#mommyreviews: ” The Woman That I Am”

Dear Readers,

I hope you enjoyed my first book review and here I am with my second review. The second book that I chose from the #blogchatterEbookcarnival was “The Woman That I am”, an anthology curated lovingly by Rashi Roy and Manas Mukul. It is a very commendable initiative by them and has given opportunity of getting published to many new writers.

Background

The seeds of this anthology were sown when Rashi and Manas came together to create a blog hop under their banner RRxMM on “The Woman That I Am” around the #internationalwomensday. The amazing response received from bloggers, encouraged them to convert this into an anthology.

The anthology includes poems, essays and stories by 30 writers from various walks of life. It is enriched by viewpoints of bloggers, poets, educationists, entrepreneurs, engineers, management graduates, corporate careerists and so on. The book in its entirety captures the essence of a woman – through the voices of these 30 writers. Some may have been cliched but most went into beautiful nuances.

It is a bilingual book and contains poetry, fiction and non-fiction in English and Hindi. Hence there is something for everyone but those who enjoy all three genres and both the languages would enjoy the book immensely. I kind of enjoyed the meandering flow of the book as it moved effortlessly from essay to verse to story switching between the two languages.

My review

The cover is attractive – the woman in orange, a stark contrast to the dark background catches ones eye immediately. The title of the book in orange complements the photograph. The photograph itself reflects the book title very well – “The Woman That I Am”

The topic is close to my heart, I could relate to many pieces and many others moved me emotionally. Some pieces may come across as a bit cliched, but quite a few touch varied aspects of a woman’s life and are beautifully nuanced. While it is difficult to talk about each and every piece in the review, let me touch upon some of my most favorite ones.

The book starts off with the title poem by Rashi Roy that pretty much captures every woman’s story and sets a good base for the rest of the book. Manas Mukul reveals the multiple facets of a woman in his verse “She Can Be Forever”.

Ye jo aurat main hun” by Priya Priyamvada was easily my most favourite piece – encapsulating a father daughter relationship and how it forged her as a woman. Very moving writing that made me long for my own father, who I lost 2 years ago.

“I am a woman” by Deepika Sharma – is a beautiful story that shows that a mother is beyond gender, a mother is someone who nurtures. “An ode to Womanhood” by Deepti Sharma shows another aspect of motherhood. How so many women don’t even realise that while slipping into the various roles of mother, wife and daughter, they seem to forget who they actually are. This loss of individuality is perhaps the most terrible loss. “I Make Her The Woman She Is” by Supriti Garg is a poignant story about a woman and her soul and touches similar sentiments on the loss of individuality.

Janaki Srinivasan’s “Loving tribute” is a touching tribute to her domestic help. It shows that inspiration can come from anywhere and each one of us can be an inspiration to others by just being the best that we can be. It reminded me of a blog I wrote about two years ago on the range of women who shaped me into what I am today.

When I read Meera V’s introduction, I suspected I will really like whatever she has written, and I was not disappointed! “Sanity in Sanitary Pad” is an extremely witty piece and highlights very relevant issues in a lighter vein. I smiled throughout the verse – the conversation between abdomen and brain is the best! Though I would preferred if it was called uterus. I look forward to reading more stuff from her!

 “The Turmoil Within” – by Noor Anand Chawla is a story of a woman who finally learns to assert herself, created in the backdrop of recent Delhi riots.

Kyun Main Dun Agni Pariksha” by Sangya Nagpal, written from the point of view of Seeta raises pertinent questions – questions that are valid even in today’s context. Women continue to have to prove themselves – then and now.

“The woman that I am” by Nidhi Rawal Gautam is a strong unapologetic poem by a woman confident of herself and comfortable in her skin. I simply loved it. “Magnificent speck of stardust” by Namrata Varadharajan is also a nice, well worded poem that I enjoyed reading. “The Woman You Knew” by Srivalli Rekha is another well written poem about the awakening of the woman within.

“All Of Me” by Swarnali Nath is beautifully written and her words come alive to form visuals – I was lost in the lyrical expressions soon after I started reading.

“Judged” by Ujjwal Mishra is a hard-hitting poem showcasing women from all walks of life and how regardless of what they do or where they are, judgement never ceases.

Finally, I want to end the review with one of the essays that resonated most with me and my own beliefs. “I Believe in Me” – by Neeraja Ganesh gives some very powerful life lessons. She talks about the importance of knowing what you want and then to go for it by putting all you have in that pursuit. All the while not being apologetic for it. Many women hesitate to go for what they want, worried about what people will think, or whether the family will support or sometimes their own guilt. She quotes very rightly – “Opportunities don’t happen, you CREATE them”.

What could have been better

There are many places in the book where one feels the chapters are more like individual blogs than part of a larger book. For instance, one would continue to find references of the blog hop or international women’s day. Since a book is timeless, ideally these references could have been removed. Many titles were also very similar – naturally since the blog hop was called “The Woman I am” – but these could have been changed for the book as it gets a bit repetitive. I also noticed a few editing issues at various places.

I also would have liked to hear some more from men – of the 30 entries, only one was from a man – Manas. Of course, I understand that this came from a blog hop – where most entries would have been from women – but perhaps a few curated entries could have come from men too – always good to have gender balance – either way 😊

Conclusion

On the whole I would really like to congratulate Rashi Roy, Manas Mukul and all the contributors for a very good effort. I would recommend people to read it.  

This book is a part of the #blogchatterEbookcarnival and you can download this book for FREE for a limited period at https://www.theblogchatter.com/download/the-woman-that-i-am-by-rashi-roy-and-manas-mukul/

You Can also download my ebook for FREE here: https://www.theblogchatter.com/download/raising-capable-children-by-sakshi-varma/

#MommyReviews: “Ji Ma to G Mom” – By Neha Jain

Dear Readers,

Excited to present my first ever book review – “Ji Ma to G Mom” by Neha Jain. The book showcases the life of a present day Mom and will be immediately relatable to all types of parents who rush to Google to solve all of their parenting problems! I started smiling soon after the first few pages, realising that I am as much a G mom as the author herself!

About the Author

Neha is a teacher, a blogger and mom to two lovely kids. This is her first e-book. In her own words, she is, “an imperfect mother in this imperfect world who faces new challenges daily while raising her kids”. How true for all of us I think.

About the Book

The book takes us through the daily experiences and incidents of a parent’s life – the fun times, the trials and tribulations and experiences that teach us life lessons. The book shows us how we can develop our children’s thinking and attitudes using simple everyday occurrences.

The book also talks about how technology is a double edged sword and while it helps us in raising our children in many ways, it also needs to be handled carefully, especially in the hands of our children.

My Review

The book cover is designed in bright catchy colours and the sign of the wifi gives a hint to what the book is all about, though the title may not immediately be obvious.

The content is easy to read and relate. Each chapter or topic is rich with examples from the author’s own life. I really liked the simple way in which the author conveys her thoughts and one can identify with a number of instances related in the book as well as a mother’s dilemma in handling them.

The book covers a wide variety of topics ranging from winning vs. participating; gifting vs. giving; making mistakes and learning from them; speaking your mind but respecting others’ feelings and so on. Each of them talk about handling the delicate balance, which is essential for parenting.

The chapters are independent of each other and one can pick and choose any chapter they feel like.

Hits and Misses

The author has chosen some very relevant issues in the book, but the book would have benefited from tighter editing and better flow. There is scope for improving grammar and the different chapters could have been structured along similar lines. The chapter headings in the contents table do not indicate the contents of the chapter. However, this is not something that is entirely necessary and is the author’s choice.

Conclusion

On the whole it is a great first effort by the author and I wish her the very best for this debut. This book is a part of the #blogchatterEbookcarnival and you can download this book for FREE for a limited period at https://www.theblogchatter.com/download/ji-ma-to-g-mom-by-neha-jain/

You Can also download my ebook for FREE here: https://www.theblogchatter.com/download/raising-capable-children-by-sakshi-varma/

#raisingcapablechildren: Z is for Zen

Today is my last post of this series and end of a hectic month of daily blogging. When sometime last year I decided to take on this challenge, I knew it is not going to be easy – but it became all the more hectic because of the lockdown. Working from home full day, along with managing household chores and three kids plus daily blogging (11 p.m. onwards) – phew! (thankfully both our mums are here and nanny and dear husband has been pitching in too – otherwise there is no way I would have been able to do this!) well anyway, to cut the matter short – all I can think of on the last day of the #blogchatterA2Z challenge is Z for Zen. Zen is a variety of Buddhism – but here I am using it in the way it is used in conversational language. It is the feeling of peace, relaxation and contentment.

But I haven’t picked Zen because of my state of mind. I think this is a state of mind that one should be seeking in life – more than joy or happiness, which I think are more momentary. At the end of my life, I know I want to be content and at peace with myself.

If my blogs from A to Y seemed like a parenting marathon, take a deep breath and exhale! Parenting was never easy and is definitely becoming more complex as the external influences on our children continue to increase. Less and less remains in our circle of influence. Hence it becomes important for us to be in touch with our children’s inner selves and try to understand what is going on inside their minds to guide them accordingly. Our key contribution to their development is the values, attitudes, skills and tools we give them as they get ready to take on the world.

But you know as I do that none of us can be perfect parents and neither will our children be perfect. I would be the happiest person on earth if by writing a parenting blog, I could become a perfect parent and successfully tackle all the challenges of modern parenting. But no, the reality is that I can just strive to guide my children in the best possible way. I get frustrated, so do my children, we have out tantrums and then make up. We have our set backs and then we start again. In all of this my companion is Zen. To be happy with what I have and to have known that I am trying my best. And yes, trying your best always is exhausting. So I take down time as and when I need it and so should you.

So coming back to Zen – it isn’t a quality I am suggesting to you only, this is something we should also inculcate in our children. For when they are adults and get weary with the treadmill of life, Zen is what they should be looking for. Or when they are frustrated by the constant race they are running, they should learn to stop and be content with what they have achieved and be happy with their efforts.

Let me share with you the last set of tips I have:

  1. Slow down: Make time to smell the roses on the way. Yep, I know that is difficult. But try to focus on the most important things you need to get done in the day and encourage your kids to do the same. Try avoid being all over the place with zillions of things to do. Draw a up a simple schedule for the day for yourself and your children and you will feel much more content at the end of the day when you see the ticks against work to be done. Make time to do the simple things in life together – have dinner together, engage in simple conversations, play games. Try to keep the weekends simple, at least a few of them, where we just focus on spending time with each other or friends and family. Cut out the excess noise from your life. Your way of living will definitely percolate down and influence how your children will decide to live their own lives.
  2. Simple Living:Saada Jeevan, uchcha vichar” “Simple living, high thinking”. Try and cut out unnecessary things from life – I know it does sound a bit impossible – but after more than a month of living in a lockdown, most of us have come to a realization of how little we need to live. Overflowing refrigerators, spilling cupboards, 20 types of shoes and bags are not really necessary. As you start leading simpler lives, your children will also learn to value the same.
  3. Don’t put constant pressure: don’t always have unrealistically high expectations from yourselves or your children. Don’t push for perfection. Sometimes, without realizing, we set our children up for failure. It’s great to be at the top or win the race or come at the top of the class, but it is not the end of the life if one doesn’t win. One can’t be on the stage all the time, there needs to be someone in the audience too. Just encourage your children to excel and put in their best efforts. Praise the effort and not the achievement. Always focus on the efforts and not the results – because it is a fact of life that you win some and lose some. A focus on efforts means that you will be satisfied as long as you have put in your best, the result is not always in our hand. Sounds a bit like the famous shloka in Geeta – “Karmanye vadhikarste, ma phaleshu kadachana” “Karma karo aur phal ki chinta mat karo” “do your job and don’t worry about the result”.
  4. Learn to be thankful: all of us who are reading this blog are amongst the most privileged in the world today. You have sight and you can read – i.e. your brain has its basic faculties. You have a device with an internet connection, if you are not a native English speaker then it means that you are privileged enough to have had a good education. You are easily able to afford 4 meals a day and then some. Your basic needs are easily met. Let us learn to be thankful and teach our children to do so too.
  5. Let’s not compare: comparison will never ever do us any good. Never compare your children to their siblings, friends or cousins or any other child on this planet. Do not compare yourself with how your batchmates are doing and how much they may be earning and how happy they seem compared to you. Or don’t get smug thinking you are doing too well or your children are the best. Because this is life – and things change. Learn to be happy where you are, be happy with your choices. Make informed choices and then don’t regret them later or compare them to other’s choices.
  6. Don’t take life too seriously: I am sorry I do. I am not practicing what I preach here – but it is an ongoing effort at my end to become a little less uptight!!! My husband who seems to be my total opposite in this aspect has been working on me for the last 15 years! His attitude shows in his parenting – he is able to make our kids have fun in any circumstance and get them to do anything. Just this morning I wanted to examine Abeer’s teeth (he is 3) and I was trying to get him to open his mouth without much success. Kapil just had to say “show me your dinosaur teeth”, and pop the mouth opened! Well the only point I am trying to make here is that deal with even serious situations light heartedly, don’t make big issues out of even the really big issues. Tone them down and look at them objectively. Learn how to get through to your kids and they will open their hearts to you.
  7. Practice mindfulness: I have already written about the importance of meditation in the blog on neuro efficiency. It helps create an inward focus and self awareness. It also promotes an indirect and subtle way to be thick skinned and be able to deal with situations objectively and in a calm manner.
  8. Smile, breathe and go slowly: finally, just smile as often as you can, breathe deeply and mindfully and enjoy the way more than the destination.

Bye bye and thank you so much for being with me in this journey. I hope to come back next year with another A2Z series and till then I hope to be doing my other regular blogs on parenting, disability and inclusion, inspiring women and travel stories. Do subscribe if you have enjoyed reading my posts.

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Read my other blogs on the series here:

Theme reveal

A is for Aiming High

B is for Being Brave

C is for Courage of Conviction

D is for Discipline

E is for Empathy

F is for Financial Awareness

G is for Gratitude

H is for Honesty

I is for Inclusion

J is for Joy

K is for Knowldege

L is for Language

M is for Magic

N is for Neuro efficient

O is for Observant

P is for Perseverance

Q is for Questioning

R is for Remembering your Roots

S is for Self Care

T is for Thinking Outside the Box

U is for Unique

V is for Versatile

W is for Witty

X is for Xcellence

Y is for Youth Power

#Raisingcapablechildren: Y is for Youth Power

We are the World, We are the Children – We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving”. As we reach the penultimate post of the #blogchatterA2Z challenge, let’s talk about Y for Youth Power and we come full circle to why I chose the topic of #raisingcapablechildren. Children and youth are the hope and future of this world. They are capable of bringing a fresh look and innovative thinking to any challenge and can help change the world. Youth play an important role in nation building. By raising capable children, you are doing your bit towards the world. You are bringing up confident, compassionate and determined children, each of who has the potential to make this world a better place.

Thirty one years ago, Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted and since then, a lot of progress has been made to improve the condition of children across the world. The number of stunted children has fallen drastically, many more children are going to primary school, polio has almost been eradicated. In many ways the world is a better place for children who are being born now. However, our generation is leaving a much more complex and fragile world for our children. Climate change is a huge concern, so is increasing inequality. Today the world is facing an unprecedented crisis in the form of a pandemic and technology has changed the way we live, work and communicate. The world is becoming more and more polarized and it seems that hate is being peddled much more than love. This open letter to the world’s children from UNICEF outlines some of these concerns very articulately.

Children and youth have something that the rest of us do not have – or rather lost it on our way to becoming adults. The belief that nothing is impossible and that they are invincible. They are yet to be touched by everyday mundane struggles of life and for them this world is full of possibilities and potential. Cynicism is not for them. It is this positivity, this energy that we need to harness.

As parents we need to have a vision that every child reaches his and her potential and is able to contribute to a better world through their skills and talents – be it their art or creativity or communication skills or their intellect. Let us raise capable children who will be the change agents this world needs. Let us give them that opportunity to light up this world with their love, compassion and positivity.

A lot of what I have already written in this series is just about that. Let me bring back a few of those thoughts here and share some more ideas for harnessing our children’s energy and help them reach their full potential:

  1. Instill compassion: according to me compassion and empathy are the first and foremost qualities to instill in our children. The ability to look beyond our own wants and needs. Encourage compassion and kindness in your child. Develop their empathy. Make them aware about the inequalities in the world and let them learn to be grateful. For more ideas check my blogs on empathy and gratitude.
  2. Make them aware: As our children grow up and understand the world around them, they will start to develop their own thoughts and perspectives. As parents we should expose them to national and global issues. We should discuss what is happening, share with them different perspectives (rather than just our own), and help them arrive at their own conclusions. Start involving them at dinner table discussions.
  3. Develop their self esteem and confidence: needless to say that if our children don’t value themselves or their ideas – they will not even be willing to share them – let alone implement them. I have noticed that recently my 10 year old has started to get involved in our discussions – he likes to give his opinions on my blogs or any brainstorming we may doing or what’s happening with the pandemic. We listen to him carefully and value his opinion. In fact, I changed my topic on N to Neuro efficiency because he was very sure about the topic. Encourage them to speak, to enact or implement their ideas.
  4. Help them find their niche: they will do their best in anything if that is what they like or have innate talent. A lot of times we make the mistake of wanting our children to mold into what we want them to become. A common question new parents are asked is – “what do you want him or her to become?” I always say, that’s not my decision to make, my job is to help them find what they like and help them to learn the skills that will help them get where they want to be. Rather than becoming and average engineer, or MBA, let them become a good or awesome dancer, designer, traveler, photographer, cook, comedian or a good citizen and a kind hearted person. The world needs all of them.
  5. Encourage them to volunteer: I believe volunteering is an important way to help children become agents of change. They are exposed to the various realities of life and are able to develop a mature understanding of them. I remember being exposed to a lot of volunteer work and non governmental orgsanisations during my childhood and college days. They played an important role in shaping my world view and choice of career. Explore such opportunities around your neighbourhood or school and encourage your children to participate.
  6. Encourage them to become an agent of change: today many schools and colleges bring national and global issues to their children in the form of essay contests, painting competitions, debates and so on. Many youth volunteer organisations open their chapters in schools, appoint their brand ambassadors and spread their message. Encourage your children to participate in such initiatives. Take for example Aarav Seth, he started blogging about environmental issues 3 years ago when he was just 8 years old. Over the years he has blogged about many issues around the environment and climate change and has become a strong advocate. He clearly  demonstrates that no age is too young to have a voice and make a difference.

Believe in the ‘power of one’. Change begins with a single person who believes in an idea. Seed this idea within your child – they have the power the change the world. With that I end my blog and look forward to your thoughts and ideas.

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Read my other blogs on the series here:

Theme reveal

A is for Aiming High

B is for Being Brave

C is for Courage of Conviction

D is for Discipline

E is for Empathy

F is for Financial Awareness

G is for Gratitude

H is for Honesty

I is for Inclusion

J is for Joy

K is for Knowldege

L is for Language

M is for Magic

N is for Neuro efficient

O is for Observant

P is for Perseverance

Q is for Questioning

R is for Remembering your Roots

S is for Self Care

T is for Thinking Outside the Box

U is for Unique

V is for Versatile

W is for Witty

X is for Xcellence

#raisingcapablechildren: X is for Xcellence

I remember being told in my childhood that it is not what you do that matters but how well you do it. Even if it is a lowly job, do it to the best of your capacity. This according to me is excellence. So on the 24th day of the #blogchatterA2Z challenge, I will be writing my thoughts on X for Xcellence. In very simple terms, excellence is the desire to perform your best and to work hard to achieve that desire. Excellence is an attitude and needs to be cultivated over the years. Some children may be naturally motivated to excel and others may need some prodding, but hopefully everyone can get there with the right guidance. For it is not about earning loads of money or fame or reaching the top of the corporate ladder or any ladder for that matter – excellence is just about reaching your potential. It is about improving ourselves continuously and consistently. Excellence is not the destination– it is a way of life.

Many parents encourage their children to achieve success, to become perfect. But I would prefer to encourage excellence. Success (as defined by society, my own definition is different) is external – it is a certain social station one hopes to achieve – status, privilege, money, position. This kind of success is also not fully in our hands – as a lot depends on circumstances and the ‘hand of fate’. But excellence is internal – it is driven by our own desire to excel, to improve. Perfection is also something I would perhaps not encourage as much as excellence. Firstly, because I believe perfection is an illusion – no one can be perfect. People who tend to think of themselves as perfect tend to look down upon others. But most importantly, perfection seems to be an end in itself – once you have reached perfection there is nowhere else to go – all learning stops there. Excellence on the other hand is a growth mindset – you continue to learn and become better. Striving for perfection can be demoralizing while that for excellence is inspiring.

But I am not sure how many children are born with an innate desire to excel. At least my elder one doesn’t seem to be born with that drive (I am hoping he will discover it soon!). He is happy to coast along, getting by. Any mention of hard work puts him off even things that he likes – for example he loves reading about rocks and fossils – but now that he has to make a presentation about it – and the reading becomes ‘research’ – I am having a hard time getting him to make notes. (phew!) Anyhow, he is just ten now and so perhaps continuing to work with below principles will hopefully yield some results.

Do read on for some of the tips I intend to use to encourage my son to strive for excellence:

  1. Understand you child and help him become self aware: I have talked about the importance of understanding your children in the previous blogs. It is important to understand what motivates them and what encourages them to work harder. It is also important to understand their learning styles. In addition, help them become aware of themselves as they grow old. Help them find out their likes, dislikes and passions. Help them assess their own strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Fuel their passion: As they grow old, help them identify their ‘passion’, ‘calling’, ‘purpose’ in life. What is it that they love doing? Work on their passion, encourage them, get them the right skill sets to pursue that passion. Encourage their efforts and improvements. Egg them on to continue to do better. (not to the point of exhaustion – that they lose interest).
  3. Let them set their own expectations: rather than having high expectations from them, encourage them to set their own expectations – “how do you think you will do in the upcoming exam?” “how many hours of practice/ preparation do you think you need to put in”. Don’t push them incessantly, instead, introduce the concept of goal setting. With grown up kids, introduce the concept of stretch targets – where they aim for something just a little out of reach.
  4. Encourage commitment: younger children will find it difficult to commit to interests or activities, but as they grow older, attention spans increase along with the ability to focus. Encourage them to commit themselves to tasks and goals and complete them in a given timeframe. Praise and incentivize commitment and diligence. Continuously motivate them to remain commited and tie it to integrity of character.
  5. Emphasize quality: continue to emphasize quality in whatever they do. Do not accept sloppy work – ask them to redo or improve. You may face obstinate behavior (I do.) But gently or firmly – as the situation demands, push them to do quality work. If they are tired and not interested in redoing – let them take a break but insist they improve. Keep in mind that you may have to sit with them an improve their work. It may be because of lack of knowledge or understanding, or it may be sheer laziness. In both cases, you will need to get involved.
  6. Consistency: excellence demands consistency. It is a constant endeavor. I had talked about practice and perseverance earlier. Consistent good work will lead to excellence – sporadic one off successes are likely to not last. Continue to engage with your children to help them keep their focus and remain consistent.
  7. Deal with their frustrations kindly: there is no doubt that there will be frustrations and meltdowns on the way. Sometimes it may be best to just listen and let them get over with the tantrum. Dealing with tantrums with a firm hand may be damaging. Be gentle and once they are over their frustration, remind them to come back to their goal/task. Have a fresh look at whatever was causing the frustration and try to find a solution. Many times, children may themselves be able to find their solution.
  8. Share stories, examples of excellence: I try to do this a lot. I try to show examples of hard work and excellence to my son as much as possible – usually picking these examples from whatever book he may be reading or shows that he is watching. By doing this I am hoping to instill some of these concepts in his mind which would help shape his thinking.
  9. Let them fail: it is good to learn to face consequences early on. Hence sometimes, it may be good to let them fail – especially when that failure means they lose something they aspired for. Let them face the consequences of procrastination or half hearted effort. Let them learn from their failure and help them figure how to do better next time.

Lastly, I believe excellence is all about constantly improving oneself – so I will repeat what I have said before – do NOT compare. With that I end my blog and look forward to your thoughts and ideas.

x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x

Read my other blogs on the series here:

Theme reveal

A is for Aiming High

B is for Being Brave

C is for Courage of Conviction

D is for Discipline

E is for Empathy

F is for Financial Awareness

G is for Gratitude

H is for Honesty

I is for Inclusion

J is for Joy

K is for Knowldege

L is for Language

M is for Magic

N is for Neuro efficient

O is for Observant

P is for Perseverance

Q is for Questioning

R is for Remembering your Roots

S is for Self Care

T is for Thinking Outside the Box

U is for Unique

V is for Versatile

W is for Witty

#raisingcapablechildren: W is for Wit

“Laughter is the best medicine” – an old saying but relevant for all times. So on the 23rd day of the #blogchatterA2Z challenge, let’s talk about W for Wit. Wit and humor are ingredients that promise to spice up our lives in any given situation. Wit is a form of intelligent humor. It is the ability to say or write things that are clever or funny. Staying humorous is an attitude one can cultivate and being clever or witty is a skill one can sharpen.

The ability to understand humor is a development milestone in a child’s life. It plays an important role in the cognitive, social, moral and emotional development of children. A social smile appears around 3 months and a one year old may be cracking up at peekaboo, because she has understood that it is her father behind those hands, and he will reappear, even if he can’t be seen now. (this is when they understand that things continue to exist even if they can’t be seen). But you may need to be a bit more creative if you want to get a 2- 3 year old into hysterics. They have started to understand ‘where things belong’ – so out of place expressions or things will be considered funny – weird faces or sounds or an underwear on your head or straws in your ears will draw hysterical laughter. A 6 year old may just yawn at that and walk away. Because he has started to understand the interplay of language – and simple jokes and puns now catch his attention.

Needless to say that wit and humor will make one a happier person and more popular. Wit gives a perspective that is different from the obvious. It helps one become more spontaneous and is usually spurred by an unconventional way of thinking. Wit makes people stand apart from others. And most importantly wit and humor allow people to look at the brighter side of things and not take themselves too seriously.

So let’s look at a few ways in which we can cultivate a sense of humor in our children and sharpen their wits:

  1. Make them Laugh: depending on their age, find things that make them laugh. Children’s laughter is one of the best sounds in the world and I love it when my husband gets the kids in hysterics. Whether it is physical comedy like making funny faces or acting as if he has fallen off the balcony or telling funny stories, my husband has proven himself in eliciting peals of laughter from our kids. When you make them laugh and they enjoy the situation, they will try to copy you and try engage you in similar situations to make you laugh.
  2. Encourage their humor: it is not necessary that what is hilarious for your kids will sound funny to you too. Or they may keep repeating the same joke again and again (Yaawwn). But never mind, just laugh with them. I remember the time my son had just discovered knock knock jokes, he would keep trying to make his own – many of which didn’t make sense! But we laughed along anyway! Help develop their sense of humor by sharing jokes, funny books, comedy shows and laugh together. My older son loves puns and riddles kind of humor and we have a great time exchanging jokes on that and finding joke books to read.
  3. Help your child be aware of other’s feelings, moods, likes and dislikes: in order to make others laugh successfully, your child needs to be tuned into their moods and body language. This is not really something that can be taught per se but explained and shown as situations arise. For example, if their joke does not elicit a laugh from their friends – help them understand why that might have been so. Maybe the friends didn’t understand the context or that they were busy eating the cake and not attentive to the joke or maybe the joke itself was not a great one anyway.
  4. Develop their language skills: language or communication are a big part of being witty. Being is witty is essentially making unusual connections between words and ideas. Hence a strong grasp of language is required. Encourage them to build a strong vocabulary and hone their grammar. Teach them how to express something in as few words as possible – for an important part of wit is brevity. Hone their language skills so that they can understand underlying humour, puns, one liners, punches, irony and so on. Once they begin to understand those, they can start using them to form their own witticisms.
  5. Help them become quick thinkers: another important part of being witty is the timing. The ability to put two and two together, find an incongruity and make a remark about it is only one part of being witty. Unless this whole thought process is carried out in a split second, the joke will be lost. A fun exercise would be to name things in a room one by one very quickly – it shows how quickly you can come up with a name for everything. In the second round name everything again but not the actual name – instead use an associated word. E.g. clock – timer, fan – air cooler etc. Repeat this exercise often around the house and you will find words coming to your child more spontaneously.
  6. Practice extempore speaking: this is another fun exercise that makes children think on their feet. Give any topic and let the child speak about it for a minute or few minutes. Encourage the child to make funny associations if possible. Or play a game when you say something and the child has to come back with a witty remark.
  7. Teach them to laugh at themselves: this requires a high self esteem and also an acknowledgement of one’s faults. Let them be aware of their quirks, their family’s quirks. Laugh about these things with each other. If they feel someone has been teasing them – find out the reason why and turn it into something to laugh about. It will help them develop a thick skin and also learn to laugh at themselves.
  8. Talk about using the right body language: I touched upon this in my blog on language. While making a joke it is important to have a friendly, flexible body language so that people know you are joking. A tense body may give the signal that one is nervous or trying too hard – in both the cases, the humor will be lost. It is also important to know that the message and body language need to go hand in hand or the message won’t get through.
  9. Knowledge: aah I come back to knowledge once more. But in order to make unusual observations and connections, a vast repertoire of knowledge and experience is required. Of course this is something children will gain only as they grow up, but one can start pointing them in the right direction from the beginning.
  10. Teach them where to draw the line: finally and also most importantly children need to learn where to draw the line on humor. They should recognize whether the humor is bringing laughs or ending up hurting someone. Wit is a double edged sword and needs to be used carefully. Help children understand that it takes a lot of intelligence and creativity to be funny and kind at the same time. It is easy to make others laugh at the expense of someone else and we need to educate our children about the difference between good natured jokes and inappropriate or hurtful jokes.

Hope you find these tips useful and do share with me if you try some of them out.

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Read my other blogs on the series here:

Theme reveal

A is for Aiming High

B is for Being Brave

C is for Courage of Conviction

D is for Discipline

E is for Empathy

F is for Financial Awareness

G is for Gratitude

H is for Honesty

I is for Inclusion

J is for Joy

K is for Knowldege

L is for Language

M is for Magic

N is for Neuro efficient

O is for Observant

P is for Perseverance

Q is for Questioning

R is for Remembering your Roots

S is for Self Care

T is for Thinking Outside the Box

U is for Unique

V is for Versatile

#raisingcapablechildren: V is for Versatile

Phew! What a marathon! Blog 22 on the #blogchatterA2Z challenge! So today is V for Versatile. Versatility is basically the ability to adapt to different functions or activities. A versatile person is able to pursue many interests and hobbies, is usually skilled at more than one thing and shows greater flexibility in adapting to newer situations.

Versatility will probably be one of the most important skills in the job market going forward, given the fast pace at which the world is changing. People will be expected to continuously upskill or reskill themselves to remain relevant. In such a world, it is difficult to predict what kind of jobs will be the most relevant or important 10 or 20 years from now. We don’t even know what kind of jobs will remain. The only thing we can do is to prepare our children to be versatile enough to adapt to the ever changing environment.

Just like uniqueness though, even versatility has not been encouraged as much as it should have been. Under the garb of focus, many times children are encouraged to drop other interests in order to pursue one. Even sayings such as the “Jack of All Trades and Master of None” tend to discourage versatility. Frankly I think the Jack of all Trades would be a very very interesting person! Other than that, I believe that people who are versatile are emotionally more healthy – for the simple reason that they have many interests to fall back on in case of a stressful situation. These interests act as great stressbusters.

I know many people who are able to follow an interest or passion alongside their jobs – a schoolmate who is a surgeon also loves photography and has recently started making very realistic clay models of animals. A witty colleague tried his hand at stand up comedy a few years ago and is now doing this regularly alongside his job. Another friend who is a doctor does beautiful paintings in free time. My sister who works in the entertainment industry also loves doing photography and has been able to build her alternate career in candid photography. My uncle is spending his life after retirement painting pictures and has now got his 5 year old grandson interested in it too.

As parents, we should aim to encourage our children to explore all of their interests as much as possible and not categorise them by what they do best and what they don’t. Let us look at some ways in which to encourage our children’s versatility:

  1. Help them explore and follow their interests: as I mentioned in my last blog, we should try and understand what our children seem to like and let them explore that more deeply. Whether it is one or 10 different areas of interest – let them try their hands at all that. Understand what they are naturally good at, give them the right tools or training to build their skills in those areas. As they grow up, they may decide to follow one or more of them and drop some of the others. I remember I loved having my feet in multiple boats – singing, dancing, painting, dramatics and whatever else I could lay my hands on. And I am grateful that my parents gave me the opportunity to explore all of these interests.
  2. Instill a love for learning: one can learn in any situation and anywhere they are. Encourage your children’s curiosity and expose them to as much of the world as possible through travel, books, visits to museums, dance recitals, theatre shows etc. Moreover, with all the tools that technology has provided us, it is easy to make learning fun and limitless. We need not only rely on the standard methods of learning. There are a number of online shows that help improve skillsets and knowledge, you can virtually visit so many places. There are online lessons on almost all areas of interest and are easily accessible if there isn’t one physically available.
  3. Encourage them to try new things: summer holidays are a great time to try to learn something new. If your child has multiple interests, they could explore different interests every year – dramatics one year and robotics another year. But if they are focused on one type of activity, they could learn different facets of it every year – example learning to play different instruments or learning different styles of painting – oil colours, fabric paints, nib painting, batik and so on. By learning different things, they are preparing themselves to be able to adapt to different situations.
  4. Diversify their experiences: introduce them to as many new experiences as possible – travel to new places, try new cuisines, meet new people. All this will help peak their curiosity, interest them in new things and encourage them to try new stuff.
  5. Encourage them to develop multifaceted personalities: encourage your children to participate in as many extra curricular activities at school as possible. Be it art competitions or quizzes or sports or doing backstage work for a theatre production. Help them develop interests apart from studies and let them do multiple things alongside their classwork and homework. This will also help them learn time management skills simultaneously. A word of caution though – don’t burden them with too many things and ensure their interest in the activity.
  6. Develop a flexible attitude: ultimately the ability to change or be versatile comes from a flexible attitude. Encourage children to have flexible thinking, be open to diverse thoughts and opinions and to not be rigid. This would encourage adaptability to different situations.

Finally, I just want to reassert that children by nature are curious and have varied interests. As parents, we should try and help them explore and try out as many things as possible and let them develop skills in multiple areas. It will help develop multi talented and well rounded personalities.

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Read my other blogs on the series here:

Theme reveal

A is for Aiming High

B is for Being Brave

C is for Courage of Conviction

D is for Discipline

E is for Empathy

F is for Financial Awareness

G is for Gratitude

H is for Honesty

I is for Inclusion

J is for Joy

K is for Knowldege

L is for Language

M is for Magic

N is for Neuro efficient

O is for Observant

P is for Perseverance

Q is for Questioning

R is for Remembering your Roots

S is for Self Care

T is for Thinking Outside the Box

U is for Unique

#raisingcapablechildren: U is for Unique

“We are all the same, in that we are all unique.” With that let me start my 21st blog on the #blogchatterA2Z challenge – U is for Unique. Each one of us is unique in our looks, appearance, habits, characteristics, nature and behavior. We are a combination of our personality, perspectives, attitudes, experience, knowledge and emotions. We have different talents, goals, hobbies, passions and tastes. The mix of all these becomes a person – each different from the other.

Despite that, as a society we prefer everyone to conform to the same norms, behavior and attitudes.  Perhaps because it does not lead to confrontations. Or maybe just the fact that being part of a crowd gives one some sort of a security. There is too much risk in doing something different and then perhaps failing or getting negative comments from others. The worry around what will people say or do keeps people from being different. There is also the herd mentality that if the majority is doing something that may be right. This fixation to conform to the social norms also percolates into our parenting. Rather than recognizing our children for their individuality, we push them into conforming with our world view and stereotypes.

A simple and glaring example is the dominant hand – whether we use our right or left is an inborn trait. But a generation or two ago – children who used their left were forced to use their right just because the majority are right dominant. It was common to tie their left wrists with a handkerchief so that they would start using their right hand. So obsessed are we to become one of the crowd that we are willing to defy something given by nature. Stifling stereotypes like “boys don’t cry” or “girls are weaker” or defining who does what or what sexual preferences does one have are all results of the society’s need to conform.

My appeal to you as parents is to celebrate and encourage our children’s uniqueness. By understanding what makes your child tick and supporting him or her to explore to who they really are and find their talents, we help them reach their full potential. Give your children a safe atmosphere to explore, make mistakes, take risks an develop their confidence. Let’s look at some of the ways in which we can do that:

  1. Understand your child: the first step to nurturing individuality is to understand your children and let them understand themselves. Allow them to express themselves and follow closely what seems to interest them – it could be arts or sciences or a mix of both. Understand their nature – are they quiet and shy or outgoing. Do they like to speak in public or maybe they prefer writing. Do they give up easily or are they likely to persevere. Ask them what they feel or like about things, events and so on. Listen with acceptance, only then will they be open enough to share. Do not try to mold your child into the person you want him to be – rather let him become who he is.
  2. Encourage them to explore their talents and interests: once you begin to understand your child, encourage him to follow what he likes. These initials interests could easily become their passion or calling in life if encouraged. We noticed our son loves to read science and geography so we brought him more and more books on that and he seems to be thriving on those. Expose children to various opportunities, activities and sports to help them find out what they like. If they give up on some activity too early – try to find out why – ask them to give a minimum amount of time and then see what is stopping them. It may be real disinterest, or it could be something else. You can also expose older children to various professions for them to figure out what they like.
  3. Be their cheerleader: family is the first level of support for children. As your children strive to excel in any field, become their cheerleader. Attend their events – be it a dance recital or sports performance – attend it even you have to take some time off work. Praise their achievements in front of others. This will help them feel proud of their accomplishments and encourage them to strive even more towards their goals.
  4. Never compare: comparison comes so easily to us. We compare ourselves to others, our kids to others’ kids and we compare siblings and cousins and what not. “do you know how well your cousin did in the board exams last year? It is your turn this year – make sure you do at least as well as him.” “Your sister is so calm and easy going, why are you throwing tantrums all the time?” “your friend is so slim, why don’t you eat a little less and try to lose some weight?” All this comparing will only lead to reduced sense of self and a need to conform.
  5. Help them get comfortable in their skin: inevitably, there will be things your children are ashamed of about themselves. Especially, if this is something that is not considered cool or fashionable at school or maybe even ridiculed at. It could be physical appearances, the way they speak or how they think. Help your child accept their drawbacks. Work with them to improve upon them if possible – say attitudes or habits etc. But if it is a physical appearance or condition, help them learn to move despite that. Highlight their other qualities. Perhaps your child is the slowest runner in class but may be a lovely singer. Maybe your child is being teased about wearing spectacles or his stutter. Give them confidence and let them know these are part of their personality and they should not only accept themselves as they are but also to proudly tell the world to accept them as they are.
  6. Help them overcome peer pressure: as children grow, peer pressure becomes the single most important force that makes them conform. Children tend to stay in groups and there are clear ideas of what is hip and what is not. Who are the leaders, who are the followers and who are the losers. Bullying also emerges. Thus it is important for parents to develop a deep self confidence in our children and help them be proud of whatever person they are. Give them the ability to stand by their views and hold their opinions – irrespective of what the majority believes in. I wrote about this in my blog on courage of conviction as well.

Finally remember that your children are individuals and by letting them accept themselves as they are and encouraging them to go for what they want to do in life, we are helping set the backdrop for an individual who is content with his or her choices and willing to follow their passion.

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Read my other blogs on the series here:

Theme reveal

A is for Aiming High

B is for Being Brave

C is for Courage of Conviction

D is for Discipline

E is for Empathy

F is for Financial Awareness

G is for Gratitude

H is for Honesty

I is for Inclusion

J is for Joy

K is for Knowldege

L is for Language

M is for Magic

N is for Neuro efficient

O is for Observant

P is for Perseverance

Q is for Questioning

R is for Remembering your Roots

S is for Self Care

T is for Thinking Outside the Box

#raisingcapablechildren: T is for Thinking Outside The Box

I have talked a lot of about various attitudes and skills we can inculcate in our children. I also wrote about efficient learning. Today I want to talk about something that comes as naturally to us as breathing – Thinking. My 20th blog for the #blogchatterA2Z challenge is for the letter T – Think Out of the Box. Even though thinking comes naturally to all of us, we can improve it significantly by using exercises and strategies to develop critical and creative thinking skills.

Creative and critical thinking is becoming more and more important in our rapidly changing, competitive and information rich world. As our children grow, they don’t only need a brain full of facts, figures, formulae, theories and so on. They need to be equipped the ability to think flexibly, critically and creatively. Some of the most successful firms today are those that think out of the box. Take Apple for instance – it has consistently engaged in creative thinking which has led to a strategic advantage over its competitors and thereby to its huge success. All of our inventions and advances have come from out of the box thinkers.

Let’s look at a few ways in which we can encourage our children to think our of the box:

  • Ask open ended questions: ask questions in a way that encourages children to think before answering. What are a few different ways to draw the sun? let’s think of 5 different recipes to make a sandwich. How can we do this differently? Ask them to arrive at 2 -3 different conclusions for the same questions. Think of ten ways in which a paper napkin/pants/mug or anything can be used.  Or how would you use a nail cutter if it was twenty times is actual size? Also ask what if questions. What if we had a tail? What could be the different uses of our tails? What if we got water only two hours in day? You can introduce questions from their studies – how do you think King Ashoka would have protected his citizens from coronavirus? Do this at the dinner table or when you are driving with them or just lazing on a Sunday afternoon.
  • Give them free time and reduce screen time: I know it is very difficult these days – I am struggling with it myself – especially during these days of lockdown. Just this afternoon my ten year old had a meltdown because he was getting bored and I wouldn’t let him play on the phone. We need to encourage them to use their boredom to think of a new game or a way to entertain themselves. Whether they are using bedsheets and pillows to make their castle or the mud and pipes in their garden to create a scenery – let them do it. My son used to put all his toys together and create scenes and movies out of them and invite us for the screening. I remember I used to love pulling out all the coins from my piggy bank and make designs. Ask them to take apart their old Lego sets and make something new out of the pieces. Encourage role play and imagination.
  • Tell them what to do and not how to do it: give them activities basis their interests. E.g. make a diorama or a castle or house. Or you could ask them to do a flower arrangement. Or cook a dish with egg. Maybe a write a story. If you want them to get even more creative, give them some ingredients or material and ask them to make something out of it. – e.g. give some paper, glue, colours and ice cream sticks and challenge them to make something fun. Or give them some ingredients and ask them to dish out something. Or a canvas, brush and 3 colours to make a painting. Just tell them the end goal and then let them be. In this whole activity – don’t look at the end goal – just focus on the process. After they are done, you can ask how they went about it, why or why did they not choose something. Did they face problems? Did they have to change tack? Are they happy with the result? Could they have done better and how and so on.
  • Encourage them to build a strong knowledge base: creativity builds on the existing knowledge base. It is the ability to pick up that knowledge and put it together in a new way. New inventions come from the knowledge of past inventions and discoveries. For example, each new version of a mobile phone builds on the previous one. Or take a chef. A chef will know all the flavours, the textures, the colours of his ingredients. He will know how different ingredients interact together and then use this knowledge to create new dishes and combinations. In my blog on knowledge, I shared many tips on how to increase the knowledge base of our children. Do have a look.
  • Give them the opportunity to solve their own problems: when children come to you with a problem, first ask them how would they solve it. Encourage them to look at the issue from various angles and think of different approaches to the solution. Many times, with help, you will see that they are able to find their own solutions. This would not only help them think through the various issues, it would give them confidence once they succeed in resolving a problem.
  • Allow them to differ from you: it might be difficult for many parents. I know it is easy to tell children to do as we say and not question us. However, we should encourage divergent thoughts. Let them disagree with you or suggest alternative ideas or solutions.
  • Go beyond existing constructs: we don’t even realise it, but often the world has already created the box around us and unwittingly we create it around our children. Our education system, revolves around very specific ways of doing things – the focus is on learning the answers rather than arriving at them. Has anyone ever thought of the kitchen as a chemistry lab? Existing constructs – whether gender or racial or societal norms on how one should behave or act, constrain our thinking and creative processes. Let your children question them – this is what will lead to new ways of living life and new solutions.
  • The process is more important than the end: finally, always, always encourage the process and not the end. Praise the effort and not the achievement. Tell them that failure is a way to learn to do things better or differently. Did you enjoy doing it? How did you feel? I could see you put in a lot of effort and hard work. Your dedication to your project was great and so on.

I hope you find these ideas useful and do let me know how they work out for you.

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Read my other blogs on the series here:

Theme reveal

A is for Aiming High

B is for Being Brave

C is for Courage of Conviction

D is for Discipline

E is for Empathy

F is for Financial Awareness

G is for Gratitude

H is for Honesty

I is for Inclusion

J is for Joy

K is for Knowldege

L is for Language

M is for Magic

N is for Neuro efficient

O is for Observant

P is for Perseverance

Q is for Questioning

R is for Remembering your Roots

S is for Self Care

#raisingcapablechildren: S is for Self

We are slowly getting into the homestretch of the #blogchatterA2Z challenge and have reached the letter S. Once again – thanks for being with me on this journey. Today, let’s talk about S for Self. A sense of self starts developing in children between ages of 2 to 3. Their ability to think of themselves from the point of view of someone else is the start of development of self-concept. Young children’s self esteem is  heavily influenced by parental attitude and behavior. Hence, parents have a very important role to play in developing their children’s self-worth, self-esteem and self-awareness all of which lead to self-confidence, self-love and self-care. Woah! That’s a lot of self!

I don’t think I can stress enough the importance of developing a strong sense of self worth in children. Children with lower self esteem will look at themselves more critically, will find it more difficult to deal with problems and will be more likely to fall prey to stress, anxiety and depression. They may hesitate to try new things, take risks and will usually take issues personally rather than look at situations in an objective way.

Below I am sharing thoughts on how to ensure that your children have a high sense of self worth and also instill in them the importance of self care and self love:

  1. Create a positive emotional bond from infancy: A positive and loving parent child attachment is at the crux of the development of a healthy sense of self. Developing a positive bond starts from birth. Slow down and tune into your baby, understand his reflexes and responses to sound, light and textures. Tune your behavior to his moods, needs and wants. Allow of a lot of hugging and kissing. Babies revel in physical show of love. Play with them, talk to them. All of these will go a long way in developing their sense of worth and a sense of security.
  2. Accept and respect them: children (even adults) need to feel loved and respected by their families, peers and community. We need to ensure non judgmental communication with them – shouldn’t always come across as pointing faults or correcting errors. We also need to accept them fully with their flaws and never make our love conditional to achieving or doing something. We need to let them know that we have their back always. Moreover, their mistakes or errors should be dealt with respectfully, with the help of honest feedback aiming for future improvements rather than berating past performance. Recognition of effort rather than result will help the child overpower their sense of failure, defeat, shame or guilt. Show trust in their capability. Another way of communicating respect is to value their thoughts and opinions. Many adults tend to brush off a child’s viewpoint very easily which gives the message that their view is not valued.
  3. Use positive language: be careful of the language you use when you talk to your children. Labeling them negatively (even in fun or out of love) could affect their self esteem negatively or even reinforce a negative behavior. Calling them lazy or dumb or naughty will only make matters worse. If you are discussing any negative traits of your kids, make sure you do that in private. Constant negative feedback or punitive measures will also decrease the sense of worth in a child.
  4. Give them challenging and meaningful tasks: a child’s sense of self worth will increase if he achieves or accomplishes something that was not easy. A sense of conquering a challenge will contribute much more to a child’s self esteem as compared to an easy task. Similarly, the more meaningful or useful a task, the more pleased a child will be doing it.
  5. Give them responsibilities and empower them:  give your child a chance to show what she is capable of. Allow her to take on tasks and give her enough authority to make her own decisions. These tasks of course need to be age appropriate.
  6. Develop a positive body image: unfortunately, children’s impressions of body image are highly influenced by visuals from television, movies, and advertising. Body image becomes an important factor in determining self esteem as children move into adolescence. For instance, it is very important for teens to know how their peers perceive them. Children with low self esteem will typically assess themselves more critically and have a negative body image – it could be because they feel they have too much acne or that they are over weight or even underweight or not muscular enough and so on. As a parent we must continue to give our children positive messages – compliment them when they look nice but be sure to not put too much focus on looks (how pretty! How handsome!), keep reminding them that our work and behaviour is more important than how we look, use the issue of body image to promote healthy habits. Also be careful about not discussing people and their appearances in front of children (better not to do it at all).
  7. Instill the importance of self care: self care is an all encompassing term that includes physical, emotional, psychological and social aspects of an individual’s well being. We need to start telling children early on that self care is a choice every individual makes for themselves to engage in activities or cultivate habits that promote well being. In primary school children are taught about types of food and how each type contributes to their health. We need to keep reinforcing healthy meals, regular eating habits, exercise and so on from. If these become early habits, children are likely to continue to follow them as adults too.

To sum up, a strong sense of self is important and so is the ability to take care of oneself. As they say, put your own mask first in case of any emergency, it is important that we are physically and emotionally fit in order to take care of our loved ones. Do let me know what you think.

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Read my other blogs on the series here:

Theme reveal

A is for Aiming High

B is for Being Brave

C is for Courage of Conviction

D is for Discipline

E is for Empathy

F is for Financial Awareness

G is for Gratitude

H is for Honesty

I is for Inclusion

J is for Joy

K is for Knowldege

L is for Language

M is for Magic

N is for Neuro efficient

O is for Observant

P is for Perseverance

Q is for Questioning

R is for Remembering your Roots