a tremendous thirst for knowledge must be awakened in the students’ minds. They will constantly pry their teachers, their parents and their neighbours with questions like: Why is this so? What is that? Why does that happen? Why does this not happen? etc. They are ready to assimilate the entire universe.” (Prout in a Nutshell – 18, Talks on Education)


“Jeo na’ ogo prabhu, anek katha’ a’che ba’kii…” -P.S. #683


Baba, O’ Prabhu please do not go away. Please remain with me – I have many a tale to tell You. Please come to my home. Please understand this unique opportunity: I am all alone in the house. Nobody is here, so please come.

Baba, in pleasure and pain, during both negative and positive situations, all the time I am calling You. And always I am remembering Your name. During all the 24 hours, whatever I do, my hands are always busy in work; but, my mind is at Your lotus feet. I remember You; it is Your grace. Even if I risk losing everything I want You to my heart’s content. Baba, You understand my entire situation but You never console me. I am surrounded by the darkness these days. I do not have any happiness.

Baba I do not want anything from You, only this much I want: That You please come close and sit beside me. The doors & windows of my mind are always open in longing for You, waiting for Your arrival.

Baba, my Lord, please do not go away leaving me deserted. Always remain in my heart…

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