veryone among us must have heard about the great scientist Thomas Alva Edison and his wonderful inventions in the world of science. During 1958 this great scientist, Noble laureate, inventor of more than thousand instruments and gadgets and one of the greatest scientists of nineteenth century was just an eleven year old ineligible and feeble minded student in the eyes of his teachers. He was behind his fellows in every field and in every subject.
A high Pyrexial stroke had impaired his hearing capability and left him with semi deafness. Edison used to enjoy in his own world without paying any attention to others opinions about him. He always used to think about uncommon and strange things. Once Edison saw a sparrow eating small worms and insects near the roots of a tree. While watching this event thoughtfully he jumped upon the conclusion that perhaps flying of sparrow is related to eating of worms.
A thought came to his mind that if humans will also eat worms they also might fly like birds. In order to give a practical shape to his thought he collected some insects in a bottle and prepared soup from them. He gave this soup to one of his friends and the results were very worse and he was rebuked and was termed as a diffident which further shattered his self confidence. After few months his principal gave him a closed letter and asked him to give it to her mother. After reaching home he gave the letter to her mother. While her mother was reading the letter, he was curiously looking at her to know its content. Her mother gave him a gentle smile and told him that they have written that your child is extra genius and they have no so good teachers to teach your child; so your are requested to teach your child yourself at your home. Listening these admirable words about himself first time in his life, Edison became very happy. He felt a wave of strong will power and self confidence in himself.
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Now her mother started working on him and started teaching him herself at home. It was not an easy task yet she didn’t lose her hope. Edison was not from an economically well off family. So he used to sell books and newspapers in train besides studying to help his father. In this way Edison while helping his father slowly crossed all the barriers in his way and one day this self studying child rocked in the world of science and became one of the famous scientists of the world. He invented many useful things like transmitter receiver for automatic telegraph, megaphone, sound recorder, gramophone and many more. The credit of inventing electric bulb also goes to Edison. During the invention of electric bulb, Edison almost failed thousand times in his experiments. But every time he failed, the words of her mother & your son is genius; struck his ears to boost him and finally he succeeded in his mission of inventing the bulb. Next day, he gave this bulb to his employee in the presence of other people to install it and to test it.
Unfortunately it falls down out of his hands and gets broken due to perplexity and decisiveness. Instead of rebuking him, Edison worked hard for whole night to prepare a new one and next day gave it to the same employee for test. The employee installed it successfully with full confidence and the whole room was lightened. On asking why he gave it to the same employee who broke it yesterday, Edison replied that if he would have not given it to him for installation, his self confidence would have got shattered and he never wanted so.
During his 84 years of life Edison continuously invented new things for the service of humanity and was listed as one of the greatest scientists of the world. During one evening while searching for some documents, Edison found an old torn paper in his almirah. It was the same letter which his principal had given him during his childhood days. On reading it tears came down out of his eyes when he reached the line & your child is extremely feeble minded and mentally weak child. We can’t keep him in our school, so we request you to teach him at home; During that night Edison penned down the magnificent words in his dairy, Thomas Alva Edison was a mentally weak child but his mother developed self confidence in him and made him genius.
Let’s always remember that it was self confidence which made Edison to do wonders in the world of science instead of being labelled as ineligible and feeble minded. Teachers and parents must learn from this story that they should never rebuke their children on getting low marks in the examination rather they should be encouraged. No child should be labelled as weak or ineligible as God has bestowed every human being with some quality. A child can lose his self confidence on being called as unsuccessful and useless which may result in many psychological disorders in him. He will be never able to discover his positive aspects and positive things hidden inside him by our negative reaction towards him. Failure does not mean a person can not excel in his life rather it has been said that failures are pillars of success.
Let’s learn from Edison's mother and try to develop self confidence in our children as self confidence is key to success. Let’s play our role as a teacher or as a parent in an artistic way and try to make our children genius because our children are our future wealth. We all should guide our younger generation in a proper way and counsel them whenever we find them perplexed or frustrated. Guidance and counselling is of utmost importance for developing self confidence in our youth. Parents and teachers can play a vital role in developing a great nation by developing self confidence in their children as self confidence leads to success in life.
Author is a columnist and teaches Geography at GDC, Kulgam. He can be reached at