The teacher-student relationship, traditionally a sacred one in India, has been very severely affected today. Twenty years ago, an Indian teenager slapped by his teacher was sorry and worked harder to impress the teacher. Today a slapped teenager drags the teacher to court, with full support from the media and the parents.
Of course, one cannot accept a teacher physically torturing a child, but it has to be remembered that the teacher, thirty years ago, with his ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ mantra created a generation of doctors and engineers who are respected all over the world today. Well if you cannot call a spade a spade and treat the teenager like a sissy who cannot handle harsh comments, how shall he face the tough world tomorrow where there is cut-throat competition?
The key to everything in life is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it. But the teenager is impatient for success as if it were a two-minute fast food.
‘There was a time when it was customary to call a father a father… Now, it appears to be considered a mark of advanced intelligence to call your father a bean or a scream’ (Chesterton). Teenagers must recognise that their parents are growing old and should therefore respect their wishes and try to learn as much as possible from their experience.
Parents have points to remember too. It is imperative to remember that today’s teenagers are vulnerable to a number of temptations. In many cases their parents and teachers may not be able to provide the requisite time to listen to their problems. This can be dangerous—parents and teachers have no substitutes in a teenager’s life.
Teenagers should not hesitate to seek professional help from counsellors either in their schools or from outside. A teenager’s vulnerability can be reduced considerably by instilling the right blend of values and necessary discipline. Teenagers require the love, understanding, patience and empathy of their elders to guide them through this crucial period.
It is the credit of most teenagers that they are keenly aware of the values that they are expected to represent. They show all potential to create a better world, free of the corruption and violence.
‘Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring happy bills, across the snow’