A challenge to Questioning
         This article can be seen as a continuation or the other side of “through the critical glass” [front page article “Through the critical glass” in The Hindu- Edge dated 24/07/17]
         I agree on the author’s point that “the myth that authorities and teachers should not be questioned has been firmly established in our consciousness”. If we think through the students’ mind, it is frustrating when they come across something that is not convincing or unacceptable, and upon clarification through questioning, their rights to know is abruptly dismissed, denied or not encouraged. And they have to carry on with the prodding dilemma of not knowing. The question “why?” is often unanswered and leaves a scar. And the most awful part is that questioning the norm isn’t considered inquisitive, but synonymous to disrespect on the part of the youngsters towards their elders.
         On the other side of the coin are the elders- especially parents, holding the same glass to critique. The question that goes unanswered in their mind is “How come the youngsters have great amount of questioning skills and critical thinking when it comes to following certain beliefs or practices, but without questioning, accept certain things when it comes to fashion, technology or viral trends?” For example, certain places of worship issues dress codes that are often questioned and deemed irrelevant. However, it is uncommon to find the same people questioning dress codes in social scenarios, like wearing dresses to parties instead of casuals. It is startling why such application of questioning and critical thinking skillsis not uniformly applied, and varies with different situations; and sometimes with different people.          
        As the author rightly pointed out, its time that the educational institutions take initiatives to instil such skills to aid students’ to take right decision on various matters. And not only that, but at home, right from the childhood, parents need to have healthy discussions and debates at home to impart such skills to their children. With teenagers, it’s even more vigorous, as they already would have developed some concepts in their mind, and so while discussing and debating, listening and being open minded is vital at both the ends.
      Development in life is not just determined by academic excellence. It depends immensely on various other skills and attitudes. And one among them is questioning. And the misconceptions of “questioning shows disrespect” need to fade away. It requires the coordinated effort of educational institutions, parents and students. As the quote goes “The most stupid question is the one that is not asked”. We should encourage questioning only then we can claim to have complete education and development.
    Mrs. Jayanthi Ramesh
Corporate trainer & Teacher trainer