When I was growing up in village I was a hungry boy. My mother would say if I didn't return home by dusk I would sleep hungry and it happened several times. When I return home very late they would have finished their dinner. I would silently sneak into kitchen only to find the pots empty. I would cry until I fall asleep. Same punishment happened when I didn't do my share of household chores. And this desperation for food forced me to listen to my mother. I literally had to earn my food. Food was honoured as prize for being good. This is the story of hundreds of village children once upon our time.
Later when I grew up and saw life beyond my village I was up against hundreds of surprises and one that I couldn't digest was the way my urban cousins took food for granted. Their parents have to run after them to feed them, with promises to take them to town if they could empty their plate. If kids don’t eat parents get worried and fake many stories such as, if you eat you will grow strong like hulk, you can jump like Spiderman, and your hair will grow long and shiny like Barbie’s…
I just look at them and wish I was so lucky. But over time my crisis with food ended. I reached high school where we were given to serve our own meal and as much as we wanted. Gradually I began skipping breakfast and at times lunch. Then I realized why my urban cousins weren't desperate about their food. When something is given lavishly and for free we tend to take for granted. We forget to appreciate it.
Is this happening to education in Bhutan? Getting education in Bhutan is easy and free and every child’s right but unfortunately the easy education seems to be taken for granted. There is no desperation for education because desperation comes with deprivation. When I look at my students I could see the lightness with which they take school. They come to school, sit there and leave. Given the chance they would want every day to be sunday and go on picnic. They wouldn't realize the value of their right until it’s deprived. Should we be deprived of free education to appreciate its value?
"We realize the importance of light when we see darkness. We realize the importance of our voice when we are silenced. In the same way when we were in Swat, we realized the importance of pens and books when we saw the guns.” -Malala Yousafzai
I want to print the following picture of Malala and hang on the school wall so that someday our children will understand how blessed they are and most importantly learn to appreciate their blessing.
|Image from buzzfeed|