Significance of Mary’s Little Lamb

Shubham Kumar
3 min readFeb 23, 2020

Since nursery I have been taught rhymes like Mary had a little lamb, only to later realize that there is no Mary with a little lamb at all. Even if she had one, does it have any significance? I don’t think so. We have been taught a lot of things that are not significant at all in our lives. The problem comes when these things decide what we will do in life. A student may not get enrolled in science because he scored less in social studies. A computer enthusiast may not get admission into computer science because he scored less in chemistry. These are just some examples that I have seen and experienced in my life. Sitting on my bed, I often try to remember the plays written by Shakespeare and some other writers which I was taught and also graded on. All I had to do was just memorize the play for a day and spit it out in the exam. This gave me a sense of superiority over the ones who couldn’t memorize it. The value or skill of memorizing that I learnt in this way hasn’t helped me anywhere in my life.

In one of my courses in college, I learnt about the concept of iteration i.e. reaching to the solution by assuming it initially and trying to minimize the error. I don’t remember my grade in it, but on a serious note, the value that this concept taught me was that to reach the solution you have to start somewhere and keep going until you get it. This also teaches that making mistakes is fine as long as you learn from it and upgrade your solution every time. While I was in school, if I made a mistake I was penalized or punished. What this practice of penalizing teaches the children is that they should be perfect in whatever they do. They don’t try new things as they fear making any mistakes. Rather than penalizing, schools should teach how to improve on our mistakes. Activities like group projects should be given more importance than exams as they teach the value of teamwork, whereas, exams have just become a test of memorizing skills of a student.

In real life, the people who have built great things and done a lot for humanity haven’t done it individually. They had a very good team with them. Take the example of Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google or Peter Thiel and Elon Musk of PayPal and many others, one thing common in all of them is that they didn’t do it individually. But in schools, the most important criteria of evaluation are exams. Exams are an individual activity. The more you memorize, the more you score and the better you are. This is one of the reasons why most of the school toppers are not that good at building companies. In schools, we are given the answers, made to memorize them and then write them out in exams. In life, we give the exams first and then we get the answers. This basic difference needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

There are a lot of things that need revision in our schooling system. Instead of increasing the memorizing power of children, we should inculcate values that will be with them throughout their life. We are taught that we should study, get decent grades, get a job and earn money. If the objective is making money, we should teach entrepreneurship and investing with practical examples. Say for example giving each student hundred rupees and telling him to add value to it. That way, students will actually learn how to handle finances. All in all, we invest almost 14 years in our school, we should make more out of it so that we make progressive students and not just robots for companies. More stress should be given on creativity and finances than grades.

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