Values imbibed and values taught


‘Ma’am, what should I do? Are you allowing me to write the paper or sending me home?’ The invigilator was dumbfounded for a second; she had caught this girl using unfair means during her Grade 11 final examination. The girl had around 8-10 chits kept between the neat folds of the sleeves of her school kurta. The audacity, with which the student questioned, stunned the invigilator.

There was no sign of remorse or distress in her eyes; instead she seemed quite calm and composed. ‘Sir, I will not do this again; there is no need to call my parents,’ she told the admin person in the office, who was trying to inform her parents.

Later, at home I shared the incident with my teenage daughter. ‘So!’ she simply gave me a blank look. My daughter is in the same school, a year senior to the girl caught using unfair means. ‘That’s how the teenagers are today, Mom!’ Her answer shocked me, but that was not all. She further justified her statement. ‘There are teenagers who do not consider achieving things by unfair means as immoral, be it an exam or anything else.’ She continued, ‘For most teenagers today, achieving something is important rather than how you achieve it.’ I was astounded to hear all this… are these the future citizens of our country! What happened to our values? ‘Who do you think is responsible for all this?’ I asked. ‘Parents of course!’ came her reply. ‘See Mom, there are very few parents who actually spend time with their children. They just believe that fulfilling the needs of their child is the only thing a parent is supposed to do.’

This had me thinking, being a teacher, I have seen that there are parents who think that their responsibility is just to meet all the needs of their child. That, according to them is the measure of success as a parent. These needs include providing a separate AC room with LED TV, iphone, car/bike, branded clothes, expensive tuition classes, restaurant food, etc. Family time is now just a vacation to Switzerland, South Africa or any other exotic location with pictures posted on social media.

Sometime back my daughter was talking about an acquaintance of her classmate, this boy studying liberal arts is staying in a hostel. His pocket money is Rs. 5000/-, which is equivalent to the monthly income of some Indians. The boy got into bad company and started taking drugs in the first year of college. The worst part is that the parents are not even aware of it; his mother gives him money whenever he asks for it. How is it that a mother does not even realize that there is a change in her son?

Are parents so occupied in fulfilling the wishes of the child that they overlook the changes in the child?

The fact that the child needs to be heard, guided and advised does not exist in the dictionary of most parents.

Parents today do not want their child to go through any difficulties. They try to protect them from the problems even before the problem truly arises. That’s where the trouble lies, because the child then does not value things.

Most of these parents have had strict and orthodox upbringing; they needed the help of their mother to convey something to their father. Thus, to avoid such situations and be approachable, they try to be friendly with their children. However, what they don’t realize is that there is a fine line between being friendly and being a friend. Being friendly with your child is good as they are able to share things, but if you become a friend then the equation changes. The children then take you for granted; parents should thus know when and where to draw a line. What is acceptable and what is not.

We have heard the saying ‘charity begins at home’, so do basic morals and values. Parents have to teach these at home. The school moulds a child; however the clay is set at home. What the parents need to understand is that even the best of schools will fail to mould the child if the clay is not proper.

After all values are imbibed more than they are taught.

Dr. Deepthi Uthaman is an educator by choice, her Ph.D. is on reproductive endocrinology. Her school and college life gave the opportunity to assimilate knowledge and experience diverse traditions and cultures from different Indian states.

She has taught students from grade VIII to post-graduate level and has worked as the Principal of a residential school.

Her teaching pedagogy emerged to new horizons after attending the IB & CIE workshops, PBL training (Buck Institute of Education, California) and the Wide world online training for TFUT (Harvard School of education).

Currently she is Biology facilitator and HoD, at TGES, and is passionate about implementing new teaching strategies in her classes. She is also passionate about sharing her knowledge and experiences with her teammates to help them grow professionally. She can be reached at