Skip to main content

Let’s utilize the devil’s workshops productively this winter

Schools across the country will remain closed starting December 14, 2010 with the completion of class 12 and 10 Board Examinations, which started on November 30. Others who were studying in the lower classes are already on a long and relaxing break. To students and teachers alike, it comes as a refreshing break at the end of a fruitful academic session. And to parents, based on where they are (urban or remotes areas), this break either spells extra responsibilities or adds a few more helping hands on the farm.

And the Ministry of Education’s decision to shorten the winter holidays from three to two months came as a relief to many parents in the urban centers, who realize their children would be better off at schools than being idle at home.

What does the break entail? Those days, when we were students, winter break was a time to get busy. Winter is a lean season people say, but that’s all in economics theories. Practically, there is no end to work in a farming community. Even now, for many students in remote areas, this break is going to be a busy time. And this is the only time of the year when children can help their parents fully.

They help their parents on the farm and clear the fields. It is time to gather firewood, collect water from the ponds located far away, and look after family’s cows. It is time to gather fodders and dry leaves for cattle. Some boys and girls in the villages will be working on the construction sites to earn some cash income so as to ease burden on their families in the coming school year.

Down south, it is the season of oranges. And some boys and girls will be helping their parents transport the fruits on their backs. Some students will be involved in breaking stones on the road construction sites. Some will be traveling to towns and cities to meet their siblings, relatives, far cousins and some just for shopping. Some children will accompany their parents to Bodh Gaya, India on a pilgrimage.

For children in urban areas, it is a time to relax and literally do nothing; off from school, studies and books. These are the children of busy office-going parents. For them it is an official time to watch televisions nonstop and browse the Internet for Facebook and other social networking sites. It is time for them to hang out with friends for longer durations and try new habits. And others will remain completely idle like cabbages for another two months from now. Now “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop”, a wise old saying puts it wonderfully. Are we allowing ‘devil’s workshops’ to be built this winter? What should we do to prevent breeding ‘idle minds’ and make children’s winter break more meaningful and productive?

Parents must play vital role. I see them enrolling their children in some useful and productive activities, I see them registering their children for public libraries, I see them teaching their children write better or better still send them for tuition that teach them creative writings, I see them enlisting their children in sports coaching camps, I see them reading stories to their younger children, I see them carefully observing their children’s behaviors and attitudes. I also see them carefully observing where their children hang out, with whom and for how long.

And conversely I don’t see them visiting bars especially so now their children are home. I don’t see them drinking and making unnecessary commotions at home. I don’t see them gathering at friends’ place to gamble.

Behind the building where I stay, there is an empty road. I call it empty because no vehicles are permitted on this one-kilometer stretch. It is a busy bustling road where health conscious men and women jog, walk and practice yoga in the evening and early morning. At nights, this empty road is a favorite place for the howling stray dogs. And of late, it has become the meeting grounds for youth. I have all the reasons to assume they are students of some schools in the country and may be even colleges. The level of noise they make has even scared and chased away the strays from their barking haven. Heaven knows what they are up to. And I wish their parents know more about this. Busy parents groom busy children, who freely loiter in groups, in undisclosed corners and shadows.  

This is what happens when children have more time to hang out. This is what happens when parents have less time to be with their children. This is what happens when you have least bothered parents. This is what happens when parents leave their children on their own.

P.S: The above piece appeared in Bhutan Times December 12, 2010 issue

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

We killed our Golden Goose

One of our most significant events this year is that of Bhutan’s exporting of eggs to India. A few years ago, we were importing them – in truckloads. This goes to show that we have the potential to grow and progress as a country, provided we put in a little more effort and work harder. Did you know, Bhutan today has 422,648 hens and produces 251,678 eggs a day? 
In July 2016, Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) banned the import of chilies from India reasoning that the laboratory tests conducted confirmed presence of pesticides. And right there was our opportunity to grow on our own. The news was like winning a lottery and it sure was a boon to many a Bhutanese chili growers, as they now had ready market san competition from cheap chilies from across the border.

Then came the ‘off season’. That is when the price of chilies unreasonably shot up as high as Nu. 300-400 per kg. It was unreasonable and daylight robbery, many people protested. And then people took to the …

Can we build energy-efficient houses?

Before we know it, it is winter again! Almost! 
And like all winters this winter will be unforgivingly cold. Of course, some people think winter cold is far less severe than the extreme summer heat the likes of which you experience in Phuentsholing or Gelephu. The reason they give is that while you can dress in cool and warm clothes in winter to beat the cold, the summer heat has almost no solution. Being naked does not help. Fair argument, I must say, but some people who can afford air conditioners in their homes might argue that the answer to the summer heat is in installing the equipment. 
But I think the answers to both the extreme summer heat and unbearable winter cold rest with the energy efficiency of the buildings we live in. 
Rooms in some of our apartments are unusually tall that in order to change a fused electric bulb requires you to literally climb onto two or three tall tables stacked onto each other. It takes three to four solid men or women to hold these tables in place; …

A Vibrant Village

What is a vibrant village? What does it take to create one? Can a village vibrancy prevent and curb rural-urban migration?
A village is vibrant when it has happy and content people. A village is vibrant where content people help each other. A vibrant village is where everyone is involved in or concerned with building a strong community. Such a village is connected with a well-maintained road that provides farmers with access to the outside world. 
A vibrant village grows its food and has no need to import anything from outside. Such a village booms with economic activities and here farmers look beyond subsistence farming. That is not to inject greed; it is rather, to encourage hard-working people to work harder. These farmers have at their service useful and modern farming tools to ease their work on the farms. In a vibrant village, farmers have the right to harvest their crops without having to share them with wild animals. 
A vibrant village has adequate and modern day facilities. Ele…
01 09 10