The mantras of happiness!
What is happiness? What can we do to be happy? What is the yardstick of happiness? How can schools raise happy children? What can school do to make children happy? These are just few of the questions which come to our mind when we think of happiness. Here, Dr. Upendra Kaushik, Regional Education Officer, Bhavan’s Shikshan Bharati, (North and North-Eastern Region) and Chairman, Bhavan’s V.M. Public School, Vadodara reveals the mantras of happiness, in conversation with Varsha Verma.
“Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not.”
Happiness is a state of mind which comes with a positive attitude. Here, Dr. Upendra Kaushik, Regional Education Officer, Bhavan’s Shikshan Bharati, (North and North-Eastern Region) and Chairman, Bhavan’s V.M. Public School, Vadodara shares his views on how schools can nurture happy children. Excerpts.
Q: How would you define happiness in your own words? Education, it is claimed, can play a big role in transforming this situation. What role do you think schools can play to improve the Happiness Index (HI) of the future citizens?
Upendra: I would like to start with a quote, “The ultimate source of a happy life is the attention we pay to our inner life.”
There’s a difference between a smile and being happy. Smile can be superficial but happiness comes from within and it is necessary that the person is convinced about certain thing. It is also based on the karmas of a person. Those who do good karmas are happy, those who do bad karmas, are always worried.
Nobody can force you to be happy; it is a feeling which comes from within and this feeling comes when you are satisfied. This satisfaction comes when the child has a feeling of achievement, for which a freedom has to be given. Teachers and parents need to identify his/her interests and then make sure that he/she is engaged in activities which are to his/her likings and interests. Let the child become what the child wants and not what the parent wants.
Also, if somebody goes through adverse situations in life, they should come out of it and seek happiness in other things because that’s not the end of life. The positive attitude is the core factor for happiness. Forgiveness is another value which helps to be happy. Happiness has a multiplying effect, when one person is happy, he spreads happiness. One cannot be happy in isolation; happiness should be shared. Sharing and caring brings more happiness. The biggest mistake we humans make in our relations is that we listen half, we understand quarter, we think zero and we react double.
But, happiness means different things to different people. There is no yardstick for happiness. One person is happy caring for pets, while other may be happy in gardening, while another one would be happy talking to elders, et al. So, it differs from individual to individual.
Q: Among various parameters used for measuring the Happiness Index, psychological well being of people is considered a prime factor. The schools play a significant role in developing right attitudes, perspectives and emotional stability among the growing children. What curricular and other steps should be taken to empower the young children with a sense of psychological well being?
Upendra: Yes, psychological well being of people is a prime factor among various parameters used for measuring the Happiness Index. The relationship between the teacher and students in the classroom matters a lot. Teachers’ positive attitude can change the whole class environment. Teachers can start small small activities in the class. He/she should not be biased, should not impose his/her views or the schools’. There should be more interaction in the classroom. Students should be given the opportunity to express their views and opinions. There should not be an environment of fear or terror. A teacher should command respect in the class. He/she should play the role of a guide and philosopher. The school should have counsellors to understand the problems of the students in general and specific. Teacher should observe all his/her students and if he/she finds abnormal behaviour of any child, should tackle it first at his/her level and in case it cannot be sorted out, refer to a counsellor. Happiness does not depend only on the child; it depends on the environment which is created by the school, parents and fellow students. All should contribute positively to more and more happiness through sharing and caring.
Curriculum and other steps taken to empower the young children with a sense of psychological wellbeing to a large extent depends upon the geographical area in which child is living and the family background child is having. It is the attitude that matters. Values also play a major role, which do change with time and circumstances but they are important for happiness.
Q: Assessing the use and management of time is a key concern in assessment of HI. How could schools help in developing these attitudes so that the concept of productivity becomes a second nature among the children?
Upendra: Do not put a child in restrictions; he/she will get irritated. You follow the timeline and the discipline, become a living example in front of him/her, your child will automatically follow. When the parents are involved in the time management, they should involve the children at that time. Adjustability, adaptability, co-ordination, cohesiveness and co-operation help a lot.
Q: Cultural diversity and resilience is a positive index of a happy community of people. Given that India has a strong cultural diversity and a history of meaningful and positive cohabitation, how could these ideas be promoted in the school environment?
Upendra: Yes, cultural diversity and resilience is a positive index of a happy community and India has strong cultural diversity and history of meaningful positive co-habitation. These ideas may be promoted by the head of the school in the school environment through various co-curricular activities. For example, respect for elders, respect for opposite sex, respect for different cultures, respecting the ideas and values of others, love for younger, mannerisms and etiquettes, knowing the history better in a simplified manner through music, dance, debates, declamation, essay-writing, quizzes, value-based lectures through activities, etc.
Activities should not be imposed on the students. Activities should be started at an early age of the child, keeping in mind his/her interest and hobbies. The child should be a good learner and teacher should be a good guru. For more happiness, there should be more interaction between the teachers and the students in a free manner and children should be allowed to express their views and opinions. They should also be told what is right and what is wrong.
The school should tell the students the harmful effects of social media and what precaution they should take and what is the significance of personal touch and interaction.
Q: Do you think the National Curriculum Framework and the pedagogical strategies adopted by the schools should integrate the concept of Happiness in a more focused manner with well-defined inputs?
Upendra: Yes, the National curriculum Framework and the pedagogical strategies adopted by the schools should integrate the concept of happiness in a more focused manner with well-defined inputs. It will guide the school administrators, principals, teachers and parents to decide the different kinds of activities which should be there at the school and at home to make children happier. It will help in maintaining the proper balance between the activities in which the child is involved at home and in the school.
Let every child understand – “All power is within you, you can do anything and everything. – Swami Vivekenanda.”
Dr. Upendra Kaushik honoured
Dr. Upendra Kaushik, Regional Education Officer, Bhavan’s Shikshan Bharati, (North and North-Eastern Region) and Chairman, Bhavan’s V.M. Public School, Vadodara was conferred D.Litt. (Honoris Causa) for his contribution and achievements in the field of education by Commonwealth Vocational University, Kingdom of Tonga in the World Education Convention – 2017 held in the auditorium of India International Centre, New Delhi recently on the auspicious occasion of the National Teacher’s Day, organised and hosted by the Confederation of Indian Universities (CIU), International Association of Educators for World Peace (Affiliated to United Nations, ECOSOC, DPI) and the National Institute of Cleanliness Education and Research (NICER). He was also conferred “National Educational Excellence Award -2017” by the host and organisors. On this occasion, H.E. Philippe Le Gall, High Commissioner of the Republic of Seychelles, H.E. Pius Dunaiski, High Commissioner of Namibia and Dr. Markendeya Rai, Sr. Advisor U.N. Habitat were the Guest of Honour.
Dr. Upendra Kaushik, B.Com (Hons), M.Com.(Business Administration), B.Ed., Ph.D, is in School education and administration since 1978. He is a well known educationist, consultant, mentor, trainer and motivator. He has authored 19 books in Business, Management and Entrepreneurship. He has rich experience in the field of Curriculum Development, Measurement and Evaluation, Development Text Books and Instructional Materials. He has been the resource person for training programmes on Value Education, Consumer Education, Population and Development Education, General Management, Marketing Management, Capacity Building for Skill-Upgradation, Finance and Marketing for Women Entrepreneurs and associated with CBSE, NIOS,CIE University of Delhi, Voice, CDS, KVS, HUDCO, HARDICON, STC and SMSMEI and NIESBUD. Since 1990, he has trained more than 2,000 entrepreneurs.
He is the recipient of more than 55 accolades at the State, National and International level including ‘National Award to Teachers -2001’ instituted by Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, ‘State Teacher Award – 2002’ instituted by the Government of NCT, Delhi, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan Memorial National Award -2002, Green Earth Award – 2004, Full Bright Teacher’s Award – 2005, Principal of the Year Award- 2007 from the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, Australia, Mother Teresa Sadbhavana Award – 2013, Global Education Excellence Award – 2014, Asia Pacific Achiever Award – 2014, Pride of India Education Excellence Award – 2015, Bharat Vidya Vibhushan Samman Puraskar – 2015 and Green Ambassador Award – 2016, National Development Education Award -2017, World Environmental Education Didactics (WEED) Award – 2017.
At present, Dr. Upendra Kaushik is Chairman, Governing Body, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Vallabhram Mehta Public School, Vadodara, Member Governing Council, Bhavan’s Education Research Centre, Kochi, Kerala, Member, Management Committee Bhavan’s Leelavati Munshi College of Education, New Delhi, Member, School Management Committee, Bhavan’s Mehta Vidyalaya, K.G. Marg, New Delhi, Member, School Management Committee, Bhavan’s Mehta Vidyashram, Bharwari, Dist. Kaushambi, U.P., Regional Education Officer (North and North-Eastern Region), Shikshan Bharati, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi – 110 001 and Hony. Advisor to Indian Development Foundation, Mumbai.