Introduction The learning from colleges is very important in our lives. The transition from school to college can be very good. Or very bad, depending on whom we interact with in any stage of our college lives. If we lose our moorings, our future is gone. Whether it is a three-years course or a five years course, what we need to learn is not only the subject of study in the degree, but from life itself. And then comes the second phase when we settle down and get married. The third phase is even more important. Or most important. We will have children growing up in the internet age, and if we do not cater to their needs, we are likely to face any number of problems.
In each of the above phases, we have a terrific reference source that we often do not even consider for our learning, but regret the same much later: our parents. We just cannot forget these most important people, who had brought us into this world. Our learning from every aspect of our life in its totality is based on these aspects of life in general. These aspects are a) What we mean to ourselves b) What we mean to family members c) What we mean to the wider society around us d) What we mean by and through our actions and e) What example we set for others and how we do that.
What we mean to ourselvesWe do not need to go to the Himalayas to find out the answer to the vital question: how am I? All that we need to do, for our learning, is to immediately note down, in detail, what our present concerns are. How can we address them? How important are they really? Can we really do what it takes to get the tasks done?
For example, imagine you are 45 years old. You are a bank officer. Your wife also works for BSNL as an officer. Between the two of you, the take-home salary is around one lakh rupees. Post-tax, that is. Now comes the most tricky part. What does this mean to us? Do we have a shared undertaking of what we would spend on what and what we would save? In this author's experience, most of us do not even learn after ten years of mutual fight with each other, for whatever reason. So, if you are relatively young, remember, what do you mean to yourself? Can you articulate your concerns to your wife very clearly and share common goals? For instance, based on some good reference of some good friend who has just spent one-third of what it takes to even acquire an 850 square foot flat in this city, you decide to buy a good house in the town that is nearest to your native village. But your wife wants you to buy the same thing in the nearest town to her native village. You keep on fighting and forget the goal. This is exactly what happens. What you mean to yourselves will obviously involve how much you understand yourself and then are able to articulate what bothers you at that point in time. It is not rocket science. But it is not a child's play either. For, your investment now, at a fraction of the cost, will only enable you to feel very safe. You can easily liquidate the loan very fast. Opportunity knows your door only once.
What we mean to family members There is one common observation. Those who are habituated to drinking, lead lives that they would regret much later. Since they are never in their full senses, this vital aspect of relating well to their wives and children( which actually follows from the first understanding) is totally lost. Years roll on. It also sometimes happens to the workaholics who are married more to their offices and their bosses and organizations, than to their wives, end up feeling miserable when someone pulls them up for their rather irrational behavior.
At the end of the day, such people do not learn anything. Sometimes, people jump too many jobs and make life miserable for their family members too, after they had retired. This leads to more problems.
What we mean to the wider society around usAre we recognized as good human beings by neighbors and colleagues at the office? Do we reach out to the poor? If yes, we can learn so much about life. For example, even a single visit in two months to an orphanage would teach us empathy. We would learn about the background of the orphan children. If would even start thanking our stars for what we are. The trick is to examine our position in relation to the others in the immediate society and also among relatives, who might even be living elsewhere. How about saying hello to your cousin through a what's up message? Or keeping in touch with our friends? If we regularly do this and then try to drop in at their homes in Mumbai or some other city, we would be welcomed. But when we have not even cared for them all these years and suddenly announce our arrival, the reactions will be very bad. Naturally. This is just one aspect. There are other aspects beyond the scope of this article.
What we mean by and through our actions A very close friend of this author had teamed up with some like-minded persons and planted hundreds of trees. He had even educated school children on the value of rainwater harvesting and then personally supervised operations after the concerned parents made the facility available in their houses. Result? The local Rotaract club honored this fellow and he was motivated to do further. He did. He now literally leads a group of thirty volunteers who are so keen on preserving the environment. The key question is: What do we learn here? Just hear the experience or even meet with that guy and simply praise him or join him in his endeavors? Is it there in our fate that we should not do that? Never. Yet, we do not go beyond step one. Our learning is restricted in the very sense of the word.
What example we set for others and how we do that This is important too. Do we inspire others? Do we make them honest citizens? Our running after the TTEs to bribe them for a seat or berth or five of that for our family is now history. Computerization has made it very easy. However, do we spend quality time with our children? Do we figure out how to enjoy life, even when being part of the rat race? If we are atheists ourselves, we cannot expect our children to be religious or spiritually inclined. Yes, it is common sense. But how do we go about doing what we should do? Are we in real control? These are vital questions to be answered. At every stage of your life when we have to learn so much and mean a lot to our wife and children, our learning process should actually become a close examination of our own selves in a here and now situation, eliminate the mistakes and then go ahead in life.
Keeping away from any distraction is a must for human beings of all ages. This includes any possible attraction for members of the opposite sex, for whatever reasons. This is extremely important. What lesson do we teach our children? What example would we set to our wife and children? While the process is quite natural, it is very much within us to completely ignore the woman, totally unknown to us and then go about doing our regular jobs with a missionary zeal. Let us remember that our children watch us at every step. If we are not alright, how will they be in this very complicated world? After all, the child is likely to play with the cell phone and get all the exposure even when he is just three years old. This can be a big worry for any parents. We cannot add fuel to the fire through our own actions. Parents of any age, let us not forget this vital task of teaching the best of lessons to our children. The answer is to be wedded to the greatest saints like the Mahaperiya of the Kanchi Mutt, who inspires millions even today. From across the world. His teachings have reached the Americans and Europeans. Spirituality knows no religion. It is a way of life.
Conclusion The Applied Behavioral Scientists come up with fabulous explanations of our behavior. They even teach us many things. Yet, none of us can afford the very costly courses. The simple lessons of life are based on common sense and our learning from each experience. Let us do that.