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There Is Opportunity In Every Challenge

EducationWorld November 2021 | Magazine Spotlight Feature

Pandemic Paves Way For New Age ParentingEvery problem has a solution and every setback can become a comeback

Dr. (Mrs.) Amita Chauhan
Chairperson, Amity Group of Schools

The best way to lead a happy and successful existence is to humbly accept every challenge that the universe throws at us, instead of considering it as a threat. If we treat a difficult time like a stepping stone towards becoming an improved version of ourselves, I have, no doubt, that we can create a far better world, both inside and around us. The past year, I believe, has given us this chance, to face one of the hardest challenges ever and create the best opportunities out of it.

While we all have begun to now recover from the onslaught of the deadly coronavirus, but what matters to me even more is how individuals, societies and nations did not leave any stone unturned to make the best of a very difficult situation. Almost every person – be it a medical professional, a sanitation worker, or even a young student -rediscovered their inner strength and kindness and went out of their way to help one and all. This time taught each of us that the biggest power of humanity lies in unity and that each one of us can make a difference, a lesson perhaps no school curriculum can teach.

In fact, children have emerged the true champions during this time, in my opinion. Despite being faced with a sudden change in their lifestyles and having to stay indoors for months together, so many young children used this tough period to transform themselves in all the ways we could not have imagined earlier.

First, what seemed like an impossible situation in the beginning turned out to be great opportunity for students to learn newer and better digital methodologies, and students skillfully adapted to a string of online class, activities and competitions. It is not surprising, therefore, that a recent World Economic Forum report states that `for those students who do have access to the right technology, e-learning can be very effective, as students are able to learn faster online; they can learn at their own pace, going back and re-reading, skipping, or accelerating through concepts as they choose’.

At the same time, we cannot ignore that structured classroom learning can never be replaced fully as younger kids have a much lesser retention span. This is why educators made a concerted effort to provide a range of innovative ideas and methods to keep children engaged and motivated. They took every chance they could, by using technology, to expand teaching beyond the confines of a class, city or even country. Whether it was through virtual trips to national parks and museums, exotic islands and diversity-rich oceans, or online interactions with experts and specialists from across the globe, learning became fun and interactive.

Even when educational institutions had to shut down due to the lockdown, and online learning had still not begun, many children saw this as only a temporary pause. They utilised the time fully and creatively. Children everywhere were on a journey of self-exploration. At Amity itself, during many interviews and interactions, I have had children share with me how they rediscovered their passion, whether it was about creating a robot with no access to a physical lab, or finding a solution to wastage of precious resources to writing poetry and publishing the same. They created innovative masks, ran virtual awareness drives and designed new apps to help frontline workers.

I must also bring to attention stories of those kids who do not have access to similar technology and facilities. These children from the lesser-privileged strata of society faced several hardships, especially as their parents were struggling to make ends meet. But I have come across many who became more meticulous and responsible than ever before. I know of instances where several families would share one smartphone so that all their young ones could learn together. This time also brought out the best in others as well, as community service, donating of books and laptops became common in several residential areas. Indeed, the show must go and all our children, irrespective of their background, seem to have taken cue from the Sam Veda which says,

Meaning — “We should take inspiration from the sun and work constantly for the benefit of mankind, so that peace and prosperity prevails everywhere”.

In fact, many children found out that these ancient texts are full of such timeless nuggets of knowledge and wisdom which can be applied in our lives even today. They began to take parents seriously and participated actively in conversations around physical and mental health. For parents, this was the perfect chance to instil in their kids the importance of nutritious food for the body, and beautiful thoughts for the mind. Yoga and meditation, which was hitherto considered an adult’s domain, became cool family activities. Schools played an equally important role in furthering these concepts and meditation showed the way in staying calm and developing concentration, while juggling between online classes and the offline world. As the Rig Veda says, “When there is harmony between the mind, heart and resolution, then nothing is impossible”.

Indeed, we are all bearing witness to the toughest times for human civilisation in the 21st century, but then, there always are two sides of the coin. Every problem has a solution and every setback can become a comeback. This is the optimism I hope each of us can harbour, and a moral we must continue to instil in our children. After all, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!

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