Bringing up a sensible child –2

Helicopter Parenting.

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While the new-age parenting is tightening its rope. More and more of us ‘The parents’ are trying out various un-conventional method in bringing up the child. The contemporary un-conventional parenting makes sure that the children are heard, regardedand are given the paramount freedom. Unlike the previous generations where strict obedience was encouraged.

All this scrupulousness make sense until we are not creating over protected, over pampered and over powered kids. The fear is,

  • Are we deconditiong the children at the cost of virtues and values?
  • Are we judging the children based on how successful they are?
  • Do we teach the kids about the positivity of the failures?
  • In the process of creating successful and perfect children are we losing the focus of raising the children normally?

Most schools and parents teach values/ virtues like a regular subject. With a sprinkle of few activities, a few dos and don’ts here and there, the schools and parents are satisfied that they are triggering the virtue button successfully. But, with the children either teaching or imparting will not work unless we the parents or teachers lead the way, young minds try to follow us. Therefore, the onus and responsibility is on us. Education has to be virtue based rather than performance and outcome.

In one of the books, the author Bruce Lipton (The biology of the belief) a famous cell biologist who encourages energy –based(spiritual) parenting along with conscious parenting says,

“Young children carefully observe their environment and download the wordly wisom offered by their parents directly into their subconscious memory. As a result, their parent’s behavior and beliefs become their own.”

He also goes one step ahead and questions the gene theory, he postulates that ‘Genes are powerless tools without the trigger in the external environment.

Well, this is a good news isn’t it? Now, we have something solid to work on and change: The environment. If environment in which child grows can be changed to suit him/her the best, the child can grow up to be sensible. At-least now we can’t take a back seat and exclaim “we are providing them education, food, clothing, and the tuitions, the rest is their genes.

After having discussed about the environment and genes, next comes a million-dollar question? “How do we change the environment? Isn’t my child in a good environment already!

Let us discuss one of the important point below and see if any alarm bells are ringing.

Helicopter parenting:

The hoovering effect(helicopter) of a parent always above the child, interfering in every tiny details of the child’s life choice right from the birth. The urge to control, overprotect, and over perfectness. The irony of the situation is not many of us do realise that we are being helicopter parents.

Here are some signs to know if we are hovering around.

  • As a parent if one is always insecure and worried about the job market and country’s economy. If one is worried about the child’s survival in the big bad competitive world. In order to protect the child, we end up always pushing the child to perform.
  • As a parent if one was not taken care of very well, or as a child if one faced hardships. The parent tries and compensates the sorrow by excessive attention towards the kid.
  • As a mother if my sole purpose in life is taking care of children. I am always trying to make perfect for them, pressuring them to excel in sports, studies, dance excreta. Otherwise, I feel the whole purpose in life is defeated.
  • Having the guilt of being a bad parent . The parent tries to compensate the guilt by always hover around the child. And feels relieved that he is are good parent by taking care of all their envisaged needs.
  • As human beings one of our inherent nature is comparison, in case we are figure out that our friends are too much involved as parents and in order to feel responsible parent we hover around them for every detail.
  • One of the worst part is that most of us do not even know that one is a helicopter parent.The parent believes that the trait is normal for a responsible parent.

Negative effects of helicopter parenting:

  • The child will not be exposed to the wonderful world. No matter how the world is! be it cruel, good, honest, hot or cold, the child will always see the world from your eyes. This can restrict a considerable amount of self- esteem in them and arrest the holistic development.
  • Alpha complex in a child:

Now what is alpha complex one may ask?

In simple words it’s the bossy/ bully, unruly and dominating behavioral pattern in some children. There are various reasons for the development of an alpha complex in a child. One of the main reasons is the attachment to those who are bringing up the child. One of the author on the books about alpha complex says “an increasing number of children were revolving around their peers instead of their parents and teachers”. Hence, we the parents really need to figure out is how to inspire our children to trust in us and fairly depend upon us.

Contemporary parents are mostly preoccupied with so many problems. Feels like the whole new age parents have shifted their patience threshold very low. very small things annoy us We have eased out our glitches with quick fixes in life rather than perseverance.

The only way to bring up a sensible child is to first sort our problems,  then once we know exactly how to handle our lives . We can guide our kids better.

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Bringing up a sensible child- Part-1

The esoteric life always keeps us busy with battling our own challenges. The challenges are either personal, career, physical, mental and emotional, or all of them piquing at once. Nevertheless, the battle gets tougher when it is self- created. One of the great mystic in India says, “over 80% of the problems happening to us are because of the self-creation of the chattering mind”. Never-ending thoughts of insecurity, jealousy and fear.

A weary brain trying to cope up with camouflaged aspirations wrapped in stress.
A jealous mind struggling with foolhardy comparisons.
One can imagine the anxiety when our un-met expectations aggravate the anger quotient.
And, our body (physical and mental health) always pays the price in the juggling competition with our bossy brain.

This is because we usually see the world through our mind. It’s our thoughts and thinking which make up our physical world. Therefore, isn’t it a good idea that our mind is more equipped and strong to handle sensible solutions to problems rather than giving in, to the chattering. Control and calm the gibberish mind who always incites the destruction of ‘Thyself’ and others.

Now, one may wonder what has this got to do with the level-headedness in children? How is my mental/emotional security dependent on my child’s sensibility? (for details please refer to my article on confidence).

The message is loud and clear: The children always follow us. They do not give a damn to our chiding/ordering/nagging. Therefore, the only choice left with us is to understand and value the importance of being at peace and blissful. Be their role model, Influence self and the child to handle the life situations in a more mature way. We have been given the responsibility of creating a new generation, a bunch of adults who are much better than us.

Instead of beating around the bushes let us go straight to the point.
How many of us really understand the seriousness of the alarming below statistics?
How many of us feel the need to change oneself before parenting a child?
How many of us are aware that our children need help?
How many of us are passing the bucks and saying “it cannot be my child? My child has no issues”.

But, the reality is that the human brain especially a child’s brain is very sensitive. If we do not act right now our child can be one of them. The kind of life style we are leading, the issues like bullying, suicide, withdrawal from social circle, mannerisms issues, anti- social behavior, rape and substance usage can raise exponentially in coming years.

The below research data show us the rate of suicides, mental illness and mental morbidity in India. Unfortunately, the number is on the rise every census. Children below 14 years are attempting suicides!
This group is our future generation. Unless we guide the children up to age 18 we cannot create a sensible future.

According to the research by National institute of mental health’s and sciences 2016 Mental morbidity.

  • Considerable numbers of adults (age group 18-29) are mentally morbid. Also, the research says the children too are succumbing for mental ailments.
  • 1 in 20 people in India are suffering from depression.
  • The research reveals the shocking stats that the children below 14 years of age have been the victims of suicides. Among the various reasons family problems, study pressure, bullying, less marks are a few reasons.
  • The research says substance usage (drugs )is on rise in youth. even the pre-teens are getting into the trap

Since we now acknowledge that there is some problem, let us try and figure out the main source of this problem. A few of them are discussed below briefly.

  1. Creating a positive atmosphere at home
    The whole world today is frenzy about the blue whale game. Parents are losing their sleep over this idiocy. All sorts of messages are popping around in the media and the internet.
    Let’s call it straight now, the children are going to face many such mental challenges in life. Well, today we ban one tomorrow another crops up. Instead of emphasizing on the cure it would be great if we concentrate on prevention (the root cause).

Creating positive atmosphere at home is a very important factor for the kids mental and emotional wellbeing. Healthy arguments and discussions with a plethora of inquisitiveness and questioning can create an optimistic mental well-being. We may not be able to answer all of them, or may not have enough time for their curiosity. But listening to them with patience and interest without judging their questions will win the trust of a child. Our genuine interest in their curiosity can make a huge difference in their confidence. The child will find solace in us if any question or a problem. On the other hand, we have had the advantage of patience evolving in us.

By trying to keep our insecurities, temperament and impatience at bay at least in front a child, we are in a high gain mode. Kids will eventually start feeling ‘Heart is where the home is ‘

  1. Children have self-esteem too
    Since we are born a few years earlier than our children, it doesn’t qualify us to be their boss. Also, neither can we claim that we are smart. We have our share of flaws and kids have theirs too. They have all the rights to let us down, not obey, and argue with us. I wonder, how does ‘obey us because we have said so’! make any sense? The kids should respect and love us, not obey us just because we ordered. We have to gain respect from them and treat them with respect too.
    Every child regardless of any age has the right to be treated with respect (the exact same respect which we expect from others).

The inherent quality of a child is to always impress his parents. They act silly, they dance, they sing, they try act good etc. just to make sure that the parents are happy with his actions. Just because they do not meet our expectations at certain times doesn’t give us any right to ill-treat a child, reprimand, make fun of them in front of others and compare them with other children.
The result: It will challenge the self-worth of a child and create a serious under communication problems with the parents. The children will start hiding things from us and this can aggravate to any level.

It’s high time we curtail our level of expectations from them, let them be children. Instead of letting them down with our presumptions let us work towards not creating a perfect child or a perfect parent. Because, that is Ideal. And, there is nothing called ‘ideal parenting’.

  1. Knowing what knowledge to impart?

The socio-economic conditions in India after the colonial rule forced us to believe that the only way to come out of poverty was by employment. The main emphasis on knowledge based education got shifted to education leading to employment. Unfortunately, this still continues, the whole lot of educational institutions are busy catering to our anxieties. They have become business like entities.
Now, one might ask “Does it mean that scholastic education not important at all?”. My answer would be,
“Of course yes, a child’s knowledge/education in science, technology, arts, mathematics, social sciences etc. is necessary. This can be very useful for his survival. But, life is much more than survival isn’t it? “

No-education can lead to ignorance .
But , education with ignorance will lead to self- destruction .
Do we really know we are a bunch of oblivious people with degrees?
Then, what really is education?

‘Sa vidhyaya ya vimukthaye’ which means, education is the one which uplifts the soul, or liberates the person. At one read, the above sentence seems to be an over the head and out of the world spiritual sentence, but it isn’t. In simple words it means ‘Real education is one which helps us in leading a stress free, blissful and happy life. An education which teaches us to be a socially responsible person. An education which teaches us to raise above the survival mindset.

But, by swinging a bit to the other end, are we losing the balance and real emphasis of education?
Are we torturing our children and ourselves with expectations and comparisons? Wouldn’t it be much nicer and stress-free if we shift our focus from examinations, marks, achievements and success?
Should we all sit and relax with a relief that people with professions like bartenders, barbers, masseuse, dancer, pole dancers, sous chef etc. are leading a decent life? Not all the folks with white collar jobs are happy and not all the other collared ones are dying with hunger.
The catch here is ‘creating an environment such that they are honest in whatever they do in life, ‘Do good in what you do’.

This mindset can relieve a major stress in children. That they are not living to please us or meet our expectations. The tension free life can make them better thinkers, creators and human beings.

To be mentally strong is an endeavor which cannot be achieved by insecurity and playing the victim card.

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How to raise a confident child?

 

 

The above topic is so captivating that many of us, ‘The parents’ would want to click on the article right away and like to know the exact ‘What’s, How’s, Do’s and Don’ts’s? ‘of raising a confident child. We want a readymade recipe to work immediately.  Unfortunately, we are so used to taking advices that we have actually stopped listening to our heart.

Firstly, shall it be a good start that we ask ourselves a very sensible question?

 

 “Why is that I want my child to be confident?”.

 

If the answer is because,

  • I want my child to achieve accomplishments and succeed in life
  • I want my child to be better than the others, excel in everything he/she does
  • Confidence is very much required for him/her to lead a particular lifestyle
  • The world is very competitive, therefore being confident will help him to compete effectively

Then, I am afraid this article will not interest you much. But, instead if your heart says,

  • I want my child to lead a well- balanced and a holistic life. confidence is one of the important tool for a harmonious being
  • I want my child to be aware that, being confident doesn’t mean success always. Because, being successful is not the goal in itself.
  • Believing in one’s abilities in spite of failures and successes.
  • Trusting and confiding in parents

The article may ring a bell in one’s ears. Now, let’s dissect the bona- fide meaning of the trait ‘Confidence’.

Confidence is a state of emotional well- being. This state of emotional and mental harmony helps to influence self and others (leader) into a symphonic life. A confident person believes in himself and expects no green signal from others for his abilities. He is like a well blossomed scented flower with many petals which contribute to the sacrosanct delight. Hence, a few below petal layers in building a confidence are discussed.

  1. Raise yourself before you raise your child – Sadguru.

Parents are the first teachers to the children. We need to sink in the fact as early as possible that kids observe and follow the parents. THEY ARE DEAF EARED MOST OF THE TIME on THE Do’s and Don’ts’s.

It is certainly a tough world, and our children have to make their way out in a crowded place. But, shall we leave it for them to figure out what kind of place this world is! let them create their own space. Instead of meddling with their day to day activities and ceasing their confidence. What an asset it would be for our children if we, in order to raise a confident child will provide an environment for them to think, question, fail and blossom. How wonderful it would be if we set ourselves as an example, behave and act in such a way that a child takes us as a role model.

 

  1. For a child to be confident, one of the most important factor is Trust. A child has to trust his parents, and has to feel confident enough to confide his feelings. This trust the child has in his parents will make him comfortable and confident. The child will believe that the parents are there with him for who he is, and not what he will become. This can bring an overall development in children’s personality. Therefore, it is a wise idea to think twice before making negative statements about anything.

 

  1. We are all in a world busy catering to the incessant demands of our lives. Never ending desires, ambitions, insecurities and material comforts have concealed us.

Have we become quite oblivious to what is happening around and within us? Whilst, busy making children independent are we making them aloof and alone? A real challenge for us the ‘parents’ who hardly get a minute to be ourselves, is spending quality time with the children.

A time spent by doing activities together like reading books, singing, gardening, drawing and painting etc. brings the best in the child. He shall feel more confident and involved with the parent. I hope not that there is a day which I fear that, ‘our tablets, gadgets, and e-media will take place of us’ and our kids will need us no more for emotional security

 

  1. Initial ten years in a child’s life is all about daunting inquisitiveness and their bombarding questions. Let us not forget that we were doing the exact same thing when we were kids. Somewhere our parents might have patiently answered most of the questions, sometimes they would have been embarrassed with some of our questions and they chided us. Expecting more questions from a child and embarrassments will help us to gear ourselves with the armor. The more they ask questions, the more confident a child can be. Also, in the background these never-ending questions can make us be a patient parent and a better human being. Because, we would tend to see the world in the whole new view and dimension. But, with the revolution in digital media and search engines the information is easily available to the children these days. It can be a herculean task for a parent to compete with the WIKI.

 

  1. Sometimes wonder why there is so much pressure to be a parent these days. That too ‘ideal/good parent’. Have we lost ourselves and are too busy in proving the world and ourselves that we are good and caring? Why is there always a class (karate, tennis, boxing, swimming…) and a tuition a child has to attend, at the cost of their playtime? The kid is expected to do good in his studies and also excel in these extra-curricular stuff. No one has ever become great attending these many classes without their heart being into them. May be some percentage of them have but, is this the goal, really! Isn’t it a good idea that we spend some time and figure out the burning desire of a child what he wants to do, if we observe carefully even a 3-year-old has his interests sorted out. We adults have burdened our lives with extra baggage’s, let us not ruin their confidence and carefree attitude.

 

  1. Globalization has been making waves these days, there is exchange of knowledge in all forms and directions. We Indians are representing India on a larger scale on global platform like never before. One of the very important contributor in a man’s self- confidence is knowing his county well enough so that he can add value to the image ‘India’. The philosophy of the great nation, it’s heritage, it’s history and back falls are very much required for a person to feel content. A person’s sense of pride will suffice only when he will know the country well and believes that he has a future in this country in-spite of its pitfalls.

 

From some of the above discussions it is very evident we the parents contribute more to the children’s confidence than we believe to do so. We shall all take a chance and guide our children right from a young age to be confident.  rather than spending bucks on personality development programs in future. By helping our children in leading a harmonious life we are catering to the responsibility of creating a wonderful society.

More information can be found at www.sunidista.com

 

 

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Fixing the Fixation

 

Sweta had been quite phlegmatic about her job for the past many years. However, her friends and classmates have moved up the ladder a decade ago. She still is continuing as a junior engineer in an Indian firm. Well, the reason for her not being very ambitious and successful is not because of her in- capabilities. But her 12 year and 9-year-old daughters Anu and Abha had taken their mom’s priority.

“Mooooom can we invite our friends over a party this Saturday. My friends love the pasta, the nachos dips and your home made burgers. They have been wanting to come since weeks and they say that you are the best cook in the world”, beamed Anu.  Although Sweta had other plans on that day, Anu’s request was a kind of a ‘fait accompli’ she could not refuse to say NO.

“Okay dear invite them, I shall bake a strawberry cake too”, she said and looked at her watch.

“Oh crap! It’s 7.30 am already”, she freaked out..packed all the lunch boxes, by then the house maid rang the bell ,“ Amma, how many times I have asked you to come by 7.00 am. We all need to leave by 8.00 am sharp “lamented Sweta.

Husband Anand gave shout from behind “Swetu, please can you take out my blue shirt for today. And where the hell is my towel for God’s sake?”

“Anand, towels are drying the balcony as usual. Your blue shirt is in the wardrobe, please give me 5 minutes or go and get it out yourself. I am very busy right now”, snapped she.

After a while, she was taking out her clothes and Anand’s stuff out of the wardrobe. She glanced at the mirror once as luck would have had it. Only to see a bloated tummy, sagged breasts, double chin and not well maintained face. Frantically she looked at her palm, they had become dry and hard, nerves were popping out of her hands.  For a second she thought if it was really her!

Hastily she dressed herself up, looked at the mirror once again and started shooting her questions, “Anand how do I look? Does the outfit fit me well? Do I look fat?”

He replied whimsically, “It’s ok, you look good. Now you hurry up we are late.”

Sweta was not convinced with his reply. She perhaps was expecting a compliment (she wouldn’t mind even if it was a fake). She hit back gloomily, “Anand am I getting on in years, look at my body, my palm and my face.” Anand soothed her and said. “You are 45 dear. You run around all day long taking caring of the house, the job and the kids. Do not worry that’s how life is; you still look like a million dollars”. Why don’t you go for a walk or do yoga to reduce your weight? also to keep you healthy and fit!

“I don’t know if I have to take this as a candid compliment. Well hmmmmm husband’s advice… even though not seeked. Where do I have time for myself?”, thought she, picking up Anand’s wet towel from the bed. Meanwhile Abha shrieked indignantly from the living room “Mom I don’t like chapatti for lunch. Why did you pack them?” With a big sigh she ignored Abha and ran to the auto stand.

On her way to office she was thinking of the days that have gone by, time had moved quickly. Even Anand was not the same man who proposed to her during her collage days. He had started dyeing his hair now. A tiny pot was permeant in front of his tummy. He had no flair for a boyish liaison anymore.  He had become a busier man. Unlike in 20’s and 30’s when a man is occupied in dating, getting married and busy having kids. He was in his 40’s a phase when a person is pretty much settled personally and wants to concentrate more on his career and his commitments. Also the midlife hormones had kicked in and he seemed to be pre-occupied and opinionated most of the time.

While walking down the aisle these many thoughts crossed her mind.

“So what! this is how millions of them lead their life, I am happy with my family, what extra do I need?”. “I have tried all the diets, exercising for an hour (although quite irregular). Also, I have no have time for myself. I wonder how others are so nicely maintained. Well, maybe not in my genes.”

“Also, it’s ok I am not pushy in my carrier. Because I am not very good in handling home and office both. I do not want to come home guilty, not able to concentrate on office and at home.”

She consoled herself and put her handbag on the office desk. She had been working there for the past 15 years. And was kind of an old lion there, though she worked only for 4 days a week.

“Sweta, today a vendor is visiting us for the new chip we are purchasing for our hardware module. Please do meet him. I hope you have seen his quotations?” said her immediate boss who was 7 years younger to her.”

“Of course I will, I have been doing this for years now “she mumbled, picked up her diary and went to meet the vendor.

There he was sitting a tall man in his mid 40’s. He had come prepared for the presentation with his apple MacBook. With his suit and a tie, he looked quite cut a dash. As soon as he saw her, he stood up brought his hand with gesture and said,

“Hello Madam, I am Vinod, I am the COO of a startup which I ventured 3 years ago etc. etc.…….” gave a resplendent project presentation”. He spoke with such an eloquence and ease that she was totally in awe of him. While she was noting down the minutes of the meeting. Vinod interrupted her in the middle and said,” madam you have a contagious charm which compliments your beautiful handwriting”. Sweta did not know how to react, she just smiled.

They finished the meeting, shook their hands and left. But that compliment left her weak in her knees. She wanted to believe everything he said. All she could think of was that chivalrous gentleman.

It was a lovely day without having to worry about what to cook for dinner too, her usually busy daughters and husband were with her giggling and making fun of each other at the restaurant.” what a perfect life she thought”, but deep down there was something missing.

After a week, a special mail popped in her mail box it said.

Dear Mrs. Sweta,

Good morning,

I must admit that I googled you and looked at your profile on Facebook. I noticed that you are in friends with Keshav, and he is my best pal. He told me that you were his classmate. Had a chance to look at his class photographs, you look amazing. Nice to see that you have maintained the charm. Keep your smile coming.

See you later. Be in touch.

Vinod. G

Chief Operating Office

Ventura Technologies

She was shocked to see such a personal mail in the office.” Mm….Mmm, typical men. Trying to flirt, how dare he flirt with me so directly.” Vehemently she rejected the business proposal from Ventura technologies stating, ‘Price quoted high compared to Base11 Technologies.’

But they say, what goes around comes around, instant karma these days. After a month when she went to her daughter’s school for the parents meeting. She met Vinod at school. This time her heart missed a beat. She tucked her tummy in and with a grin she greeted, “Hello, how come you are here?”.

Well, my daughter studies the same school too”, started the conversion. After a while they realized that both of their daughters are friends and study in the same class.

“Aunty, you make very nice pasta, and burgers. Anu has invited me for the party this weekend. I am very excited to come over “, said Nidhi jumping around.

“Well, it’s a small world” said Vinod with a sausy smile. He continued “Anu, you are lucky to have a great cook as your mother”. The conversation continued while the kids were busy chatting with their friends. Sweta and Vinod spoke about their spouses, their kids and their studies, their insecurities books and what not. Exchanged their numbers too.

Although, it was just a flight of fancy, they were always looking forward to chat with each other. Probably they needed a confidant and no judgment in person. Who would hear each other without any strings attached. Or perhaps just a fling for a feel good factor. But, things started to change for Sweta for sure. A sweet sensation of restlessness crept over her. She went bananas.

Sweta had a new lease of life, she was her usual self, charming and happy. She was more conscious that someone was noticing her and began to dress up and take care of her. Over the past many years, her life was only revolving around the children’s education, children’s upbringing, children’s classes, home management and her laid back office. A fresh tide of verve brought a new air, she started feeling like a teenager with her new acquaintance.

Six months had passed by, their chats continued. Until one day they suddenly stopped coming, in spite of her continuous texting.

“Aw! Looks like I have yielded too much ludicrously. Maybe he thought that I was trying to have an affair! Orrrrr was it to seclude himself with the new found fondness? I bet he was a flirt and might have found another one. By the way, what was I trying to achieve from these chats and messages? She wondered in a quandary.”

One fine day after a week, she received a message from him saying “Thanks for all the messages. Have a good day!”

It was a very clear indication that Vinod was trying to wean her off. But why no one knew, maybe neither he! A wonderful experience and an adrenaline rush seemed to have ended abruptly.

She silently pondered.

“Does a woman always need a man to compliment and appreciate her? Do I really need a person to remind me that I have to love and take care of myself! Why couldn’t I be myself? Why was I not cheerful? Why did I get lost somewhere these many years! Woman, it’s time to pull oneself up together.”

‘I have no business in judging other person. All I know is that, I got very lucky to have experienced a feeling at this juncture of life.  Is it true that? there are people in your life for a reason and we have to be sensitive and respond to what they have to convey or teach you. I shall secure my memory basket and move ahead, for the life has to offer some more always. I appreciate and feel gratified’

She wrote in her dairy and put the lights OFF.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Keep Calm Thy World is the same

keepcalmstudio-com-crown-keep-calm-thy-world-is-the-same

The print media, the social media, the countless news channels have been undoubtedly the powerful medium of communication in today’s world.  These mediums, of course with the vested interests of most of the politicians and corporates manipulate our minds and bestow upon us a certain make- believe stories as convictions. Therefore, it is very natural that every time we see the newspaper or tune into a radio, switch on to a TV, login into the internet most of us end up feeling petrified. The violence, the uncertainties, the riots, the market tensions, joblessness, wars etc. make us weak and insecure. The city/country/ seems unsafe and we lament about the world not being a safe haven anymore.

Now the question arises, are we really safe?  Has the good old bygone era gone forever?  Was the world a better place to live in, earlier? To answer these questions let me quickly flip through the pages of the world history which have been divided into brief periods. Although dividing the history of millions of years to a perfect distinction is a daunting task, an attempt has been made to highlight a few key points.

Period-I (Stone Age and Bronze Age)

The Stone Age food gatherers were in a constant war against each other. The study of skulls shows that they were evidence of violence against women (death blows). The much later Bronze agers too repetitively fought with each other over the land, food, women etc.

Meanwhile, amidst all these chaos somewhere a wheel was getting modernised from the early Chalcolithic age. A sailboat was being built, bronze and cast iron were used and hunting was improved. People were rejoicing their baked bread for the first time.

Period-II (Early civilization)

The subsequent page of the human history articulates the fact that, albeit the saga of the killings, the atrocities of wars continued, the people learnt to be more human like. Great civilisations were established, houses / colonies were built (Evidence of Sanitation and drainage system); farming was modernised by new tools and crops. This obviously reflects that the period II people were better off than the previous ones.

Period III (a span of 2400- 1000 years ago)

The book Republic by Plato (380BC, 2400 years ago) highlights the clear picture of how the society was back then. The Peloponnesian (Athens and Sparta) war at the cost of many lives, the blind beliefs and sacrifices in the name of god had prevailed in abundance.

Moving forward from the era of Plato and Socrates we enter into the barbaric invasions of Alexander the Great, the great battle of Kalinga by Emperor Asoka and then Changez khan from Mongolia who killed millions. Meanwhile, the parody was that most of the people in other parts of the world have had a peaceful sleep as if the world was in utmost peace.

It is during this entire period of 1000 years the world saw the birth of democracy, paramount patronization for arts and literature, foundations for greatest buildings and monuments were laid and the roads were getting built.

Period IV and V (The last 800 years from now)

The last 800 years (from 2016) can be considered as the modern period, the era of renaissances, revolutions, inventions and discoveries. The world is no longer a slave of many deadly diseases like plague, malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis and flea bites, which once took away millions in one stretch into their death tentacles. A considerable amount of people are accessible to the basic life requirements. Information and accessibility are at fingertips, travel and transportation have been easy. Life has become more relaxed and comfortable compared to all our old folks.

Mankind has long forgotten the deadly ethnic cleansing of aboriginals in Australia, North and South America, highlanders in Scotland, invasions and butchering in Asia. The scars of ill-fated civil wars, World wars and colonial atrocities have been healed and faded in memory, making way for new ones to come.

The concluding takeaway from this article is that,

A Man has been the most dangerous animal of all the lot and will continue to be so in future too. The disputes and issues we see, hear and worry about today are not new, the world has seen bad times and the worst is yet to come. There has always been an auto-balance mode activated in the past and the realm has adjusted itself and balanced the good and bad times. Therefore, instead of moaning and brooding over the obvious, our intelligence lies in accepting the auto-balance system.

It’s high time that we turn deaf ears to the half -baked, stale and doctored information we get from the medium of communication. It’s perfect time to shun the spurious aura created by the political and corporate potboilers, move on in life with the mantra ‘KEEP CALM THY WORLD IS THE SAME ‘.

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This isn’t another Travel Blog

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This is not another travel blog,

The land of mesmerizing tulips farms, breathtaking country side by the windmills and the lip-smacking Dutch cheese were the call of this year’s spring in Netherlands. We decided to chuck Amsterdam from our list (blunderous decision for many of you, for obvious reasons) because it’s rather amusing to find most of the European cities the same.

It is very rare that one travels to a foreign country and comes back with a few lessons for a life time, apart from the cool photographs to post on the Facebook wall.

It was the month of May that we landed in Amsterdam, as expected the unflappable fresh breeze with a sweet scent of flowers welcomed us.  There was a lot of canals (big and small) across the country. The tiny and large windmills were busy at work, flapping their heads across the flat landscape (whole of Netherlands is flat with No mountains at all).

Our tour to Volendam village and cheese factory began with Diana. She started explaining us about Netherlands being 7mts below the sea level .Every time during the high tide, the sea crept itself into the land with its tentacles and made it  swampy . Plus, the two main rivers added to the plight and flooded most of the country.

She said, “If not taken care of this water logging issue, three -quarter (more than 65%) of Netherlands would be submerged under water”.

She explained that the combinations of canals and dykes (embankments/ walls across the canals) prevent the sea water into flowing to the land. The pump stations and windmills, pump the water back into the sea through canals which otherwise will make the soil more marshy and unfit for irrigation.

 Holland

Well, with a little background information it is hard to imagine how many years the Dutch have constantly fought with nature without giving up?

The answer is, Over a several hundred years!

And, finally have come up with the above water management system. This great effort of theirs seemed very commendable to me, inadvertently they taught me below the lessons of life,

  • ‘The powerful desire to survive is far more prolific than the desire to give up’

Their never-ending struggle for survival against all odds has made the country what it is today.

  • ‘The qualities you have are your strengths, use the traits you have and make a positive change in life rather than complaining about what you don’t have’

Instead of complaining about marshy land, flooding plains and heavy winds they have worked on and developed their harbours to build the world’s first MNC ‘the Dutch east India Company’.

  • ‘All the problems have solutions unless you have figured it out’

 

  • Natural Calamities are God’s act until you have learnt how to tackle them

One can visualize a country as a whole achieving this great feat backed with a heap of money. I could not resist but ask the guide

“Diana, where do you get all the money from? Maintaining this stuff is quite a herculean task, isn’t it?”

She replied, “Taxes, almost all of us pay taxes honestly, this tax money is spent on our development .we have very less corruption in our country.”

My heart missed a beat while I compared the statistics to India. The entire country of India collects only about 3 % of income tax, all incomes included (Excluding the below poverty line which is about 21.9 %).  The meagre of 3% of the tax collected is lost in corruption. According to the statistics of ‘transparency international for the year 2015, ‘the corruption perception index for India is 38 while Netherlands is 87 (5th best corruption country in the world)

In retrospect of the above statistics, we can infer that ‘good infrastructure and basic necessities’ comes with a price. None of the governments have money; they either run or ruin the show using the public money.

Now, the question arises,

What share does the government have in corrupting the system and how much of this is a political situation than a personal greed?

The personal greed of an industrialist and a minister corrupts the system to release harmful chemicals into the river.

The personal greed of a business man and a man in the government has added harmful chemicals in the food and drinks which are lethal.

The personal greed of a road contractor/ builders corrupts the government to make pitiable roads and buildings.

The so- called personal desires at the cost of ethics and values to the mankind are blaming the government for being corrupt.

I have learnt a lesson that instead of passing the bucks  on to politics and government , I , as an induvial with values and ethics is equally responsible ( with government) to build a nation

‘It is us who are part of the country and government, not the other way round’

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What is the yardstick of our character? –The Values

Today, are we living in a society which is consumerized? Are, our happiness and sorrows directly proportional to our possessions, be it material or social? The thrust for wanting, achieving and succeeding have become the sole idea of personal satisfaction. With this kind of goals in life, there is a high possibility that one may end up being restless and void from deep within.

Polarised thinking is taking us to unknown boundaries; there is an edgy colleague, wife/husband, friend, child, parent, boss, etc. in all of us and, ironically we grumble about others being unfair and the world being an unpleasant place.

As explained in my previous article, we have to streamline our thoughts and concentrate more on values in our life. The values determine the character and ethics of a person i.e.  A man’s character is governed by his/her ability to handle and react to a particular situation.

Let me state a few examples to understand how values can contribute to our personality,

  1. Imagine a situation where a student has worked day and night for the exams and has expected to secure about 60 %. Instead, he /she end up with 30% marks. The following thoughts pop up.
  • “I am a dumb head, cannot even pass the exams”.
  • “This is the end of my life, how will I be able to face my friends and parents”
  • “The exam paper evaluator was not good enough”

 

  1. An employee who is never happy with his job, colleagues and salary has to go to an appraisal meeting. He assumes that he is working very hard and deserves a salary hike. But, discovers that instead of him Mr X has been promoted. The below thoughts conceal him,
  • “Why does this always happens to me?”
  • “I wonder how Mr X got an increment, I know, he always licks boss’s feet. He knows very well how to get on the top”.
  • “The manager is not good enough to recognise my hard work”.

 

  1. A certain mother observes that her friend’s kids have been doing well in studies, art, singing etc. while her own daughter is an average. The following feelings make her anxious and restless
  • “The world is a tough place, what will she do if she doesn’t score well and have a good job?”
  • “She is very adamant, doesn’t listen to me at all. She has picked those horrifying qualities from my husband”.
  • “I will enrol her into a tuition class and help her, but, where will I get the money for her classes? I have to work hard and make more money”. She sighs with a grief “These days life is nothing without money”.

 

  1. Mr Sharma reads a mail from his brother which says “Hi Bro, I have been promoted again in my company, leaving for U.S next month. Call you later….” The below opinions are running in his mind.
  • “My brother is a lucky chap since childhood, he is been getting all the perks in life. My life kinda sucks, I have to struggle for everything”.
  • “I have a lot of problems in life, mine is not easy as his, and he knows that yet still he makes me green with jealousy”.
  • “Mr X, always compared me with my brother, I should prove him and myself that I am good and can do wonders too”.

 

With just a couple of the above- mentioned examples, the following conclusions can be clinched.

 

The employee at the appraisal desk has overestimated and believed (which most of us do) that he has been slogging for the company while his colleague was reaping success instead. The underlying reason behind his misery is that,

‘Unfortunately he is working for his boss, his company, his friends and his colleagues. A person can never be unhappy when he works for his improvement and joy’.

 

The student is lacking self- confidence, perseverance, and foresightedness to think that life is much more than exams. As Swami Vivekananda rightly said,

 ‘Majority of us cannot see beyond a few years, just as some animals cannot see beyond a few steps’.

 

The mother is anxious because she is trying to over protect her child. She has the notion that success is the only pavement for her daughter’s progress in life. The world has a place for each and every induvial, who has the knack for survival.Instead of figuring out what the daughter is interested, she is judging her by worrying ‘why my daughter is not as good as her friends’?

 

Mr Sharma is unable to appreciate the goodies in his kitty, because, he is always busy comparing himself to others. Only if he had faith and belief in himself that he is worthy .He would not lose his energy and self- esteem to prove something to someone and more importantly to himself.

Is that, we always have that one person or situation to blame? Do we always enjoy the melancholy of playing a victim card?

I hope, by now we all have realised that scholastic activities are not an end in themselves. Our education, should, by and large, include the values we gather over a period of time and, have used it as a tool to build our life, career, ethics and principles.  These traits will influence and affect our near and dear ones and in turn our society. Therefore, it’s rather a careful choice one has to make between being a constructive or destructive contributor to the society.

I am signing off with a small story from a book about ‘cognitive intelligence’ which I read recently.

The Greek philosopher Socrates was sitting outside the city gates of Athens when a certain man came to him and says” I am thinking of moving to Athens, what is it like living here” Socrates looks up at him and answers “I would gladly tell you if you would tell me how is it like where you live now?” the man replied “Terrible! The people are back- stabbers, jealous and thieves. I have no real friends there “Socrates frowned and replied, “well, you had best be on your way because you find the same thing in Athens”.

After some time, another man approached and said that he was also considering moving to Athens. Once again the old philosopher asked him the same question “what was your experience in the place you live now?” The man smiled and replied “Wonderful! People are friendly, caring and you are treated with love and respect” Socrates smiled and said, “Then, Welcome to Athens my friend, you will find the same kind of people here”.

In simple words,

 ‘We are what our mindsets are. Our experiences, our values and our attitude determine how we look world at ’.

In the next article, we will discuss in more detail about

  1. Whom should we go to seek values in life?
  2. How our values affect our children?
  3. How can we influence our children and create better future for the society?

 

 

 

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