Failure is an Option. Failure to try is not.

Don Bosco1 : Self-Worth Postcard

Don Bosco High School in K. Narayanpura is one of the schools that Hope Torch works at. As the program admin, I conduct various HT programs for the 7th standard students, a class of 16 kids. All our programs are designed to enable kids discover their self-worth. One such program has the kids identifying a problem which they believe can be addressed. The whole process is often daunting as we challenge them to take on any issue they want to and not limit themselves to easy solutions.

The students need to select an issue that affects many people, they will then select leaders, and arrive at some possible solutions that they will implement by themselves. This card tells a story of how the 7th grade class overcame their fears to implement a solution all on their own.

Sneha and Pavan, usually shy and quiet in class, were selected as leaders. After a month of brainstorming ideas and solutions, the pair of leaders turned in this list of observations they had agreed upon:

  1. No corporation from the other students.
  2. No time to work on the idea, due to other programs in school.
  3. Leaders (themselves) are incapable of doing their job.
  4. Some don’t want to participate.
  5. Few are interested but unwilling to work in the group.
  6. Principal has asked for a written script.

What can I say? The rest of the students agreed with these observations. During our discussions, i conveyed that it is okay because they were being honest in identifying the root causes of the hurdles. I pointed out that despite the struggles they did have an accomplishment; they had all collectively decided on a topic: “Stop Teasing and Respect One Another.”

With a little bit of guidance they began to create their Hidden Treasures proposal. They decided to write a play to perform at one of the  schools’ assemblies where their friends and fellow schoolmates can learn to respect one another instead of teasing each other.

But when it came time to writing the script, they froze again. Once again they doubted themselves. As I reassured them that they can keep trying, a girl named Vinutha expressed her hopelessness. Exasperated, she questioned,  “what would you do, Sir?” That was the turning point where the class began to realize they had to work together. I left them to struggle with their thoughts and figure out the next steps.

To my surprise, I got a phone call one morning around 9:30 AM, “Sir, today we are doing the play, please come. The Principal gave permission.” What just happened? I became nervous as I had absolutely no clue what their play was about and feared that the principal would be upset with my work.

However, standing in the audience and watching the 7th standard students perform was one of the most fulfilling moments I have ever experienced.  The students were well organized. They even had a 6th standard student acting in their skit. They were ready to adapt and make changes, though the program was meant only for the 7th.

A teacher asked me if I had helped with the planning, script, and that morning’s assembly presentation. I was proud to say that the kids came with an idea, planned and executed it all on their own. I was merely a facilitator who helped them to keep trying.

The kids, as  always, had the choice to quit or to act in fear. But it was through adversities and embracing it as the next step is what enabled them to become better, stronger, wiser and most importantly resilient.

Like the saying, “Change is life giving, it helps us grow into someone greater than we already are.”

By Niveesh Vasanthan