Guiding Light of The Month

All is light, all is love, ignorance and egoism are but vain phantoms, they can be dissolved. And over all things spreads Thy sovereign peace, Thy fecund calmness. - The Mother

Aspects of Self-Development – Humility

And finally, the last on my list: humility. We cannot be effective as teachers if we think that we are supposed to know everything that there is to know. When a student corrects us for a mistake or asks a question that we don’t know the answer to, if we get angry, we create barriers, we fear we are going to expose our ignorance, and then what flows is cut off into pieces. We cannot flow as a teacher; we cannot carry them with us. And where does the strange idea that a teacher must know everything comes from? It’s a remnant of the British, when they created this aura of superiority. They were a special race and we were failures; they knew everything and we had to follow blindly, continuing the slave mentality. So, the day we got into the position of the Babus, we wanted to pretend we were like them. Do you know that until Abdul Kalam became president of India, every other president of India had his shoes put on his feet by a servant? What a disgusting idea created by the British. The tradition was sustained because we got into their place; we had to be like them. How silly, and Abdul Kalam said: “Why? I can put my shoes on.” And he began to walk around everywhere, meeting the gardener, for example, which nobody had done before him.

The need to pretend is part of the hypocrisy of what we call the industrial mindset of education. Dissolve it all; we are all here learning together and I meet you with the same humility. We are all the same. There are things I don’t know, and you also teach me. You find it so much more fun when you teach with this attitude. So, it is humility in the face of the vastness of the knowledge. All that I know is a drop – this is the first movement of humility. The second, is the infinity of viewpoints. We can present whatever we know in so many ways, and each one in my class will have his own viewpoint. The third is the recognition of one’s own limitations. Be conscious of this and be with the children; we are learning together. Well, I consider these to be some important facets and you can check out which ones are more developed, and which you need to work on. Use those that are stronger to develop the others that are weaker.

(Excerpt from Chapter ‘Preparing ourselves as teachers, Introduction to Integral Education’ by Sraddhalu Ranade)

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