Sunday 18 June 2017

Let us make education a pleasure and not a Parrot’s Training!

As we move into yet another academic year, its time to take a pledge as educators that we will ensure that education is a pleasure and not a pain for the children in our schools and colleges. This story written, The Parrot’s Training,  by Rabindranath Tagore, a satire on the education system is sadly relevant even today.   Let us together ensure that it is no more relevant in our education system.


Once upon a time there was a bird.  It was ignorant.  It sang all right, but never recited scriptures.  It hopped pretty frequently, but lacked manners.

Said the Raja to himself.  “Ignorance in costly in the long run.  For fools consume as much food as their betters, and yet give nothing in return.”

He called his nephews to his presence and told them that the bird must have a sound schooling.

The pundits were summoned, and at once went to the root of the matter.  They decided that the ignorance of birds was due to their natural habit of living in poor nests.  Therefore, according to the pundits, the first thing necessary for this bird’s education was a suitable cage.

The pundits had their rewards and went home happy.

A golden cage was built with gorgeous decorations.  Crowds came to see it from all parts of the world.

“Culture, captured and caged!” Exclaimed some in a rapture of ecstasy, and burst into tears.

Others remarked: “Even if culture be missed, the cage will remain, to the end, a substantial fact.  How fortunate for the bird!”

The goldsmith filled his bag with money and lost no time in sailing homewards.

The pundit sat down to educate the bird.  With proper deliberation he took his pinch of snuff, as he said: “Textbooks can never be too many for our purpose!”

The nephews brought together an enormous crowd of scribes.  They copied from books, and copied from copies, till the manuscripts were piled up to an unreachable height.

Men murmured in amazement: “Oh, the tower of culture, egregiously high! The end of it lost in the clouds!”

The scribes with light hearts, hurried home, their pockets heavily laden.

The nephews were furiously busy keeping the cage in proper trim.

As their constant scrubbing and polishing went on the people said with satisfaction : “This is progress indeed!”

Men were employed in large numbers, and supervisors were still more numerous.  These with their cousins of all different degrees of distance, built a palace for themselves and lived there happily ever after.

Whatever may be its other deficiencies, the world is never in want of fault-finders; and they went about saying that every creature remotely connected with the cage flourished beyond words, excepting only the bird.

When this remark reached the Raja’s ears, he summoned his nephews, what is this that we hear!”

The nephews said in answer: “Sir, let the testimony of the goldsmiths and the pundits, the scribes and the supervisors, be taken, if the truth is to be known.  Food is scare with the fault-finders, and that is why their tongues have gained in sharpness”.

The explanation was so luminously satisfactory that the Raja decorated each one of his nephews with his own rate jewels.

The Raja at length, being desirous of seeing with his own eyes how his Education Department busied itself with the little bird, made his appearance one day at the great Hall of Learning.

From the gate rose the sounds of conch-shells and gongs, horns, bugles and trumpets, cymbals, drums and kettledrums, tomtoms, tambourines, flutes, fifes, barrel-organs and bagpipes.  The pundits began chanting mantras with their topmost voices, while the goldsmiths, scribes, supervisors, and their numberless cousins of all different degrees of distance, loudly raised a round of cheers.

 The nephews smiled and said: “Sir, what do you think of it all?”

  The Raja said: “It does seem so fearfully like a sound principle of           Education!”

Mightily pleased, the Raja was about to remount his elephant, when the fault-finder, from behind some bush, cried out: “Maharaja, have you seen the bird?”

“Indeed, I have not!”  Exclaimed the Raja, “I completely forgot about the bird.

Turning back, he asked the pundits about the method they followed in instructing the bird.  It was shown to him.  He was immensely impressed.  The method was so stupendous that the bird looked ridiculously unimportant in comparison.  The Raja was satisfied that there was no flaw in the arrangements.  As for any complaint from the bird itself, that simply could not be expected.  Its throat was so completely chocked with the leaves from the books that it could neither whistle nor whisper.  It sent a thrill through one’s body to watch the process.

The time, while remounting his elephant, the Raja ordered his State Ear-puller to give a thorough good pull at both the ears of the fault-finder.   The bird thus crawled on, duly and properly, to the safest verge of inanity.  In fact, its progress was satisfactory in the extreme.  Nevertheless, nature occasionally triumphed over training, and when the morning light peeped into the bird’s cage it sometimes fluttered its wings in a reprehensible manner.  And, though it is hard to believe, it pitifully pecked at its bars with the feeble beak.

 “What impertinence!” Growled the kotwal.

The blacksmith, with his forge and hammer tool his place in the Raja’s Department of Education.  Oh, what resounding blows!  The iron chair was soon completed, and the bird’s wings were clipped.

The Raja’s brothers-in-law looked black, and shook their heads, saying: “These birds not only lack good sense, but also gratitude!”

With text-book in one hand and baton in the other, the pundits gave the poor bird what may fitly be called lessons!

The kotwal was honoured with a title for his watchfulness, and the blacksmith for his skill in forging chains.

 The bird died.

Nobody had the least notion how long ago this had happened.  The fault-finder was the first man to spread the rumour.

The Raja called his nephews and asked them:  “My dear nephews, what is this that we hear?”

The     nephews said: “Sire, the bird’s education has been completed.”

“Does it hop?”  The Raja enquired.

“Never!” Said the nephews.

“Does it fly?”


“Bring me the bird,” said the Raja.

The bird was brought to him, guarded by the kotwal and the sepoys and the sowars.  The Raja poked its body with his finger.  Only its inner stuffing of book-leaves rustled.

Outside the window, the murmur of the spring breeze amongst the newly budded Asoka leaves made the April, morning wistful.

Wednesday 14 June 2017

The pencil box

One of the ‘first day of school’ gifts that every parent gives their child is a PENCIL BOX. A child’s true friend in school!. It has pencils, a sharpener, a ruler, an eraser, and as the child grows older some geometry implements too. We never take this pencil box seriously, we buy the best brand, best colour and that’s it, we don’t think about all that the contents of the box can teach kids for life. This blog is dedicated to the pencil box of every child. Enjoy.

Every parent buys a pencil box for their child for school and unknowingly gifts many ‘values’ of life to their child. It’s like a treasure box, a box that has everything that will help them with everyday school life, learning and living. Point out to your child the hidden treasure in every item of the pencil box and then observe how lovingly your child handles each item, with renewed respect and love.

The pencil teaches your child that-

  •       You can make your mark in life
  •       That you decide whether the mark will be light or dark
  •        A pencil mark can be erased so it teaches kids that mistakes can be erased, so there is nothing to worry about.
  •       A pencil has to be sharpened to perform well. It must be painful to the pencil to face that blade in the sharpner,but when it emerges it looks elegant, with a new point. This teaches kids that they will face criticisms, corrections and maybe even punishments but they should not be disappointed as they will emerge stronger and sharper to face the new challenges with renewed vigour and intelligence.

The eraser teaches kids-

  •      To be ready to rub away mistakes so that they do not stay with you forever.
  •      Eraser teaches that whatever your form or shape or size you should be good at what you do.
  •      If you are not careful then you will also erase important things, so be careful.

The sharpener teaches kids –

  •      That sometimes sharp things also bring about needed change
  •      The sharpener keeps everything important upto date and that’s how children should be with important things in their room or cupboard.

The ruler teaches kids-

  •      That whichever way you hold a ruler you will always get a straight line. So whatever task we do it should be done correctly and truthfully.
  •       The ruler can measure accurately and so teaches kids to be accurate in their work
  •        A ruler can draw lines, measure, so is a multitasker and teaches kids that multitasking is an important life skill.

Together the items of a pencil box teach kids that each one has a value and a role to play in life and together they can all be successful. So even though each item in a pencil box plays a different role, together they contribute to a child’s success in school.

The pencil box is indeed the child’s ‘school treasure box’ so gift it to your child lovingly and with a lot of fanfare so that kids understand its importance and learn to respect and use each item for their success.

Parable of the Pencil - Author Unknown

The Pencil Maker took the pencil aside, just before putting him into the box. ‘There are five things you need to know,’ he told the pencil,
‘before I send you out into the world. Always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best pencil you can be.’

One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow
yourself to be held in Someone’s hand.

Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, but
you’ll need it to become a better pencil.

Three: You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make.

Four: The most important part of you will always be what’s inside.

Five: On every surface you are used on, you will leave your
mark. No matter what the condition, you must continue to write.’

The pencil understood and promised to remember and went into the box with purpose in its heart.
I think we sometimes forget our purpose. We stumble through the day, doing what has to be done without thought to what needs to be done. Henry Kissinger is credited with saying “the urgent takes all the time from the important.” We need to get back to the important. Like a  pencil, we leave our mark on each life we touch, especially our kids .

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Chandigarh your parenting!

Parenting is like a city, observe one and you can get immense tips about your parenting style and how to enhance it. Sounds crazy? Well, here is how to go about it.

I recently visited Chandigarh, the first planned city of Independent India. It has been designed by a French gentleman, so your question, ‘why not an Indian’? The answer is because it is the first planned city and ofcourse no one in India would have had the experience of planning a city! What does this teach you about parenting? Well, when it comes to important issues, decisions, choices in your parenting, go to the experts and do not rely on friends, relatives, or books and websites. Take an experts opinion who can weigh the situation with knowledge about your child and family.

The city has very wide roads with roundabouts at every intersection. This helps the traffic be organized and controlled. How is this related to parenting? Well, kids have an information highway in the brain, in their education years it’s all about learning, knowledge and memory and to do this effectively the brain requires strong neural connections, almost like strong roads. So how does one ensure that the neural connections of the brain are strong enough for knowledge and learning to flow in an organized manner? Simply allow children to question. Questioning broadens their thinking and helps them analyze, relate and use logic. Try not to trivialize your replies by giving flippant answers to their queries. ‘It rains because god is doing susu’, or ‘it thunders when the gods are fighting’, these kind of replies do not help their brain think or relate knowledge. You need strong neural connections that are built by helping kids think about their choices. Help them connect cause and effect. ‘If you sit there, you may fall, if you fall you will get hurt and it will pain, but if you sit here then you will be safe’, etc.  Just like it makes sense for a city to plan for wide roads keeping in mind that traffic will grow in the years to come, similarly it makes sense to help kids reach their ZPD (zone of proximal development) which means stimulate their brains with facts, knowledge and play that is slightly above their thinking level, just slightly, not too easy and not too difficult. This will keep their neural pathways strong and their attention focused and interested.

The wide roads in Chandigarh are lined on both sides and in the middle with a strong green cover. Maybe to keep the city oxygenated and the pollution levels in control. Similarly your child requires some ‘green cover’, which means oxygen. Kids get oxygen from two sources, water and plants. So ensure that your kids are hydrated and ensure that you have some plants in the home and around your home. Give your child’s brain some ‘free time’ so that the brain is not always involved in learning and gathering knowledge. Play games, board games are the best as they help the family bond and the brain exercise without the burden of achievement. So keep the games light and friendly.

Chandigarh city is divided into sectors, easy for administration, for locating an address etc. divide your child’s day and life into different sectors so that the emphasis is not always on one part only and the child gets all round development. Education is important but then so is nutrition, exercise, health and hygiene. Understand which ‘sectors’ you want to divide your child’s growth into and then ensure that you are giving equal attention to all the ‘sectors’, each day, each week and every month.

The city has a collection of gardens, open spaces and even an artificial lake. You will see people walking through this green cover and the elderly are seen walking and exercising in these parks. Overall the city is quite clean and does not have the problem of rotting garbage or sewage problems. In your parenting ensure that your child gets enough exercise, sometimes when we are staying in congested cities it becomes difficult to give kids the required exercise, so then look for simple ways, walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator with your child. don’t use the remote for changing channels, do it manually with your child. and clean your child’s system often. Deworm your child and also ‘deworm’ his behavior. Find out positive ways of disciplining rather than threatening, hitting, shouting etc. remember your kids needs to be happy and healthy in mind, body and spirit.

Most importantly Chandigarh is the capital of two states, Punjab and Haryana, so one can imagine what it means to share the same assembly building the secretariat etc. this teaches us that a child and his overall responsibility is shared by both the parents equally and without conflict. Learn to coexist and correlate your parenting, for this you will have to discuss debate and agree to disagree for some issues but never in front of the child. Also ensure that your child does not become ‘a tug-o-war’ between you, especially if you are involved in a separation or divorce.

The rock garden is one of the most famous landmarks of Chandigarh. I was disappointed when I visited it as it was dirty, had a lot of litter, stale and stagnant water pools infested with flies and no one to show directions or even a signage of where to go or how to move around. So how did the rock garden reach this state? Well, tourists that don’t care and not enough maintenance. Now let’s relate this to parenting. There will be many ‘tourists’ in your child’s life, friends, neighbors, bullies who will ‘litter’ your child’s life with bad habits, bad words, bad deeds, well, if you keep up your ‘maintenance parenting’ then you will be able to clean up every time there is litter. Don’t allow the ‘litter’ to become stale or stagnant. Therefore, talk to kids often, relate to them, help them use logic in their decision making and help them choose right from wrong. Develop a conscience in your child. and this can be done only by giving your child a good, strong role model…YOU.

And the last thing to learn from Chandigarh city, from the ‘safeda’ trees (really don’t know the botanical name). these trees regularly shed their brown bark and become completely white and thus called ‘safeda’. Its relation to parenting? Well, change your parenting style as your kids grow older, young toddlers need understanding, and good role models as they learn through imitation.  young kids need rules and repercussions clearly defined and young adolescents are most impressed with money and open channels of communication. So ensure that the ‘money’ comes from pocket money and try not to spy on them as they will only ‘close up’ and hide things from you.

Simple city facts related to simple aspects of parenting. Well, parenting is never easy but then it is not difficult too if one understands, relates and enjoys the journey. Happy parenting.

Wednesday 31 May 2017

Parenting license

Parenting license…a license to nurture a life.

·         A video of a newborn baby walking went viral on social media.. (infancy)
·         News of a young teenager killing his mother and feeling no remorse, shook the city…(adolescence)
·         And yet another news went unnoticed, that of 4 young children running away from home because…. their parents did not allow them to play! (Young child)

What is common in all of the above? It’s the knowledge of the science of parenting. Mothers, still carry the entire parenting role on their shoulders, and today’s mother is quite fed up with people advising her or telling her she is wrong or has made a mistake. Understandable. Previously it would be only the mother in law or mother who would advice a mother about parenting but today it is the nosy neighbor, Google aunty, whatsapp friends, Facebook friends and of course still the mother and mother in law! But instead of shutting out everyone and listening to no one I would advice today’s yummy mummy to go for smart parenting and understand the science of parenting so that they can listen to reason and not rumours, myths and plain ridiculous ideas!

So lets understand the science behind each of the above news. Newborn baby walking? Possible. All babies can! It is called the step reflex. Present in every baby but we don’t notice it because which idiot would want to make a newborn stand?! Why did the video go viral? Because the science of parenting is not used by 98% parents and so most mothers after seeing the video went….’is something wrong with my baby? What did that mother eat during pregnancy?’
These are some reflexes present in all new borns-
1.     Startle, or Moro, reflex. When startled by a sudden or loud noise, or a feeling of falling, the Moro reflex will cause the baby to extend the legs, arms, and fingers, arch the back, draw the head back, then draw the arms back, fists clenched, into the chest. Duration: Four to six months.
2.     Babinski's, or plantar, reflex. When the sole of a baby's foot is gently stroked from the heel to toe, the baby's toes flare upward and the foot turns in. Duration: Between six months and two years, after which toes curl downward.
3.     Rooting reflex. A newborn whose cheek is gently stroked will turn in the direction of the stimulus, mouth open and ready to suckle. This reflex helps the baby locate the breast or bottle and secure a meal. Duration: About three to four months, though it may persist when baby is sleeping.
4.     Walking, or stepping, reflex. Held up­right on a table or other flat surface, sup­ported under the arms, a newborn may lift one leg and then the other, taking what seem to be "steps." This "practice walking" reflex works best after the fourth day of life. Duration: Variable, but typically about two months. (This reflex does not forecast early walking.)
5.     Sucking reflex. A newborn will reflexively suck when the roof of his or her mouth is touched, such as when a nipple is placed in the mouth. Duration: Present at birth and lasts until two to four months, when volun­tary sucking takes over.
6.     Palmar grasping reflex. Touch the palm of your baby's hand, and his or her 'fin­gers will curl around and cling to your finger (or any object). This reflex curls babies' feet and toes, too, when they're touched. Duration: Three to six months.
7.     Tonic neck, or fencing, reflex. Placed on the back, a young baby will assume a "fencing position," head to one side, with arms and legs on that side extended and the opposite limbs flexed. Duration: Varies a lot. It may be pre­sent at birth or may not appear for at least two months, and disappear at about four to six months—or sooner, or later.
You can watch a video about these reflexes or read more about it on

A young teenager brutally kills his own mother and writes a message that implied that he was fed up of her nagging and the message also said ‘catch me and hang me’. The child’s father is in the police force. What went wrong? The young boy scored more than 90% in his 10th standard but then his grades starting going down. He was put in an engineering college but did not attend. Mother was a recluse and was never seen by neighbours. She would keep an eye and spy on the phones of both the son and father. Father would grumble to everyone about how he has tried everything and works hard for the son but to no avail. The boy even tried to commit suicide but the mother caught him and reprimanded him for the same. What is the science of parenting here?

The mother was most likely a depression patient, which went unidentified and thus the need to be alone, doubting the husband and child. The young boy was affected by the home atmosphere too and was also most likely depressed and that is why the need to commit suicide. Instead of seeking therapy for the son, he was reprimanded which means when attachment, understanding and bonding was most required by the teenager he was shunned and reprimanded. It emotionally hardened the child. The burden of achievement, fulfilling parent’s aspirations, being ridiculed, all this resulted in a knee jerk angry reaction of stabbing and killing his mother.
It is important for parents to understand that children don’t drift away when they become teenagers, they start drifting from age 7 onwards and parents don’t notice as they are busy with academic goals and ensuring that the child achieves social recognition in sports, extra activities, marks, grades etc. it is important for parents to keep their attachment with their child and work towards keeping it strong. Attachment is not helicopter parenting. Taking a leaf from the work of John Bowlby, the father of the attachment theory, I would say attachment helps the parent child bond in 3 ways- proximity maintenance, gives a safe haven, a secure base.
1.     Proximity maintenance – you are always emotionally close to your child, you may not be physically present around your child, but your emotional bond is so strong that it helps your child feel emotionally wanted and cared for and not feel emotionally bereft.
2.     Safe haven- when a child is in trouble or emotionally upset the child knows that I can depend on my parents for support, this is a safe haven. The child knows that my parents are firm but in times of need they will first support and reprimand later.
3.     Secure base- this means, roots and wings, you allow the child to be independent, take decisions because of the strong secure base that you have given the child which was constant and consistent from childhood.
Instead of always shouting or lecturing him try ‘teen whispering’, which means having a quiet, discussion in which both the parent and the teen puts forward their point of view and way ahead.
“When flying between the Earth and the Moon, the Apollo spacecraft was off course more than 90 percent of the time. On their lunar voyages the crew would constantly bring the craft back to its intended trajectory. They were not on a perfect path but a critical path. Because they knew their intended target they could correct their spacecraft whenever it wandered off- Anon”
Teenagers are on a voyage to adulthood, they will veer off course like the Apollo but we need to know that as long as they come back to the intended trajectory which in their case is a healthy, happy life, we can be there to correct their spacecraft as and when required. No teenager will be perfect what is critical is that they are given a perfect chance.

The last bit of news was about 4 young children, aged 6,7, and 8 who ran away from home because their parents did not allow them to play! So what is the science of parenting here? Well, Play is the need of childhood, it is the work of childhood, and it helps kids develop logic, knowledge, patience, and so many other life skills. But because we don’t see marks of grades for play or a report card that says the child is playing 98% etc. we don’t give play the importance it deserves. Maybe it is time schools start giving a report card for play so that parents and teachers realize that play is the research that children do in the laboratory of life and toys are their apparatus.
Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy and the Waldorf system of education stressed that our life is divided into three stages namely, Infancy,Childhood and Adolescence. He advised parents and teachers that it is important to base our interactions with children of each stage as per the requirements of each stage of growth. So change your parenting style as per your child’s age but never change the attachment bond that you have with your child, keep it strong forever.
Its time parents understand parenting and the science behind it before they decide to become parents. Because parenting is not just about pregnancy and childbirth, parenting is a responsibility for life. And I strongly feel that there should be a parenting course…a license to become a parent. You are bringing up a life and if you make a mistake you can ruin that life forever. Its time we took parenting seriously and I urge all parents to seek out parenting mentors, guides who can guide them on the right path. Seeking help from each other is not enough because each child is unique and has a unique set of genes that define his/her personality and so using someone’s else’s solution may be detrimental to your child.
Its time to get your parenting license.

Sunday 21 May 2017

Italian your parenting

All parents are interested in the progress and development of their children and to do it correctly they need pointers to guide them to the right path. Parenting can be pleasurable if it is simple and research based. Just like food is nourishment for the body, parenting is nourishment for the mind, body, and soul. Just like we eat different types of food- Gujarati, Chinese, Italian, Punjabi etc., similarly parenting too can be of different flavors. So how about Italian? Let us Italian your parenting!

Two of the most globally famous early childhood educational practices were born in Italy- Montessori and Reggio Emilia. In Reggio Emilia there is a wonderful poem called ‘The Hundred Languages of Children’. This poem talks about how all children have a hundred languages, but we the people, parents, schools, and society, steal the ninety nine and tell the child that there is only one language. We want all kids to learn, behave, speak, feel, and perform in the same manner. We have lost touch with the concept of individualism. In parenting too we try to ensure that all our kids are the same. They should walk at the same age, look the same, and perform similarly in tests. Let us give them the hundred languages and let them grow as individuals and not clones.

Italy is known as the land of pizza but it should be called the land of the Piazza. Every city is dotted with Piazzas, these are kind of squares in different parts of the city where people sit, chat, drink coffee, tea, or lick ice-cream cones and kids can play, elders can walk and youngsters can cycle.  We need these spaces in our cities and homes, little piazzas so that children learn about social development and community spirit face-to-face and not only on Facebook.

We are so obsessed with ‘branded stuff’ and the English language. In fact now many children are made to learn Chinese, Japanese, before they learn their mother tongue. But in Italy and in most European countries, children learn their mother tongue for the first few years. Italian children are proud and confident in their Italian. In India our kids are burdened to learn a foreign language before they even speak their mother tongue. Let us also help our children be proud of their roots before we give them wings. Every street in Italy has Louis Vuitton stores, one of the most expensive and fashionable brands in the world. In India Louis Vuitton has become a ‘class’ symbol whereas in Italy it was a mere fashion statement. Isn’t that how all fashion should be?

Children in Italian schools are given many opportunities to draw, paint, create, and that is indeed natural. After all this is the land of Michael Angelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and many others. This is seen in the architecture and paintings around Italy. You are automatically forced to use words like gigantic, mammoth, awe inspiring, intricate, mind boggling, impressive, as words less than these would fail to describe the architectural genius that you see in the buildings. The presence of fountains in each city helps you understand how architecture was used to create spaces where people can mingle, sit and hear sounds that are soothing and close to nature. I wish today’s architects around the world would get over their obsession with steel and glass. No wonder our children’s vocabulary is limited to tall, shining, and awesome (sic). 

Robotics is commonly used in most Italian schools to teach Math, Science and concepts but this has not replaced art education in the schools. Leonardo Da Vinci was a painter and inventor similarly education that we choose for our children should be about the expressive arts and intelligence fused together. It should not be either/or but the best of both that should inspire our children.
Pinocchio, one of the most path breaking stories for young children was also born in Italy. At a basic level, moral learnings are abundant in this wonderful story that every child should be exposed to. If you will tell a lie, your nose will grow longer! What a wonderful way to teach children about moral values and ethics. The Disney version has a song, ‘Let your conscience be your guide’. That should be the anthem of every child. Enjoy Pinocchio with your child today…both the book and the Disney version.

We cringe when we are with our children and see a naked picture of the human body but we swing along with them on vulgar lyrics that ogle and comment on women and sex. We need to give our children a balance. Ancient Italian architecture and paintings help children grow up with a positive concept of the human body. The statue of David is indeed a reminder that children should grow up viewing and revering the naked human body rather than learning about it as vulgar and porn. We have similar sculptures and paintings in India like the Sun Temple at Konark or certain select paintings of Raja Ravi Varma that help us give our children a positive and moral outlook towards our bodies, how babies are born etc.

And here are some great parenting tips from an amazing Professor from Italy, Daniela Lucangeli Padua University.  She says children have selective attention. They know what to focus on and when to switch off. Parents are always worried about the fact that their children do not listen to them. Well find out what gets your child’s selective attention, and then use it to ensure that your children listen too and hear you. She spoke about the amygdala in the brain and emotions that accompany learning. So aptly put by her that the emotion that should accompany learning should be curiosity and not fear. So we need to stop threatening children to make them perform or complete their tasks or homework as it is directly affecting their brain development. She quoted Eric Fisher on how rage and fear does not damage learning and creativity as much as boredom does. When we drone on and on with our children, they get bored. When we hold their hands and make them do their homework, they get bored. When we feed them with our hands instead of letting them feed themselves, they get bored. When we make them wear their clothes, tie their shoes, do their beds…they get bored. Their boredom all day long affects their learning and creativity. So if you want your kids to perform better at school, stop boring them!
They say beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.  I would like to add that parenting inspirations are in every city and country, if we only look at them from the point of view of children and their hundred languages.

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Every Dot Counts.... A Message from every child to their parents...


Hi Parents, here is a cute letter from your kids...
Dear mummy and daddy,                                 

‘Every Dot Counts’- The ‘Dot’ has been an important part of my life every since I was born. Remember the little black ‘dot’ that you would apply on my forehead so that ‘no evil eye’ can harm me? As I grow older a lot of dots will be important and make a difference. You will tell me to ‘Dot’ my ‘i’. When I start writing sentences you will tell me to put a ‘Dot’ (full stop) at the end of the sentence. ‘Dot to dot’ activities of join the dots will teach me how to see the whole picture by joining the parts.

But there is another ‘Dot’ dear mummy and daddy that is very important for my future, the ‘Dot’ on your pointer finger! And this ‘Dot’, only you can get for me………by going to vote.

This ‘Dot’ will teach me about responsibility, when I see my parents taking their responsibility seriously I will learn a life long lesson on responsibility. This ‘Dot’ will also inculcate in me the ability to take informed decisions. I will see you discuss and debate and decide and it will teach me that for important decisions in life it is better to be informed. And did you know that this ‘Dot’ of yours is also very much like that ‘dot to dot’ activity that you give me? well, just like by joining all the dots I get to see a picture in my book, similarly by joining all the ‘Dots’ that each one of you gets on your pointer finger, the future of this country will be decided, the country where I am going to grow up. 

So mummy and daddy teach me all of the above and more, teach me that if you want to point a finger then it should be the one with a ‘Dot’! So please go and get a ‘Dot’ this year on your pointer finger as Every Dot Counts’.

My school has asked me to remind you to go and vote and get a ‘Dot’. So, this year make it count for me and my future. This year on voting day I will sing this song for you- 

Where is pointer?
Where is pointer?
Here I am, here I am
Do I see a dot here?
Do I see a dot here?
Yes I do, yes I do.
I love you, I love you.


From your loving child.

So parents listen to your kids and when you choose who to vote for, think of your child’s future.

Thursday 12 January 2017

The wind beneath my wings…

January is the month of Sankranti and Republic Day and both the celebrations have ‘wind’ in it. Kites need ‘wind’ to fly and flags wave patriotically in the ‘wind’. So this issue is dedicated to ‘wind’ and children. After all children too need the ‘wind’ beneath their wings to soar and achieve, excel and be happy in life.

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you read the word-’wind’? The movie ‘Gone with the ‘wind’?! Or the thought of freedom, exhilaration, independence? Because that is what ‘wind’ is all about. When its ‘windy’ instead of closing all the doors and windows, go out and catch the ‘wind’. Catch the wind on your cheeks and see how they turn rosy. Let the ‘wind’ toss your hair and see how fresh you feel. ‘Wind’ is an experience to have and to give to your child.

We want our kids to soar to success, to the heights of achievement, but we fail to realise that we are the ‘wind’ beneath our child’s wings. The way we correct them, the way we motivate them, encourage them, is the ‘wind’ beneath their wings. Is ‘wind’ important for shaping your child’s life? Yes, it is.
Vayu or air or ‘wind’ is one of the five natural elements of nature and it is said that the human body is made up of these elements. What can this element cultivate in the personality of your child?

®  Air/’wind’  is everywhere
®  Everyone needs air
®  No one can see air/’wind’
®  Air/’wind’  can soothe and cool you  or air/’wind’ can become a storm and destroy
®  Similarly independence in children is like air/’wind’.
®  Independence  can give them the ability to explore, gives them a zeal to venture
®  But too much independence can become a storm that destroys everything in its path.
So do cultivate independence in your child but monitor that independence too.

January is quite a windy month, try and do these with your child-
  1. Give your child a kite and let your child run around with the kite on a string, it’s a novel experience. And letting your child squeal as he/she runs, just adds to the fun!
  2. Make a paper windmill and put it out on your window. Let your child observe what make it move. Then bring it inside and put it under a fast running ceiling fan. Let him observe the difference. ‘Wind’ has motion and ‘wind’ makes things move!
  3. Ensure that your child has seen a real windmill, ‘wind’ energy is gaining popularity and it is amazing to see the big, huge, white windmills dotting the hill side. A must see.
  4.  Let your child feel the ‘wind’ with activities like football at the beach or kite flying, the different and varied experiences will definitely benefit.
  5. Ask your child to draw ‘wind’! You will be amazed with the creative ideas they can think of.
  6. Let’s try and catch some ‘wind’!
  7. Let’s record ‘wind’. Go to an open space and when it is ‘windy, record the sound on your mobile phone. Come home and let your child focus and listen to the sound. And then ask your child to imitate it.
  8. See some sunflowers swaying in the ‘wind’.
  9. Let your child imitate ‘wind’! Keep a paper in front of your child’s face and ask your child to blow on it like a soft ‘wind’, a hard ‘wind’, a medium ‘wind’. This fun activity helps them follow instructions and exercises their face and mouth.
  10.  Let your child hold a balloon on a string outside the car window as you are driving and then let the balloon loose. See the balloon soar in the sky.

A whole new year is in front of you and your child; have a ‘windy’ year full of fun, independence, exhilaration. Enjoy the ‘wind’ and see your worries go with the ‘wind’!