Jaanbaaz, Guddu, and Umesh, boys from the senior batch; all boarded the local bus to school but did not attend the class that day. Instead they bunked the school for a day and went loafing. As expected a note arrived from their school teachers at their houses, through other students. These young boys got a good thrashing from parents, which obviously is to no avail most of the times. The volunteer body of AID-Noida was also informed of the mischief. Finally boys took one hour, in the meeting of students and volunteers, and managed to convince everybody that they had bunked classes to watch the movie “Ra One”. Linkan, Darshan, Anand, Soumitro, volleys present, approached the situation in a light manner, recollecting their teenage days of mischief. Darshan personally believes that parenting, is an art, and one should be fully aware of the circumstances when you have to acknowledge the high maturity level of your ward, and give respect to the young souls which they usually crave for. He candidly suggested boys to go for a show having economical rates on weekends, instead of wasting so much money on a weekday show!
But it was soon apparent that these boys were fooling with the volunteer body, and hadn’t watched the movie at all. Guddu’s mother updated that he was in a town called Haldwani, whereas Jaanbaaz and Umesh were loitering somewhere else. It was disheartening for all volunteers. Linkan says “We have not imparted them these values. At AID-Noida we follow zero tolerance policy towards physical violence against children. We have always made us available in any circumstances. Now we discover that our children are not comfortable with us, and are trying to hide the truth .I am disappointed here, and still trying to figure out where it went wrong!”
Reviewing the entire scenario the volunteer body at AID-Noida has decided to suspend the entire senior batch for a month. Students have been asked to go home and discuss amongst themselves the right and wrong in the situation and come up with a solution which they think might restore the volunteer body’s faith in their conduct.
Anand gupta, a veteran comments, “We have observed certain pattern of change in behavior of our eldest batch. This can certainly be attributed to their teenage. This is a very tender age, and needs extra thoughtfulness. It’s important to maintain the decorum and tell students where a line needs to be drawn. A stick has never helped and never will, as students might rebel and question the authority. It’s important that we challenge their morality. The only method to instill discipline would be to make students realize its importance.”
Jaanbaaz’s father, when asked to speak on the situation disclosed one of his well guarded fears. “One wise old man in my village advised me never to educate my children. He warned that my children would stop respecting me once they are highly educated and maybe even refuse to recognize me. I think he was right, I am sad at the conduct of my ward”. It is not a startling revelation that Jaanbaaz’s father is harboring such fears. It is a usual insecurity which any parent might face considering he is illiterate. But this often leaves one wondering, that education which should empower a society, actually infuses fear of disrespect. Or probably we need to understand and implement the difference between simple literacy and education.
Fretting over student’s progress and doting on them is essential part of mentoring. As one of the volunteers at AID-Noida mentioned, mentoring any child is like part time parenting. But it has its own set of perplexing challenges. While dealing with the hot blood of teenage, a mentor needs to carefully strike a balance between chumminess and strictness. Maybe a strict step would sort out the difficulties which are being faced by volunteers at AID-Noida.