Those parents who attended our Open Day celebration at the end of last term may remember the encouraging speech given by His Grace Sesa Prabhu, the ISKCON Minister for Education.
Sesa Prabhu was saying that we can see now that there are thousands of piles being driven into the ground of Mayapur to serve as the foundation for the magnificent Temple of the Vedic Planetarium.
Prabhu went on to say that the work we are doing here at the school is no less important, because we are laying the foundations for the future of our movement, with the training of the next generation of Vaisnavas.
This has given me lots of food for thought over the past few weeks, as I considered the various aspects of the analogy.
Generally the foundation of a building is not really glorified so much – it is something unseen, below ground, and out of sight. But we know, that if the foundation of a building is not properly made, the building may look fine for some years, but at some future time, large cracks will appear, and it may fall down completely.
In a similar way, the education and training of our youngsters can also be overlooked, and not given so much attention, but later in life we can see how important that education is to the future success of our youth, and especially in how they relate to our Society.
We feel fortunate to be surrounded by so many dedicated classroom teachers, asram teachers and administration staff within the SMIS, all of whom share a common goal of laying this foundation in a very solid and healthy way for our Krishna conscious youth.
Recently I have also been considering how we are actually not really dealing with children at all, but we are dealing with adults in training.
In the same way that the foundation is directly connected to, and supports, the visible building; today's children are the foundation for, and are directly connected to, tomorrow's adults.
Especially in our senior and middle school, our students will only be children for a few more short years, and then they will be fully mature adults, so we need to always deal with them with this in mind – that we are dealing with adults-in-training.
Our immediate goal is to educate the children properly, but our final goal is to help them develop into well-adjusted Krishna conscious adults.
Our students have all the hopes and aspirations of adults, but they are still finding their way in the world, finding out who they are and how they fit in to the 'bigger picture' of their families and communities. We need to be there to guide them to make the right choices as they mature into independent adults.
If we can give clear Krishna conscious guidance, without judgement, and with lots of love, our youth will appreciate Srila Prabhupada's message now; and certainly in the future they will look back with gratitude towards the teachers who took the time and effort to train them and protect them in these tender years of youth.