I visited a school the other day. It was part of the Corporate Employee Volunteering Program wherein we partner with corporate companies to design activities to promote volunteering among their employees. In this particular project we require getting permissions from schools to conduct an environmental awareness program for their students in partnership with a corporate company.
My stint at the school was about an hour or so when I was waiting for the School Principal to return to his cabin. He was taking one of his morning classes. I had arrived at the time when he was supposedly to be free ( or I was rather informed so by the administrator. ) As I waited in his office little did I know of the mischievous little adventures that would unfold!
A group of 6 – 7 students assembled outside the office room with small notes in their hands. One of them entered first and showed his note to the administrator. He wanted to take the day off. Why didn’t any of his parents accompany him to take the permission ? This was the school rule – emphasized the school administrator. The student dramatically explained touching his forehead and tummy that he was suddenly unwell and needed to go home. When asked to call home, he dialed and began speaking to his mother. Meanwhile the administrator got busy attending to other official work.
A second student entered and showed a permission note for taking leave. ‘Why didn’t you bring any of your parents ?’ ‘They are both out-of-town Madam’. ‘Then call your parents for me to speak to them’. ‘Sure Madam, once this boy puts the receiver down’. Only then did the administrator and me realized that our little friend who was suddenly unwell after reaching school was still on the call with his mother. He was speaking so softly that neither of us in the room could feel for a moment that somebody was on a call ! The administrator stormed at the boy and took the receiver to speak to his mother. Keeping the telephone receiver down, the administrator exclaimed: ‘Is this your home land line or school property ?’. ‘Sorry Madam, I am just unwell, please let me go home’. ‘I think you better speak to the school principal when he returns’. ‘I already did so, he said I could go’. ‘Then no harm in talking to him again, please be seated outside’.
That hour of waiting didn’t feel like a waiting time at all ! I got a chance to go back to school and relive my own memories of being a student. It is such a very vital phase in our lives. What touches us now lingers and becomes a part of us and stays with us throughout our lives. Hence it becomes the moral responsibility of the schools, parents and the society at large to ensure that these young minds are aware and empathetic to the real issues around them. This can go a long way in making them tomorrow’s responsible citizens. Looks like our corporate partner has strongly realized this and wants to catch them young!