I was invited by Shankar and Lakshmi Chelluri for an interaction with the tenth class students at Sloka Waldorf school yesterday, as part of their effort to expose the children to various careers. It was an informal meeting and we all sat around in a nursery class with cute nursery size chairs which somehow was an apt place to talk of something like this, the seeding of ideas to think of their lives. Maybe, one should keep doing things like changing the environment so it creates a different perspective in itself - have board room meetings in nursery classes or cricket dressing rooms, have school lectures in board rooms!
At their age there is really no pressure, seemingly, to choose careers already. So I hoped to prod some thought towards what they might want to do, really, honestly. I shared my life as an example so they know the motives why I did what I did. They listened intently and shared willingly their aspirations to become doctors, engineers (which surprisingly topped the list), designers (interior, automobile, fashion), software professionals, culinary experts, environmental scientists, hotel management and so on. They also had singers among them, cooks, artists, formula one races, and several other skills that they shared, somewhat hesitantly, and there's more there if one delved longer I am sure.
We discussed how to choose careers that are aligned with what one can do best and what one loves doing, the equal opportunity that everyone has to pursue and excel in their own chosen areas, the importance of giving their best to their line of education and becoming the expert so it aligns back to the track they originally were meant to be in. We discussed the need to be honest in choosing for oneself their chosen area (not to impress others or get influenced by them), the ease with which one finds excellence when one does something one loves, the need for effort and work that goes towards understanding and creating one's body of work, the need for clarity as to why one has chosen the career one wants, the importance of trying and failing to learn and succeed. And perhaps some more. Due credit to the children for listening intently and sharing and interacting.
Once again I found, as I always do with children that age, a high degree of idealism, of wanting to do something for the society, of wanting to contribute for the betterment of the world and that is something that is very clear. This is a spirit I feel that needs to be nurtured and protected even, from the cynicism that seems to creep in later years. The need for a mentor, a guide is sorely lacking after schools let children go out to the colleges, and this is something of a concern, a gap that needs to be fulfilled.
As they are right now, they are all equipped with all they need to become what they want, with the best of intentions, with all their potential. They merely need to continue to believe in their ideals, be honest with themselves and have the courage to see what they wish to become despite all the noise around them. Good luck all of you kids and wishing you a wonderful journey to achieve all you want in life. Thanks Shankar and Lakshmi for providing the opportunity and Ms. Chitra, their teacher for having such sessions and sparing time for being with us.
Sloka school, belongs to the Education Renaissance Trust, a non-profit organization, and has adopted the Steiner Waldorf method, a proven alternate method of education in vogue for over 90 years. Steiner education is centered around Anthroposophy (knowledge of the human being), is multi dimensional and appeals to the child as a whole- to the hand, the heart, the intellect and foster cultural, moral and spiritual values.