Take Thoughts Outside Box

Reshmi Naveen Gopal
Tuesday, January 2, 2018

"Where are the songs of spring? Ay, where are they?’’ I sighed, when others were busy with Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth, Donne, Coleridge and more, I knew nothing more than a ‘’Twinkle twinkle little star’’nursery rhyme. It was a recitation competition and I was a second grade student then. In fact, I couldn’t stand the smile on the judges’, teachers’ and my fellow students’ faces. Worst was the moment when they poked fun at me when I was about to finish the reciting. My ego was deeply bruised. I reacted by saying, "It is just a poem." They try to refute me and the teacher too supported them saying, "They are just songs." I wanted to say aloud "They are not mere songs, they are beautifully written words." But I was only a six-year old child then and had to keep mum.

I grew up, with growth my interest too grew in nursery rhymes. Despite being a mother of a baby boy, I still love nursery rhymes. It was last year, when a Swedish academic cleared my confusion, which I have been carrying with me for years. Very recently a renowned lyricist, Bob Dylan, won the Nobel Prize for his literature work, which piqued my curiosity to learn more about nursery rhymes - now I know why nursery rhyme writers deserve a Nobel Prize.

I believe it would have made a huge difference if a word of encouragement was showered open me as a kid, but I had to wait till sixth grade to get the first word of inspiration, which I will cherish all my life. It was my language teacher who found a piece of paper in which I had scribbled a few words that sounded like a poem. In fact, when this very piece of paper was found by one of my classmates, who always bullied me, made fun of my writing.

Though most of my classmates abhorred the language teacher, nevertheless I liked her. Her encouraging words really motivated me to move ahead in life. Perhaps she knew how to motivate and appreciate students' who show interest in poem. I would be always grateful to her, who, while correcting my mark sheet, read out loud the poem so it would be an example for my classmates. The loud reading of my poem by my teacher made my classmate give me a big round of applause, which really humbled me. That was the time when I fell in love with rhyming words. I found beauty in authors such as Conon Doyle, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Dickens, Sidney Sheldon, Herman Hesse, Dostoevsky , Khalil Gibran, Sartre, Camus, Kafka and many more. It is when I learned there is a world outside the world I was living, much prettier than I can imagine.

All this inspiration comes from the word of motivation that was imparted by the language teacher. Her few encouraging words really change the course of my life. Do you ever tell your son or daughter to concentrate only on their academic books? If not, don't even do that. Don’t enslave them to your interest. Let them enjoy what they love most in their lives. Try to appreciate what they love to do and encourage them to enjoy it more and more.

It is very important to expose our children to listening to good, moral story telling at a very early age. When they learn motivational stories at the early age, it will permanently remain with them. I recall, at my grandmother's home, she would always read out loud bedtime stories. Her favourite personality was Napoleon and her favourite book was Oliver Twist.

I have been hearing Charles Dickens’ from her from an age immemorial, that I wanted to read him. An old book of Oliver Twist was lying amidst the collection of books at home, which I read it while I was in my fourth grade, which was the first novel of my life.

My greatest challenge was mathematics. Mom tried her best to play board games with us. She would add up or multiply the number by rolling the dice, or the number of spaces we could move. My grandmother too would assign a role to us to recite tables till ten soon after our prayers. All these habits helped us to absorb basic of mathematics lesson. Even then I scored less in mathematics and it was blamed on my interest in poem.

It was few years back when I met a women who told me how she blended her son’s interest in music with mathematics. Her son hated mathematics. The mother encouraged him to learn music, both vocal and instruments. In the midst of him playing his key board, she would quoted him Pythagoras. Pythagoras said, ‘’ There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres."

The counting, rhythm, scales, intervals, patterns, symbols, harmonies, time signatures, overtones, tone, pitch are all connected to mathematics. It is about taking the kids out to a world where food is not just for their stomach, but also for their thoughts and emotions. These kind of teaching systems are what tour our children need today. I remember aftermath of the half year examination, while I was in my seventh grade, the nun who taught science, ordered some of us, who scored less in examination, to reach school half an hour early to study under the guidance of those who scored high. I was always an average student and in exams, I scored ten out of fifty. I don't have words to explain how I was hurt then. I always hate comparing myself with others, be it at school or at home. In school we were actually made to mug up the dictated sentences in the note book and write the same on the answer sheet. I actually used to forget words even after reading it umpteen number of times.

Actually, I hardly understood the meaning of whatever I read. Had the teachers explained the use of science and mathematics and then defined the complex nature to students, that may have helped them scored high. I wondered why the teacher who said I am dump in science and mathematics, never appreciated the high marks I scored in languages and social studies?
Do you think why my parents didn’t interfere in my study life? Frankly speaking, telling my parents about the insult I underwent, would be adding salt to injury. Later in life, I have regretted for not sharing the same with them. In fact, it has taken me years of reading experience to understand even a simple theory in science and mathematics. The Faraday’s electromagnetic induction has not enlightened me until I reached the second year of college.

I recall a resourceful person explain to us about the science in daily life. He said the motor in the electric fan works on the principle of electromagnetic induction, which keeps it rotating on and on and thus making the blade hub of the fan to rotate, blowing air. It was so simple theory, but it took me more than four years after completing my physics class in my tenth grade to understand it.

My friend would joke with me while learning Newton’s laws of motion, which she wished the whole tree fell on him rather than an apple. However, when our physics teacher explained application of the first law, the law of inertia, she laughed and said, "She understood why she fell down when the driver in the bus braked." Now, she is a physics lecturer, cherishing the application of theories in physics in daily life.

I believe it is the teachers to be blamed if the students lose interest in a subject. I loved biology in grade 9th, thanks to the teacher, however, I hated the same subject in grade 10th. I started liking geography a day before my last examination in grade 9th when my uncle explained it interestingly. While explaining tectonic moments, he said, 50 million years ago there existed a sea and fossils which were found at the Himalayan ranges. That really triggered my curiosity and I decided to read more about.

From nursery rhymes to the complex theories there is entertainment and daily life features. Make them part of our children's life with a word of appreciation and encouragement that will help them to acquire knowledge fountain from a very tender age so they find the joyous life out of the four walls they are confined to it in their houses and classrooms.

Everything has music. Everything we do has a literature. Everything we do are rhythmic and everything has a science, mathematics and history.

Slowly they will realise ‘’When autumn comes, can spring be far behind?’’.

Reshmi Naveen Gopal is a freelance writer. She is a post graduate in Communication and Journalism. She has worked with main stream print media and online journals. She has been a faculty in communication and journalism at a couple of colleges.
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Express your comment on this article

Cheryl Fernandes
Posted on Saturday, January 27, 2018

Very nice Article it kept my interest until the last line. we all face such incidents in out early school ; few can express and few can pen it down.you have done it brilliantly.

Swarga Sunil
Posted on Sunday, January 14, 2018

I loved this article, the writer discussed a big problem , for any child, in a very simple and easy way. This is very true that some understand the subjects very easily and some takes long , but at the end the practical side of all these subject matter in long run....

Appreciate for such a good written article...

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