My kids think it’s never a good idea for me to attend PTMs. My wife thinks it’s payback time. I am beyond thinking it’s good or bad.
My children feel I am too philosophical and not very useful in resolving ‘real‘ issues like who sits next to them. My wife on the other hand has more evil intentions in putting me thru these. Secretly, I enjoy going to these because there is a book fair outside school on the day of PTM and I can go berserk – particularly if my wife isn’t around to be the ‘hand brake‘. So I was signed up to go this morning.
Every time I go to a PTM, I become very pensive.
Any feedback about my children acts as a trigger, and then I float away. Thinking about my children and all other school going children. What school education is doing to them.
Firstly, because I don’t know what to do with the feedback like ‘he is good, but not brilliant’ (I started talking to her in my mind “What dimensions are u using to evaluate?“) or ‘he is active, playful, grasps very well but is not scoring well‘. I am mostly happy. They are very kind, well meaning and care deeply about my children. I empathize with the constraints the curriculum and system poses on them. My only desire in the midst of all this attempt of education is for my kids to remain ‘natural‘.
Naturally 🙂 my thoughts went to a more philosophical question.
What does it mean to be natural?
The word ‘natural’ has the same root as ‘nature’. Nature has no concept of good and bad. A snake is not bad. A cute flurry rabbit is not good. It is what it is.
When you are young, life seems very black and white. Bad and good. Fair and unfair. Right and wrong. Strong and weak. Winner and loser. Overtime we start seeing bad and good in everything. Shades of grey.
Interestingly it seems to then graduate to thinking there is neither bad not good. Of being ‘natural‘, with neither bad or good like in ‘nature‘.
Selfish is bad, selfless is good … Selfishness can be good and bad, so can be selflessness … Selfishness needs selflessness, and vice-versa.
Black or White becomes Black and White
The biggest source of my wisdom, the movie Kung Fu Panda, has a scene where Oogway talks about why there is no such things as good news or bad news. There is just news.
Alan Watts tells a beautiful story of good luck and bad luck for a Chinese farmer. Makes a deeper philosophical point why one can never truly know what is good or bad, at that point in time.
As I want to sound very erudite and deep now, I will refer you to why Nietzsche implores you to go ‘Beyond Good and Evil‘ in his books and philosophies. His broader dual argument of Amor Fati and Eternal Recurrence is all about completely embracing life, as it is.
The phrase “The child is father of the man” by William Wordsworth has been expounded at length in many English classes and quoted many times by all of us. I learned today from my colleague at work, Anirudh Sriram , a very interesting story in Indian mythology where Murugan (Kartikeya, the warrior God) teaches is father Shiva (Adi Guru, the first teacher) the meaning of OM. So who is the teacher and who is the student !!
I am sure there are many more interesting examples now that we have strayed into the Zen concept of Yin and Yang.
The more I grow up, the more I read, the more I introspect …. life seems to lead me to recognize the need to go beyond dual qualities. To be natural. To be one with one’s own nature.
Of course, yet again the PTM wasn’t very productive overall. I kept talking to myself in my head, instead of replying properly why my kids grades dipped last month.