Friday, June 23, 2017

"LIFE BEGINS AT THE EDGE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE"











“The best things in life are often waiting for you
at the exit ramp of your comfort zone.”
- -Karen Salmansohn 

Some days ago, while teaching my twelfth-standard students, I said, “The best way you can find your self-motivation to study well and score well is by discovering what you want to do in life… In your case, what to do after twelfth.” I continued, “When your vision is clear, you will find the path… No one needs to show you that and no one needs to keep coaxing you to work hard and work long.”

My frustration with my students has always come from this: Most of them are not clear about their vision and goals…

In such situation, how can outsiders like me – teachers and coaches – motivate them to succeed?

So, the other day, when I asked my students, one by one, if they knew what they wanted to do after twelfth, Vijalaxmi said confidently, “Sir, I want to do Law.”

“Very nice beta,” I sincerely complimented. I continued, “Normally, such a desire comes in us by admiring someone in our family or neighbourhood… Has anyone inspired you?”

“Yes sir, my uncle,” Vijayalaxmi said, “He is a High Court advocate.”

“Can you tell me a few things absolutely essential to become a good advocate?” I prodded the young girl.

Vijayalaxmi hadn’t applied her mind to that question at all!

“I suggest, sometimes, you attend your uncles’ office or accompany him to the High court,” I advised Vijayalaxmi, “Watch him working in his office and performing in the court. You also watch how the best advocates argue and how judges go about their work. Moreover, you observe how young, smart girls go about their profession under their seniors.”

Vijayalaxmi was attentively listening to what I was saying.

Then, I came to an important point. Some months ago, her mother had enrolled Vijayalaxmi for our summer P.D Programme. Even though the full fees was paid, Vijayalaxmi did not attend more than two sessions. She dreaded speaking in public and hence avoided stage like plague… Her mother and I tried our level best to persuade Vijayalaxmi… but, she was not at all ready to face her fear. Finally, we decided to let go… “Her time will come, ma’am,” I consoled Vijayalaxmi’s mother, “When she finds her vision, she will find her path, too.”

This time around, when I helped Vijayalaxmi see the direct link between her ambition and her ability to speak well in public, she was ready… There was less – almost zero – resistance… How could she become a good advocate without the ability to speak well in public? How could she become what she wanted to without the ability to write (draft) well? Yes, subject knowledge and aptitude were essential, but, not without the ability to speak well and write well…

I was watching this young speaker, Yubing Zhang, on TED Talks, last night. The theme of her talk was:  ‘Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone’. She shares with her audience her own stories – how she learnt to overcome her fears by stepping out of her own comfort zones… from bungee jumping from the tallest tower in the world to saying ‘I love you’ to her own parents… “It is not as scary as it looks,” she keeps reminding…






For Vijayalaxmi, my student, the ‘edge’ may be that little push to go up on stage to speak… For you and me, it may be something else… But, yes, not until we step out of our own comfort zones… not until we face our own fears… that Life really begins!


GERALD  D’CUNHA

Pic.: Tandra Chakraborty
Video: YouTube

Thursday, June 22, 2017

ARE WE SHRINKING IN OUR THIRTIES AND FORTIES







A friend of mine gave me a lift just a while ago. I was meeting him after a long time. So, I asked him, “Is everything fine? I am seeing you after a very long time.”

The gentleman, who is in his mid-thirties, is well-placed in a multinational company. His work involves extensive travel and use of technology.

“Parents’ health issues and my work pressure,” the gentleman explained, “It has been tough to cope with.”

I had seen his father and mother both shrinking gradually. Barely a few months ago, when I saw his dad, I felt very sorry… each step looked like a massive milestone! After that, I had not been seeing the gentleman’s parents… “They are not able to move out,” the gentleman told me, today.

Our conversation took a turn from there. “That generation did not have the kind of life style we are having,” the gentleman told me, “We all will start shrinking right in our thirties and forties!”

I nodded my head!

None of us – I said ‘none’…. Neither a kid nor a youngster, neither a parent nor a grandparent, neither a teacher, preacher, businessman, doctor, judge, CEO or a peon – yes, none of us is spared from this lifestyle which is predominantly driven by technology. We blamed Films, TV and computers once… now, it is all there right in our hands, on our mobile screens, and it is all there 24/7 all through the year. Right since we open our eyes till we shut our eyes late in the night – and for some, there is no such thing called a ‘day’ and a ‘night’ -  yes, it’s crazy out there…. Most of us don’t move our butts… don’t lift our eyes… and, do not know if ours lungs breathe or our hearts beat!

“What about us in a few years from now?” the gentleman asked me when I was in his car…

Do I check my mobile screen as soon as I wake up at 5?

I do.

Do I check my mobile screen as I retire late night?

I do.

And, do I check my mobile screen, continuously, all through my day?

I do.

So?

Just felt like confessing.

GERALD D’CUNHA
Pic.: Internet

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

DID YOU EVER KNOW THAT YOU'RE MY HERO














“Did you ever know that you're my hero,
And everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
For you are the wind beneath my wings.”

- from the song ‘Wind Beneath my Wings’ by  BETTE MIDLER

I was talking to my mom over the telephone, this morning. She lives in my home town, Mangalore. “Son, Esthel teacher (Stella Concessao) expired,” she told me, “We will be attending her funeral, today evening.”

Stella teacher, who passed away in her eighties, had taught little Primary-school children for forty years. I was fortunate to be in the same local school (St. Peter’s) where she had taught. Not only have her students done well for themselves, her own children, too. She was living with her prosperous son. My mom told me, that ma’am’s children had announced on the local dailies about her sad demise, wherein they had proudly mentioned the fact, that she had been a teacher for over forty years!

I could not attend the funeral. But, I fondly remembered our teacher!


Pic. courtesy: Concessao family


Our initial days teachers have played a significant role in shaping and moulding us. Often, we don’t remember our later year teachers – high school and college teachers – but, we do remember the ones who came in our lives early…

Two days ago, my dear friend, Uday Acharya, who himself is a popular teacher, mentor and guide, was telling me about his recent visit to South. He wanted his wife to meet some people who had made difference in his life. One of them was his Sunday-school (Bal Vihar of Chinmaya Mission) teacher at Coimbatore. This affectionate soul had taught my friend when he was a little fifth-standard boy. “She had shaped me and inspired me when I was of tender age,” Uday said, “She is 95 now and cannot remember or recognize us… But, meeting her was important to me and my wife.”

I felt extremely touched when Uday described his visit to his Sunday-school teacher. “We are where we are only because of some important teachers in our lives,” I was thinking aloud, "Our early-years’ teachers are truly special. They are our true heroes!"

Is the scene different today? Are today’s students different? Often, in my own frustration, I do say that they are different. But, then, I hope I am wrong… I do come across the moments of frustration and feel like a ‘use-and-throw’ stuff… with almost zero loyalty or respect. I am a liar if I say I don’t go through this experience. But, those moments are like some dark clouds swiftly passing across the otherwise bright blue sky…

Just as I remember Stella teacher - we fondly remember her as Esthel teacher - and just as my friend Uday remembers his own Sunday-school teacher after many, many decades… Yes, I am sure, all students will continue to remember their dearest teachers for generations to come.





GERALD D’CUNHA

Pic.: Internet
Video: YouTube


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

WHY DON'T WE WRITE OUR STORIES 'JUST LIKE THAT'?














“All great literature is one of two stories;
a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.”
― Leo Tolstoy

When  my wife and I conclude our morning walk around 6.30 or so in our housing complex, we invariably stay back to listen to some enchanting stories from one of our senior-most members, Mrs. Bhadekar (we fondly call her Bhadekar aunty). She is a great story-teller… and her stories come from anything and everything that happens around her. Sometimes it involves our own members, maids, security, house-keeping staff or gardeners… sometimes it involves someone from outside… Government, politicians, religious matters, education, sports, fusion, TV, films, drama, her childhood days… a bit of gossip, a bit of philosophy a bit of anxiety, a bit of fun and mischief… there is no permanent enemy, there is no black and white…  a lot of grey shades in between…

Those 15 to 20 minutes are glorious. Bhadekar aunty is a story-teller… and, she tells her stories without rehearsing or making any fuss about… “Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki,” She casually mentioned this during our session this morning. The context was very interesting and when she dropped the name of this 1978 Raj Kholsa film (Which had won the Best Film Filmfare award) we all instantly laughed our hearts out…

“Gerry got his story for today’s’ blog,” my wife said knowing how her hubby’s mind worked.

“Yes, I did,” I agreed.

I was in my degree college, back home in Mangalore, when this movie was released. That was four decades ago… and, I hadn’t watched the film. After coming to my office, I googled to find out more about this film… Here is what Wikipedia said:

Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki is a 1978 Indian film directed by Raj Khosla and Sudesh Issar. It is based on a Marathi novel titled Ashi Tujhi Preet by Chandrakant Kakodkar

Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki is about an aristocrat, Thakur Rajnath Singh Chouhan (Vijay Anand), who is in love with his mistress Tulsi (Asha Parekh) but forced to marry a strong aristocratic woman named Sanjukta (Nutan). Tulsi sacrifices her life, some time after giving birth to Rajnath's son Ajay, because she wants Sanjukta to have her husband all to herself. Rajnath and Sanjukta send Ajay to boarding school to prevent him from bearing the stigma of being an illegitimate child. Sanjukta and Rajnath have a son, Pratap. Rajnath dies in a horse-riding accident. Sanjukta makes regular visits to the boarding school to see Ajay and, when he grows up, she brings him home. Sanjukta makes Ajay (Vinod Khanna) into not only a very important man but also shields him every time and finally confesses before the public that Ajay is her husband's first son and therefore, is entitled to respect. However, her own son Pratap (Deb Mukherjee) feels slighted and becomes wayward. Some people around them also try to further damage the relations between the two brothers. However, for every sin of the younger brother, Ajay protects him and takes the blame. Sanjukta, not knowing the actual situation, gets disturbed. At one stage, she blames Ajay for every wrong thing which actually has been done by her own son. Ajay leaves the house. But soon thereafter, the situation changes and the men standing in support of Pratap feel deceived as he lets them down. In the climax, these men try to kill Pratap, but Ajay, who comes to know of this plan, rescues his brother. Then, Pratap realizes his half-brother's kindness. He surrenders to Ajay and accepts him as the elder brother. The family reunites.

Last afternoon, I was talking to Kavita, one of my dear old students. Presently her son, Vignesh, who is in S.Y. B.Com, is studying under him. She is involved with her younger son’s (who is in fourth standard) school activates. “Sir, there is a story-writing competition coming up in the school,” Kavita said, “Can we expect you to guide us?”

Why don’t we write our stories ‘just like that’? Yes, this was the thought playing on my head as I was talking to Kavita, “Why don’t we let our children just tell their tales just how Bhadekar aunty does?”

If the organizers invite me to be a judge for this story-writing’ event, I will gracefully tell them, “I am a wrong person for the job.”

For, when stories come from our childhood space – that clean, curious and innocent space – our every story is a masterpiece… And, we all are master story-tellers.

Pluck a tusli leaf from your aangan today and smell it… You will sense how fresh your story can be!


GERALD D’CUNHA

Pic.: Satnam Singh Khalsa


Monday, June 19, 2017

PEOPLE CROSS OUR PATH NOT WITHOUT A REASON






Do we have a choice over the people who cross our path? From my own experience, the answer to this question is:‘Yes’ and ‘No’.

I had no choice over my parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, siblings, cousins and my teachers. I had a choice when it came to choosing my spouse… But, again, when I deeply reflect on it: Did I have a choice? What about my son? Thousands of students who have crossed my path? Scores o associates, neigbours, and acquaintances? What about the most positive people and what about the most negative? Did I have a choice over any of them?

Maybe I had… May be I hadn’t.

The question, today, should not be whether or not we have a choice over the people who cross our path… The question should be: whether they cross our path with or without a reason.

To this, my answer is: “Yes, they do cross our path with a reason.” Mind, you, they all… the best and the worst… the little ones, the young ones and the old ones… the prettiest and the ugliest… the most constructive and the most destructive… the most uplifting and the most oppressive… Yes, every one of them crosses our path with a reason…

And, that reason is: to reform us into fine human beings,… very compassionate and productive, very strong and sensitive.

Every day I battle with these thoughts: Could I have avoided some people in my life and, thereby, some of my most unpleasant experiences? The more I think about it, the more I get convinced, that those people were destined to cross my path and, therefore, I could not avoid those experiences … This wisdom comes only from looking back and not looking forward… And, when I see them in silence, the pieces fit into the jigsaw puzzle perfectly well… and, all dots seem connected… The meaning and the reason unfold before my mind with crystal clarity… There is no bad experience… There is no waste… Leave alone regret, blame or victim-hood…

Acceptance calls for great humility. With acceptance, peace comes to reside in our hearts… And, when peace comes in, the light – the wisdom – comes…. Everything and everyone seem to cross our path for our own good… When they go, they leave us reformed… or deformed…

And, I think, here is where we have a choice: to let ourselves to be reformed or deformed when people cross our path.

GERALD D’CUNHA
Pic.: Shraddha Sachdev

Sunday, June 18, 2017

IF YOU WORK IN A HONEY FACTORY, YOU ARE BOUND TO LICK YOUR FINGERS





I had fixed a meeting with someone for 5:30 this evening. The gentleman called up last night and said, “Tomorrow will be India-Pakistan match… So?”

“So,” means we both would prefer to watch the match rather than go ahead with the scheduled meeting.

We, finally, decided to go ahead with the meeting… After all, we were to meet just for thirty minutes, you see…

“We are idiots,” I heard someone screaming in one of our groups, late last night, “everything is ‘fixed’.” It was followed by a heated debate… “How it can be?” and “How it can’t be.”

I don’t understand politics or the money game. So, I just kept quiet.

Today morning, in our Tai Chi class, I casually asked Kannan, “Some say this whole India-Pakistan final is ‘set’… What do you think?”

“Quite possible Gerry,” Kannan said it straightaway, “if you work in a honey factory, you are bound to lick your fingers.”

“What is that?” I asked Kannan, “love that analogy.”

“These events have become huge business,” Kannan explained, “It is not about just 22 players out there on or around the field… There are many, many more, some visible and some invisible.”

Kannan went on to tell me about how corruption creeps into every sphere where big money is involved – Government administration, business, sports, education, religion, media, research and even social work. “Look at what is happening at Infosys,” Kannan pointed, “Whatever happened to the founders’ great vision? Corruption cannot be eradicated from human soul… ”

So, are you all ‘set’ to watch the match, today? It is only two hours away… It is better to be ‘idiots’ and enjoy the match, rather than be ‘intellectuals’ or ‘experts’ or ‘detectives’ and spoil the sport…

But, yes, Kannan has a point: “If you work in a honey factory, you are bound to lick your fingers!”


GERALD D’CUNHA


Pic.: Internet

Saturday, June 17, 2017

MAKING PEACE WITH ONE'S FATHER ON THE EVE OF 'FATHER'S DAY'





There are three reasons why I write (rather re-share) this Post, today.

First reason: Tomorrow, 18th June, will be a ‘Father’s Day’.

The second reason: A young girl, who is a niece of my dear friend and who is all set to walk into a college, had been having a turbulent relationship with her father right since she was a little baby. The problems stemmed from the marital trouble between the parents and the little girl was caught in the whirlpool… As she grew up, this girl harboured a great deal of hatred for her father… For years, the mother and daughter lived separately and then again went back to live with the man… The wounds haven’t healed yet… The girl hasn’t accepted her father in her heart… It is a huge burden to carry for a 15-year-old and… It has torn her internally. When this young girl had come to see me accompanied by my friend, her aunt, I listened to her with loads of compassion. I knew how important it was for her to make peace with her father… starting internally. She was a young adult now, and she was capable of knowing the consequences of carrying a heavy load in her heart… She had to view her father through different lenses now… and I did tell her that…

It was ten days ago. I hope, the young girl will remember my advice tomorrow… on ‘Father’s Day’…

The third reason is even more compelling: My friend, Sundar, who had joined my dear friend, Pooja, to create this Post on 9th March, 2017 – the day after the ‘Women’s Day’ – yes, my dear friend Sundar succumbed to a massive heart attack some days ago! “Life is too short… It is unpredictable… Make peace before it is too late!”… I hear Sundar’s often-repeated counsel to me…

So, here is the Post published by me (on 9th March, 2017) following ‘International Women’s Day’… It perfectly fits the ‘Father’s Day, too…

WHY I BROUGHT MY FATHER
IN THE MIDDLE OF MY NAME

In response to my last post on ‘Women’s Day’, Pooja, one of my dear friends, shared her story with me. “Sir, I strongly felt that I must share it with you,” she wrote, “If you think it is worth sharing with your readers, please feel free to do so.”

Yes, I immediately felt that the story deserved to be shared.

Just this Sunday, I had been to my friend Sundar’s place. “I want you to approach fear and confidence from a different perspective,” Sundar said in the course of our discussion. Being spiritually anchored, he described to me a simple ‘Sadhana’ – a spiritual exercise… which involved sitting quietly and remembering and showing deep, sincere reverence to our parents mentally before we evoke the name of the deity we worshiped. Sundar had told me, in several occasions, the importance of making peace with our parents… and, how central that peace was for the flow of abundance in our lives… including that of wealth, health, and love through all other relationships… He had shared with me his own story… how resentful he was, for years, after his father’s untimely death… How everything had changed once he made peace with that reality.

So, the moment I read Pooja’s story, I spoke to Sundar. I said, “Sundar, please read this story, and add your own bit to it.”

In less than 15 minutes or so, I had the ‘bit’ from Sundar…

Hope, it will inspire peace in our hearts…

From POOJA
Today is ‘International Women’s Day’… What it means to me?
Since yesterday, the wishes have been pouring in; and then came the office mail to all the women on ‘Pink’ as the dress-code for 8th of March. Finally, the HR walked in to inform me, that I had been selected in office to inspire other women of my journey as an achiever!

I pondered over the hoopla and asked myself the question: What does this day mean to me? Have I really ever thought of my journey so far, or am I just an ‘ordinary girl’ (pun intended) that went with the flow?

My journey, actually, started just a couple of days ago when the first thing I did was to add my father’s name in the middle of my name. I lost my father when I was two. He died of cancer. My younger sister, Neetu, was barely a year old! So, close to four long decades, I didn’t know what my dad was like… Would he have been a loving and doting father or a strict disciplinarian or this or that? 

It’s different (not difficult) to be raised as a single-parent child. Your attitude towards seeing at things changes. I, always, thought that my achievements were attributed to my strong, dedicated and supportive mother (sometimes a dictator!) and my sincerity of course. I thought, my father had no role to play in what I was. Today, I am a Chartered Accountant, with an MBA in Finance from Germany; professionally, I am doing very well as head of finance. My younger sister, Neetu, became India’s youngest commercial pilot at the age of 19, and, presently, well-settled in Australia. All this was possible because of my mom’s determination to make us strong, independent girls in life. We were never made to feel the absence of our dad… She tried to shield us from that pain. So much so, for me, people who used to put father’s name in the middle were either weak or living in the medieval period… while I belonged to the modern world!

But, lately, I began to feel something was amiss… I could sense the anxiety writ large on my mom’s face: “Pooja, you are forty… still single… what will happen to you after I go?” Yes, I could sense this mother’s helplessness, which suddenly made me feel weak… I needed strength... I began to feel the absence of my father acutely, now!

Then, some days ago, I happened to come across an article in a leading newspaper which summarized that those who wrote their father’s name along with theirs actually drew strength to face the hardships of day-to-day grind. I suddenly felt this urge in my heart to experience it – but, in the rush of this cosmopolitan living, I casually forgot to make this small change in my name! A few days later, while driving to my office in the morning, I heard this song of ‘Dostana’ movie on radio:  “When you smile for me, the world seems alright.” Believe me, I was trying to build connect with my dad!

That very day, I brought my dad in the middle of my name… Pooja ASHOK Gupta!

Yes, I feel a new strength now… I can feel the flow of a fresh abundance… It is so peaceful there inside!

I am sure, seeing me strong and peaceful, here in this world, my dad must be smiling up there in heaven.  I am truly my dad’s l’le woman. I, particularly, feel so today… on this ‘International Women’s Day’…

 It took four long decades to do so… But, I have no regrets!

From SUNDAR
Taking this “Divinely” inspired happening further, there are schools of thought in Indian spirituality, which lay great emphasis on the relationship with one’s parents. Since we come through them, they are our links to the unseen universe. Irrespective of who they are or how they are we have no right to judge them for all judgment is subjective. In functional domains, relationship with one’s mother has a direct impact on career prospects whereas relationship with one’s father is linked to magnetizing wealth in one’s life.

One common observance is that given an equal set of skills, a person with a better relationship with his/her parents achieves greater success. Dr. Wayne Dyer talks of an episode in his life when he was a failure in all aspects of his life. His career was in doldrums, his first marriage had collapsed. It was at this stage of his life that he met a young spiritual master from India. This master is inferred to be Nisargadatta. Nisargadatta told him to go and set right his relationship with his father. It was just a random bit of advice.

The problem was Dyer’s father had deserted his mom during Dyer’s birth. Dyer had never seen him. He carried in him a load of hatred for his unseen father. But, something in the young master’s eyes told him to just do it. So, he went to his father’s town, only to learn that his father was long dead. But again, the master’s words prodded him. He found the grave where his father was buried and sat at his father’s grave the whole night, conversing with him. He told his father that he did not know why he deserted him and his mom at his birth, but there must be some reason. He forgave him whole heartedly and sought his unconditional forgiveness and blessings.
And when he came back, everything changed for him, he became the world-renowned Wayne Dyer of today. He remarried and had a happy family.

Most of us judge our parents. It blocks our life journey, be it material or spiritual. This relationship is the greatest resource of our lives. Another aspect of this relationship is that it is fundamental to other relationships in our lives. Our relationship with our mom is subtly reflected in patterns that occur with other women in our lives, including our spouses. The same is the case with our father and other men in our lives.

Nothing is more important in our life-journey than the relationship with our parents. Healing in this space opens the gateway to a lot of success and joy in our lives.

(Note: Dyer’s story is a very well-known episode. However, it has spread through word of mouth. For its most authentic version, Dyer is reported to have shared this experience in his 8 video series.)


GERALD D’CUNHA

Pic.: Indu Varier

Friday, June 16, 2017

YOU MAY HOUSE THEIR BODIES BUT NOT THEIR SOULS











“There are only two lasting bequests
we can hope to give our children…
One of these is roots, the other, wings.”

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

My last Post ‘When you Cover Your Child’s Nose and Mouth’ was triggered off from my many years’ – particularly the recent years’ – interactions with well-intended yet over anxious parents. Moreover, I have my own experience both as a son of my own parents and a father of my own son… “When to step in and when to step back” and importantly, “How far we can go with our children”… “What will ‘make’ them and what will ‘break’ them”… “What comes from our strength, trust and security and what comes from our weakness, anxiety and insecurity”… yes, these questions challenge us to be honest… If we pause to sincerely address them, the parenting experience can leave us wiser, stronger and richer in life…

After all, there is no school for parenting – except ‘parenting’. Right?

In response to my last Post, Reema*, a friend of mine, wrote to me her honest confession. I am sharing it here for its purity and with the hope that Reema has voiced it for all of us…

Hi Gerald, I am a great fan of your write-ups, and most of them are inspiring not just for kids but for their parents, too.  This particular blog of yours ‘When You Cover Your Child’s Nose and Mouth’ sent me on a soul-searching frenzy…

I am not the kind of mother who has directed her children to want a career of my choice; but, when they have made their choices, I get anxious for them to achieve their dreams and, in that process, I end up pushing them at times. May be, it comes from a back ground where I have struggled to be where I am as I had no support or advice then… and that period of my life was very bad… Having ‘been there seen that’ makes me all the more anxious as I would not want my kids to go through the same depression I had been through.

Somewhere, may be, the generation today has that confidence that everything will work out which I don’t seem to get… May be, I should stop living their dreams and let them go through their experiences; but, my anxiety that Life doesn’t give us a second chance throws me into an advisory role again… It is a Catcah-22 situation Gerald… I did not want to post this long response on FB and hence used Messenger.

Thanks Gerald… Do continue writing. It surely does send people on an introspective mode.

Best wishes, Reema
* Name changed

I am never tired of going back to Kahlil Gibran’s famous words on children (From his book – ‘THE PROPHET’). I wish to end my Post with it, once again…


Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters
of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you,
yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, 
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.




GERALD D’CUNHA

Pic.: Sheela Krishnamony
Video: YouTube
  

Thursday, June 15, 2017

WHEN YOU COVER YOUR CHILD'S NOSE AND MOUTH








Having spent years helping young ones develop their self-confidence, I have come to one clear conclusion: Parents’ critical messages alone are not responsible for the low self-esteem of their children, their smothering messages, too, are equally responsible.

A daughter of one of my dear students got 91% in SSC. The young one was very clear about what she wanted to do: Humanities (Arts). She wants to, eventually, major in psychology and go about doing what she believes in (at this tender age). Yesterday, the mother called me up to update that they had collectively decided to take admission in one of the local colleges and drop the social compulsion about seeking admission in the ‘Best College for Arts’…

I loved the decision…

What can the so-called ‘The Best College’ do for you if you are not ‘good’, leave alone ‘the Best’?

The best teachers, the best facilities, the best exposure… yes, these things definitely can help if the students have their attitude in place… This young girl, who has joined a local college to pursue Humanities, will certainly do well… I know her. She is good – full of initiative, enthusiasm, people skills, communication skills, organizing skills, and, above all, she is creative, humble and able to lead. When these qualities are already there in the student, it helps tremendously… The girl will make the most of what is available to her in her college – teachers, facilities and opportunities.

Parents must involve in their children’s’ decision-making process when it comes to their career choices. But, in the name of love and care, many parents smother their young ones without realizing that they are doing that… Smothering love invariably destroys the confidence in the young one. From the outside, it appears as if the parent is doing it for child’s own good… but, it undercuts the young one’s self-confidence… It cripples him! In fact, if we look for the dictionary meaning of the word ‘Smother’, it is: kill (someone) by covering their nose and mouth so that they suffocate…

Isn’t it scary?

Every time we encourage our children to trust their instincts and take their decisions, we help them build their self-confidence. On the other hand, every time we undermine their capacity to do that and do it for them – take it from me, it silently eats up their self-confidence… It is akin to covering their noses and mouths and let them suffocate… and, yes, die!

Where lays the problem, then – in the child or in the parent?

GERALD D’CUNHA


Pic.: Sheela Krishnamony