Sonia was the head girl of her school and had enjoyed attention and fame from fellow students and teachers. She was also good at studies, was part of the debating club too, but the best part of her personality was her very confident smile! She was known for her knowledge and tact — and both these traits had helped her to be elected as the head girl.

But only two months into the new session, a very different Sonia was seen. The friends who had always enjoyed her company were seen complaining of her irrational or imbalanced behavioural issues. The confident Sonia was now seen crying on very petty things, like a seat change, etc.

The teachers and students were trying to handle the issue, but their efforts were in vain. On the first parents and teachers meeting, the matter was discussed as many parents lodged their complaint about how Sonia’s behaviour was affecting their children in one way or the other. In short, it seemed that the PTM was all about the appalling behaviour of Sonia and parents wanted a quick ‘remedy’.

The school’s headmistress, Mrs Khan was an outstanding teacher who had vast experience and was extremely dedicated to her students and staff. She knew that the class teacher was unable to handle the matter and if the parents’ complaints continued, the ultimate action could destroy the future of a student who had been a model student in the past! She called Sonia’s parents and had a meeting with them, but could not find any clue about the sudden change in her personality. So she finally decided to act differently.

The whole of class seven was to attend a workshop. Mrs Khan was conducting it. The students were asked to read different published material on anger management as prior knowledge, so that the subject could engage their mind and an interactive session could take place.

The students worked hard and many of them brought little notes and pointers as to how to handle the outburst of sudden anger. The interesting part was that most of the students had ‘self-management’ tips. Yes, that was important, but what Mrs Khan intended or wanted to focus on in the workshop was the ‘tactful strategies’ to be adopted by individuals when someone around them losses their temper.

Students started with their points — they talked about ways to deal with one’s aggression and not to let such behaviour affect the lives of people around them in any way. Most students pointed out that a sincere search for help (maybe just a listening ear) can help overcome the many issues that are later seen to show up as big fights!

A teacher who had graduated in psychology threw light on the usefulness of taking up ‘hobbies’ as necessary as, according to her, hobbies always re-energise a person thoroughly.

The school administration had invited Mr Naeem, who was known for his research work in mind sciences. He suggested some yoga exercises that reduce the stress level of a person and help the individual in playing positive, active role in society. He also talked about meditation and relief therapy, etc. The children seemed to learn a lot and were seen keenly practicing the poses!

It event was going on fine and it seemed that everyone was enjoying when the host, a senior student, randomly pointed to Sonia and asked her what can make anyone angry.

Sonia was quick in responding, “Forceful sharing!”

The audience seemed totally engrossed with Sonia’s statement, but Mrs Khan had got what she had wanted.

Mrs Khan then came up to the stage and started shouting at the teachers, the junior staff members and the students. At first the crowd was petrified. It was evident that this sudden move from the school’s head had left everyone very disturbed and upset.

It was also very clear now that the fun-filled mood that the crowd had earlier was wiped out! Everyone, from the students to the staff members were now grumbling. Some students could also be seen shedding tears.

The vice-principal went to Mrs Khan and asked the reason for sudden outrage. But Mrs Khan responded rudely.

Mr Naeem was sitting calmly in his chair. He asked the peon for a glass of water and took that to Mrs Khan.

“Drink some water, lady,” he said and simply made her sit on a comfortable seat. “You must be having a reason or reasons to be angry, but madam we are sure that each one of us has no connection to your rage. We are doing our work very diligently. If you are not feeling well, it’s okay. We all are humans and some days are our blue days. You may rest. I am sure your students and staff members love you.”

The crowd started clapping and in a go the negative vibes ceased. In fact, everyone wished Mrs Khan to relax. But Mrs Khan stood up and it seemed that she was about to leave the hall but she went up to the microphone instead.

“This is what I wished to teach you today! My dear children, if someone is being angry or rude, you need to keep your nerves! Often we react and spoil our moods, destroy our energies and ruin our days! Your control over your anger or reaction is your strength. God bless you all! Thank you, Mr Naeem for helping me to convey the message to my youth. Love you all!”

That day Sonia learned how she could handle herself when she felt angry or upset. Instead of always complaining and being annoyed, the children had also learned the tact of handling someone’s short temper. They now seemed ready to face the world!

Published in Dawn, Young World, April 20th, 2019