20 Unforgettable Lessons Every Parent Should Pass On To His Child

1.Fasten your seat-belt always and live your life according to the highest possible standards of safety.

2. We are not promised tomorrow and all that we have is today. Life is short, and time flies. Decide what you love to do more than anything in the world, and then figure out a way to get paid for it. Then you will never have to work a day in your life.

3.Treat everyone with respect, take genuine interest in others, and be simply good to people.

4.Be willing to work hard. Ask: What else can I offer, bring or contribute?

5.Take care of your body and health.

6.Be a lifelong learner. Read a lot.

7.Dare to live big. God did not make us for the ordinary; he made us for the extraordinary. But most of us live so far below that. Just “okay” is never what he had in mind for us. Don’t rob yourself of an amazing life – go for it. You are not too old. It is not too hard. Start taking baby steps toward what it is you want most out of life. No one is going to do it for you. It is entirely up to you.

8.Develop relationships with people all your life – be a people collector.

9.Remember that there is no one you need to be afraid of. Hold your head high with confidence.

10.Next time you want to point a finger, step back and realize that you may not know the whole story. You never know what’s really going on in someone’s life.

11.Get into the habit of asking yourself: What is the wise thing for me to do? It will change the way you approach decisions in your life and help you make good decisions.

12.Be a leader. Show others the right way to live. This means vision, good communication, people skills, character, competence, boldness and a serving heart.

13.Always aspire to keep growing and improving.

14.Save as much as you can.

15.Choose your friends carefully – who you hang with is who you will become.

16.Persevere till you succeed.

17.Love your family members, even if you do not like them.

18.Marry someone who makes you a better person.

19.You are unique. Be who you want to be, not what others want you to be.

20.Stay close to the Divine – he is with you on the mountain as well as on the valley.

Kids- listen to your parents. Parents- know that your kids are watching and listening to you.

– from the book: The Takeaway by Pat Williams and Karyn Williams

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The Mindful Parenting Dozen

The following are 12 exercises that can help us parent in a mindful way:

1. Try to imagine the world from your child’s point of view, purposefully letting go of your own. Do this every day for at least a few moments to remind you of who this child is and what he or she faces in the world.

2. Imagine how you appear and sound from your child’s point of view; imagine having you as a parent today, in this moment. How might this modify how you carry yourself in your body and in space, how you speak, what you say? How do you want to relate to your child in this moment?

3. Practice seeing your children as perfect just the way they are. See if you can stay mindful of their sovereignty  from moment to moment, and work at accepting them as they are when it is hardest for you to do so.

4. Be mindful of your expectations of your children, and consider whether they are truly in your children’s best interests. Also, be aware of how you communicate those expectations and how they affect your children.

5. Practice altruism, putting the needs of your children above your own whenever possible. Then see if there isn’t some common ground where your needs can also be met. You may be surprised at how much overlap is possible, especially if you are patient and strive for balance.

6. When you feel lost, or at a loss, remember to stand still, as in the following poem, “Lost”,  by David Wagoner:

Stand still. The trees ahead and the bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

Meditate on the whole by bringing your full attention to the situation, to your child, to yourself, to the family. In doing so, you may go beyond thinking, even good thinking  and perceive intuitively, with the whole of your being( your feelings, intuitions, body, mind and soul) what really needs to be done. If that is not clear in any moment, maybe the best thing is not to do anything until it becomes clearer. Sometimes it is good to remain silent.

7. Try embodying silent presence. This will grow out of both formal and informal mindfulness practice over time, if you attend to how you carry yourself and what you project in body, mind and speech. Listen carefully.

8. Learn to live with tension without losing your own balance. In Zen and the Art of Archery, Herrigel describes how he was taught to stand at the point of highest tension effortlessly without shooting the arrow. At the right moment, the arrow mysteriously shoots itself. Do this by practicing moving into any moment, however difficult, without trying to change anything and without having to have a particular outcome occur. Practice seeing whatever comes up  is “workable” if you are willing  to stand in this way in the present,  trusting  your intuition and best instincts. Your child, especially when young needs you to be a center of balance and trustworthiness, a reliable landmark by which he or she can take a bearing within his or her own landscape. Arrow and target need each other. Forcing doesn’t help. They will find each other better through wise attention and patience.

9. Apologize to your child when you have betrayed a trust in even a little way. Apologies are healing. An apology demonstrates that you have thought about a situation and have come to see it more clearly, or perhaps more from your child’s point of view. But we to be mindful of being “sorry” too often. It loses its meaning if we are always seeing it, or make regret into a habit. Then it can become a way for us not to take responsibility for our actions. Be aware of this. Cooking in remorse on occasion is a good meditation. Don’t shut off the stove until the meal is ready.

10. Every child is special, and every child has special needs. Each sees in an entirely unique way. Hold an image of each child in your heart. Drink in their being, wishing them well.

11. There are very important times when we need to practice being clear and strong and unequivocal with our children. Let this come as much as possible out of awareness and generosity and discernment, rather than out of fear, self-righteousness, or the desire to control. Mindful parenting does not mean being overindulgent, neglectful, or weak; nor does it mean being rigid and controlling.

12. The greatest gift you can give your child is your self. This means that part of your work as a parent is to keep growing in self-knowledge and in awareness. We have to be grounded in the present moment to share what is deepest and best in ourselves. This is ongoing work, but it can be furthered by making a time for quiet contemplation in whatever ways that feel comfortable to us. We only have right now. let us use to its best advantage, for our children’s sake and for our own.

– from Everyday Blessings by Jon and Myla Kabat Zinn.

The SEA bed of mindful parenting

The foundations of mindful parenting are sovereignty, empathy and acceptance. They form the SEA-BED on which children can bloom into happy and well-balanced adults. Let us explore them:

Sovereignty: It is important to recognize sovereignty as a fundamental attribute and birthright of each child. Each child comes into this world with his or her own attributes, temperament and genius. We have to recognise that, accept them as they are and not try to change them to be what we want them to be. We should allow them to grow and change in the way they want to while guiding them and helping them not to fall into the really bad things of life. We need to accept our child as he is, for who he is. It does not mean that they can have whatever they want-unbridled entitlement. But they are entitled to a lot: loved, cared for and protected for. This means we pick our baby up when she cries, child-proof the house, keep a close eye on what they are doing, do not discourage them constantly by fearful warnings, removing things that could harm them, appreciating their unique views, skills, insights, struggles and strengths, being silent at times, talking with them at times and setting definite limits with firm kindness. This cannot be done with thinking alone. This requires empathy( feeling what they feel) and acceptance( accepting them as they are and not being attached to a certain outcome). If we do that, then self-acceptance, self-esteem and self-confidence and trust in one’s nature and path start to take root in our growing child.

Empathy: When we cultivate empathy, we try to see things from our child’s point of view. We try to understand what she may be feeling or experiencing. We try to bring a sympathetic awareness to what is happening in the moment. We also try to be aware of our own feelings as well. The way we express this empathy changes as our child grows up but it is necessary if we want to be mindful parents. It may be the way we fondle them when they cry at sleep to holding hands to just simple listening. It just means we try to see, feel and think as they are and be there with them.

Acceptance: Acceptance is an inner orientation which acknowledges that things are as they are, whether they are the way we want them to be or not, no matter how terrible they may be or seem to be at certain moments. It does not mean that we accept any behaviour, but it does mean that we accept them even if we don’t accept their behaviour. But it is difficult. When children engage in what we believe as negative or unacceptable behaviour, it is important to stay calm and being mindful can help a lot. We need to accept them at that moment and not judge and later at a more peaceful moment, we need to see what is really happening and why?

As we can see, these three things are interrelated:

  • Sovereignty: Accepting that our child can choose what he wants
  • Empathy: Seeing things from our child’s point of view
  • Acceptance: Accepting our child as they are

These three things, which can be remembered as SEA can make a sea-change in the way we parent our children and how our children grow up into happy adults.

How to help your child develop a champion mindset for great learning

Information was considered equal to knowledge before. However, with the advent of the world-wide web and internet, any information is easily available at the click of a mouse. But having this information does not mean we have knowledge.

  • Getting raw data is information
  • Active understanding of information is knowledge
  • Applying the knowledge gained in other domains is wisdom
  • Ability to frame the right questions once we have wisdom is foresight

The goals for us as parents and educators are:

  • To help children find their inner strengths
  • To help them use their inner strengths
  • To help them overcome obstacles in expressing their inner strengths
  • To help them be the best they can be and use their inner strengths to develop themselves and the society

For this both intellect and imagination, right brain and left brain are necessary. We have to strengthen their strengths as well as their non-strengths.

The brain has three tiers:

  1. Reflex brain: brain stem and cerebellum
  2. Emotional brain: limbic system
  3. Intellectual brain: cerebral cortex

Fear and insecurity are two big impediments to learning. We have to give children a fearless and secure environment for learning. The right brain is called the creative brain and the left brain is called the logical brain. They do not function in isolation. A new activity is initially carried out by the right brain but as time goes and the activity becomes familiar, the left brain takes over that activity, freeing the right brain for another new activity. There is also neuroplasticity- the ability of a part of the brain to do the functions of another part.

There is proliferation of neurons and synaptic connections till the age of 12 , after which there is pruning of those that are not needed. This does not mean that all learning happens before the age of 12. What it means is the growth corresponds to the potential for learning. So we have to expose children to various activities and that help in the development of both the right and the left brain. Otherwise, there is the possibility that some connections will not grow and the potential as we grow older will be less.

The mind set of a child and each one of us depends on the experiences we have and the meaning we give to those experiences.

The Champion mindset does this:

  1. It is a mental attitude that has learned to replace the fear filter with a more wide-angled perspective that allows for an analysis of alternative interpretations- including the more positive ones.
  2. It consciously regards the new challenge not as a cause of stress but as a new opportunity – a chance to move beyond our present experiences and expand our horizons, to learn and grow and be more than we were.
  3. It uses positive extrapolation: visualising the most successful outcome even in a very challenging situation and standing in that successful future and looking back with the eyes of a future expert asking: What did I do that led to this successful outcome? What did I do that did not work. This involves brainstorming possible strategies and steps, including seeking help from other people.
  4. It uses the human power of metacognition to develop a number of mindsets by consciously shifting domains.

To help a child learn we need to:

  • Use associations with what is already known.
  • Use simple methods with which the child can understand
  • Help him apply it so that he can master it.

Many children do not learn with any level of connection or active understanding because of faulty method of instruction and not tieing the learner to the learning in a meaningful way.

The development of a champion mindset is a shift to the world view dominated by positive psychology’s six virtue clusters:

The wisdom/knowlege cluster

  • Curiosity/interest in the world
  • Love of learning
  • Judgement/critical thinking/ open-mindedness
  • Ingenuity/originality/practical intelligence/ street smarts
  • Social intelligence/personal intelligence/emotional intelligence
  • Perspective

The courage cluster

  • Valour and bravery
  • Perseverance/industry/diligence
  • Integrity/genuineness/honesty

The humanity/love cluster

  • Kindness and generosity
  • Loving and allowing oneself to be loved

The justice cluster

  • Citizenship/duty/teamwork/loyalty
  • Fairness and equity
  • Leadership

The temperance/moderation cluster

  • Self-control
  • Prudence/discretion/caution
  • Humility and modesty

The transcendence cluster

  • Appreciation of beauty and excellence
  • Gratitude
  • Hope/optimism/future-mindedness
  • Spirituality/sense of purpose/faith/religiousness
  • Forgiveness and mercy
  • Playfulness and humour
  • Zest/passion/enthusiasm

To achieve a permanent change of state, we must first permanently change the person we are inside-our mindset.

To achieve the champion mindset we need to ask productive questions like-

  • What are the three things I can do today to improve?
  • Who can help me improve?
  • How can we fix and improve our methods, so that it never happens again?

The steps to unlocking your child’s genius are:

  • Give your child a detailed picture of the goals that he needs to achieve
  • Help him feel, picture and visualise the solution to the goal
  • Tie the outcome to your key values and beliefs
  • Have a perfect belief in the system
  • Have a deadline
  • Believe in yourself

 

Slowing down to the speed of life: Book Notes

We all have within us the capacity for mental health. The entry point into this mental health is living in the moment.Our psychological experience of life, the experience of our reality,  comes from our thinking combined with consciousness.

There are two distinct modes of thinking:

  • Processing/analytical mode– to deal with situations where all the variables are known and relies on memory
  • Free-flowing/reflective mode –  with the unknown, with change and evolution and relies on insight

Learning these principles raises our level of understanding, and we gain insights into life. Our thinking, feeling and perceptions then change automatically.Thought recognition helps us to shift gears between the two modes of thinking and helps us function in mental health.

Feelings are mirrors of our thinking. Feelings can be comfortable or uncomfortable. If our feelings are uncomfortable, we are thinking in an unhealthy way. Once we recognise these thoughts, if we slow down to the speed of life we will be peaceful and happy.

The four keys to getting back in the moment are:

  1. Listening without interpreting or agreeing/disagreeing
  2. Seeing the wisdom in not-knowing
  3. Having faith in the free-flowing mode
  4. Putting your problems on the back-burner

The pitfalls to avoid are:

  1. Analyzing your problems and your life
  2. Judging yourself every time you realize you are out of the moment
  3. Living in the past

 The seven essential steps for reducing stress are:

  1. Knowing that inner peace is possible.
  2. Admitting that getting what you want isn’t the ultimate answer
  3. Learning not to deal head-on with or to struggle with problems
  4. Understanding that stress originates in your thinking.
  5. Learning not to allow passing thoughts turn into thought attacks.
  6. Avoiding the temptation to get caught up in the details.
  7. Lowering your tolerance for stress.

Understanding our moods, separate realities and thought recognition leads to heart-heart effective communication. Being truly present, letting go of expectations, talking from the heart and listening with nothing on our mind leads to effective communication.

The effects of speed-ed up parenting are:

  1. You become habitually reactive instead of responsive
  2. You take negative behaviour personally and not seeing the innocence.
  3. Little events become front-page news.
  4. You miss the good times.
  5. You lose sight of your compassion.
  6. You expect too much from your children.

There are seven primary benefits for slowing down while parenting:

  1. Your day-to-day experience will be heightened. Ordinary moments will become quite beautiful.
  2. You’ll become less reactive and more responsive
  3. Your loving feelings and your appreciation for the gift of being a parent will increase.
  4. You will model peaceful slowed-down behaviour.
  5. You will drop potential regrets about not having been there for your kids.
  6. Your wisdom will surface and you will know what actions to take and what decisions to make to raise your kids to their full potential.
  7. You will stop thinking that parenting is so hard.

 Strategies for being a slowing down as a parent are:

  1. Become more oriented to the present moment.
  2. Learn to accept each moment as it arises.
  3. Keep your thought attacks to a minimum.
  4. Practice early thought recognition.
  5. See moods with compassion.
  6. Practice doing one thing at a time.
  7. Live in the free-flowing mode as much as possible.

 Slowing down at work:

  1. Self-motivated, dynamic and visionary methods of working.
  2. Tortoise approach to time management by pacing: never doing too much at a time.
  3. Having rapport and being oriented to the present moment.

Satisfaction in the present moment is the key to enjoying life. When your mind has drifted away from the present moment:

  1. You feel bored – as if something else would be much more interesting.
  2. You get overly absorbed in planning future moments
  3. You are unusually tired, even though you thought you were relaxing.
  4. You are frustrated, even though you’re(supposedly) out enjoying yourself.

You enjoy yourself when you are in the present moment, lose yourself in something, have a quiet and clear mind and learn to relax.

How to bring up your child

The Mother, of Aurobindo Ashram, in her writings on education gives us clear basic sign-posts that we as parents should follow. I have tried to express that in my own words.

  1. Never to set a bad example. If you want your child to be calm, be calm. If you want him to be truthful, be truthful. Practise what you preach. Then you will find that your kids will manifest all the good qualities you want them to have.
  2. Never be impatient
  3. Never get irritable or angry.
  4. Never ask them to blindly obey you
  5. Never force them to do what you want them to do irrespective of whether they like it or not.
  6. When your child asks you a question, do not give him a stupid or silly answer under the pretext that he cannot understand you. Explain to them at a level they can understand appropriate to their age and use stories or tales.
  7. Do not scold your child without good reason and only when it is necessary. A child who is too often scolded gets used to scolding and no longer attaches much importance to words or severity of tone.
  8. Take good care never to scold him for a fault which you yourself commit.
  9. You should not allow any fear to come between you and your child; fear is not a good way to educate : it usually gives rise to cheating and lying.
  10. You have to control yourself constantly to be equal to your task and truly fulfil the duty which you owe your child by the mere fact of having brought him into the world.

The four essential brain foods for your wonderful child

When we think of food, we think of the food that we eat. Your child needs good food and that is only one of the four essential brain foods.

The four essential brain foods that your child needs are:

  • Oxygen
  • Nutrition
  • Love
  • Information

These can be easily remembered by the mnemonic-ONLI.

Lets look at each of them:

Oxygen: The brain of a growing child needs a lot of  fuel and oxygen is the best fuel. More oxygen can be got by exercising and playing in the open air. Make sure your child plays each day and gets lots of oxygen.

Nutrition: Your child’s brain and body needs the best possible food to grow. Make sure she gets good amounts of protein( dal, nuts, milk), green/yellow coloured vegetables, citrus fruits like tomatoes/oranges/melons, other fruits and vegetables and some fat( butter, oil) as well. Then her brain and body will be fed nicely and she will grow well.

Love: Your child needs love to survive, not only in terms of personality and emotional development, but also to actually bring about the physical growth of his brain. Love allows the brain to form better connections among its neurons, to open out, to function well, to receive, to explore, to develop. So love your child as best as you can.

Information: The more stimulating and complex your child’s environment is, the better she will grow. Expose her to a lot of information. Expose her to nature- allow her to explore trees, flowers, leaves, animals, etc. Child friendly musuems, galleries and exhibitions are also very good. Answer all your child’s questions. If you don’t know, find the answer and tell him. Books; good stimulating, not mind-numbing electronic media also can help

So there we go, you only(ONLI) need these four brain foods to develop your child into a fully functional and healthy person.