Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Power of Encouragement


After my matriculation exam, I‘d decided to change my school. I joined Petit Seminaire for my Higher Secondary studies and it is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.

Just 3 weeks into our XI classes, we had a practical class in Chemistry. Vishwakumar sir was our Chemistry teacher. We were given a chemical salt and were asked to analyze the composition. As we were analyzing, our teacher was asking questions to randomly selected students.

As a matter of bad luck or ill-fate rather, I was caught in that randomness! I was blinking as my teacher was waiting for an answer for the question he’d asked me. I did a futile search of my brain and soon confessed my ignorance. But the reply he gave me was strange.

Being Abialbon Paul, you can’t say you don’t know”, He said very calmly.

I really wonder what magical influence these words had on me. From nowhere the answer came and sat on my lips. I spoke it out. He said, “Good.” and moved on to the next student.

Till then I never took my studies seriously. I always read casually and never bothered about my marks.  I would managed to get within the first five ranks. My mother always wanted me to get the first rank. Her constant crib on my marks made me feel inferior. (I'm not complaining against her. She probably expected too much as any parent these days normally do). Rarely I’d read hard and get the first rank only to slip back again to fourth or fifth. I did realize something. When I got high marks, people praised me. When I got low marks, people praised the one with high marks.  What I wanted was not people’s praises. It only put a pressure on me to perform more. And such a system, I feel, never works at its optimum.

What I wanted was acceptance and encouragement. 

“Encouragement is just reminding someone their own talents and potential when they feel inadequate to face a challenging situation or sink into depression when they fail. Acceptance is being comfortable with someone even after knowing his/her limitations.”

And that is exactly what Vishwakumar sir’s words did to me. I felt so encouraged when I realized that someone actually had much faith in my potential. He believed in what I could accomplish when I was still thinking too negatively about myself. It boosted my morale. I took much interest in my studies especially Chemistry and Physics. I got very good marks in those two subjects. Not to pride myself but I was really good in those subjects that I started teaching concepts to many of my school friends. And many of them have told me that they found my clarity on the concepts quite astounding. I really believe that I got selected in the JIPMER UG entrance exams because of the little edge I had over other students in Chemistry & Physics.

I’ve come to know much about Vishwakumar sir after being his student for two years. He observes his students and learns about them. He knows each pupil’s caliber, interests and limitations by interacting with them as well as by going through their academic records. He uses this information to appropriately guide them. (There are many more things special about him and these few lines are grossly inadequate)

God is omnipresent. However He does not take a particular physical form to meet me at my times of need. That’s why He made me Vishwakumar sir’s student. I am thankful to God for all who've encouraged me and propelled me forward. May God bless them abundantly.