This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Rather Abid. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

What We Can Learn From Edison’s Mother Regarding Raising Our Children

More from Rather Abid

Every one of us must have heard about the great scientist Thomas Alva Edison and his wonderful inventions in the world of science. In 1958, this great scientist, Noble laureate, inventor of more than a thousand instruments and gadgets and one of the greatest scientists of the 19th 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 subject.

A high Pyrexial stroke had impaired Edison’s hearing capability and left him with semi deafness. Edison used to enjoy his own world without paying any attention to others’ opinions about him. He always used to think about uncommon and strange things.

Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison.

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 the flying of a sparrow is related to the eating of worms. A thought came to his mind — if humans also ate worms, they 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 bad. He was rebuked and was termed diffident, which further shattered his self-confidence.

After a few months, his principal gave him a closed letter and asked him to give it to his mother. He gave the letter to his mother and while she was reading it, he was curiously looking at her to know its content. She gave him a gentle smile and told him that they had written that he was a genius; the teachers weren’t good enough to teach him and had requested her to teach him home.

Listening to these admirable words about himself for the first time in his life, Edison became happy. He felt a wave of strong will power and self-confidence in himself. Now his 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 on the train besides studying to help his father. In this way, he, while helping his father, slowly crossed all the barriers in his way. And one day, this self-studying child rocked the world of science and became one of the most famous scientists in the world.

He invented many useful things like transmitter-receiver for the automatic telegraph, megaphone, sound recorder, gramophone, etc. The credit for inventing the electric bulb also goes to Edison. During the invention of the electric bulb, he failed a thousand times in his experiments. But every time he failed, his mother’s words, “your son is genius”, struck him, and he finally succeeded.

The next day, he gave this bulb to his employee in the presence of other people to install it and to test it. Unfortunately, it fell out of his hands and broke. Instead of rebuking him, he worked hard to prepare a new one and the next day gave it to the same employee for the test. The employee installed it successfully with full confidence and the whole room was lit.

On asking why he gave it to the same employee who broke it yesterday, Edison replied that if he had not given it to him for installation, his self-confidence would have shattered, and he never wanted that.

Thomas Edison Quote
Failure does not mean a person cannot excel in his life; rather, it has been said that failures are pillars of success.

During his 84 years of life, Edison continuously invented new things for the service of humanity and is listed as one of the greatest scientists in the world.

One evening while searching for some documents, he found an old torn paper in his almirah. It was the same letter his principal had given him. On reading it, tears came down his eyes when he read, “…your child is extremely feeble-minded and mentally weak. We can’t keep him in our school, so we request you to teach him at home”. That night Edison penned down the magnificent words in his diary, “Thomas Alva Edison was a mentally weak child, but his mother developed self-confidence in him and made him a genius.”

Let’s always remember that self-confidence made Edison 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 for getting low marks in an 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 their self-confidence on being called unsuccessful and useless, resulting in many psychological disorders. They will never discover their positive aspects and things hidden inside them by our negative reaction towards them.

Failure does not mean a person cannot 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 it is the 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 build themselves because our children are our future.

We all should properly guide our younger generation and counsel them whenever we find them perplexed or frustrated. Guidance and counselling are of utmost importance for developing self-confidence in our youth.

The author is a columnist and teaches Geography at GDC, Kulgam. He can be reached at

You must be to comment.

More from Rather Abid

Similar Posts

By Shivam

By shakeel ahmad

By Ritwik Trivedi

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below