Thursday, May 10, 2012

A teacher who couldn't live up to his own values - I

The first value out of the five we tried practiced(first imposed by me and later  in "Happy Harvard Class" was Happiness, in that Happiness must be our ultimate goal.
It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore

It is this mindset that Theodore articulates which has been extremely hard to cultivate. It has made me unhappy at times. My close friend Yin Chen says that it is not as perfect as you hope or even as bad you fear. She is right. I struggled to moderate between the extremes of idealism and cynicism during the last one year.

15 things you should give up to be happy  What is coincidental is that this article shows up on the same day I am contemplating the topic. It is as if the Universe has conspired to save me a reflection. A lot of things in the article speak to my inability to let go. 

It was so easy being a benevolent dictator with a group of children and having a commons which revolved around practice of such values. Having the responsibility of being a role model to scrupulous but malleable children was a powerful motivator during the two years at TeachforIndia. Being out on my own with distant images of them and being a peer in a student community has been a different equation. There is no pretence of trying to be a role model for your classmates and doing it for myself for self fulfilling reasons has never come naturally to me.

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