We live in a world where children are increasingly being taught cheating, deception, and violence as a result of them playing games and using applications on tablets and smartphones. In this atmosphere of fear and distrust, how is a parent to pass on a tender heart to their children? How can I teach my children to be compassionate and caring? Such is the dilemma I faced.
She stands firmly against a linen white wall, an odd shaped red chair with swirling shadow stripes, making it come alive. She beams with radiance, waiting patiently for someone to be seated. Waiting for someone to tell her story. Waiting… Continue reading The Red Chair
For the first time in almost a score of years, my wife and I found ourselves looking at each other – without any distractions. No errands to run, no dishes to wash, no mess to clean up. With kids safely with their grandparents, we found ourselves filled with joy, like happy teenagers whose parents are off to Hawaii for a month!!
Many moons ago, I had to stress about exams. That was all. Never had to stress about money, rent, food, no, all those things, by the Grace of God, were looked after by my parents. It was just exams. So, I did what every studious student does. Played on Atari till last day, then studied as if my life depended on it … resulting grades left much to be desired! Eventually I learnt that it was better to balance the two. Consequently grades improved, as did the quality of life. Stress, however, remained constant.
Fast forward to post school life, marriage, job and all the fun that goes with it, stress has been a constant companion. My children are old enough to embrace this companion, wonderful or not. And I, wiser to understand this companion of mine, am able to change focal point and embrace it differently.
Sometime ago, my son encountered exams for the first time. “Welcome to the world of stress,” he was told. I reflected upon his situation and concluded otherwise. It was time for discussion, but not until after the looming sword had fallen! I worked with him throughout his exams and encouraged him, gently reminding him of the privileges bestowed upon him by Canada. All praise to God who has given us shelter from fire that rages from the sky and bullets that pierce the barrier of sound and life. This of course, is a discussion for another day.
After his exams were over, we went out for a drive as we usually do and spoke about the ordeal. I wanted to understand his perception of stress. Pressure, ability to understand, comprehend and recall, wanting to stay in the top 5 percentile and other usual suspects emerged. I am sure you have been there. Then I offered a different perspective. I asked him to think about stress as an opportunity to grow, to make a difference. If the desire to grow was there, but lacked the effort, how would you grow? A blank look followed.
Addressing the blank look on his face, we spoke about how diamonds are formed. The diamonds that exist amongst our bazaars were sculptured over a period of billion years. Oil has taken millions of years to form and is now our central force for growth. Humans are similar in this regard. The more pressure, guided appropriately, better the result. If you cannot withstand pressure, you will only grow so much. If you dodge every curveball life throws at you, you will grow as far as you stand.
Stress, in my humble opinion, is a tool put on this earth by God as a gift for us to engage with and harness its ability to commence greatness. I encouraged him to ponder how he could have improved his previous experience and we discussed a few changes. Perhaps sleep earlier and wake earlier to meditate and study with the first burst of fresh oxygen pumped in the air. Well, okay, that is not happening. We discussed importance of managing time, and I welcomed the ‘aha’ look. Managing time is of critical importance, a lesson I learnt while playing PacMan one night before Physics exam. Ability to manage your time and priorities amiably can lead to great things. In my humble and very limited experience, time management + ability to focus on one things at a time = stress management.
I have now begun to apply this principle in everyday life and have watched stress and anxiety facilitate my growth towards becoming a better person, a better father, and a better husband. While too early to gauge, repeated doses of such discussions with children would result in similar outcome.
I leave you with the wisdom that was parted on my children and me by Master Oogway. In his words:
“Your mind is like this water, my friend. When it is agitated, it becomes difficult to see. But if you allow it to settle, the answer becomes clear.”
Till we meet again, speak kindly, love always, stay in peace.
Respect, Integrity, Honesty, values that we desire for our children. Sometimes, I wonder – How many of us cherish these values?
Couple of weeks ago, we were heading downtown. The car in front of us had a large sticker posted on it: “No one gives a d**m about your stick family.” We do not have stick family displayed on our car, yet the audacity of the cite appalled me. My son commented “How rude?” and I concurred.
Respect for our neighbours, our friends and foes alike, is what my parents taught me. Integrity in face of adversity is a value they demonstrated time and again. Honesty, even if faced with personal loss is what our elders taught us, with their examples. How do I teach these values to my children, I wondered?
We spoke about respect and what it means. We spoke about integrity and honesty. Yes, there are times when you do not see another person’s viewpoint. Yes, there are times when weight of your words far out weigh others. It is during times like these that your respect for another persons belief will shine with silence and dignity. This is when your honesty illuminates the essence of respect, deepening the roots of integrity.
It was a simple sticker that prompted such pleasant dialogue. A mere nine word sentence. I was pleased to see my children reflect those values that are dear to me, that are dear to our elders. The fabric of this society is being threatened by confusion, by deception and unfaithfulness. It is always pleasant to see a thread that promises to hold it all together.
May God bless my children. May they become productive, positive and meaningful contributors to establishing peace of our World. May God bless you and your children in the same manner.
In a display of good values, many are getting together to support Special Olympics. We will be there, supporting them all the way, as they are #FreezinForAReason and taking a #polarplunge