Boys who are preparing for all careers live a common life in the same school, and they can only become useful to the nation as men, if their school life is happy. A young child is naturally happy, and if that happiness is allowed to go on and grow in the school, and at home, then he will become a man who will make others happy. A teacher full of love and sympathy will attract the boys and make their school life a pleasant one. My Master once said that “children are very eager to learn and if a teacher cannot interest them and make them love their lessons, he is not fit to be a teacher and should choose another profession.” He has said also: “Those who are mine love to teach and to serve. They long for an opportunity of service as a hungry man longs for food, and they are always watching for it. Their hearts are so full of the divine Love that it must be always overflowing in love for those around them. Only such are fit to be teachers—those to whom teaching is not only a holy and imperative duty, but also the greatest of pleasures.”
A sympathetic teacher draws out all the good qualities in his pupils, and his gentleness prevents them from being afraid of him. Each boy then shows himself just as he is, and the teacher is able to see the line best suited to him and to help him to follow it. To such a teacher a boy will come with all his difficulties, knowing that he will be met with sympathy and kindness, and, instead of hiding his weaknesses, he will be glad to tell everything to one of whose loving help he is sure. The good teacher remembers his own youth, and so can feel with the boy who comes to him. My Master said: “He who has forgotten his childhood and lost sympathy with the children is not a man who can teach them or help them.”
This love of the teacher for his pupil, protecting and helping him, will bring out love from the pupil in turn, and as he looks up to his teacher this love will take the form of reverence. Reverence, beginning in this way with the boy, will grow as he grows older, and will become the habit of seeing and reverencing greatness, and so perhaps in time may lead him to the Feet of the Master. The love of the boy to the teacher will make him docile and easy to guide, and so the question of punishment will never arise. Thus one great cause of fear which at present poisons all the relations between the teacher and his pupil will vanish. Those of us who have the happiness of being pupils of the true Masters know what this relation ought to be. We know the wonderful patience, gentleness and sympathy with which They always meet us, even when we may have made mistakes or have been weak.
Yet there is much more difference between Them and us than between the ordinary teacher and his pupil. When the teacher has learned to look upon his office as dedicating him to the service of the nation, as the Master has dedicated Himself to the service of humanity, then he will become part of the great Teaching Department of the world, to which belongs my own beloved Master—the Department of which the supreme Teacher of Gods and men is the august Head.