By Meherpal Kaur
Dear reader, the year has barely started, and already I have been sat down by some very concerned parents who explained to me, very seriously, what I should teach their child and, more importantly, how I should teach it. Caught off guard, I simply listened very politely and said “yes” to them.
Of course, the waltz of thoughts started afterward in my mind, right after a huge reaction of the ego, where I wondered for a while why on Earth people are so eager to tell each other what to do, but hey, nothing really interesting there. No, what was interesting, in fact, was the feeling I got that the parents I met were so worried about knowledge.
They were telling me “I want my child to know this” or “I notice that my child does not know that” or even “No, I don’t want my child to take an extra subject because I want him or her to focus on the important subject”. All of these concerns are, of course, valid. I do understand the point of view from which these remarks come.
We live in a world where we still believe that knowledge will make a difference, and God knows how long it will take for us to realize that knowledge does not give much to a human being who does not have strong intuition and even stronger, infinite love.
If knowledge were so important to you, parents, then you would do your very best to have your child taught by a computer that had instant access to all data and that also had perfect spelling, the proper English accent, and an infallible mood.
But, here you are, still betting on this poor thing that we call a human being. Why do you still bet on a teacher? Because I am sure that, deep down, beyond the preconceptions inherited from the Piscean age, you know that what educates a man or a woman is the love he or she will receive and take ownership of and spread around.
Knowledge will always be accessible. It is everywhere, overwhelming. What about love? I studied in school from the age of 3 to the age of 28. I spent 25 years studying, and it does not make any sense if I do not acknowledge and value the love I received, personally and impersonally, from my teachers, who were not always great and awesome.
What nurtured me, my Soul, was encountering people who manifested passion for things that had no link whatsoever to the environment in which I was brought up on this planet. People who loved subjects, topics, books, words so much that, despite the odds, despite their weaknesses, they reached out because they owned something. I do believe that we can only give away what we own, what is ours.
I still have fond memories of sunny moments at the Greek club of my high school, painting models of Corinthian columns, applying myself to the calligraphy of the Greek alphabet, when I could have been reviewing my math lessons or getting tutored in physics.
I recall the delight of sitting in the library section of the classroom in 3rd grade, in the middle of the afternoon, when the teacher had given up on me and sent me there as punishment. I remember reading with fervour children’s books in which life was just different from the one I knew then.
Why do I recall these things?
Because the teacher in charge of the Greek club was primarily a Greek teacher who had lost her job when the government removed Greek from the curriculum, arguing that students needed to focus on writing and spelling French instead of learning a new subject. She was not my favourite teacher; she was often unfair and humiliating, but she had an endless passion for Ancient Greece that emanated from her and touched our hearts.
The same goes for that primary school teacher whose name or face I do not even remember. But it is written in my heart, the feeling I felt when she talked about books, stories and characters as if the entire world, the entire universe could somehow be found in between the lines on the pages of books. Twenty years later, I still struggle with the spelling of some French words and use a dictionary more than once a day, but I own 3 500 books and have never stopped reading since then.
Would I have traded these memories for an A+ in math or Spanish? Would I trade them today for admission to Harvard University? Would I want to trade them for the guarantee of a so-called “real job” in five years? No, I would not trade these memories for anything, because they represent the most substantial thing I have ever received in my life: passion.
And those teachers who had passion in only very small – and yet gigantic – corners of their lives taught me that, if the love of stories, for example, can be so powerful and affect people so deeply, then how powerful can be the one who loves all and everything this way?
So, now, you think you see where I’m going, right? But no, I am not going to quote Yogi Bhajan, but feel free to mentally recite your favourite quote about the importance of love, because that is what this post is about. And not only for the teacher of your child! It is also very, very important for your heart as well, parents!
Remember, the Universe has a plan and control is an illusion. In what seems the worst or the useless can lie the revelation of one’s life and, considering the power of our Creator, I would not want to mingle too much with His scheme.
Am I saying that you should not be around and keep in touch with the teachers? Of course not. Be there with us, build a relationship, forgive yourself the things you regret having said or done, as we all try to do, and remember that the first step of love is trust, in teachers, in yourself, in your child and in the divine.