Archive for the 'life' Category

Raising a self-aware generation

I had an off-beat resume land in my inbox recently. Nia (name changed) is an out and out commerce student who scored a whopping 97% in her commerce PUC and is set to go on to do her BCom and CA when she seems to have made an about-turn in her life and joined a teacher training course followed by a specialization in special needs education. Intrigued by her story, I call her. She clears few rounds with us and reaches the interview round with me.

I ask her the question point blank. “Why did you opt out of a commerce career for a teaching job? Is it because it was convenient?” She replied, “I was not well in 11th grade for a long time and in 12th I scored the marks because I had just spent hours practicing the sums and pushing myself, I had not understood the fundamentals, nor did I like it that much. When the marks came I forgot all that and went ahead and joined B.Com honours with coaching for CA. Few months down the line I realized that it was not meant to be. I always wanted to be a teacher and empower children. I was abused as a child for several years and I don’t want children to go through that in life, ever.”

I’ve not found this level of clarity between marks and skill level and humility in a fresher level candidate so far. I wondered, what made her different? Why is that such a rare skill to find? Maybe it was the life-changing event of ill-health, maybe it was the abuse. But, if takes a life-changing event like abuse or some other equivalent trauma to make our children naturally reflective should we wait for that to happen for each and every child on this planet before we teach them to think for themselves, reflect, understand and navigate the language of emotions and social interactions?

Also, by that corollary, should we then wait for our children to have something to talk to us before we teach them language? Shouldn’t we wait for them to figure out economics before we teach them numbers? Shouldn’t we wait for them to discover new facts and figures or new civilizations and cultures before we teach them science or history or geography?

When we teach a lot of these skills in just in case (they need it later on) why wait to teach them the more important skills of thinking, reflecting, communicating, problem-solving and managing emotional in life? Why wait for them to learn it in due course? Nia learnt it the hard way you don’t have to wait for your child to learn it that way too. You have a choice of enrolling your child at Sparkling Mindz today and starting work on all of these skills at an early age.

Nia learnt it the hard way you don’t have to wait for your child to learn it that way too. You have a choice of enrolling your child at Sparkling Mindz today and starting work on all of these skills at an early age. We can’t guarantee that children will not struggle, that is part of their normal life and growth trajectory, I believe with the essential thinking, emotional and social toolkit they will be better equipped to deal with the life’s ups and downs, when they come knocking.

 

 

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Anything worth doing…

Some of the recent sessions that I’m attending got me thinking about what makes people do less than what they can?

It could be mere smugness, one might have easily settled into a comfort zone, it could be constraints, it could be a lack of empathy – no clear understanding of what the other person/customer really wants from you or pure arrogance because you can get away with it!

However, whatever the reason for you to do that, at the end of the day you are shortchanging your own potential, your own ability and your own self and not being totally honest with yourself and the world about what you have to offer. The moment you start living that way, you stop learning and you don’t embody a future learner anymore.

In your tryst with destiny, always remember no political agenda, no hurt feeling, no animosity, no lack of faith, absolutely nothing is an excuse to bring less than your full potential to the table. In doing so, you are doing more harm to yourself than good.

Like a wise person once said, “If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing it well.”

 

Moments of Truth

As I was driving today I saw a father guiding his daughter on a bicycle. It appeared as if he was teaching her. She kept losing his balance but he did not lose his cool.

I found myself back in time, to the time I was learning how to ride. It was the first day, we had gone to the shop to get my new bicycle. I had gone with my dad to the shop. I was under the impression that we will lug it back to our house and learn to ride it safely in the neighborhood (in my own time). But I was in for a surprise!

As we were coming back, my dad asked me to mount the bike and start riding. He wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. So I did as I was told. I had never ridden before, so I was dead scared and kept losing balance. It was a few kilometers to home and the whole way, I remember tears rolling down my eyes as, I was pinched and nudged and scolded as I kept losing balance and kept falling down. It was so many years ago but the pain is still fresh in my mind. It was humiliating for me to keep getting scolded for something that I was unable to do. My whole thought was focused on just managing to avoid more tears from rolling down my cheeks and fighting the humiliation. I was not focusing on the driving or the gentle breeze or the thrill of the first-time-ever ride on my ‘own’ bicycle. It was a moment ‘lost’ forever. Trust me, I didn’t learn to drive that way. In fact, I learnt that I will never learn ‘anything ever’ that way!

I’m sure he felt helpless and probably, his reaction was atypical of what he did when he felt helpless. I’m sure he learnt to drive the moment he hopped on to a bicycle without anyone’s help and he could not understand why someone would be ‘dumb’ enough to keep falling off a ‘mere’ bicycle’.

However, it was a ‘moment of truth’ for me. I internalized a lot of lessons that day and as I saw the father-child today it all suddenly became very clear.

When with loved ones, you always have these moments of truths – ‘when they make mistakes’, ‘when things are not going alright’, ‘when it is time to learn something new’, ‘when someone does not seem to understand what you think they should easily’. At all these times, you always have a ‘choice’. You can choose to get angry and irritated or stay patient and calm and be loving and understanding. For great bonds and lasting friendships are not built on negative emotions but on empathy, love, patience and understanding.

Every time, the little bubble of ‘anger’ or ‘irritation’ bubbles up near your throat at these moments – you can choose to let it go, you can choose to swallow it and be PATIENT and be UNDERSTANDING. Those moments show strength of character, those moments are cherished, those moments show ‘I LOVE YOU’ more than anything else does!

Have you ever had any of these ‘moments of truths’ in your life? Do you seize them and make it worthwhile or let yourself get carried away?

A new journey – Sparkling Mindz

It’s been a while since I posted out here…life has been hectic, life has been venturesome!

About a year ago, an idea struck me that simply summed up as –  the only thing that can make you stand out in the crowd is how you think, learning to think should be taught at a much younger age than it is taught today and that, it should be fun while you are at it! So, I started Sparkling Mindz along with a group of like-minded individuals, who have been a pillar of support in the growth of this organization.

You may be wondering what Sparkling Mindz is? It is an after school program that provides children an opportunity to grasp thinking skills in a fun way!

It is exciting to see the children’s eyes light up they feel empowered to think, generate ideas and then apply it in their day-to-day lives! They learn to transform into confident, thinking individuals…

You can read more about the programs and about us on our website www.sparklingmindz.in and view pictures from the workshop at our facebook page. Do help by spreading the word and becoming a fan on our facebook page!

More on the journey soon….but do write in with your thoughts and comments. Most importantly, help us reach out as far and wide as possible by spreading the word around to those who can benefit and help us make an impact on millions of lives.

Mega Mart Shopping Bag!

I was typing something furiously away at my computer and looked away for a second when my eyes fell on this Mega Mart shopping bag. It read “Women, Men, Kids, Youth, Accessories, Footwear, Luggage, Home”. All in the same breath. All in the same color. All in the same font! I can’t stop smiling…coz a thought had struck…

What if…? Could we…? Someday…? go to a mart to buy – Women, Men, Kids, Youth and a Home – made to order? Really? Is it possible? Is it far away? Is it close enough? Are we headed that way?

What do you think?

Uncomplicating Things

It is interesting how we end up complicating things way beyond necessary sometimes. Today I heard a comment, “You need a process around your process!” As if having one process was not good enough, you add a couple of layers on top of it so that neither you nor anyone looking at it later can understand what it was meant to do at the first place.

Let’s try and keep things simple. Uncomplicate. We need to scale but do we need to embrace complexity for the sake of it?

Playing with light and shadows

Recently, as I was driving on the outer ring road around noon time, I had a strange experience. I was about to move to my left on the three lane road when I realized that there was “something” on my blind spot. I steered clear. It happened again and then, once more. All this while, I didn’t have to adjust my speed or peer over my back – nothing! I saw the shadow of the vehicle and that’s what caught my eye as I was about to change lanes. The vehicle was an autorickshaw, the type used to carry goods, not people and the driver was happily tagging me.

It reminded me of another instance, where I observed a child make out all kinds of shapes and meanings from shadows and gleefully experiment with the movement of shadows! It got me thinking, there are lot of times our mind tries to tell us things as an interplay of lights and shadows, in those flashes of insights, but do we care to listen? Are we observing these subtle changes and warning signs? Especially, when there are difficult decisions to make, who and what are we listening to?


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