Helping children to cope up with insecurity

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Most educationists and counsellors thus agree that our education system must play a critical role in helping them cope with situations of terror attacks. 'Effective coping needs to be preceded with an understanding of the problem. Our education system has to facilitate an objective understanding of why acts of terror and violence occur in the first place,' says Dilip Simeon, historian and specialist on labour studies. Simeon says that the flip side of exposing children to mass media is that they tend to classify things or people and events as good and bad. 'Such an approach is dangerous. Young children have to understand that the fundamental principle of harmonious co-existence in society is to acknowledge that there can be alternate views to a specific issue. Our education system has a big role to play in fostering this understanding,' he adds. Simeon is of the view that children should be made to understand that the perpetrators of crime are not invincible entities but are people who have resorted to crime as an act of cowardice. 'This will help children cope better,' explains Simeon.

According to Shantum Seth, Zen teacher, there should be scope for children to engage in internal dialogue within our formal education structure. 'Young children should be encouraged to introspect and address their innermost conflicts and feelings. This is a critical first step towards resolution of anxieties and fears,' explains Seth. Alluding to a book written by Zen exponent Thich Nhat Hanh, Calming the Fearful Mind- A Zen Response to Terrorism that was recently released by Ahimsa Trust and Amber Books, Seth states, “This book is a reiteration of the importance of love, compassion and tolerance in our education system. Children have to understand the futility of countering violence with violence.' 'Today, in most schools, value education programmes are lacking,' admits Abha Adams, an educator. 'Most schools try to incorporate value education within specific subjects. But, the need of the hour is to have subjects pertaining purely to moral values,' states Adams.

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