A few months ago I was given a few saplings of tomato and brinjal plants by the well intentioned and energetic Suryaprakash Rao of HRG, as part of his vision (one of the many activities he undertakes for the betterment of the world) to have more people grow stuff at home. We brought the saplings home and with great pomp Anjali and I planted them, watered them and watched them grow.
A month later I realised the mistake I committed. The brinjal plant close to the wall was definitely much smaller in size than the one that got a longer dose of sunshine. The same with the tomato plant. I also realised that the tomato plants were growing bigger and faster, making space a constraint, and worse the brinjal plants would have less sun and less space now. I felt bad that the brinjal plants had to suffer thus to teach an amateur farmer like me. But there was not much I could do about it except put it down to learning.
It is by watching the plants that I realised how important space and exposure to the right light are important for growth. The same is true for anyone, more so, children and the young, who all start with the same potential when they come into the world. But then some amateur gardener comes along and crowds them all up, keeps them in the shadow from light, and their growth gets stunted.
In another interesting development, a tomato plant close to the wall, stunted when compared to the other two, took its time to catch the sunlight. It was exactly half the size of the other two in the initial days. It continued growing at that pace until there came a time when the sunlight caught the top of this plant over the wall, and then there was no looking back. Now its taller than the other two, has more tomatoes. It hung in there, at its own pace and made its own opportunity to be the star today.
I am convinced that this is all they need, plants and children, space and exposure to the right light. Teachers and parents may need to take care to shine that light on those who are in the shadow and allow them the space to think originally, differently and to make mistakes and learn. All they need is support from them, the teachers and parents, and they will certainly bloom to their potential.