“I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures, those who make it or those who don’t. I divide the world into learners and non-learners.”
– Lord Buddha
Learning has earned many different names from the wise and the intelligent. They have all propounded their individual theories related to the significance of learning. The fact of the matter is that we start to learn (supposedly) while still in the mother’s womb. Ready reference is available in the way a newborn baby feeds itself. We are born ready to swallow milk that acts as the life-giving nectar. Learning to draw attention and other related chores follow in quick succession.
Learning a language is perhaps one of the most important tasks that we do within the shortest possible time after birth. It becomes our mother tongue and the ultimate instrument in the determination of our religion/culture/background and so on and so forth. Learning to follow the path of Christianity per family traditions makes one a Christian. Hindi speaking child gains recognition as a Hindu while one speaking Urdu would identify as a Muslim.
Learning various subjects in school helps pave the way for us to choose a career. Lack of schooling poses a major challenge in gainful employment. Perhaps, this is one of the stages where the importance of learning comes to the fore in a pronounced fashion.
On the other hand, we have those that take life for granted and hate learning with a passion. Behaving irrationally as a child, often with the support of doting parent/s, strengthens the foundations of anti-social behavior in these individuals. When the prolonged attitude of irresponsibility keeps manifesting itself in so many different ways, it acquires the shape of a grab-and-go personality. This is where crime and criminality find fertile ground. This is where we need to ‘nip the evil in the bud,’ as the age-old wisdom dictates.
Character-building is not the sole responsibility of the hapless teacher at the school who is bound by so many regulations. The onus is upon the parents, the wards and those around the child with learning challenges. If only we all made a concerted effort to help the needy, wayward child to understand the significance of obligations as much as the rights he or she wields, the situation can improve to a significant level.
A Majority of the hard-core criminals are a living proof that they did not turn this way overnight. In most cases, their faculties of judicious thought-process have been compromised over a long term. Starting as happy-go-lucky kids with little supervision, they find easy money in drugs and gangs to prey upon other kids.
As the days turn into weeks, months and years, the protection accorded in our judicial system up to a certain age lets them graduate to such a high level of expertise in an evil that their chance for a return to society as responsible human beings is totally lost. By the age of 18, they have their own followers, gangs, ways & means to outdo and outclass each other. Of course, the lure of easy money gets them even easier access to guns so they could create more fear to accomplish their nefarious goals.
It is my understanding, based on my personal interaction with some friendly law-enforcement agencies that putting petty criminals behind bars makes them hardened criminals. They get more advanced training inside, from those unable to wreak havoc themselves due to incarceration. By the time these supposedly petty criminals get their release, their small field of activity is ready to undergo a major make-over with newly forged contacts with the seasoned criminals.
Without going deeper into criminal psychology and/or their motivation, I would categorically mention that we need to take a closer look at our society from a relationship angle where we all share the responsibility to ensure that our young ones stay the course and not get side-tracked with the lure of easy money.
There exist many more extenuating circumstances that might contribute to an ‘unlearning’ behavior in children, agreed. However, the onus is upon us, as a society to ensure proper identification of these markers and to implement progressive remedial measures rather than the drastic ones.
By taking a long, hard look at child psychology and its failure triggers in direct relation to the specific living environment, we can certainly put a strong check on the growing menace of anti-social elements. As we bring down the numbers of eager participants in anti-social behavior, we shall certainly succeed in reducing the recurrence of violent crimes that keep growing with each passing day.
One small step in the right direction could be our individual willingness to help the needy in our immediate neighborhood so they may stop looking for easier means of survival through petty crime. More we cut petty crime, higher the rate of success we shall see in stopping major crime!
I am also reminded of another great quote that might help us better see the light in my above statement:
“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.”
– Lord Buddha