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WHY DOES IT HURT TO PEEL AWAY? ARE YOUR READY? HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH? TIME OUT MOMMY! TACKLING TEENAGE SPIRITUALITY MOTHER EXPERIENCING YOUR PRESENCE ALL THE WAY

WHY DOES IT HURT TO PEEL AWAY?

As I am sitting here in front of this serene lake, surrounded by green everywhere, I notice an old soul gaping in to the endless sky. Curious about the empty look even in such a blissful place, I gently broke the hiatus. He sighed about life and how parents are thrown away like a banana peel.
It got me thinking…
He is right! Our life is like the fruit. Much like the banana a child’s life also begins raw, tight and with the total protection of the peel. As the raw fruit starts to become bigger, better, sweeter and more independent…the peel becomes weaker, bitter and more dependent on the fruit itself to stay in place. One fine day, the fruit becomes ready to be consumed by the sweetness of life and the peel is simply disposed off…isn’t this the law of nature? Does it not make the peel proud to present its fruit in all its sweetness and glory? Why does it hurt to peel away?
Imagine the fruit ready to see the world but the peel not ready to give up protection yet. Tearing apart a tight peel simply squishes the fruit and destroys the peel. On the other hand, understanding the law of nature, if as a peel I learn to detach when still being attached, giving room for my fruit to expand & explore while still comfortably nestled in my protection, peeling away will become a natural process of allowing the fruit to see the world when the fruit is ripe rather than when my time is ripe.
I make a promise today that instead of being the peel that needs to be torn apart,” I WILL BE THE PEEL THAT PEELS AWAY TO LET MY FRUIT SERVE ITS PURPOSE IN LIFE”. Wait a minute…Why do I suddenly feel the clear lake radiating abundance?
Anuradha Kumar
18-5-2013

ARE YOU READY?

An infant's cry helps new parents understand their baby's feeding-changing-napping needs. Toddler’s actions guide in determining their mood, likes and dislikes. Kid’s energy level is a good indicator of nutrition and rest. So, children obviously are guiding factors who help parents in understanding their needs and necessities. Why then, do parents suddenly take charge of the decision making when a child develops the ability to question. What happens to those guiding factors? Why is the child now expected to listen because parents know best? Didn't that same child know best about his needs even as an infant?

If we can answer these questions all tantrums will become opportunities, all arguments will become healthy debates, all lectures life lessons.

In each stage children reach out to parents in different ways. If we continue to see their actions as guiding factors, we can understand them easier. This does not mean to give in to tantrums, buy whatever they ask for, or make them the boss. Parents still remain the boss; they know best and will be selflessly dutiful. So how then would parents know when to do what? After all parenting is a lifelong learning process and there is no standard formula for good parenting.

The trick is to keep your antennas up and watch out for clues that exhibit readiness in a child. Any action proposed before or after the readiness factor creates frustration and prolongs the process. A child who is not confident about balancing while running fast will refuse to ride a bicycle even if he is 10 yrs old, even if the mother thinks it is time and all his friends can do stunts on a bicycle. A child whose pencil grip is weak will struggle to ace the handwriting test; a child whose self-esteem is low will not be able to socialize with ease.

Age, parents, peers, child development books do not determine the right moment for change in a child. The child decides when he is ready. This readiness may come sooner than other children, or later than expected or even bang at the right estimated developmental stage. Understanding and observing the child closely not only tell us when the child is ready, but also helps understand if the child has a difficulty that prevents him from becoming ready within a reasonable time. Developmental delays can be identified at a young age if we watch out for such clues.

To substantiate, a child who is able to print legibly is ready to be introduced to cursive. But if we try to make him write cursive soon as he learns to connect dots only struggle and frustration would last. Yes, that is right! Look for those readiness clues- don't be judgmental- understand the kind of help children need and encourage them to try.

This reverses the roles. Children make their decisions but with our guidance.

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

“It’s not fair! All my friends have their own iPhones” “I won’t take a bath because it is a holiday!” “I know I said I wouldn’t play my video game all day, but I really had to cross that level!” “How can you tell me what to do? I want to do what I want to do!”

Do these sound familiar? Where do you draw the line with your children? How much freedom do you give? When to be flexible? When to be firm? Many parents deal with issues like these often. In the fear of being too flexible some parents opt authoritarian parenting, while others who feel were deprived of freedom during their childhood give in more than necessary. For healthy and competent growth children need our guidance except they do not choose to ask for it or accept it when offered, instead they test limits to figure it out.

Our life sustains from the choices we make. Even as a baby we knew to pick the toy that made more noise, smile at some not others; sleep when tired and not otherwise. Gradually when movement was mastered the dos and don’ts were learnt by trial and error. Our parents called them ‘Terrible twos’ and ‘Tantrums’. Why then as parents are we perplexed in situations when our children demand freedom of choice? Is it wrong to allow children to make choices of their own?

Freedom is frequently misunderstood by children as a means to do whatever they want. They don’t realize that freedom always comes with responsibilities. We must ensure they understand independence is earned by being able to handle responsibility. The great educator Dr. Maria Montessori recognized that when allowed freedom of choice within clear, firm and reasonable boundaries, children act in positive ways that further their development.

If TV watching is getting out of control, don’t ban TV watching altogether, instead allow the child to choose one favorite program a day and as a consequence for overshooting TV time a privilege will be taken away. If video games or time on computer games is a problem, it should be a reward for completing that day’s chores. If meal is a problem, sit with your child and make a family meal menu that accommodates everyone’s choices. This will answer the question ‘why this for dinner? I don’t think am hungry!’

Freedom without boundaries does not show unconditional love. It simply deprives the child from experiencing reasoning and decision making. ‘Tough love’ is essential for parental success. As much as freedom of choice and independence is important for growing in to mature competent adults, children need the experience and wisdom of parents to understand what the consequences of such choices will be. Balance parental control with your child’s need for independence. They don’t realize it but children need time (and space) to explore their own feelings, ideas, and personalities.

It is very critical to keep the following in mind while setting boundaries:
1. Be firm. Don’t overreact when rules are broken. Remember, consistent guidance sends positive message. Consequences will teach your child to accept responsibility for his or her actions.
2. When limits are set, stick to it. Empty threats tell your children that you don’t really mean it when you set boundaries.
3. Set your expectations clearly. Self-regulation will naturally follow.
4. Foster the natural drive for independence by being a Mentor and Guide not the Master and Lord.
Remember your child will also be a parent one day. Your parenting will be a huge influence. By helping children become competent decision makers today you will help them become better parents of tomorrow.

Mrs. Anuradha Kumar
February 2013

TIME OUT MOMMY!

Being a mother is no cakewalk. Yet women are chosen to be 'IT' because they can handle it, and handle it well. When you watch a mother's daily routine on mute, you can see how multitasking, planning and executing take place like clockwork. There is always a plan B Plan C...It is amazing how mom's know exactly where that book is, when the next PTM is scheduled, dry cleaners dues, and phone numbers of a million people at her finger tips. Being an anchor for the family ship requires lot of sacrifice, time, effort, energy, passion and unconditional love. Making that boo-boo on the knee disappear with a magical kiss even when every bone in the body is aching to rest is the specialty of being a mom.

When you buy the most expensive fancy car and proudly drive all around the city, People look at you in awe, you are not even given a speeding ticket but gosh you car just stopped because there was no fuel. A mother is much like that exquisite car helping the family get around. Except she is burnt out when there is no time to refuel. A rejuvenated soul has positive energy. After all, this energy will only bring radiance to the family. All mothers ought to give themselves a break on a regular basis. This should be made part of the family rules. It becomes the duty of the family to remind her to sit down every once in a while and put her feet up. Remember, a winning team needs an energetic coach!!!

Mrs. Anuradha Kumar
February 2013

TACKLING TEENAGE

‘Teenage’ is a tight rope walk for both parents as well as teens. Today, teenagers have to cope with easy access to modern dangers and indulgences. To ensure smooth transition in to adulthood, parents have to start working with their children much before they hit the teen years.

Freedom within boundaries, chores and consistent disciplining help develop responsible decision making; Hobbies develop creativity; Sports develop good health and positive spirit; Listening with an open mind develops a sense of self-worth and increases self-confidence. These are life skills we can gift our children. After all, today’s teens are tomorrow leaders. -

Mrs. Anuradha Kumar
March 2013

Spirituality is but a consequence!!!

For many days my mind was pondering upon the idea of ‘Spirituality’. Does being philosophical make one spiritual, or does being religious, ritualistic or holy make one spiritual? In my quest to find the underlying truth I discovered a simple yet powerful answer.

I discovered that ‘Spirituality in its pure sense is but a mere consequence of Holism.’

Development in humans is manifold. Its dynamics are perceived differently at different age. Both internal as well as external factors largely influence this development. Our surrounding and experiences mould our response patterns thus framing our personality. When this personality allows for change-and-progress towards positivity-and-fulfillment we realize that the various dynamics of self improvement are pulled together.

As easy as this may sound, many people find it extremely difficult to make changes to this so called ’personality’. Knowledge gained from education, upbringing, and the society we live in, play a pivotal role in shaping our character and perceptions. But only by holding these different threads together and tugging at our life we can guide our personality towards ‘wholesomeness’ in other words ‘oneness’.

While trying to understand how this feeling of ‘oneness’ can be achieved, a simple everyday life of a child caught my attention. Schools these days are focusing on ‘holistic’ development. A ‘whole child’ is able to use all his sensory nerves effectively to develop physically, cognitively, emotionally and socially. As the child grows if this ideology is nurtured, we can see the potential of the child being fully utilized to bring out the best in him. Consequentially, sense of self-worth is no longer attached to appreciations, applause, designation, remuneration or rewards. It is directly related to the feeling of fulfillment. Such peace that guides our inner core leads to ‘holistic’ development.

The feeling an artist gets while admiring his masterpiece; the feeling a musician experiences on a note that makes him forget the world around; what a new mother experiences when her baby first smiles at her; are all moments of feeling that inner peace. Therefore I realized that when a person is able to feel the wholesomeness of his being, ‘holism’ is experienced.

True empowerment therefore comes from the ability to tactfully change our personality towards personal growth. The resultant holistic development gives birth to ‘Spirituality’.

Mrs. Anuradha Kumar
Janurary 2013

MY MOTHER

A beautiful lean dame, head held up with pride is waiting to brighten the world. Alas! It will cost every fiber in her to do so. She is not afraid; she is not ready to give up. She knows with each passing minute there will be more pain. The joy of bright future lies in her endurance until that last moment. Beginning with a mound of power and strength she slowly sacrifices all she has in order to live. The intensity of her pure love burns all evil around. Her life now transformed more lives. Oh Mother! How selfless is thy way of brightening my world. Thank You!

EXPERIENCING YOUR PRESENCE ALL THE WAY UP IS VICTORY IN ITSELF!

MAN: Lord! The path to my success is rough. I need your help. Where can I find you?

God: Climb this mountain called ‘Life’. I will meet you at the top.
Upon god’s instructions the MAN worked very hard to experience life. At each falling step faith kept him going. Finally after a rough journey he found himself at the pinnacle of life. He stood staring at eternity with pride. Surprisingly however, the MAN realized there was nothing between him and god but eternal peace in abundance. He was humbled by the fruit of his deep faith.

MAN: Thank You Lord! For I realize now you were within me all along.