Many of us want to help society in some way, but are unsure of how we can contribute. Here is one great way you can help.
Does your help have school-going children? The standard of education at some Municipal schools is often miserably low. Help out by coaching them after their school hours. Here are some tips.
Many of these children may be in a vernacular medium school, and may wish to improve their skills in another language such as English. Ask your maid to bring her children along a couple of times a week, and you can devote an hour or two helping them with their homework, clearing their doubts, and perhaps teaching them a language you are well versed in.
Get your children involved as well. One learns a lot through teaching, so if your children help the children of your maids to study, this can be a form of revision for them. Your children can help them with topics like Mathematics, languages or the sciences, where any form of revision is helpful.
Don't limit your coaching to simply educational matters. Broaden it by explaining the significance of various festivals as and when they occur. You could do this when your child is around, so his knowledge of his cultural heritage increases as well. If you find your cultural knowledge lacking, read up Indian Festivals.
Similarly, try and bring about social awareness amongst your children and any children you may be coaching. Poverty in India is rampant, and one sees a definite pattern in such poor families. Alcoholic husbands often return from a day's work (if they work at all) and squander their earnings on gambling and alcohol. Wife beating is rampant, and street children grow up believing this is the norm. When Lata was 17, she was shocked when a maid came to her with black eyes, and said that her husband beat her extra hard the previous night. "You mean your husband beats you?" she asked in shock. Of course! Everyone's husbands beat their wives. Your father too must be beating your mother - you don't know what goes on behind closed doors."
This incident was an eye-opener for Lata. She realised that little exposure can be a dangerous thing. She now teaches underprivileged children, and tries to bring about a change to their way of thinking.
Although certain superstitions can be harmless, others can be downright dangerous. Women have been stoned just because their husbands died in unforeseen circumstances soon after marriage. They were blamed for being 'bad luck' and responsible for the deaths of their husbands. Sati is still practiced in remote Indian villages, and many feel justified beating up a thirsty untouchable because he dared to draw water from a local well used by members belonging to higher castes. Such superstitions are a way of life for uneducated people, and they pass these on to their children. Work on countering these superstitions.
Teach children the value of life, and that they should respect others, no matter what sex or caste they belong to.
If you can change their way of thinking, and introduce them to a better way of life, you will be doing them and the entire community a great service.
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- The Indiaparenting Team