Children feel what you’re thinking, even if you don’t say it

As parents, we love our children more than we could ever express. We want to be there for them whenever they need us and support them in whatever way we can. However, sometimes our actions betray our words. Our emotions can get the best of us and our body language speaks volumes even when we’re mindful of what we say. Unfortunately, children often pick up on these unintentional signals, which can later have a dramatic effect on their well-being and development.

Parenting can often be a complex journey that is rife with diverse experiences, but the destination we reach may sometimes be a wrong turn that we make when we let our emotions take the wheel. It is indeed important to be mindful of what we say to children but is also equally important to be conscious of the environment that we create for our children.

Children must feel secure and happy, to be honest about how they feel and what they want to do.  However, when we don’t respect their emotions, we cater to their doubts instead of their confidence. When we shout, yell or get annoyed, we contribute towards creating an atmosphere that a child may not find supportive. Therefore, it becomes incumbent on parents to educate themselves on how to create a conducive environment for their child’s growth and development.

What we often fail to take into consideration is that children start developing much before we take notice of it. 4 weeks after conception, the neural tube along the baby’s back starts closing and the baby’s brain and spinal cord begin to develop from it. Thereafter, the heart and other organs also start developing. Structures necessary for the development of the eyes and ears start forming too. By the 10th week, the baby is a recognizable human and starts developing features that will be evident at the time of its birth. Babies begin processing information much before they are born; studies have found that babies start to listen and learn words while still in the womb.

Are we being careful with regards to the information that we provide to these developing children? We need to plan to become resourceful parents even before a baby is born. We need to ensure that the stimulus that we provide to our children helps further their growth. It is at this point that we need to ponder over how we can be resourceful parents.

We need to be mindful of more than just what we say; we need to take into consideration how we feel because our emotions, in turn, will affect the way we act and how we make our children feel. Although the concept seems simple, it’s a complex process that requires continuous effort and practice.

Training ourselves to be mindful of our emotional states and body language, especially when we’re caught in dicey situations, can aid the development of children. By focusing on our emotional states, but not giving in to them, we set a precedent for us to be honest and supportive. Being a resourceful parent is about taking control of your emotions and reacting appropriately while keeping in mind the best outcome for the children. After all, children can tell when we’re honest with them and when we say things we don’t mean. So, to aid the development of our children and ensure that their growth is not hampered by our well-intentioned actions, we need to take a hold over our emotions and respect how they feel. What we say, do and think can affect their behaviour, but it is not out of our control. By becoming resourceful parents and being aware of our emotional states, we can do our best to give our children the care that they deserve.

Enabling a transformation for a more prepared future

Our current education system is not only one that aims to shape our students’ lives, but also attempts to shape the future. However, this approach to learning is not only flawed but also frail. As much as we try, we can neither predict the future nor mould it completely to our liking. Technology has disrupted convention and it continues to do so at an alarming pace; what we think is assured today may not be so tomorrow. That being said, while we make note that the future may not turn out as we wish, we can be positive as even if we cannot predict the future, we can be prepared for its unpredictability.

Disruptive changes to business models will bring about a drastic change in the landscape of employment. A popular estimate, as stated in the world economic forum in the ‘Future of Jobs’ report, claims that 65% of children entering primary school will work in completely new job types, which do not currently exist, in the future. Therefore, to ensure that learners today are prepared for a future tomorrow, the Indian education system must be able to endow students with the skills that will be essential for future ‘unknown’ careers.

The system will need to foster a sense of creativity and lifelong learning to harness the talents of the youth for future economic prosperity. To that end, the draft National Education Policy (NEP 2019) is a step towards evoking the transformation that our frail system needs. The daft calls for changes in pedagogy and the development of teaching capacity and skills, and facilitates increased interaction in classrooms and schools through teaching approaches and modernized facilities. But, a sizable wrench in the system is that the previous budget allocated to schools had undercut the implementation of these provisions. It did not completely facilitate an opportunity for growth.

Now, the budget for 2020 has allocated Rs 99,300 crores for the education sector and Rs 3000 crore for skill development. It is a step towards the paradigm shift that will bring about the transformation for a more prepared tomorrow, which will constitute a better rate of employment. But alas, there is still one question left unanswered.

Why has there not been a budget allocated specifically for pre-primary and primary years?

Early years development makes the youth more resourceful and enables a better foundation for future learning, which is critical for being prepared. Education is a key component in enabling the future workforce of our nation, and it needs to start with an enhanced early years education. After all, those are the years that aid the designing of a child’s blueprint. So, we need to start a conversation to enable its development. Ultimately, to encourage a transformation of the academic system, the focus needs to be put on early settings as well as higher education. Together, they both further an improvement in learning outcomes.

AT HOL, we advocate for better provisions in the early years of learning. However, it is up to all of us to enable the transformation of our current system and to enable the transformation of education, as a whole.

Inculcating internationalism – a spirit of unity and acceptance

Acceptance and tolerance have become a necessity for humans, as a whole, to live in peaceful co-existence. Various cultures are fighting against oppression, seeking liberation and acceptance in a world where diversity is being blatantly rejected. However, cultural diversity is at a high-point, and it has become evident that we need to promote a spirit of unity to create a world where we can work together and cooperate with one another. The challenges that we may face as inhabitants of this planet will require a unified front.

To that end, it has become incumbent on schools to raise global citizens. ‘Internationalism’ as a concept helps promote a spirit of unity and acceptance. Taught in classrooms, it emphasizes why children need to learn to be more compassionate as well as more aware of things happening all around the world.

However, as a concept taught in classrooms, it does not provide the depth that children need to experience and understand prevalent issues. While letting children explore and debate over national issues is pertinent, children, as well as other individuals, need to travel around the world, meet other people and experience different cultures to broaden their view and have a deeper understanding of what they have learned. Travelling provides a deeper capability of reflection, as it enables first-hand experiences and perspectives.

It is time that we let children who study various aspects of the world experience it. Education needs to move from books to the real world, from history to the present and future, and from theoretical to practical and experiential. Education needs to become about opening the world to our children; the students who want to learn more and do more.

The more children travel, the greater their chance for opportunities to connect with other people of different religions, cultures, upbringings, and skills. Travelling enables children to experience different styles of thinking and perspectives on society and the world, at large. It brings forth a realization that the world is bigger than we know. Just like the frog in the well, our children too need to get out to understand the world they live in. We must give our children a better view of the world than that through a map.

Such a global perspective can be brought into classrooms only if introduced at a school level. That being said, the path to reaching a global understanding doesn’t have to start big. We can start by enabling collaboration on a smaller scale. Practices like meetings between students with different subjects, one class learning or interacting with another class, inter-school collaborations, co-creation, etc. can pave the way for internationalism and the development of global citizens. We need to create a forum to usher in a change that isn’t only applicable to our settings, but more importantly, to our mindsets.

This sort of internal change, once initiated, can become innate. It can become a generally accepted practice and spread across schools. Today schools are slowly attempting to make international trips a possibility, however, funding can be a major issue, as can be parental acceptance. So, connect with us. At HOL, we help schools, teachers, and parents understand how to bring about a change that will benefit the children.

DISHA – The Resourceful Direction

CREATING NEW BLUEPRINT FOR YOU

3 Days Retreat Program by Sonal Ahuja (27-29 March 2020)

DISHA means direction.

Don’t you feel that our life is actually a direction that we take?  Be it a profession, parenting, friendship, business, learning or anything that we do in our life. Every act of ours tells us to move in a particular direction. The direction that we CHOOSE for us. 

Sometimes our own choices lead us to the unresourceful direction and we start doubting our capabilities. Isn’t it??

But I must say that changes in your life begin with changes in you.

And also the time we take to actually start working on very thoughtful CHOICES FOR OUR LIFE.

The program that we will embark together is going to be the most transforming experience for all. We will be exposing the group to the most beautiful ecosystem that will play a trigger for all to shift their states and start designing a new blueprint for their life. 

For Educators, it is going to be a program that will install new capabilities to be able to build great rapport with students and colleagues. 

For Parents, it will play like a magic wand as it will help parents to understand children better and offer their children a relationship that they can use for their growth.

For Entrepreneurs, it will help them compress their timeline and reach their set goal much faster.

DISHA IS A PROGRAM FOR ALL.

Not at all a lecture-based setting. This is going to be a very comprehensive and enjoyable journey for participants. I have always believed that your success can break you free from the time and money loop And that it can save a failing relationship. People who are in struggle also end up spending less quality time with their loved ones.

I want you to know WHY it is important to Accelerate Your Success as well as HOW you can do it and WHAT you need to do now to get this in your life IMMEDIATELY. 

So just dive in this program so that I can meet you and bring those shifts. This is the reason we keep our batch size very small. Just 12 of you and ME.

Be with yourself for 3 days at the beautiful destination KOTABAGH, UTTARAKHAND.

Just choose right and be on the path to success. Remember I said changes in your life begin with changes in you.

So what are you waiting for?

Using words to bring a change

Our nervous system, including our senses, gathers around 11 million bits of information per second about what is happening around us. However, this vast amount of information can overload our mind and thus our brain filters or condenses it down to about 40 bits per second for conscious processing.

The senses through which we experience the world and bring information to our conscious mind is called ‘Representational System’. We rely upon this system to gather information through the things we see, hear and feel. It is this information that we process that adds to our learning. It’s interesting that this type of learning, through our senses, is almost like we have a magical stick in our hand to gather information. And what’s more, is that we can make use of this information while we are communicating with our children and raising and educating them.

I often find myself surrounded by questions like ‘Have we ever thought about what kind of images we are creating around our children?’, ‘How are we making our children feel?’ and more importantly, ‘Have we ever tried to be selective in choosing our words while communicating with our children?’

Feelings as well as the words we use and hear, those spoken by others and the ones we say to ourselves, affect the designs of our internal dialogue and the images that we create in our heads. Our brain uses both external senses and internal feelings to create the representation of the world we experience. This is similar for children, but the world they experience and the representations that they create are different from that of an adult.

If you find yourself struggling to have a beautiful relationship or an effective channel of communication with your children, being considerate of the words you use when you speak to them could help you. This can apply to parents as well as educators, who wish to gain the respect of children in the classroom. It is important to understand that using the right words can always produce better results than labelling children and calling them names, which can be the outcome of ineffective communication.

I had a realization during a conversation with my daughter. She recently mentioned that she will be graduating soon and told us the date of the graduation ceremony. Without even thinking twice, I subconsciously made a mental reminder saying “I must go”. This sudden unintentional declaration made me realize that I had already created a negative feeling that painted an uphill struggle of managing my time. However, had I said, “I am going to book my flight by Monday”, I could have embraced a different outlook on the matter. The latter would have painted a picture of a more approachable or clearly doable plan. As human beings, we are driven by the images that we create in our minds; our bodies will always follow what we see ourselves doing in our imagination. We paint the picture of what we will do by how we think and what we say. And it is this understanding that will help us improve our relationship with our children.

How many times have we witnessed young children doing exactly the opposite of what they were told? Exclamations like ‘don’t touch the water’ and ‘no more chocolates’ do not work because words like ‘don’t, ‘no’, ‘never’ and so on do not have any illustrative representations. Children cannot imagine ‘not’ doing something, but their minds can make pictures from the remaining words, i.e., ‘touch the water’, which is exactly what we do not want to happen.

In the same manner, what we say to ourselves or what we tell others can have a result that we do not wish for, should we not be careful of how we use or frame our words. The example above, though just a small representation of what could happen, applies to so much of everything we see and do each day. The words we use can have bigger repercussions on the world we experience, which is even more drastic in the case of the aftereffect of wrong words used while communicating with children. For them to process the information correctly, we need to paint a better picture. However, to do that, it’s important that we first understand a child’s neurology.

The right words and the right images will help produce resourceful actions. And I hope to help you find the right words to communicate better, both with yourself and others. It is my wish to train parents, educators and anyone who is closely associated with children, to bring a positive and beautiful change in the brain architecture of the upcoming generations.

Breaking the barriers we place on the youth

Society today is afraid of individuals that aim to disrupt the paradigm and break the norms of what has been established as ‘safe’. It’s afraid of change and the fact that the youth do not conform.
However, this fear is not one that is new. From as far back as the 4th century BC, there were researchers who questioned the boldness of the youth, even claiming them to be anti-social.
“What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets, inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?”
“The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint . . . As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behaviour and dress.”
These statements, by public figures like Plato and Peter the Hermit respectively, are in the same tune of the lamentations of society today. This disapproval of the youth has been a common sentiment of many renowned figures throughout history. We are in the midst of what has become a historically nurtured and culturally damaging phenomenon – ephebiphobia; the fear of youth. And this issue is continually getting worse.
However, to understand how we, as a society, can deal with this phobia, it’s important to first establish its root cause.
We follow a ‘no-risk’ culture, where even children’s behaviour is at times constrained. We raise and educate children “in captivity” to quell our own anxieties, which have been fuelled by instances and crimes of violent natures. In fear of being ‘unsafe’, we’ve even labelled children as troublemakers or failures because we worry about their outcomes and often fail to see their potential. Even little children have become victims of our ‘ephebiphobic’ culture, with impatient and quick-tempered teachers treating them like nursery hooligans.
While it can be admitted that there are some young people that are excessively violent and aggressive, this does not mean that every youth is a threat. We need to stop generalising. The few who are destructive are those that have been raised in deprivation and who have been shunned by society and made to feel worthless; they are incredibly vulnerable. Yet, society sees all young people as pestilent, creating devices like the Mosquito, a device designed to deter ‘loitering’ youth. However, not every youth is the same; we must realise that each one of them is a separate individual with distinct personalities and beliefs.
Our distorted perception of the youth, as a whole, has created a self-fulfilling prophecy for many, even as individuals. Why would they bother to try when they are told that they are failures? Why bother to strive when their existence is seen as a nuisance?
So many young people are eager to have their shot at life, but they often give up because of the restrictions placed on them. This starts from school, where they are blocked by an education system that narrows the definition of achievement and success. Their education revolves around targets and testing and narrowly defined notions of academic competence. Later they face rejection from a society that discriminates against them and reprimands them for participating in the development of the social and cultural landscape, which they wish to see fulfilled.

We need to bring about change. And this change needs to start with their education.
We need to stop labelling children for behaviours that need to be addressed. These labels end up sticking with them and hindering their success. Even labels like ‘failure’ in primary and secondary education can impact the hope for further or higher education. Children that misbehave often do so because they are struggling in their learning environment. They need the help of child development specialists who can understand their needs.
Additionally, learning environments can become stressful when based on targets and tests. In such cases, children are often groomed to embrace a herd mentality, which becomes a problem for children with learning disabilities. Instead, we need to embrace diversity and individuality. Every class can have a huge diversity of educational requirements and often, the children require one-on-one support. If they do not receive this support, they get lost in huge classrooms and develop behaviours to deflect from their struggles. The youth need to be encouraged, not deterred.
It has become imperative for us to individualise teaching again. We need to recognise that each child has unique potential and encourage their unique talents. The focus needs to be on each individual child and we need to look at child development from the perspective of differences, not similarities.
To truly empower the youth and embrace individuality, we need to start accepting a broader criterion of success that encompasses more than just grades and money. Schools need to meet the needs of complex learners who require help. Many students carry diverse life experiences and it is up to us to use these experiences to help them achieve success or to deter their growth.
We need to move away from being an ‘ephebiphobic’ society and start empowering the youth and embracing individuality. Society must as respectful to the youth as they expect the youth to be respectful to them.

Creating the opportunity for individual growth.

While raising children, it is imperative to consider and pre-empt what we are preparing them for.

We ourselves have been raised to follow a system that society has deemed valuable, but have we given enough thought into what is actually valuable to us?

As individuals, we’ve grown up without a lot of exposure to creativity and innovation. We’ve been educated by systems that believe in the need to follow a fixed curriculum and achieve specific goals. But the rigidness of our upbringing and the following of convention throughout our lives has cost us the ability to think about what we want to do and find our own purpose.

We’ve been pushed into an archaic system and have become the cogs that propel its convention, creating a culture that discourages us from embracing our individuality. But it’s time we break free out of this vicious cycle by experimenting and taking risks to learn about ourselves and find new skills.

We must begin to find our identity and listen to the feelings that teach us how to be happy. It’s about diagnosing our individuality; realizing who we are and what we want to do. It is only after we know ourselves; our likes, dislikes, capabilities and interests that we can live life well and then teach children how to grow up to be happy and successful in ways that will be meaningful to them.

In schools, children need to be able to explore what they are good at, but classrooms are still restricted by convention. Children are not offered the opportunity to experience more when they are forced to learn inside the boxes that we call classrooms. A classroom, however you arrange it, whether in rows or in circles, is still restricted by four walls. Children have unlimited potential and capabilities, so why are we restricting them?

Education should not revolve solely around building careers, but it should also account for interests and experiences. When children know what they want, they can search for it and identify what matters to them, this in turn will help them understand what academics they would like to pursue. It enables them to automatically be themselves, feel confident about their dreams and nurture their aspirations. It helps them become the designer of their own lives.

However, this belief should not just be restricted to a child’s education, it should be the core of their upbringing. Children should innately desire to find their own identity and express their feelings without having to worry about conforming and being rejected. It can help them to grow as creative individuals.

Additionally, children should also be taught how to regulate the feedback they receive. People offer perceptions and opinions, but if this feedback is not managed well, it often clouds thoughts and interferes with decisions. Children should learn how to think for themselves and form a mindset that understands their own aspirations. They need to seek out experiences that are complementary to their identity.

Afterall, every experience has an impact on our growth; what we do helps nurture our development. Even if the brain’s development takes place majorly until a child is 8 years old, as stated by many early childhood educators, it is still possible for the brain to continue to learn and develop new skills even at 60 or 70 years of age. According to a theory called neuroplasticity, the brain keeps changing and forming new connections, despite a person’s age.

The focus needs to be put on what stimulus is being offered, irrespective of the age. That is why people who explore, travel and keep changing their ways and environment, grow and learn better.

Even in the case of jobs, those who are exposed to more, learn more. They have the opportunity to leverage the novelty of a new experience.

Every person is born with amazing capabilities, but it is how we nurture their individuality that truly matters. We need to adopt a growth-positive mindset to break away from the conventions that tries to take hold of our lives. There needs to be an emphasis on exploring our individuality and finding our identity if we want to live our lives purposefully and bring meaning to the lives of the children we raise.

SPOUSE MANUAL…….

SPOUSE MANUAL………
Guess What?? It’s a two-way Article. Who so ever reads get to know the secrets.
Recognizing and Respecting Your Partner’s Actions and Boundaries

Being in a romantic relationship has many wonderful moments, and can be very fulfilling. It is not always easy, though, and sometimes requires a great deal of work. It can be difficult to learn to read your partners signals, spoken and unspoken. 

It is essential for a healthy relationship, however. Learning to recognize and respect your partnerís actions and boundaries is one of the most loving things you can do for them. Here is what you need to know about it.

Fight Fair

When you disagree with your partner on any issue, it is far too easy to get into an argument about the matter. Choose to fight fair. Don’t call your partnerís character into question, as this is a major violation of boundaries. Stick to the topic at hand and don’t launch a verbal assault on the other party.

Know When to Offer Advice

Be intuitive to your partner and know when they are seeking advice, or just want a listening ear. Offering advice should only be done when requested and should be given in the best interest of your partner. Be sensitive with your advice and be careful not to infringe on their thought process when they simply need you to listen to them.

Respect Their Need for Alone Time

Even when they are in a relationship with someone they love and admire, the need for alone time is big for some individuals. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the person doesn’t like being around you; it’s simply a need that must be respected. When you feel your partner is craving this kind of alone time, offer to take an evening off from each other in order to recharge.

Know When to Walk Away

When you are in an argument and things are getting heated, know when to back off. If you understand your partner, you will realize when things are getting to where both of you will regret the words that might be said next. If your partner walks away or says the conversation is over, choose to respectfully take a break.

Be a Good Student of Body Language

There is no better way to learn your partner’s actions and boundaries than to become an observant student of their body language. Take note of how they act when they are pleased with the situation, and when they are not. Know what signals to watch out for that would indicate they feel you have crossed the line. This will help you know how to fully support them.

Respect Their Words

No means no, and all other words have their own meaning too. When your partner has said something to you, respect it. Never try to push your own agenda in order to get your way. This will only damage the relationship and cause your partner to lose respect for you. Respect your partnerís words in the same way you expect your words to be respected.

Relationships can be tricky things. There seem to be many rules to follow, and these rules can change from one day to the next. One thing that never changes, though, is the need that every human has to have their actions and boundaries respected by their partner. Learn how to do this, and to recognize them even before being said. This will show your partner you care and will make for a healthy relationship that lasts many years.

TRY IT OUT AND YOU CAN REACH ME FOR MORE DISCUSSIONS ON THIS. I AM SURE WE ALL NEED THIS.

TEACHING PARENTS ABOUT PARENTING.

TEACHING PARENTS ABOUT PARENTING.

There is nothing in the world I feel more passionately about, than children, their education and parenting.

These by far have been my most meaningful endeavors. Having worked in the area of early childhood education for more than two decades, I have embraced the nuances of the field and yet, I discover something new each day!

For a long time now, my colleagues, family, and friends have been encouraging me to share my experiences, thoughts and work with the world, and so I decided to let my voice find a medium through this Article. It is not that I have not committed mistakes in my parenting, I did. Parenting has actually brought out the most intense emotions in me. I do not think anything in this world comes close to changing us as a person or our lives, as much as having children. My work is part of a tradition in psychology that shows the power of people beliefs. These may be beliefs we are aware or unaware of, but they unequivocally affect what we want and whether we succeed in achieving our goals. In this article, you will learn how a simple belief about yourself, guides a large part of your life.You will understand your mate, your boss, friends, and your children. You will see how to unleash your potential and your child’s too. Parenting is never about any kind of strategy but it is our philosophy of life in general. It is not about our children but it is

about us becoming more aware, mindful, sensitive and conscious human beings. I really believe that parenting hardly comes naturally to anybody. There are some parents seen, to be made for parenting- their patience, calmness and gentle presence sometimes is beyond belief. For the rest of us, we have to develop these skills and way of being through a lot of conscious effort. Therefore, I do believe, strongly, that parenting has to be inside out process. As parents, we are required to have the belief that we have to first work on ourselves. Whatever issues we might face with children, the question is not what the child needs to do at that point in time, but what we as parents need to reflect on or do .In case, if you are facing a difficulty with your child, simply ask yourself a few questions. How do I feel about it? How is that impacting my child? Is it my need or my child’s? What am I supposed to do as a parent? Now answer them with great transparency and you will exactly know what you are supposed to do.

Another fact about the children is that whatever we focus on, it grows in them. As a parent, if I focus on the child’s weaknesses, it is apparent that those weaknesses will grow. Therefore, it’s always good to work on the strengths of a child in order to initiate growth in that area in particular. Most commonly, this goes very much against the 

common parenting practice- the focus is more on irresponsible lifestyle and weak areas, hence we end up lecturing them, criticizing them for the wrong choices. The more we see the grey areas, the more we crank them up with our negativity. The need, therefore, is to accept children as they are and focus entirely on what they can actually

 do and are capable of. Definitely, children will do well if they are assured of their capabilities.

It is so obvious after seeing a little baby trying to walk. The baby takes small steps forward, looks at his caregivers 

with a beautiful smile, takes another step and then, maybe, falls down. Now imagine, if this baby is continuously guided, counseled, trained and also compared with other children who could walk, then what? I am sure the children lose interest in whatever they are doing. The child might give up and not want to put in efforts again. 

Not only this, we might end up thinking and tell that the child is lazy, or maybe doesn’t want to walk or maybe is tired. Sounds little weird isn’t it? I think it is the self-doubt, that is now stopping the child from keeping pace with

what the child was doing previously. Somehow, I have always been a little confused by a lot of parenting literature out there which aims at categorizing parents into pigeon holes on the basis of parenting tiles and as a result, we hear a lot about different styles of parenting: Permissive, laissez-faire, drill sergeant, helicopter, tiger mum, authoritarian,

authoritative, democratic etc. I have never known which style I fit into! Instead, I am really contented with my own style of parenting, with all its imperfections. It has been strangely interesting to give myself permission to be imperfect. There is no right or wrong way of parenting. If each child is wired and inspired differently, then each 

parent is wired and inspired differently too.

This article is not about making you a perfect parent so that you can have the perfect kids. This is a small effort that will make you feel that you have got a companion for you to reflect, introspect and dive deep to connect to the immense wealth of wisdom that is already there.

Always remember parenting is not about bringing up children. It is about growing up

and transforming, ourselves to be a better human being. It is not about being there FOR

the children but it is exclusively about being there WITH the children.

I see so many examples in my daily schedule, where we as parents keep reminding ourselves that we are here for our children and as a consequence, we really skip being with them.

 It was a great day at my school and It was the ideal opportunity for youngsters to leave for home. A mother, who had come to get her girl, came to me with her little girl and asked, “What influences you to work with kids, what influences you ‘to talk’ to them”. I was going to state my standard answer, “Since I cherish them”.

However abruptly the girl pulled her mom’s dress and stated, “Mamma lets go”. The woman swung to her tyke and in an abrupt voice condemned her, “wouldn’t you be able to see I am conversing with ma’am, how frequently have I told you not to hinder me when I am conversing with anybody, awful behavior”. 

It was at that exact second that I understood that it was not ‘love’ that influenced us to work with kids, but rather it was Regard. On the off chance that I was in the mother’s place, I would have reacted with, -“Indeed, dear, you should be ravenous, I will hustle just a bit with your ma’am” or something comparative.

I would have regarded the youngster needs. Similarly, as I might want others to regard my requirements. Do you mind if a youngster irritates you when you are accomplishing something, yet in the meantime you discover it is flawlessly alright that you burst in when the child is accomplishing something? Do you frequently feel that it is imperative that we control kids, yet it isn’t worthy when youngsters endeavor to control our circumstance? Some places, we are working on a same platform while other some places we think that we are up here and our kids are down there. That is the reason we believe that they should be controlled, told, chastened, and rebuffed.

In some places, we think we are predominant; we know increasingly and subsequently well of the need to ‘drive them’. Yet, what might happen in the event that we think about them as equivalents. What will happen in the event that we approached them with deference, worked with them as though they are as equivalent to us? What are we going to get if we somehow happened to give regard?

However, some places whereby the minute I regarded to the child, the child feels regarded. A kid who feels regarded is considerably more open to tuning in, to comprehend, to take after (the correct things), to participate and to improve things. Envision how it might be in a place where we are not regarded when contrasted with a place where we seem to be? 

Clearly, the youngster will think, feel and act better. Also, we will be in an ideal situation as well! In the event that you lead through dread you will have little regard; however, in the event that you lead through

regard, you will have little to fear.

YOU AND YOUR CHILD

A common conversation between a parent and a child, when the child returns from the school is usually along these lines :

Parent : “How was your day?”

Child : “Good”

Parent : “What did you do today?  “

Child : “Nothing”

Parent : “Why?”

The Child is speechless.

Parent : “Ok Tell me how was your test?”

Child : “Went off good”

Parent : “How much do you think you will score?”

Child : “Don’t know”. And leaves.

How many of us can relate to this sequence of event ; most of us !

‘Learning’ to us, in a way is defined as something that can be measured.

The problem is that it is way too hard to state exactly “What learning is”? Or “how it happens”?

Learning as a psychological activity is something truly difficult to get a handle on. We know very little about the process. There are a lot of theories, but none of them have stood the test of time and few are based on hard data or hypotheses that are supportable.

Most educators know this fact. In order to cover up for this and to make up for the inadequacy in confronting a process that we don’t really comprehend, we do what modern man always does.

WE LABEL SOMETHING (“LEARNING”) AND “MEASURE” IT.

Then we are comfortable, because at least then we have the feeling that we have a grasp on the problem. We don’t really follow the process, but in lieu of a profound understanding of what’s going on, we find something and say, “Let’s declare this to be learning, by consensus. Then we can measure it and put it out of our minds”.

Now, this is exactly what the ENTIRE Educational system the world over has been doing: Quantify learning by breaking it up into measurable pieces – courses, hours, tests and grades.

One of the best stories about this is told by Winston Churchill, concerning his own childhood.

He was a total failure in school. To get into an exclusive high school, he had to go through the formality of an entrance exam. Of course, he knew (as did everybody else) that it made no difference, since he’d end up being accepted anyway, as one of the direct descendants of the duke of Marlborough. But there he was, faced with an entrance exam in Greek and Latin. He looked at the page for an hour and finally handed in an empty paper with his signature on it and a big smudge of ink. They gave upon him entirely and placed him in the dummies class, which learned ENGLISH. So, it happened that Winston Churchill opened his entire high school studying English literature, whereas all the successful “Cultured” people learned   Greek and Latin. It hardly needs a mention that Churchill ended up being one of the finest stylists in the English language in the twentieth century.

The story above mentions that the restraints on the freedom of movement, thought control, obedience and punishment for disobedience, all cannot stop human brain to excel. The system should not focus on outcomes but should give space to children and their learning. If they spend time thinking and learning without being even bothered of the outcome, they surely will be able to think better in their life ahead. Learning will then be taking place and there will hardly be any need to measure it. A perfect blend of environment and freedom works.

Environment that we create for children affects their genes.

For this biological information not to be disturbing, we may need to understand how we can be in charge of own lives in this mechanistic view. Biology makes how we react to our mistakes the only freewill available. All our behaviours are the result of what our brain learned from our environment, so even our attempts at change are programed. We need to be patient as we make even the smallest improvement to our responses to mistakes.

This all makes it crucial that we understand that our thinking is an environment. It is something we can change by noticing-critical thinking-when our thinking isn’t effective. Without critical thinking we are stuck with the other effects of our environment, and all of us have been given limitations by things that went wrong in our environment. If we can’t change our behaviours over time, with patience, it is disturbing that we are too much like a machine.

So the time has Come  now to give space and time to our children to discover themselves .

Are nursery admissions scary?

Turquoise Icons Process Infographic (1)

It is always believed that underlying every behaviour, is a POSITIVE INTENTION. This applies even to seemingly bad or non-productive behaviours (as per the mental state at that point in time of a person). What is important here is to uncover the positive intent, the purpose, of this behaviour, as there is always a reason. Once the purpose is established we can teach or help the person, or our own neurology in this instance, find healthier and more ecological ways to satisfy our intention.

The Intention here is to get the child admitted to a good school and give the child the best education. Isn’t it?

But look at the kind of mental states we find ourselves in, based on which we behave in a certain way, which can be productive or destructive. The question here is to ask yourself, is it really about the admissions that we as parents worry? Or it is more about our own mental states based on perspectives, beliefs, presuppositions?

Can we look at and start working on our own neurology rather working on external data that we collect throughout. Eg:

  1. Admission to grade NUR is very tough.
  2. Nur admission is the only way to get into the mainstream.
  3. Admission in Grade 1 is impossible.
  4. The school with Good name and fame is worth experiencing.
  5. Air-conditioned schools are upgraded schools
  6. The schools using smart boards are necessarily better than non-tech schools. Etc.

We perceive the world through our five senses –the external territory. We then take this external phenomenon and make an internal representation of it –the map. This external map we create of the world outside is influenced by our perceptions, our beliefs, and values. It follows then that what is outside can never be, the exact same as what we create inside our brain. Furthermore, each person, according to his or her own belief system, will create a different map of this same world that we perceive. In other words, we each have our individual map of the world and in order to communicate effectively and easily, it is important to understand the internal reality. In this instance, I have tried to convey that we need to create a better state of mind in order to understand that

MAP IS NOT ALWAYS THE TERRITORY.

NUR ADMISSIONS NOT NECESSARILY BE THE MOST TEDIOUS.

Change yourself, change your states, so that you collect the data that helps you keep calm and achieve what you want, without feeling toxic but full of wisdom. The CHANGE that will be witnessed NOW is the change that matters.

Sonal Ahuja

Parents should always be there for any challenge that a child faces but not #kikiChallenge

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Parents should always be there for any challenge that a child faces but not #kikiChallenge

You must have seen Young Social Media Enthusiasts performing this #kikichallenge on a song “Kiki do you love me”. I have written this piece as an educator and a parent of 2 youngsters myself. My daughter is studying in college and my son is in Sr. Secondary. Before putting down my views on the same it is necessary for me to tell you what this challenge is all about, so in this challenge, a person is required to dance along with a moving car dancing on Kiki do you love me the song and jump right back into the car.

Canadian Rapper Drakes song which is actually “In My Feelings” has this line Kiki Do You Love Me which was topping the charts and was played like a normal chartbuster till the time Shiggy a famous comedian decided to upload this funny clip of his on Instagram where he was dancing along with a moving car on a busy road. Later Shiggy’s friend Odell Beckham Jr who is a footballer also recorded the same kind of video and the world went crazy for it.

My reflection to this challenge is whether somebody named Kiki loves your child or not I am sure as a parent that you surely do feel for your child and you should not allow your child to get into this kind of challenge where he/she can hurt themselves. I am saying this because after a lot of research on the internet I have found youngsters getting hurt hitting the potholes, banging their head on poles and one instance girls bag gets snatched while doing this challenge.

We as parents should always standby our child in each and every challenge they face but unnecessarily be inviting trouble is not a good thing, I advise all the parents to first not give car keys to the youngster till the time he/she is eligible for it and talk to them about this challenge. Try and explain that someone can get hurt attempting this challenge or you yourself can land-up in big trouble doing this challenge as Delhi Police has issued a tweet stating: “Dance on the floors, not on the roads! #KikiChallenge is not worth the fun.#InMyFeelings Keep #Delhi roads safe for all”. Similarly, Mumbai, Punjab, UP and almost all the states have issued a warning for this challenge.

For youngsters, I should say this let’s not express our feelings doing these challenges, take up real challenges in life and make a difference in the society by doing something for the society. Please try and follow the footsteps of some of the great thinkers of the world like Elon Musk or Malala Yusufzai or Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam or Virat Kohli to name a few whom you can look up to. “Be the difference to make the difference”

Periods Aren’t Just About Bleeding Females. Here’s What We Actually Need To Talk About!

Whether it is about a 21-year-old woman dying in Nepal after she was forced to live in a hut due to the fact she was menstruating or about the little girl in Tamil Nadu who committed suicide after being reportedly shamed by her teacher for staining her clothes with menstrual blood in front of her class- menstruation continues to prevail as a curse to women!

Interestingly, many people from different walks of lives have talked openly about it in order to raise awareness and bust the myths and taboos revolving around it.

Recently, another feather added to this cap was the #PadmanChallenge- a marketing strategy used by the Padman Film’s Team in order to promote their film.

Before I raise my point here, I wish to state that I am not protesting against the movie. In fact, the portrayal of the real-life Pad Man and entrepreneur Arunachalam Muruganantham was a much-needed effort.

All I wish to bring forth are the much more important aspects of menstruation that the society as a whole needs to focus on!

NOT EVERYONE USES SANITARY PADS

Did you know, of the 355 million menstruating women in India, only 12 percent use sanitary pads?

The rest switch to unhygienic alternatives such as clothes, ashes, and husk, thereby welcoming severe reproductive health problems.

Celebrities are highly influential people with massive reach and their practices are followed religiously. Maybe educating why holding a pad in hand is okay and distributing them to girls and women across the country would have been a much better alternative than just posing with them.

Educating the child about their use and benefits is what schools, colleges, and communities must encourage.

IT’S OKAY TO TALK OPENLY ABOUT THEIR BODIES!

Majority of women do not find themselves in a comfort zone when it comes to discussing their bodies and problems associated with it openly. How do we expect them to take care of hygiene and prevention of infections during periods?

It’s crucial to teach boys and girls in the early years of education itself how natural this phenomenon is and it’s perfectly normal and not shameful to discuss these issues openly!

WHAT ABOUT THE DISGUST THEY FACE?

A majority of girls, especially in rural areas do not attend schools while they’re menstruating because of the flak they draw from people around in case of an unlikely incident.

The tradition of disallowing them to enter religious places and kitchens is what makes the foundations of these myths even stronger!

PADS- BUT OF WHAT KIND?

Did you know, a woman on an average sheds 125 kilos of menstrual blood in all the years and these plastic pads take 500-800 years to recycle?

Can you even imagine the levels of environmental damage we’re causing because of it?

Use of alternatives like biodegradable pads, menstrual cups, cloth pads etc. needs to reach out to masses!

There’s much more to periods than just bleeding and posing. Holding a pad in hand doesn’t save women from all the health hazards, social stigmas, and humiliation.

Sonal Ahuja

Founder (House of learning)

Learning through reflections

We often ponder over the meaning of life; asking ourselves questions that contemplate the fabric of our reality. When we’re stuck, we seek out changes that can carry a sense of purpose, so that we may feel fulfilled and content with the life we live.

Ultimately, what each one of us seeks is happiness. And in today’s world, it has become critical that we teach our children how to be happy.

For starters, when children do what they are good at or what best serves the application of their talents, they can find happiness. However, for us to help them find those practices, where we can celebrate their skills and talents with them, we need to first start celebrating our own capabilities. 

We need to find the change that can help us feel fulfilled, and to do so, we need to understand that there is nothing external in this world that can bring a permanent shift in our life. Even practices like reading books or seeking the guidance of coaches or gurus cannot bring a permanent change within us. They will not help us find the happiness that we seek. 

True change comes from an internal shift that one gains through real-life experiences and reflections based on them. These reflections help us understand ourselves. However, to work towards the path of self-reflection and make life easier, for both us and our children, we need to begin the process of learning once again.

Only once we open our minds to continue learning, will we be able to bring about a change that will come from learning through reflections. When we expose ourselves to situations and conditions, we present ourselves with the opportunity to reflect and grow. 

Ask yourself this question. How many times have we, as educators or parents, positioned children in specific circumstances and expected them to learn from it?

For a long time until now, my answer was not at all. We do not give our children, nor ourselves the freedom to learn from experiences. And that’s because we’re so busy and engrossed in seeing what’s happening around us instead of internally reflecting. We are collecting information out of everyone else’s experiences and neglecting our own. On top of that, we delete, distort and generalize the information we collect. Now, while it is beneficial to learn from another’s experiences, it is important that we learn from our own as well. Gaining knowledge from others can work in our favor, but we need to keep an open mind to learning on our own. 

We need to live first and then teach later. 

To find happiness, we need to learn to accept. It is important that we celebrate our children for who they naturally are. However, this behavior takes practice; it needs to be lived through and accepted by us as adults.  

There are various ways to learn to grow from reflections and impart those values to children. To experience the joy of self-reflection, connect with me. Let’s begin this journey together and amaze ourselves.

Strategies to get the best out of your teachers

Today’s education requires teachers to constantly improve as much as it requires students to keep acquiring skills. To ensure the best learning experience, it has become necessary for teachers to be on top of their game.

Here are six strategies to help get the best out of your teachers:

Strategy 1: Helping them realize why they are in this profession.

For teachers to make use of their full potential for teaching, it is important that they realize ‘why’ they are in this profession. They need to have a clear understanding of the reasons that give meaning to their teaching. This definition of ‘why’ will help them think about their purpose as teachers.

The role teachers play is one that is critical to society as well as to the future of the nation. Unfortunately, today, most individuals pursue the teaching field because of the emoluments and comfort that it brings. However, this has more to do with redesigning the school culture, as it contributes to what kind of people a school is going to hire.

Educational institutes usually prefer teachers who live nearby, have the right qualifications, agree to the emoluments the school offers and come from different branded schools, which is considered experienced. It is very rare to see schools hire teachers after knowing them as a person or after knowing their purpose as an educator; such factors are rarely considered important.

In a way, to create a meaningful change in the teachers, it depends on the school’s strategy to adopt a culture that will nurture such empowered and resourceful teachers. Creating meaning and giving purpose to teaching is the primary factor; it helps lay the foundation towards getting the best out of teachers.

Strategy 2: Giving them the flexibility to be themselves and teach in their own way.

Just as students have different preferences when it comes to learning, teachers have their own preferences when it comes to teaching. Allowing teachers to be themselves and explore subjects and concepts on their own terms can help benefit the educational experience of the class.

This flexibility is beneficial as it allows teachers to respond appropriately to students based on their abilities, needs and interests. Flexibility in instructional approaches enables students to follow the teachings as the method can be adapted to meet the students’ needs.

Strategy 3: Promoting interaction in the form of co-creation days.

Education is done with students and not to them. Co-creation is a collaborative initiative that involves teachers and students working together to improve the education imparted to students. It promotes a deeper relationship between the students and the teachers, to aid the overall teaching and learning of a class.

During co-creation days, both students and teachers can share their own experiences and preferences about teaching with each other. It helps students get the education they desire and teachers to bring out the best in their teaching.

Strategy 4: Opening channels for feedback.

Allowing teachers to monitor other teachers’ classes can open channels for self-improvement and for providing feedback. Teachers can give feedback to their co-workers on their ways and strategies. This provides an opportunity for improvement in teaching methods and learning strategies.

Feedback is an essential part of building a conducive learning environment; for teachers to bring out the best in their teaching, they need to be open to feedback.

Strategy 5: Documenting self-reflections to adapt teaching methods.

Nowadays, teachers have to adapt to the classroom to ensure that lessons taught align with the learning preferences of the students. However, to achieve that goal, teachers must become self-reflective educators. Teachers, today, need to be constantly improving and increasing their effectiveness. To that end, documenting self-reflections can be a positive step towards improvement.

Documenting self-reflections can help teachers adapt their lessons to meet the students’ needs. Observations on how lessons can become more engaging or how students can become more involved can greatly enhance the potential for improvement. These realisations can be checked by school heads and applied in classrooms. Thereafter, reports on the impact of their application can be logged.

Additionally, self-reflections can become an important toolset for teachers to analyse their teaching, understand their strengths, and identify opportunities for improvement.

Strategy 6: Recording classroom video-shoots to enable self-reflection.

Classroom videos are an effective means to help teachers self-reflect. It paves the way towards the formation of new neocortical connections since teachers who see their own videos or teachings, from an outside perspective, can catch hold of subtle nuances with greater clarity. This strategy will help bring changes that are more impactful to the classroom.

Pre-training and post-training video shoots are methods to keep helping teachers to enhance their capabilities.

Do you have any strategies to bring out the best in your teachers? Let us know in the comments. 

The rise of alternative schools

The colonial-era set the precedent for mainstream education in India, but such settings were far from the norm of the education that was practised before the influence of the British. Later, in the early twentieth century, prominent figures like Rabindranath Tagore, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Maria Montessori, and Sri Aurobindo started unconventional models of schools to overcome the drawbacks of mainstream education. Since then we have seen a significant rise in the number of ‘alternative schools’ in India.
An alternative school is a type of school that steps away from the conventional practices of mainstream education. Such schools are designed to accommodate a deeper education, one which covers the academic, behaviour, social and medical needs of children and adolescents.
The need for alternative schools has risen out of the general dissatisfaction with the rigid standards of traditional or mainstream education, which do not adequately address the needs of students that require more than just academic support. These schools have been developed to assist students with educational goals that cannot be effectively met in traditional schools. They are characterized by their small class sizes, personalised learning programmes, flexible schedules and low student-teacher ratio, to provide more individualized and differentiated education.
The viability of alternative schools has often been scrutinized because of the unconventional approaches they employ. However, students in alternative schools show the same potential, if not more, for success as mainstream schools. Let us take a look at this case study to understand the benefit of alternative schools.
Ray was an 11th-grade student in an alternative program, Marietta Alternative Placement (MAPs), in Marietta City Schools in Atlanta. He came from circumstances that can be considered profoundly unfavourable (violence, drugs, a broken family etc.) for an average student. Before he transferred to the program, he was a student in a conventional school in Texas and although he was a straight-A student, he wasn’t given the attention he needed to overcome the other aspects of his life that impeded his growth and success.
On joining the MAP program, Ray was given the appropriate support he needed to move ahead in life. Through the academic support of the program, he completed the coursework and tests and achieved the required credits for him to graduate within just a few months. Additionally, besides academics, he was given support for his mental health as well. The program ensured that Ray interacted with counsellors to talk about and deal with his issues. Although Ray did not stick with one particular counsellor, he was provided with multiple options to address these issues.
The point in focus here, was that the student’s potential was impeded due to social and personal circumstances that would have otherwise deterred his success. But for Ray, he was able to find the right balance of support and challenge to help him rise above his obstacles.
The alternative school program helps students rise to their challenges by helping them grow academically, emotionally and socially. More importantly, it gives them the support to overcome critical out-of-school challenges and find their way out of complicated circumstances. Today, the availability of alternative education is prominent, but it will take a change in our mindset to embrace its potential.

Taking a smarter stand.

Education should always be a priority for children, irrespective of their circumstances or their background. Recently, there has been an uproar in various parts of the nation in regards to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA that has sparked controversy. The CAA allows for expedited citizenship for religious minorities that are facing persecution in three countries – Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. However, the bill has been criticized for sentiments that seem to be a violation of the Indian Constitution’s secular principles.

Last Sunday, unrest erupted in South Delhi when students of Jamia Millia Islamia University held a march to protest against the act. The protest resulted in a violent clash between the students and the police.

Why do we go so far and why must we seek violent solutions?

From one point of view, it can be said that the students, or even the general public, raising their voice about their concerns is good. If any bill is passed, there needs to be discussions and deliberations, especially by students. People debating laws and bills is an appropriate step, but it should not escalate to violence.

Sure, the act has its negative aspects, but we need to think about how we respond to it. Students, especially, need to think twice about the information they receive and act on. They have to understand the neurology behind their actions. Students all over the nation have started to protest. After the students of Jamia Millia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU, Uttar Pradesh) protested against the act, students from Pondicherry University also acted out in protest. These protests by students have been spreading throughout the nation.

It’s good that students are uniting for a cause, but are they doing the right thing?

Through their actions and the unintended consequences, it is their education that is suffering. The Pondicherry University Students’ Council, as a sign of protest, urged the rest of the students to boycott classes. Surely there must be a better way to show your support.

These protests may be a culmination of anger against a system that denies their moral fabric; their beliefs and views, but is it right for students to start agitations, even if it results in them skipping school? It can be considered that students are standing up for a greater cause, but should it come at the cost of compromising their education?

Politics should be kept separate from classrooms and education. Neither schools nor students should be compromised by political objectives or stances. No good can come from letting politics overshadow the importance of education and learning.

Throughout life, we may be burdened with innumerable oppositions that will challenge our views and perspectives. However, we must learn to prioritize what is important and not let emotions take control of our lives. To truly make informed decisions, students must take a broader view of situations before reacting to it. I commend the students’ unity to speak out about their opinions, but I hope that they will use the same determination and resilience to achieve their goals through education. They need to take a smarter stand against what they dislike, one that will be beneficial for both, themselves and the nation.