Education of a Human Being

Jan 01, 2015

The education of a human being should begin at his very birth and continue throughout the his life.

Indeed, if the education is to have its maximum result, it must begin even before birth; it is the mother herself who proceeds with this education by means of a two-fold action, first, upon herself for her own improvement, and secondly, upon the child which she is forming within her physically. It is certain that the nature of the child about to be born will depend very much upon the mother who forms it, upon her aspiration and will as much as upon the material surrounding in which she lives. The part of education which the mother has to go through is to see that her thoughts are always beautiful and pure, her feelings always noble and fine, and her material surroundings as harmonious as possible and full of great simplicity. And if in addition she has a conscious and definite will to form the child according to the highest ideal she can conceive, then the very best conditions are provided for the child to come into the world.

For education to be complete it must have five principle aspects relating to the five principal activities of the human being. The physical, the vital, the mental, the psychic and the spiritual. Usually these phases of education succeed each other in a chronological order following the growth of the individual. This, however, does not mean that one should replace another but that all must continue, completing each other, till the end of life.

We propose to study these five aspects of education one by one and also their reciprocal relations. But before we enter into the details of the subject, I wish to make a recommendation to parents. The majority of them, for various reasons, take very little thought of a true education to be given to children. When they have brought a child into the world, and when they have given him food and satisfied his various materials wants by looking more or less carefully to the maintenance of his health, they think they have fully discharged their duty. Later on, they would put him to school and hand over to the teacher the care of his mental education.

There are other parents who know that their children should receive education and try to give it. But very few among them, even among those who are most serious and sincere, know that the first thing to do, in order to be able to educate the child, is to educate oneself, to become conscious and master of oneself so that one does not set a bad example to one’s child. For it is through example that education becomes effective. To say good words, give wise advice to a child has very little effect, if one does not show by one's living example the truth of what one teaches. Sincerity, honesty, straight-forwardness, courage, disinterestedness, unselfishness, patience, endurance, perseverance, peace , calm, self-control are all things that are taught infinitely better by example than by beautiful speeches. Parents, you should have high ideal and act always in accordance with that ideal. You will see little by little your child reflecting this ideal in himself and manifesting spontaneously the qualities you wish to see expressed in his nature. Quite naturally a child has respect and admiration for his parents; unless they are quite unworthy, they will appear always to their children as demigods whom they will seek to imitate as well as they can.

With very few exceptions, parents do not take into accounts the disastrous influence their defects, impulses, weaknesses, want of self control have on their children. If you wish to be respected by your child, have respect for yourself and be at every moment worthy of respect. Never be arbitrary, despotic, impatient, and ill-tempered. When your child asks you a question, do not answer him by a stupidity or foolishness, under the pretext that he cannot understand you. You can always make yourself understood if you take sufficient pains for it, and in spite of the popular saying that it is not always good to tell the truth, I affirm that it is always good to tell the truth, only the art consists in telling it in such a way as to make it accessible to the brain of the hearer.  In early life, till twelve to fourteen years, the child’s mind is not accessible to abstract notions and general ideas. And yet you can train it to understand these things by using concrete images or symbols or parables. Up to a sufficiently advanced age and for some who mentally remain always children, a narrative, a story, a tale told well teaches much more than a heap of theoretical explanations.

Another stumbling-block to avoid. Do not scold your child except with a definite purpose and only when quite indispensable. A child too often scolded gets hardened to rebuke and comes to attach little importance to words or severity of tone. Particularly, take care not to rebuke him for a fault which you yourself commit. Children are very keen and clear sighted observers: they soon find out your weaknesses and note them without pity.

When a child has made a mistake, see that he confesses it to you spontaneously and frankly; and when he has confessed, make him understand with kindness and affection what was wrong in his movement and that he should not repeat it. In any case, never scold him; a fault confessed must be forgiven. You should not allow any fear to slip in between you and your child; fear is a disastrous away to education; invariably it gives birth to dissimulation and falsehood. An affection that sees clear, that is firm yet gentle and a sufficiently practical knowledge will create bonds of trust that are indispensable for you to make the education of your child effective. And never forget that you have to surmount yourself always and constantly so as to be at the height of your task and truly fulfill the duty which you owe towards your child by the mere fact of your having brought him into existence.

-The Mother