I WAS born in a small village, Guff, a backward area of Kahuta tehsil, Rawalpindi. When I grew up, there was no regular school in our village. A teacher, Maulvi Bagga, from a village a couple of miles away, used to come on foot to teach the children of our village.

The first year was under an oak tree and the next under a ‘phali’ tree. From the third year on, the Maulvi Sahib moved our school to Saljoor, which was a few miles away. As I grew older and moved ahead in school, the location of the school kept getting farther away from our village.

I attended high school at Kallar Syedan, which was more than five miles away. There was no regular passage for pedestrians or any access to transport. I had to rise early morning to reach school in time.

Sometimes I would hear the school bell from far away and had to run to reach the school in time. Although I walked miles to and back from school each day, I would help my mother with house chores. I had to take my buffaloes to a well so that they may drink water.

Times have changed; we have better facilities everywhere compared to pre-partition times. There are cars, buses and motorbikes for children to commute to and back from school. Life is much easier owing to the availability of modern amenities, such as electricity, water and transport.

However, sadly, I see that children today, instead of being thankful, have a misplaced sense of entitlement. They tend to take everything for granted. One cannot expect them to toil like children of the early last century, but they can at least appreciate what life has given them, and to use their energies to achieve more. Instead, they seem to expect more and want a shortcut to everything in life.

In the West, they still teach their children to work. Children start working at a young age and there seems no hesitation to do any work. Unfortunately, that is not the case with our children. I think we have to teach our children to be thankful for what they have and make them work from an early age so that they may appreciate the importance of hard work.

Otherwise, I am afraid that, at least in the cities, we are raising a generation of spoiled children who want everything in life the easy way.

Raja Shafaatullah
Islamabad

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2021

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