The Age of Foolishness
When I was in my BA class, three gentlemen from America had come to visit our college - they were from some Rotary club. One of them asked us: 'What are the first two adjectives that come into your head when you hear the word - America' and I answered 'fast and free'.
I grew up in a small town in India. My parents believed that we should be sheltered from hurt and unhappiness. But never from truth or facts. They did not hide anything from us, instead answered our questions as honestly as they could. A few weeks ago, I was sitting with friends and they were narrating how embarrassing some of their progenies' queries could be! and how they handled those situations, and it was nice to hear their no-nonsense approach to these situations. I had thought then, that well, there you go, with parents like these, the future looks good.
And yet, there are people out there making decisions for their children based on their view of what the world should be. Not what the world is.
The other day I saw an article where parents in Tennessee asked a Canadian company performing Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to remove some of the rather bawdy lines, because children would be watching it. Children in Canada had already been witnessing this play.
Today I saw the article in the Guardian banning the use of a dictionary in a school in South California - parents are 'concerned' that the presence of the term 'oral sex' was inappropriate for the students. The dictionary has been removed from school shelves.
Ladies and Gentlemen - let me welcome you to the age of Foolishness. It saddens me immensely.
I believe that true education gives you the tools to differentiate right from wrong.
I believe that true education gives you the ability to embrace differences while being true to your self and your heritage.
I do not believe hiding the facts of life from the next generation helps them in any way.
In fact- did these parents never notice that if you tell a child not to stick his finger in a power-outlet - they will? But if you leave them alone, then they wont. Applying undue emphasis on something by omitting it will only raise unnecessary curiosity in a child's mind. They will look for answers in all the wrong places, instead of the two places they should - their parents and their teachers.
Let me know what you think of these two incidents.. Do they boggle your mind?