Article- Shaping your child’s future- Do you want to be a potter or a Gardner?

October 10, 2005

Mr Azim Premji is the world’s first or second richest Indian today. He has written a wonderful article in the Times of India on Education and goes on to say that the same policies followed in his company has produced immense wealth as a bi product.

He says that the primary purpose of a school is to guide the child’s discovery of herself and her world and to identify and mature the child’s talents. Just as each seed contains the future tree, each child is born with infinite potential. In the article he suggests that many teachers and parents try to be potters instead of
Gardners in moulding their children’s future.” Imagine a school in which sees children as seeds to be nurtured-here the teacher is a gardner who tries to bring out the potential already present in the child. This is very different from the current view which sees the child as clay to be moulded where the teachers and parents are potters deciding what shape the clay should take. There is an old Chinese saying ,” Give a seed to a potter and you shall have a bonsai.”
Current India President A.P.J Abdul Kalam who has headed organizations in defence, space and atomic energy in his autobiography writes “If you are a writer who would secretly prefer to be a lawyer or a doctor, your written words will feed but half the hunger of your readers; if you are a teacher who would rather be a businessman, your instructions will meet but half the need for knowledge of your students; if you are a scientist who hates science, your performance will satisfy but half the needs of your mission. The personal unhappiness and failure to achieve results that come from being a square peg in a round hole is not by any means new. “ In another part of the book Mr Kalam states, “ I myself would tell naviete engineering students that when they choose their specialization, the essential point to consider is whether the choice articulates their inner feelings and aspirations” It was in the year 1978 that I first read “Do not feel compelled to join the family business just because it is there. Every child is a gambler when he chooses his profession.and one must chart one’s own course” Being in school at that time, I thought that this was hogwash and everybody should have a readymade business which they can join. Actually, I was more gifted as a writer and a poet than a businessman but this took me 14 long, agonizing years to realize by which time it was almost too late. Enid Blyton and Charles Dickens have admitted that if they were given an article to write , they would find it as difficult as the normal person. So one can not really afford to be even in the wrong subvocation. How can one then afford to be wrong in the main vocation? . In the last two decades, I have read heaps of material on job misfits. I have read about a mediation that takes you back to your previous life to deicide what you shall be doing in this life. There are books like “ How to find the job that you like?” and “ What shall I do with my life” HRD consultants in 28 countries, Morgan and Banks have stated that “People do not know what they want to do and then choose a career they didn’t know even existed” . Recently best selling book “ The monk who sold his Ferrari” also lays stress on finding and doing the work of one’s inclination. One writer also said that the wrong occupation was lifelong imprisonment and misery. Some of the best quotations of career problems are

Considering the fact that luminaries from the literary field like Emily Dickenson, Shakespere , Victor hugo and many others lived a lifetime of anonymity and became famous after death should also inspire sites like http://www.authorsden.com to be a little more proactive in talent detection. It is no doubt one of the best sites otherwise. Generally it would be better if the world would be more obsessed with “humotech” instead of running after “biotech” or “infotech”. The person is more important than the process in this context.


Poem-Gardening v/s Potting in Education

October 10, 2005

It is said that education is all about bringing out already existing potential instead of blindly stuffing facts.. Some parents and teachers try to be potters who mould the clay the way they like. Each child has infinite potential and is a future tree and therefore be treated the way a gardener treats a seed. Based on what the famous philospher Socrates said “Educations is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”, this poem advocates Gardening instead of Potting to groom your children. Though directed at teachers and educators, this is equally true for parents as well.

To shape your child’s future, it is absolutely essential
To know his already existing inner potential
Some people spend a lifetime in pinpointing their talent
In such matters, nobody can afford to be nonchalant

It is only by early identification of your child’s unique gift
That you can really make your child’s fortunes lift

A teacher has to indulge more in talent extracting than knowledge stuffingChoosing potting instead of Gardening tantamounts to bluffing.

Instead of potting which in molding clay can mislay
Opt for gardening which in sprouting seed produces the right breed

Gardening can really shape a child’s destiny
Potting sooner or latter will cause a mutiny

Being a gardener can prevent your child from lifelong imprisonmentBeing a potter can avoid true enlightenment

If you choose to be a gardener, your will come out a winner
As a potter, in your child you will stifle the creator

When you opt to be a gardener, you are a true trainer
When you opt to be a potter, you are a mistaken, misguided selector

As a Gardner, you shall be the ideal career designerAs a potter, you shall be courting disaster

A Gardner is not a stuffer but a finetuner.
Instead of being a potter, be a mentor, an educator.
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Associated article- Shaping your child’s future- Do you want to be a gardner or a potter?