[Extract from the book – Life Ahead: On Learning and the Search for Meaning by J Krishnamurti]
Parents should understand the kind of education the school intends to give. Generally they are satisfied to see their children preparing to get a degree of some kind which will assure them of a livelihood. Very few are concerned with more than this. Of course, they wish to see their children happy, but beyond this vague desire very few give any thought to their total development. As most parents desire above all else that their children should have a successful career, they frighten or affectionately bully them into acquiring knowledge, and so the book becomes very important; and with it there is the mere cultivation of memory, the mere repetition without the quality of real thought behind it.
Perhaps the greatest difficulty the educator has to face is the indifference of parent to a wider and deeper education. Most parents are concerned only with the cultivation of some superficial knowledge which will secure their children respectable positions in a corrupt society. So the educator not only has to educate the children in the right way, but also to see to it that the parents do not undo whatever good may have been done at the school. Really the school and the home should be joint centres of right education, and should in no way be opposed to each other, with the parents desiring one thing and the educator doing something entirely different. It is very important that the parents be fully acquainted with what the educator is doing, and be vitally interested in the total development of their children. It is as much the responsibility of the parents to see that this kind of education is carried out, as it is of the teachers, whose burden is already sufficiently heavy. A total development of the child can be brought about only when there is the right relationship between the teacher, the student and the parents. As the educator cannot yield to the passing fancies or obstinate demands of the parents, it is necessary for them to understand the educator and co-operate with him, and not bring about conflict and confusion in their children.
The child’s natural curiosity, the urge to learn exists from the very beginning, and surely this should be intelligently encouraged continually, so that it remains vital and without distortion, and will gradually lead him to the study of a variety of subjects. If this eagerness to learn is encouraged in the child at all times, then his study of mathematics, geography, history, science, or any other subject, will not be a problem to the child or to the educator. Learning is facilitated when there is an atmosphere of happy affection and thoughtful care.