Today, September 25, 2020, is my mother’s third death anniversary. She was 85 when she passed away on September 25, 2017. Her life was guided by a strong sense of duty – duty to family and to the community. Her common sense approach ( that I am endowed with abundantly proving the gene effect ) to deal with problems compensated for the lack of collegiate education in life. She got married in her early teens, another reason.
Her favourite advise to us, children, comprise the following two sentences : (1) Speak the truth, and the truth as you feel and see ; and (2) Try, try, and try, without giving up. I didn’t take advises of this nature seriously at that time even when my inner voice warned me to give respect and attention to her words.
It was only when I came of age, grew up to explore the world that I understood the real significance and the enduring relevance of those words. I explain the two briefly in the following manner as manager, national professor (retd.), and chief executive of my publication :
1. ” Speak the truth ” – Tolstoy’s educational thoughts and conceptions come to my mind. Speaking of education and the wisdom of children, Tolstoy put forth his conception of education in terms of ‘truth, experimenting, and relationships’.
He advocated a curriculum in education that is strong in the “pursuit of truth” triggering free explorations by pupils. What he aimed at was what we call in easy, simple terms today – “independent thinking”. It means thinking not influenced by someone else’s ideas. His concept of education is centered on the spirit of investigation of what it means to be human and to live as human in this world. The class room discussions should appeal to the curiosity of the learners and make them look at the world in a different way. Our present day courses on technology, creativity, innovation, and artificial intelligence have their roots in his espousal to think and view the humans , their freedom, their relationships, and spirituality in his teaching composition. We, in this modern age of technology, take those very factors as variables in adjusting to the population studied, their geographical locations, their beliefs/faiths in our design of systems. The basic premise of making pupils think in terms of creativity and curiosity existed then ( according to what my mother studied and said ) and today in pedagogical prompt.
2. “Try, , try, try, and never give up” – History reveals that Thomas Edison, the great inventor, who had more than 1000 patents to his credit was also known for his sequences of failures. His incandescent light bulb came after 18 months of failure to find a filament that will stand the stress of electric current. Scientific press, and even the learned were skeptical and funds were withdrawn for his experiments. He continued and ultimately came out with the carbonised cotton thread that proved successful. The metals he tried didn’t succeed. Despite failures, he kept on trying and finally won acclaim. Remember GE.
The following incident is revealing and insightful : ” One day a workman to whom he had given a task came to him and said, ‘ Mr Edison, it cannot be done ‘. ‘ How often you tried ? ‘ , asked Edison. ‘ About two thousand times ‘ replied the workman. ‘ Then go back and try it two thousand more times ‘, said Edison. ‘ You have only found out that there are two thousand ways in which it cannot be done ‘. “
Edison’s view of failure was clear. He never gave up and he will never like his associates (pupils in general) also to give up easily.
My mother hadn’t studied these before uttering her words ; nor did I when I dismissed her words easily ( that probably explains the plight I am in now ).
It was pure commonsense and the practice she adopted in her household chores and school work to achieve excellence that made her say these words. I just gave meaning to her words from history briefly here.
I still learn.
” Dieu avec nous “
Friday, September 25, 2020 – 7.19 p.m. ( IST)
Tidbit : “. I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident. They came by plain work. ” – Thomas Edison.