A social worker, Padmini Muthuswamy, was recounting the story of a crippled boy whom she had found in a slum. She had taken a keen interest in him and had longed to see him walk and be active like other lads of his age. She consulted famous orthopedic surgeons in Vellore who graciously agreed to help. The boy was examined and several operations followed. Then came the slow, tedious days of recovery. Gradually, the child could walk; then run, and finally, play normally like other boys. At that point, Padmini paused to say: ‘He is now a grown up man. I want you to guess where he is and what he is doing.’ Many guesses were offered. ‘He is a doctor… a social worker… a priest… an industrialist.’ Then Padmini said: “No, you are all wrong. He is in the central jail serving a life-term for murder! We spent all our time teaching him how to walk but failed to show him where and when to walk and which path to take.’
While we teach young people to acquire many skills we need to focus also on the acquisition of basic values. There is a tendency to disregard old values as belonging to an earlier generation. Values don’t belong to any one generation, they are eternal. The end of education is to discern in all things the power to tell the good from the bad, the genuine from the counterfeit, and to prefer the good and the genuine to the bad and the counterfeit.
Quote: “To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” – Theodore Roosevelt