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Sunday, 3 October 2010

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Why we need teachers

We students have plenty of books and information sources we could refer to, to do our studies on our own. So, why do we really need teachers? Because, even though we have all these sources of information, we have no proper understanding about what exactly is said or given in them. We are no experts and we need a learned person to explain everything to us. And who could do this other than teachers?

Teachers are significant personalities in our lives because, apart from parents, they too provide us with information and guide us. They play a key role in our education not just only teaching what is in textbooks, but also teaching us good habits, right and wrong and good qualities. They give us a helping hand to come up in life.

Teachers always share their knowledge with their students. They are called store houses of knowledge. They are always occupied with their work - teaching lessons, setting test papers, correcting home work and so on. They are dedicated to their jobs.

Even though we have our parents at home to help us with our studies, sometimes they do not have the time to explain everything to us. Some have no knowledge or experience to do so. This is where teachers step in to help.Therefore, teachers are essential for us to be educated. They are also like companions because they are with us, in everything we do at school.

Teachers are also called supporters because they help us in many ways. They play an important role in moulding our characters and changing our destiny in life.


Let them live!

Animals also have a right to live in this world just as much as we humans do. Many plants and humans reap a lot of benefits from animals. Even though some animals are small they help plants in the pollination process. Some of these animals are birds and also insects such as bees and butterflies.

It is true that there are many animals such as lions, bears, cheetahs and reptiles that are dangerous and harm us. But all of them are a part of the environment and just as much as they add beauty to nature, they also have a role to play in the continuity of life.

Elephants participate in peraheras and it is also one of these animals that has been chosen to carry the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha. And the Buddha preached about the importance of protecting animals and showing kindness to them (ahimsa). But some people kill innocent animals. Many cows and bulls are slaughtered. People sell the animals to the butcher when they get old. Sometimes you can see tears in their eyes when they are taken to the butcher.

People who kill animals do not know how valuable they are to us. Think about the cows. They are like mothers to us because they give milk for us to drink and grow. A bull helps to draw the bullockcarts and carry goods. Horses and ponies are used to ride on. Elephants too help to carry and pull heavy logs and other goods.

When we clear forests and cut down trees for development purposes, we destroy their habitats. Then animals have no shelter or food to eat.

This leads to their extinction eventually. So, do not destroy their homes and kill animals. Let them also live!


We must help the aged

We will all become old one day. If people stop helping elders now who will look after us when we become old?

Most people, when they are very old, over 80 or 85 years find that they cannot walk without help. Some cannot walk at all. They need to have wheelchairs to move about and unless we provide them with these, many cannot afford to buy them. We must do this willingly and also provide for all their other needs.

If children don’t look after their parents and elders nobody will look after them, when they grow to be old either.

Most old people end up in ‘elders’ homes because their children have no time for them and reject them. They live unhappy lives in such homes because they do not have the love, care and comforts they once had. They are lonely and sad most of the time. But some old people have children who look after them lovingly. For instance, my parents have provided a room, a bathroom and even a separate kitchen for my paternal grandmother.

They also always send food and visit my maternal grandmother who lives up the street, in her own house.

There is a saying “You can never repay the kindness your parents have shown you.” You must remember their generosity to you when you were young and try to help them when they are old.


Eradicate bad habits

At school, children are under the vigilant care of their teachers. So, most often children pick up bad habits from their home environment. Therefore, parents have a major role to play in eliminating such bad habits in their children and guiding them.If parents too like teachers take time to be vigilant of their children’s behaviour it would be easy to prevent them from acquiring bad habits from the surroundings.

Teachers often give instructions to the children about the need to cultivate good habits. If parents can co-operate with the teachers and ensure that their children behave accordingly at home it will help a great deal. Very often some children have habits that are unhygienic and affect their health. Frequent medical checkups on their cleanliness will help to curb bad health habits among children.

Bad habits in speech and social behaviour are generally a result of the influences from the environment children are exposed to.

Parents should protect children from being exposed to such environments and try to educate their children about the value of good habits. There are many schools where children are easily trained in good social habits by mingling with children from refined social groups. Such schools are ideal to help children living in environments and neighbourhoods that reek in bad health and social habits.


Conflict between man and animal

Animals as well as human beings are an essential part of Mother Nature.

“Man didn’t weave the web of life. He is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. The land doesn’t belong to man, but man belongs to the land.” This is what Chief Seatle had to say. He believed that all living beings belonged to Mother Nature.

In the present day, certain cruel-hearted people, treat animals in an inhuman way. Man thinks that he has invaded and inherited the whole world. But it is not the reality. He has gained so much because of his brains. Yet he has no right to kill or torture animals for his pleasure or survival. There’s another great saying by Arahath Mahinda to King Dewanampiyatissa that focuses attention on the right of animals to live on Earth. He said, “Birds that glide in the sky and animals that roam in the forest have an equal right to live and move anywhere in this country as you have. The land belongs to the all living beings. You are only its trustee”.

Today, man has become very selfish. He has got the power to control the whole world. Hence he kills innocent animals like deer, sambur, hare and elephants for their antlers, flesh, tusks and so on.

Many animals are faced with the threat of extinction as a result of the cruel deeds of man. Some people in the world have a desire to see blood-curdling sights. Therefore, they torture and kill animals for pleasure; to ease their restless mind. This wicked deed clearly shows us how reckless man’s mind is.

As the most intelligent among all living beings man should love all animals who depend on him. Man must not give them any pain but treat them with affection, sympathy and kindness.

We should not forget that we belong to one family; the family of Mother Nature. Therefore, as civilised people we must not destroy animals who are considered as an integral part of nature.


A journey by train

Most every child likes to travel in a train. I too liked to travel by train, so, I asked my parents to take me on a train trip. At last the day of the train journey dawned.

I woke up early in the morning on this day and got ready quickly. By the time I came out of my room, my mother had prepared all kinds of food to take on the train. So I went to see my father. He too had washed the car and packed all our bags. Then I went to my brother’s room.

He was ready with his new camera and the pair of binoculars. We then had breakfast. Usually I am the person who finishes eating last, but I was the first to finish that day. Next, we went to the station. While we were awaiting the train I first heard chaffing and puffing, and then saw the train. Mum said, “Get ready.

This is our train.” I felt very happy, when I got into the Podi Menike train at 7.30 a .m. We sat in the observation saloon, so, I saw the beautiful surrounding very clearly. As we passed tea estates I saw tea pluckers plucking tea leaves joyfully.I saw tea factories on top of the hills, which looked like toy factories.

The mountains were a beautiful blue when I looked at them through the mist. I saw many beautiful rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. The cascading waterfalls looked like long silver snakes in the sun light. The train and the trees swayed to the same rhythm. So I also imitated it.

We stopped at a number of stations. I counted each station we passed and stopped at. In each station I saw its name written in Sinhala, English and Tamil. They had also written how high it was from sea level.

At each station mobile vendors and passengers got in and out of the train. The vendors were selling vadai,gram and various other items.

When the train was about to leave the station I heard the loud whistle of the train.

I looked out of the window and saw the guard waving a green coloured flag. The train started to move again. I saw sun flowers on either side of the rail road. It was beautiful to see how they bent towards the sun. I did not even feel hungry.

But my mother gave me some sandwiches. I shared them with the other children and ate them. As we passed through tunnels, the children hooted and shouted. But it was time to end my enjoyable journey. We got off at Veyangoda station. I felt very sad when the observation saloon I travelled in passed by me.

Then I realised that thousands of little passengers like me can travel in this train. It is a great wealth. I remembered the valuable words written inside the train. “This is a national treasure. So protect it as your eyes.” Indeed we should protect public property.

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