Come, Let’s Safeguard Our Common Treasure!

We are leaving behind yet another academic year. We must sincerely admit that this has been a difficult year. No doubt, there will always be difficulties every year, but this year has been a very challenging year indeed! Schools, students and parents have been in the news for many undesirable reasons, which one hopes do not repeat in the future. It may not be out of place here to recollect an incident or two, so that we learn from our past experiences as we resolve to march ahead.

Obviously, the first incident that comes to our mind is the ‘Unfortunate DPS Bus Accident’. Of course, it was a painful experience, wherein some very young and innocent children lost their lives. Children are our hope for the future. In fact, we nurture our own future when we nurture our children, and we experience the joy of our hopes and aspirations unfold before us and being fulfilled as we see our children growing up. It is therefore extremely painful to see the light of life of our little children blown out even before they begin to shine. The parents who lost their beloved children, undoubtedly have suffered an irreparable loss and no amount of consolation can actually fill the void left behind by the untimely demise of their little angels. All of us need to empathize with these parents and try to understand the unfathomable loss they have suffered. All of us, the School Management, Local Administration, Parents and Responsible Citizens must work in unison to ensure that such painful incidents are reduced to the minimum and even become a thing of the past.

Another incident that received wide media coverage was the alleged passing and/or failing of some students in their ninth or eleventh standard exams, leading to some self-declared custodians of the interest of the parents of such students forcefully entering a school campus and exhibit unruly behavior, thereby desecrating the temple of learning. Of course, this happened in Sri Satya Sai School, one of the most eminent education institutions of our city. But, I am sure that we had somewhat similar situations in other schools as well. For the present, we shall restrict ourselves to these two incidents.

We all know that, in spite of our great desire and best of intentions, not many of us can guarantee that such or similar incidents will not be repeated in the future. After all who among us has the power to prevent all accidents? Or who among us has the power to ensure that year after year all the students pass out with flying colours? If we accept that in spite of our best efforts we cannot completely wipe out such undesirable incidents from occurring, because they are beyond our human powers, we can always prepare ourselves and decide the way we respond to such challenging situations, because the way we decide to respond is certainly within our control.

In the incidents recalled above, besides the pain the various stakeholders had to undergo, what was even more saddening was the kind of allegations and accusations that were being hurled at one another by the different stakeholders: the Parents accusing the School Management, the School Management blaming the Local Administration and the Local Administration condemning School Management, etc. In our preoccupation with fixing the responsibility for such sad incidents squarely on one or the other party, we have forgotten to realize that the safety and wellbeing of our children and our students is a collective responsibility of all of us, the School Management, Local Administration as well as the Parents. We need to realize that Our Children Are Our Common Treasure, and all of us and each one of us has the equal God-given responsibility to ensure that we do everything possible to ensure their wellness. It is not by blaming one another but by coming together to share our concerns and ideas that we can ensure a better and bright future for our children. Hopefully, in the coming years we will succeed in doing this, for we will succeed in this endeavor when, and only when, we put all our efforts together, and St. Norbert School Management is always ready to gladly fulfill its share of responsibility in this noble endeavor.

Wish you all God’s blessings in abundance,

Rev. Fr. Dr. Michael John
Manager – SNS | Vicar General – Indore Diocese