I remember, when I was a kid, we had a lady who used to come to our house to collect the garbage. Her name was Jasodha ben, and she used to be an excellent sweeper. One day, while talking something to Appa, I wondered what he would have to say if I said I wanted to be a sweeper.
Appa replied, of course you can be a sweeper, only remember that you should give sweeping your best, so that people don’t find faults with your sweeping.
AT that point of time, I learnt a lesson (which I realised only later, I was elated and had all plans to be a broom girl! and hey at that time Harry Potter was not even conceived in JKR’s mind) that there is nothing called bad work or good work. A job is a job. Whether you are a sweeper or a CEO, it doesn’t matter. What matters is how well you do your job.
I have a colleague whose father is a watchman. This guy has really come up in life you know. He stays in a slum in Mumbai but works for an MNC. Initially when he had joined in he was not very comfortable revealing his background, but when he realised that I was really impressed (and I genuinely was!) he told me the whole truth (Before that it was only feelers he gave!) . I mean, here is a guy whose father is a watchman and mother is a homemaker, and yet he has come up in life. Now I have noticed he tells people very proudly about his background. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you do, it matters HOW you do it!I think it’s very important to teach our children about dignity of labour. There is absolutely nothing wrong in being a sweeper or a cook, as long as you do it with the right intention. We need to teach our children that there is no big job or small job, all jobs are equal and everyone who performs them are equally important.
One way to inculcate this in children is to talk with the same level of politeness to everyone. Whether it is house help or the person who drives your car, when you are polite, you automatically give them respect and your child learns that each work is important. I have often seen people being rude to their house-helps or the person who collects the garbage, or threaten their child that if you don’t study, you will end up being like that guy who collects the garbage. I don’t think that’s a very right attitude.
In India, what we seriously lack as a society is ‘dignity of labour‘. I have someone who told me that she knows a guy who is a taxi driver in Oz and earns a LOT of money..but when he comes to India he never lets anyone know about it! Why? because people will say that he left a lucrative career in India to go out and then become a taxi driver. What people fail to understand is driving a taxi gives him a lot of satisfaction and money!
My Appa plans to become a bus driver for school children when he grows older (now how much older he wants to become, that I don’t know *rolls eyes*) But that’s his long term plan.Buy a tempo traveller and take children to school and back. He says he will learn a lot then!
The point I am trying to make is, whatever you do, do it happily and try to give it your 100%. That’s what we need to teach our children. I hope the next generation values hard work and appreciates that work is work, no matter what it is!
Cross posted on IMC (http://www.indianmomsconnect.com/2013/10/17/being-the-best-sweeper-in-the-world/_