Pic.: Vinod Krishnan
I was to start a very important chapter, today. Though all my students are ‘my students’ – that is, I have to love them and accept them in the same breath, teach them with the same care, commitment and passion, some of them need to be reminded regularly of some subtle things which I do not have to do with others… These young-kids are good… they have the same dreams – that is to succeed in life… But, somewhere things are not going right with them… the priorities are not well-defined, desire is lukewarm… and inspiration to succeed is not just enough…
So, to these kids, I have to keep reminding not to miss the starting of any important chapters. “You will find it difficult to cope up later on,” I keep drilling into their heads, “Please be there for initial few classes.”
But, then, my gentle, firm and stern words need not necessarily move all of them. Some, despite my reminders and personal messages, choose to remain absent… and, obviously, invite a great deal of trouble for themselves… including their teacher’s wrath!
This morning, I did not see a couple of them. At first, my mind was busy telling me, “Look, how irresponsible your students are! What is the value of all your words and advice? Call their parents; give a piece of your mind… Punish them… Teach them a lesson…” Interestingly, my mind was stuck with the ten-percent, who had chosen to bunk (for whatever reason), and was unable to see the ninety-percent who had chosen to be present!
Suddenly, a question popped up in my heart: “Have you not, always, professed, that the key to happiness lies in being thankful to what you have, instead of grumbling about what you do not have?”
“Yes, I had been professing about it, always.”
“Then, is it not the same key that should apply to your happiness, now?”
“Yes, it is.”
In that instant realization – ‘Satori' as they refer to it in Zen – I could see one thing happening: I could clearly see the goodness of those boys and girls who had bunked the ‘starting of a very, very important chapter’… I could see my trust in them getting rooted firmly and strongly in my own heart…
Yes, I could feel in my heart the true meaning of Henry L. Stimson’s words:
This was the ‘starting of a very, very, important chapter’… I am glad, I was ‘present’ when ‘the teacher’ taught me this… Yes, in the morning class!