Be that ONE!

An individual is the accumulation of experiences experienced since childhood. Each experience lived, felt shapes up one’s attitude, thought and outlook towards life. I will not go deep into ‘nature vs nuture theory’. Undoubtedly, nature does play a crucial role, it gives us the blueprint to determine one’s temperament. However, what one makes out of it depends a lot on one’s interaction with the environment.

As adults we are formed by the experiences through childhood. They move along with us in our actions and beliefs. However, we always have a scope to mould them to become a happier me. Though this change does not come in easy. It requires a lot of introspection and reflection. Only when one is AWARE and OPEN TO ACCEPTANCE of oneself as a mixed bag of beans will the change come in. Moving back to the topic, during our interaction with people from different fields we generally come across two kinds of people. One who critiques everything they encounter. They would just not be happy with the green grass their side. Do not be harsh with them, they might have seen life through that lens all through their lives. The second category is of the ones who might hide their true feelings and mask them under to suit the world. They might smile to be a part of the group however they might not be happy with things around. This is one of the major IMAGE CRISES faced by a teenager. Wherein they are still in a journey to find that ‘I’ and might have those odd days.

Knowing and understanding this, what should we do? What should I do as a parent to not let my child belong to either of the two categories? Instead belong to a third category wherein he or she sees life as a way to live , welcoming all odds happily. How can I be THAT ONE person in my child’s life who builds in resilience to take on the world with all its difficulties? How can I build a palace of compassion than worldly possessions?

If you want to be that ONE then reading on might help.

  • A parent is the face of the world for a child. He encounters the world through a parent’s eyes. A child’s way of thinking is so dominated by the parents and the parenting style. Thus, it is imperative that the parent exhibits TRUST in the child’s abilities and trust them for doing right!
  • As parents you will love your child but how will he or she know until you say it to them. Always keep the doors of clear communication of emotions open with your child. Share with them what you feel. No harm in sharing your disappointment even. Your child will completely respect what you feel only when you are honest about it. So never fake with him. They will be smart enough to evaluate.
  • There will be many moments in a teenager’s life when they sulk about their appearance. Instead of adding to their misery and pouring the pent up frustration with them ( you may read on how to respond in you need to find moments to tell you child how beautiful he or she is. You need to tell him how blessed you feel for them being around. Not only will his eyes sparkle but the heart and mind be filled with FAITH in oneself. What better to have than faith on ones own abilities. Aha! What else can you gift your child? Start this early, they should hear this since childhood as a way to believe and not suddenly in teenage. In that case, you might lose their trust for not being authentic.
  • As the child grows up, you as a parent might feel awkward in hugging you child or vice versa. You might feel he does not need it anymore as he is a grown up child. Break those shackles of doubt. Your child needs them now as much as he/ she needed then. The physical connection with you will reassure him that you care. He or she might give a baffled look, but trust you me, in hearts and hearts he loved it. How much old he gets he would still want to snuggle in you and cuddle you tight.
  • So what are you waiting for? Go right up to your child and tell him or her how much they mean to you. It is important for them to know that their acts do not waver your love for them. They still are the princess or prince for you. Be that ONE person in your child’s life who loves them selflessly. Be that one to give them HOPE in one’s abilities. What a place this world be with children filled with hope than doubt. Such children will be the ones who will be capable of creating magic wherever they go. So BE THAT ONE!
  • do share what did you do to be that one person in your child’s life to being in more love. We would love to hear and learn from each other.

    Educated or Literate?

    What does it take to draw the picture of an orange tree by 7 years old? Does it only need the drawing skills as a pre-requisite? Or does it need fine observation skills, the eyes which are trained to look at minute details? As educationalists or parents, we need to change our outlook towards learning and education. The learning has to be more realistic and connected to the child’s immediate environment.

    Let us talk about what is education at first place. We as adults need to understand the difference between literacy and education, to avoid any confusion I will elaborate both here. Education is the way of life, it is the way an individual lives his life, solves his problems and thinks rationally and Is able to take data driven decisions. On the other hand literacy is the ability for an individual to read and write and perform basic arithmetic. According to the world data, India ranks 159 amongst all the 196 countries in the literacy rate with 69% of literacy rate. The statistics are not very encouraging, though even further disappointing fact remains that there are schools which are following the hackneyed pedagogies which are nowhere connected to the learner and his environment/living conditions.

    There are viewpoints stating many factors contributing towards high drop rate of students from the schools. To mention a few, children drop out due to high poverty, children working as laborers and contributing to the income of the families. There is one hidden factor as well. It does not meet the naked eye so easily. That fact is that school is considered as a knowledge store house wherein the child will GET all the knowledge from the teacher lecturing in front. There has not been any credibility or accountability for the child to use his mind to THINK, REFLECT and EXPERIMENT. Instead the child has to act against his wish, he/she has to tortuously sit through those number of hours and try and fit in all the EXISITING information in the head. There is NO scope, and I mean it, No scope for the child to TRY, fiddle with things, have their own tinkering time.

     To understand the current scenario of the way our pedagogy and methodology have been designed, we will have to look into the emergence of our educational system.  During the colonial time, Britishers had introduced schools to produce literate clerks who could read and write for clerical work. They did not need THINKERS. As producing thinkers would have been a threat to their own rule. They did not support analytical skills, problem solving, observation skills. However, it has been 72 years of India’s freedom. The paradox is that we still continue with the same old education system wherein we discourage a child to TRY. We condition their mind with fear, anxiety and threats and they do not even try. We continue to be colonial in our thoughts wherein we continue to give prime importance to memory over the skills of reasoning, dialoguing. We consider dialoguing as offensive for the child and end up punishing them. In case a child raises his voice, he is considered indecent to question authority. Questioning which is a natural way to clarify a doubt was and is considered a taboo. Napolian Hill in his book, Think and Grow Rich mentions that an educated person is not necessarily one who has an abundance of general and specializes knowledge. To be truly educated is to have so developed faculties of mind that one may acquire anything one wishes, or its equivalent, without violating the rights of others.

    As teachers and parents, we shoulder responsibility in bringing up the child and shaping his future. However, that responsibility has turned into a burden. We live and sustain in a production unit where our hearts do not respond to our inner voices and the joy of learning is a fantasy. As rightly quoted by A.S Neil in the book Summerhill “The function of the child is to live his own life- not the life that his anxious parents thing he should live, nor a life according to the purpose of the educator who thinks he knows what is best. “ Instead our roles as adults should be to scaffold a child’s learning. Give them the experiences but do not feel for the child. The education has to be a zone to trying out without fear and anxiety. What is wrong in failing? Failures are nothing but experiences which help us grow.

    Now the question arises, if not this, then what kind of education system do we want? We are looking at global leaders who can think, be good problem solvers and have rational decision making abilities. We need to allow our kids to make mistakes. Mistakes should not be seen as failures; instead they should be seen as learning opportunities. As parents and educators, we need to focus on skills of reading, writing and arithmetic. The focus should shift from mugging up to practical implication of those skills.