We are worried
about one issue:
health of the
child? Is the
The hall was huge,
the audience small. Many of the adults (mostly parents and
grandparents) were from the Jain community. Chatting with a
greatgrandmother, I learnt that His Holiness Acharya Mahapragya, a
highly spiritual person who was to grace the occasion, is the high
priest of the Jain community and rarely comes to Mumbai. He
travels by foot everywhere (no Mercedes for him!) and had come all
the way from Rajasthan to Mumbai. Accompanying him on the occasion
were his second in command, Yuvacharya Mahashraman, and other
CHANGE brings you excerpts of speeches by Acharya
Mahapragya, Muni Mahendra Kumar and Gool Ghadially, Educationist
and Principal, New Era School.
Why should we celebrate just one day as
World Health Day on the important theme given by the World Health
Organisation of ďHealthy Environment for Children? If we observe such
days every day of the year, then we are justified to celebrate World
Health Day. But if we neglect the other 364 days and are concerned about
such an important issue only for one day, what is the importance of
observing such a day?
It is important to discuss a Healthy
Environment for Youth before we discuss a Healthy Environment for
Children. Children imitate adults. Let me tell you a short story: A
wife, husband and child were walking along a street. The road was muddy
as it was raining heavily. A chocolate fell from the little boyís hand.
He tried to pick it up. His mother prevented him from doing so, saying,
let it go, we will buy another one. A little further on, the mother fell
down. The father tried to give her a hand. The son said, let her go; we
can have another mummy.
Thus it is important to first pay
attention to the youth because children imitate the youth. The primary
necessity of a healthy society and a healthy environment is to develop
the power to control oneís emotions. It is unfortunate that this aspect
has been neglected in todayís education. Nobody is educated in
controlling their emotions. Iíd like to tell Dr. R.K. Anand, who is
sharing the dais with me, that if you pay attention to this aspect of
emotional health, then, probably, 50 per cent of doctors and hospitals
would remain free from patients. Thereís an adage that prevention is
better than cure. But it is not actually utilised in practical life.
The most powerful factor that affects our
immunity is our emotional imbalance. The immune system inherited by
human beings is so powerful, that if proper attention is paid to
emotional imbalance, we can live for a hundred years without any
ailments. Unfortunately, we pay more attention to the external causes of
diseases such as germs, bacteria, viruses but neglect internal causes
which are responsible for weakening our immunity. Nowadays people talk
about psychosomatic diseases. They donít get to the root causes of
psychosomatic diseases. If more attention is paid to the causes, then we
can have control over them.
As far as having a healthy environment is
concerned, if you donít solve your internal problems ?I call it
internal environmental pollution ?our efforts to make the external
environment more healthy will not succeed. Doctors and government
officials supply us a whole list of a balanced diet. Sadly, we donít get
a list of how to make our behaviour balanced. A list is required on how
to be balanced in all conditions. Efforts are also being made by WHO and
other agencies to inform people about a healthy environment, etc. But
what is needed today is to teach people about the increasing power of
forebearance, tolerance, etc. As people practise these, they become
healthier. Therefore it is necessary to deliberate over the fundamental
use of qualities inherited by human beings, which can give them
A small way to make a child healthy is to
teach him/her how to breathe properly and completely. If this small
lesson is taught to every child, then we can hope for a healthier
environment for children.
Muni Mahendra Kumar
Science of Living
Wealth is lost, nothing is lost.
When Health is lost, something is lost.
When Character is lost, everything is lost."
principal factor in building the character of children is to improve
their inner environment. If you maintain character, health will
automatically be maintained.
character need to be built in children in a very natural way. Merely
giving them lessons in moral science wonít help. Proper breathing merely
develops the latent qualities in children. It is very easy to see why
breathing affects moral values. When there is emotional imbalance or
negative thinking, the rate of breathing increases and the whole nervous
system gets affected.
the steel state of India, a school started teaching the Science of
Living to its students. It was observed that students of that school did
much better than students of other schools. Later the word spread and
all schools started teaching the Science of Living. There are certain
hormones in our body, which are responsible for emotional outbursts.
Exercises help control anger, excitement and other negative attitudes.
This is now taught in CBSC schools. Through proper practical training in
schools, we can give children a better, healthier inner environment,
which will give them the emotional balance they need and also develop a
strong immune system. Approximately 10,000 patients suffering from
cardiac disease have been cured by the Science of Living programme.
Non-violence is another important training programme that should be
undertaken by schools for children.
Schools are temples of learning.
Cleanliness of the New Era School is our first priority and therefore we
take great care of the environment around us. We also see to the
emotional stability of the child and never compare two children in the
family or in the classroom. No teacher should brand a child as being
useless or give names to a child who is not doing well. That creates
As far as mental health is concerned, the
child has to be nurtured with the best of information so that his/her
mental levels develop day after day.
We are worried about one issue: who is
responsible for the health of the child? Is the school responsible? Or,
are the parents responsible?
Health has three aspects: physical, mental
and emotional. Parents are excellent as far as physical health is
concerned. They give their child the best food, the best nourishment,
the best facilities?But what about the childís emotional and mental
health, where parents have really not spared a thought? They simply do
not consider it as their problem! A child in any normal school is
undergoing excessive stress not only because of studies, but also
because parents are passing their stress, worries and problems over to
the young child. A child of Standard III came into my room the other day
saying, I have a lot of tension! I asked, what do you mean by tension?
The child said, I donít know the meaning, but my parents keep on saying
this word! Therefore, I say that parents are role models for their
child. A child loves to wear his/her parentís shoes, saris?Why? It is
trying to become like the parent. Do we realise as parents what damage
we are doing to our children?
Todayís education is marks-oriented,
exam-oriented and degree-oriented. When parents send their child to a
good school or for foreign education, their final goal is that the child
should pass with flying colours. There is a certain percentage they are
aiming for. Should parents set a percentage as the target for their
child? Besides, do parents have any right to set targets for their
children? All five fingers are not the same. Someone has to come first
and someone has to come thirtieth. Parents should accept that their
child needs that kind of security. It is extremely frustrating for the
child to live up to the high standards set by parents. Though the
parents know the capacity of the child, they will not gracefully accept
that fact just because the neighbourís or the friendís or a senior
colleagueís child is doing exceptionally well! This is how the
comparison starts. If you donít get good marks you are going to put us
to shame, is the sort of emotional blackmail children are subjected to!
The question is: how to really work
towards the health of the child? Today, children are driven to suicide,
telling lies, forging reports?When they are caught, we find out that it
is parents who are responsible for driving their child towards these
wrongs. Mental tension in a child creates a lot of problems. The child
feels insecure, lacks confidence, develops an inferiority complex, stops
If we do not pay attention now, we will
cripple and destroy the student community. I think it is our bounden
duty as educators, as people in society to accept the fact: each child
has to be treated as an individual.
It is said that the child is father of the
man, the future of the country. Let us put on our thinking caps: are we
good citizens? Are we good parents? Let us change ourselves rather than
the child. Let us be positive and the child will bloom in a better