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An Open Letter to Parents and Teachers!

Are We Adding to Emotional Stress of Our Children?


Dear Parents and Teachers

Did you ever think that you can be the reason of your child’s emotional unrest or distress?

Yeah! you read it right.

Few days back, just listening to young children on National Platform of MANODARPAN, an initiative by Ministry of Education, India, my belief that the young growing children need a sincere understanding from their parents and teachers got validated.

I am sure, we all as parents and teachers wish to see our children growing into happy, responsible and confident adults. We sure do. But how do we help them to achieve that goal? By constant reminders to study hard, if they don’t score well; they are screwed up for life, comparing them with their friends, judging them on the basis of their marks with scant regards for values and other skill sets that they need to develop, pushing them to live your dreams rather following their own. Right?

You know, dear parents and teachers, we need to acknowledge the following facts  to connect better with our children and support them grow into their best versions.

# 1. Different Time & Context

We must appreciate and acknowledge the fact that our children are living in totally different times and context than ours. Consequently, our very own understanding of their world is very limited. What worked at our times may not work in their times. Try to look at the things from their perspective; there is so much competition and judgement around. Growing up in a digital world we are on a juncture when we no longer can expect from them to not use digital devices. All schools have been banning mobiles into the classrooms and irony of the time is that entire schools are now being run on mobiles. It means we must focus more on teaching the right usage of digital devices in place of not using them altogether.

#2. Living in Hyper Inflated Balloons of Virtual World

Children today are living in social media created hyper inflated balloons where your image and reputation is more important than the real strength of character. How many likes and hits they get, defines their sense of worth. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real feeling for them. We need to be appreciating their real worth in real world so that they are less influenced by the falsehood imagery of virtual world. It simply means they must feel appreciated and loved at homes through our words, actions and behaviours.

What Can We Do?

Don’t Judge Children

As the old norms change and give rise to new normal, let us decide not to judge our children based on their marks. Let us value them for what they can do and achieve to their best. Instead of results, let us develop the vision to appreciate sincere efforts.

Don’t Compare Children

We are all unique. Let us understand the meaning of this sentence in its completeness. All children are born to be different. Imagine the world where everyone is the same. How boring would it be? Also understand that we can’t get children customized as per our wishes and desires. They are the products of so many factors taken together beyond our comprehension.

Appreciate their Uniqueness

Educate yourself to know the research backed information. The theory of Multiple Intelligence by Howard Gardener makes it a common knowledge that we are all innately designed to be good at different tasks. Some of us would be good at interpersonal skills, some at musical abilities, some at mathematical and reasoning abilities, some at linguistic abilities while some other at scientific enquiries. In nutshell we are all unique and it is no rocket science to understand this.

Support Them be at Their Best

Knowing the theory and real-life manifestation of MI, our job as parents and teachers is to support our children be at their best. It means we must focus to strengthen their innate talents rather than spending our time on improving their weakness. It means, if your child is good at Languages and Social Sciences and struggles at Mathematics; you must focus on further strengthening the strengths and manage the weakness. In this case, a career must be carved out of humanities rather than Sciences.

Provide Opportunities to Explore Beyond Academics

All children must be provided ample opportunities to explore their interests and skills beyond academics. It means creating and availing opportunities for your child to identify what interests her. Let children play and engage in dance, music, arts and craft and sports as well. The very notion that children good at academics are successful in life is being challenged by every day proofs that most successful people around you were not all toppers in their schools.

Trust Them

Children must be trusted. Habitual distrust leads to low self-esteem. Don’t assume that your child is out with friends to indulge in wrong doings only or you must know everything about them for the time when they are away from you. In order to know them better, engage positively with them rather than spying on them. Remember, teenagers hate being distrusted. The more you show distrust the further they get away from you. Your trust in their capabilities and sincere appreciation of their efforts helps them develop self worth, so essential to their growth.

Don’t Tag or Label Children

The worst thing you as parents can do is to tag or label them. While growing, children go through various phases and stages. If you label the normal naughtiness of your child as notoriety and always bring that out in to your conversations with others, believe me your children will prove you right for the same over time. If you ever have heard the concept of self-fulfilling prophecy, Read More you would better understand it. If you ever have to tag, consciously tag them with good labels. That also would be fulfilled over time.

Treat Children with Respect

Always treat your children with respect. Just because they are younger to you in age, does not mean that you have the right to find faults at all times with them. They might not be right at all times but they deserve respectful guidance and corrections. Also remember you can never get the right settled in anyone through making them feel miserable. In order to help them discover the right, your job is of mentor, coaching, guiding and being there. You never slap your children when they  fall down and are injured. You pick them out of love and comfort them. Just try to understand emotional fall. Be there to hold hands and guide through when they  go wrong, no body makes mistakes intentionally. How you guide them out defines how they value themselves.

I believe, educating and updating ourselves with research facts as per the changing times and context, we sure can understand our children and support them be their best versions.

Let us be at our best!


How can Parents Support Emotional Health of their Children?

Another academic year and children are yet not going to school.  We must acknowledge that this year it is tougher than the previous year so we all must be doing our best to keep our children emotionally stronger and help them build resilience. Of course, academic learning of our children is on the back foot but we educators and parents can support them in learning Life- skills; courage, resilience, empathy, compassion, kindness, reaching out, humanity…all values so essential for the survival. Let us look at this tough time as a mandatory class planned for all of us by Nature so let us support our children in growing emotionally stronger and resilient!

So what can we do as parents?

Understand that children are the worst impacted. Their routines and schedules are all disrupted. Though many schools are taking classes online yet no digital mode can take the place of face to face interactions. The children are missing their friends, their meals together, their pranks, their sports, their hobby classes…everything that made their lives full of life. So be  compassionate. Involve them in home chores with you. Listen to them. Engage them in physical activities. Let them connect digitally with their friends. Promote reading and writing. Promote some activity. Above all, build on through your faith and conviction that This too shall pass!

Though this blog was written last year when we all faced the Lockdown first time and experienced its vagaries most of it is still valid, perhaps more than the last year, so sharing again.


Maya Angelou

Read More…

How to Choose the Right School for Children? Parental Guide

What Aspects must be looked into?

Every year the most stressful time for parent community is when the new school sessions are about to start and you struggle to find the right schools for your Pre-schoolers.

Or maybe you have relocated and are trying to select a good school at the new place.

Or maybe you are not happy with the current school of your child and trying to look for some other school at the same place.

Most of you young parents are confused as to how must you select the school? Should you go for a big established school or an upcoming one? What all must you look for in a school? Do the results define a school? Should you go for State Boards, CBSE or ICSE Schools?

Selecting a school implies that you are putting your child on a learning trajectory. Through this article, I am sharing the insights based on observations and experience which will help you to make right choice.

In order to make the right choice, you must make your observations on the following parameters and look deeper in to these aspects.

Competence of the Faculty

Are they well qualified and trained?

What methodology do they follow?

How to check that?

In case you are physically verifying, visiting the school, it is obvious when you talk to them. You can see, feel and get vibes of the same. Experience & expertise speaks for itself.

In case you are looking into the schools through websites, try to find more about them by asking the parents of the children who study there.

You must ensure that the school meets the highest standards of excellence in terms of its teachers, their methodology of teaching learning, academic curriculum and moral standards.

 Ethos of the School

Is it loving & caring?

Does it radiate concern for children?

How to check that?

Choose to visit the school if possible. You can feel positive energy and vibes.

Also take notice as to how are people in general talking to each other, do they talk politely and with courtesy to each other? Are they comfortable with each other?

Most importantly, how do the seniors relate with their subordinates? Is there a feel of fear? There may be a feel of authority but if it is wrapped in love and concern, it is okay. But if it is only authority without humanity, you may have to reconsider.

Class Strength and Teacher Student Ratio

Big Class Strength, Multi-sectional School with Super facilities

Average Class Strength, 2/3 section school with basic facilities in place

How to decide?

In a class with 30-32 students, the teachers will be personally able to attend to every student’s individual learning needs.

In big class sizes and in very big schools, individual attention starts fading out which is so crucial at least up to class 8th.

So, consider this factor based on the need, age and class of your child. How does your child learn; in group settings or individually? How much attention does she need to understand and master any concept?

Usually, in junior classes, the children need more of individual attention and ample practice to master the skills of reading writing and arithmetic. By secondary classes, children are grown up enough and have already mastered the basic skills so class size does not really make up much difference to the learning curve of children until there are real discipline issues at class level.

Teaching – Learning Experience and Overall Focus

Traditional old-fashioned teaching & focus on rote learning (memorization). Only academics are focused on.

Innovative, experiential learning with focus on learning by doing along with promoting multi-dimensional growth of children. Extracurricular activities like sports, music, arts & craft, dance &drama etc. are equally focused on.

How to find out?

Try to talk to the parents of the children or the senior students of the school. Look out for real evidences in and around.

For beginners and students up to class 8th at least, evidences of learning by doing must be a very important factor to make the choice of the school.

You can ask to see the school on some random working day and see it for yourself. Innovative, ever growing organizations have a vibrancy about themselves and opportunities of learning by doing are provided to children to help them explore their talent and skills.

What are the Motives of School?

Pure Education/ Pure Business

 Education with understanding of business/ Business with an understanding of real education

Pure education means the schools totally committed to the cause of education and are actively engaged in the growth and development of children.

Pure business means the schools are concerned more with the business aspects of running a school than the quality of teaching learning and growth & development of children.

But the point is pure educationists won’t ever have so much resources to run the school. So, there is least probability of coming across a school run for pure education. The school committed to the cause of education with understanding of business is the ideal choice. See, in real world any organization has to be economically self-sustaining. Such schools engage in real education with good quality faculty and nurturing ethos. In other words, the real value for the cost offered is delivered honestly.

How to check?

Try to find facts who are the people at the helm of affairs? Are they committed to the cause of education? Ask to see the people at key positions in the school. Talking to them and sharing your aspirations would give you a feel of what do they stand for, what philosophy do they follow. Appearances may be deceptive so talking to the parents of students already studying in the school will give you a fair picture.

Infrastructure & Facilities in the School

Basic Facilities

Five Star Facilities

How to decide?

The schools with basic infrastructure and good standard of cleanliness and greenery around serve the purpose. Neat and clean toilet facility, safe drinking water, a playground, laboratory and library also come under the basic facilities.

Some schools provide awe creating facilities which most of the times become the basis of your choice. You have to think critically as to how do such facilities add to the growth and development of your child. A.C classrooms, Buses, canteen etc. do not engage in real education so their availability and non-availability must not be a factor to select a school. In case you are considering the availability of such facilites as a factor to choose school, try to find out whether these facilities are for showcase or children are actually allowed to use them and develop. Find out whether labs are used or just stacked? A normal lab with ample uses is better than a well stacked big lab but minimal uses.

See during pandemic, we all have witnessed that buildings were at their own places yet the schools with focus on education have been able to provide an admirable teaching learning experience. So rationally you must select a school with all basic facilities in place, properly functional and utilized to the maximum.

Which Board the School is Affiliated to?

State Board/ CBSE/ ICSE

How to decide?

The choice of board will depend on the age & class of your child along with how often do you relocate. As a matter of fact, all schools up-to class 8thare recognized by the State Boards. For the board classes the schools are further affiliated to either the State Boards or CBSE or ICSE.

 Usually, the concepts taught in all schools are same as they are based on NCF (national Curriculum Framework) but pattern of asking questions in Board Classes is different.

So up-to class 8th, your choice must be governed by the other factors discussed (quality faculty, teacher-student ratio, education or business, and nurturing ethos.) and not by the Board.

But in case if you relocate (change place due to any reason) every two years, you may prefer a CBSE school as almost all of them follow the same pattern so your changing school will not impact your child’s studies although other factors would still make a difference.

Also, if you stay permanently at one place and aspire your child to go for state govt. jobs or seek admission into state colleges of higher studies in future, a State Board School with keeping other factors in mind can be a good choice.

Distance of the School from Home

A Big School with all facilities

A small school with normal facilities

How to decide?

Your selection of school in terms of distance from your home must depend on the age of your child. For preschoolers and primary classes, a school near to your home provided it has a caring ethos and focusses on learning by doing can be a good choice as it saves the child from tiring commuting schedule.

For beginners, the aim of starting school is to be able to develop a routine and spend some time away from home independently in the care of school and engage in creative activities.

For middle and Senior classes, you sure must look for lab, library and advance sports facilities. By that time, your child might have grown physical strength to bear the long travel and average time management skills to cope up with the time spent in daily commuting.

So, considering all these factors and mapping them to the age, need and class of your children will help you make a practical selection. Other factors, what do you base your decisions on, hearsay or your own needs and critical thinking, what values to you the most, what kind of environment do you look up for your child also will definitely impact selection of a school for your child. Whatever factors govern your choice, the minimum you must ensure is the real healthy growth and development of your child.

Making an Intelligent Choice is Imperative to Your Child’s Future!

Enjoy Happy Parenting!

Schools Reopening!!! Top 9 Priorities as Schools Reopen!

Schools Reopening!!!

Top 9 Priorities  as Schools Reopen!

The worst nightmare of our lives is slowly and gradually coming towards its end, number of cases coming down every day in India, vaccine launched and people being administered the vaccine shots, general public adapted to overall hygiene protocols, most of the places and services opened up, it is now time for the schools to reopen. A good number of SOPs circulated by the Government, CBSE Board and various other state boards, the schools are once again becoming LIVE – happening places. Though we are all happy about it, I am a little apprehensive of the way we are going to resume our working. Have we set our priorities about ‘What’ and ‘How’? Here are the top nine priorities…

#1. Expect, anticipate and adapt to change

One fact that we all must identify and accept is that post pandemic school culture and teaching – learning experiences are not going to be the same as pre pandemic. And we must never focus to achieve that. Much water has flown under the bridge. New normal and new adaptations will continue to evolve. We as schools must focus on continual adaptations over time rather than struggling to achieve the previous standards. A vision in to the futuristic society and the skills needed then must be the focus in schools of today.

#2. Focus on fostering Social connections and Emotional health of Students

 As schools we must remember that this generation of learners has survived a pandemic and they have come out stronger and resilient than before. In the race to cover and makeup for the lost academics, we must not overlook the success stories. You know, the survey reports world over suggest that 98% of the learners surveyed have missed their teachers and friends more than their academics. So as schools, initial few days we must invest into fostering and nurturing those connections again. Teachers must promote, share and listen to the stories of courage, hardships, pay cuts, work from home tensions, coping up – first hand from their students. They must build on their leanings of pandemic, reinforce them and build on the value of empathy, one of the core life skills to be a better human being.

#3. Establish Routine and Discipline with Patience

 Schools provide a structure and discipline to our children. Staying at home for so long with practically no or little schedule for the day has robbed our children of their habits and attitudes towards work. They may slog and delay work initially. We at schools have to understand the fact that it may take a fortnight or so to revive the right patterns and routines. So, plan to go easy with patience.

#4. Identify the Bigger Role the Schools play

Pandemic has proved that schools play a pivotal role beyond the teaching-learning experiences. They foster human connections and help learners develop social skills. The children have not missed the school buildings; they have missed the human interactions and feeling of belongingness with each other.

Read More…https://growinupwithlife.blogspot.com/2021/02/schools-reopening-top-9-priorities-as.html


How to overcome Learning Gaps as the Schools enter into New Session!?

Are Schools taking notice of Learning Gaps?

As the schools are reopening, schedules being restructured and new session supposed to be started from 1st of April as per the MHRD guidelines, we are all happy as teachers and parents to resume normal life and face to face teaching learning.

However, Learning Deficiencies or Learning Gaps as induced by the school closures during the last year are going to be a major issue to start with. A Learning Gap is the difference between what a student has learnt and what she/he was expected to learn during that class or grade. As an educationist, I am skeptical that in the mad rush to cover the syllabus in the new session and to make up for the lost profits whether the schools are going to do justice to the cause of education and to the cause of children in their care in the long run. Reading the survey reports ,  reflecting on the crisis and teaching learning dynamics of the last year, I believe the schools are going to face specific challenges in the following aspects;

Delayed Admissions/Enrolments: A lot of children, about 8% as per survey report DCTVS-4, in the early childhood category could not start the school. Which category must they belong to? Should they be enrolled in the next grades as per their age, following the No Detention Policy or should they be enrolled back in grades and start fresh beginning?

Read morehttps://growinupwithlife.blogspot.com/2021/02/how-to-overcome-learning-gaps-as.html


Schools Reopening!!! Top 9 Priorities as Schools Reopen!

The worst nightmare of our lives is slowly and gradually coming towards its end, number of cases coming down every day in India, vaccine launched and people being administered the vaccine shots, general public adapted to overall hygiene protocols, most of the places and services opened up, it is now time for the schools to reopen. A good number of SOPs circulated by the Government, CBSE Board and various other state boards, the schools are once again becoming LIVE – happening places. Though we are all happy about it, I am a little apprehensive of the way we are going to resume our working. Have we set our priorities about ‘What’ and ‘How’? Here are the top nine priorities…

#1. Expect, anticipate and adapt to change

One fact that we all must identify and accept is that post pandemic school culture and teaching – learning experiences are not going to be the same as pre pandemic. And we must never focus to achieve that. Much water has flown under the bridge. New normal and new adaptations will continue to evolve. We as schools must focus on continual adaptations over time rather than struggling to achieve the previous standards. A vision in to the futuristic society and the skills needed then must be the focus in schools of today.

#2. Focus on fostering Social connections and Emotional health of Students

 As schools we must remember that this generation of learners has survived a pandemic and they have come out stronger and resilient than before. In the race to cover and makeup for the lost academics, we must not overlook the success stories.

Read more on the link

How to build an emergency fund in Covid-19 economy

We have been harping on building an emergency fund for the last few months.


It is the total liquid funds at your disposal divided by average monthly expenses. It gives you an idea about the period for which you can survive without the regular income.

A finer point here is to include only essential expenses – cost of living as we choose to call it, rather than your normal lifestyle expenses. It helps to stretch the funds for a longer period of time.

For sometime, let us skip the controversy on whether the emergency fund should be sufficient for 3 months, 6 months or a year’s expenses. Decide what is feasible for you, and move ahead.

The employment and emoluments scenario is gradually improving. Yet, we know that we need to be prepared for similar force de majeure events in future.


There were knee-jerk reactions when people stopped investing in Systematic Investment Plans to create liquidity. One needs to always check the cost:benefit aspect of a financial move.

  • What are the returns you get from your present investment?
  • How many hours/days will it take to withdraw money from that investment if needed. Does it necessarily have to be lying in a savings account with a low interest rate of 3.5%?


1. I don’t have one, but I don’t need one.

Great! March on, yet it may make sense to start building one.

2. I don’t have one, but badly need it

  • Cut down on all unnecessary expenses – gym memberships, subscriptions which can be discontinued, shopping for clothes and accessories, ordering food online. There could be a few others, if not this. There are plenty of free knowledge resources floating around to replace these addictions. Tweak your lifestyle.


  • Negotiate with your creditors to reschedule repayment – credit cards, home loans, vehicle loans, personal loans etc.


  • Check your idle assets – unused property, furniture, gadgets – can you rent it out?


  • Can you get a loan against your investments? – National Savings Certificates, Kisan Vikas Patra, Fixed Deposits, insurance policies etc.  Remember that these loans come in the form of overdraft limits, and you will pay interest only for the amount utilised. One has to bear the cost of documentation, which is miniscule.


  • Can you withdraw money from Employee Provident Fund, or take an overdraft against PF from your employer?


  •  Can you get an interest-free loan from your friends/relatives?


  • Do you own a printer or software to make e-books/videos/elearning courses? Start selling services to help the large majority working online. You may register on freelancing sites like Fiverr, Upworks, Freelancer etc.


  • If you run a business, get student interns to work free for 2-3 months. Sites like Internshala may be of help.


  • Are you good at creating content? Start selling.


  • Do you have a skill you can teach others, to earn extra money?


Remember the suicides after PMC Bank was placed under moratorium? Do you think they would never have recovered their money, or found the means to survive till the money was recovered?

It is more about a mind-set.

What if these people had diversified investments and spread it over different asset classes?

You need that assurance, the peace of mind, the comfort level that you and your family are safe. The rest takes care of itself, as pathways emerge.

Create that comfort level, but not by keeping idle cash at home, or money in low-interest savings accounts and mobile wallets.

Keep money where it is accessible.

Speak to your banker or financial advisor about how long will it take to retrieve the amount.

Educate your family on how they should go about getting funds, if something untoward happens. Reassure them that all is well.

Then, go ahead and enjoy the family time together. You may not get it again…


Is it Perfect to be Perfect at all times!?

Dear friend

We are all on the journey of life, where every day the sun sets, to rise again, shines with all its might even if there are clouds overshadowing it, to set again yet to rise again. The moon shines at Full to become a No Moon or a No moon gradually becomes a Full Moon again…just in 28 days. Observe a little closely, you would discover many more examples.

What does the mother Nature want us to learn from it? I learn from it that nothing, absolutely nothing lasts in the state of permanence. Whatever goes up must come down and whatever comes down must eventually rise again.

We humans are very much part of this very Nature so how is it possible that we would have all things perfect at all times? By very nature of life, two opposite facets of all aspects of life are at work together in a cyclical way. Either it is raining or not, either it is dark or bright, sunny or cloudy, happy or unhappy, high or low, profit or loss, success or failure. Is it compulsory to pass all the tests that life throws at you? Is it not human to err once in a while? Is it possible to be upbeat at all times? Is it possible to be taking right decision at all times? Is it possible to be making profits at all times in business? Is it possible to hold on to your confidence at all times? Is it possible for the sun to never set or moon to be at Full moon ever?

There are times when things don’t go well and there are times when they are running at their best. The fact that life has to be perfect at all times is the biggest reason of unhappiness. Strong people do break, successful people do fail. They just refuse to give up until they build themselves again. Like sun they do set but to rise again. You are winner as long as you refuse to fail. So my dear friend…rise up, take charge, start all over again, you are already there because you chose to talk, you chose to seek help, you chose to start fresh.

Kudos to you!


This letter came out in response to a long conversation with a friend. Life at times throws at us more than we could handle. Just by being ears to the friends and family, a lot gets resolved. Sometimes a little different perspective is all that one needs. And sometimes a volley of questions helps to find one’s own answers. So here is my volley of questions to my friend to discover her own answers!

Are we set to be successful?

Who is a learner and how is a learner different from a student? Why must we aim to be a learner?

In the big scheme of life, a learner is someone who has taken the charge of the self, learning as per the need, context and purpose of one’s life at a given point of time.

A learner is different from a student in many ways.

A learner does not necessarily learn in the confines of a class room and is very often not directed by a teacher while a student necessarily learns inside a class room and is directed by a teacher.

To use an analogy A learner drives the car while a student sits in the backseat of the car being driven by teacher.

What are those essential attributes to make us learners for life and set us for success? The mindset of success rests on the premises of being a learner  as;

  • Learners have a purpose.
  • Learners go well along with people.
  • Learners have courage to ask questions.
  • Learners are quick to adapt through learn, unlearn and relearn.
  • Learners have strong core values.

To set oneself free on the journey of being a learner, one must check for following attributes in the self;

  • Do we ask Questions?

Learners just don’t accept anything and everything that comes their way. They are driven by curiosity, seek genuine answers, and check for authenticity of the facts. They don’t take the explanation that ‘this is how it happens’. They question set norms, beliefs, traditions and practices which no longer serve purposes.

For example learners might ask..

  • Why is it alright to eat non-vegetarian food but it is not alright to eat that on Tuesdays and Thursdays?
  • Why are homosexual couples not allowed the Right to Inherit?
  • Why do we have three different titles to write before a woman’s name, viz Ms, Miss & Mrs and only one for men i.e. Mr.
  • How are we better humans if we consider our religion to be better than others?

Learners seek their own answers and don’t stop until they have a logic that appeals to their mind.

  • Do we have a Purpose?

Everybody in life has a purpose. The thug who is set out to cheat people also has a purpose. But these life learners have a bigger purpose of life. They are driven by a passion to serve, to contribute to the bigger cause. So they are ever ready to know and learn whatever it takes to contribute to their cause.

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, whom I consider an extraordinary example of a life learner had a purpose, he wanted to contribute to the progress of the country. He continued on his journey from a small town boy, born into a very poor family  to become a scientist and later on as the President of India. Very few of us know that even after retiring from his Presidentship (2007), he was still working on scientific pursuits. He had developed a rugged tablet ( used in health care services) in collaboration with cardiologist Soma Raju, named Kalam Raju tablet n 2017.

These lifelong learners have bigger than life goals. They are passionate beyond common man’s understanding of the word passion.

Mother Teresa is another example. We can look for such learners around us and get inspired.

  • Do we go well along with people ?

Learners often go well along with people. They have high intra personal skills and interpersonal skills. In the pursuit of their passion to serve humanity, mankind, they understand that like minded people are their best assets. They form teams and nurture their team members. They support their team to learn and be at their best because they understand they alone would not be able to serve their purpose. It is the people who work together. They are good at collaborations with people.

  • Are we flexible to adapt without compromising on our Core Values?

These learners have a mindset to learn, unlearn and relearn. They continuously keep learning new skills; innovate on the already existing ways of working to suit the current needs. Overall they are dynamic people, who flow with the tide. They show no resistance to change, rather take the lead to initiate or accept it. They keep rediscovering and reinventing themselves, check their own belief systems for authenticity and come up with new avatars of themselves. Though flexible, to adapt, to learn new skills and new ways of working, they have strong core values; like integrity, authenticity and  humanity. They change and adapt only to be able to serve their purpose. For example leveraging technology in their favor sincerely is an attempt by them to be serving mankind better in any chosen field.

So let us all shake ourselves and check do we have any or all of these attributes? Can we consciously inculcate the ones that we don’t have?

Let us begin with questioning ourselves, as to why do I do what I do? Do I serve some purpose? Does it serve some bigger purpose? Am I ready to unlearn ( all my non working belief systems) and learn fresh to start on a new journey.

Remember; those who have some ‘WHY’ will always find ‘HOW’ to it.

Set yourself to be a LEARNER and be SUCCESSFUL in the journey of life!!!

carving A Learner Out of A Student!

School/Education systems today do not prepare our children for a world where they have to learn, unlearn and relearn! In a fast changing world if our children just remain students and are not prepared to be learners, something for sure is missing.

Let us try to answer all these questions.

  • What went wrong?
  • Who is a student?
  • Who is a learner?
  • What is the basic difference between the two?
  • Should we aim to have students or to prepare learners?
  • What can we do to carve learners out of students?

The modern education system does not arouse curiosity rather it promotes rote learning. The children are provided the bookish knowledge which has little relevance in their day to day life. What they read from the books and write in exams to pass a class usually is not applicable to solve their everyday challenges as to how to go well with people, how to accept different viewpoints or to check the authenticity of any issue.

As per Wikipedia, “A student is primarily a person enrolled in a school or other educational institution who attends classes in a course to attain the appropriate level of mastery of a subject under the guidance of an instructor and who devotes time outside class to do whatever activities the instructor assigns that are necessary either for class preparation or to submit evidence of progress towards that mastery.”

As per Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries, “A learner is a person who is finding out about a subject or how to do something.”

From The Glossary of Education Reform, when comparing learner and student, they point out that “While this preference may seem arbitrary on the surface, it does appear to serve a semantic purpose: learning can occur in the absence of teaching, but teaching doesn’t occur without some form of learning taking place.”

A Student A Learner
·       Learns in a class room in a specific time ·       Learns anywhere, anytime
·       Is directed by teacher ·       Directs and supports their own learning
·       Works within a defined time ·       Works at their own pace
·       Is motivated by grades ·       Is motivated by learning
·       Follows goals that are set and monitored by teachers ·       Develops self learning goals and monitors self progress
·       Achieves goals set by teacher through listening and following instructions

(Passive learning)

·       Achieves goals by active collaboration and feed back with others

(Active learning)

·       Seeks knowledge, degree, qualification ·       Seeks success
·       Students are students only when they have teachers ·       Learners can learn without teachers


Going by the difference between a student and a learner, I believe, we as teachers and parents would love our children to be learners and not merely students as learners are set for success in the long run.

Regarding the important question, how can we carve learners out of students, we can promote following, starting from homes and classrooms ;

  • Let them ask questions.

Promote inquiry, feed curiosity. Early in the life when children are young and start learning in the form of formal students, any question they ask is valid. They must be allowed to ask without fear of being snubbed, or being told, “this happens this way only.’ Answer their ‘WHYs’. And most importantly if they themselves are not seeking ‘WHY’, it is teachers’ and parents’ role to ignite their minds to ask ‘WHYs’ and ‘HOWs’. Simply cramming all the information available out does not let them grow in to learners.

Help Them Set a Goal 

As they grow, the teachers and parents must guide and support children to set goals for their own learning. Let them decide how much of what will they cover by what time and how. For bigger life, it is finding the purpose for which children have to direct acquiring knowledge and studies.

  • Let Them Collaborate

In class room scenario, we must develop the culture of interaction through ABL(Activity Based Learning). It must not be the teacher alone who does all the speaking or talking. The students must be allowed and promoted to ask questions. Asking questions leads to active participation. With teacher only speaking, it is passive learning. Promote small groups learning where in few students are together working to seek answers to some questions. This also helps them learn the team skill and to accept various viewpoints.

These simple changes made in our pedagogy nurture young minds and nourish them through support to seek their own answers. Seeking one’s own answer is the beginning of carving a learner out of a student.

It is our duty as educators to ignite that spark, which makes a student curious beyond class rooms. A learner is set on the journey of life with a mind set to contribute to the bigger whole and to be successful.

Let us all remember, a learner is essentially a student but all students are not learners.  Research has evidence that in the big scheme of life, learners are happy and successful because they keep learning for the BIG PURPOSE of life.

Over to teachers and parents to play their part well to carve learners out of students!

P.S. The next blog in the series explores whether we parents and teachers have the mindset to be learners. We can help our children be learners only if we are learners first.

We sure wish to have obedient children!?

Do you wish your children to be obedient?

Yes, of course, all of us as parents do wish our children to be obedient.

Well, let us explore this concept of obedience a little deeper to understand fully and decide whether we really wish our children to be that or not!

Obedience to put it simply is to do or follow what you are told. On a more subtle level, it is to believe what everyone else believes.

When I believe what everyone else believes, where is the scope left to check the facts before I believe. And when I don’t do the facts checking for the self, have I used my mental faculty, my thinking abilities?

See, you can counter me ..means now we must go and experiment in the space to believe that the earth is round? No, I don’t mean that. I just mean that when we label growing children as disobedient, when they are just trying to look at the same thing from another perspective or they are trying to do something with their own unique approach, we as parents must know that they are not being disobedient, they are just being innovative and trying to identify themselves.

Imagine, you wanted your child to bake a cake the way you had been baking all along, but your son tries something new, and the cake he baked is differently delicious. It is not the same as yours. Your son decided not to obey you and came out with something totally new. This is being innovative, this is being intelligent. Your son trusted his instincts and developed confidence also. Suppose the cake would not have turned out totally edible. So what? He would have learnt the lesson as to what not to do the next time so that the cake turns out to be edible and that lesson would be permanent in his memory because it has come out of experience.

The problem with obedience (Absolute Obedience) is that it robs children of important experiences. Experiences of life are processed in the brain and are stored as intelligence to be used further.

Obedience needs no intelligence. Any idiot or fool can be obedient.

It needs guts and courage to be disobedient at times. (I am not saying the disobedience is to be promoted just for the sake of being disobedient). You see, when you are being obedient, you don’t own any responsibility, you don’t owe any explanation. But when you choose to be disobedient, you owe explanation. Since you owe explanation, you automatically own responsibility because usually nobody loves to explain.

While dealing with children, we must remember that it is not about our children only. Any intelligent person will ask; why? Why am I supposed to do this? What are the reasons you wish me to do it a particular way and what will be the consequencesAt times the acts of disobedience by our children are a way of great intelligence.

As I said earlier, the more subtle form of disobedience is to believe in the belief commonly accepted. The most commonly accepted belief that we must not question our seniors/bosses/parents  is the root cause of social evils to go on & on. (Only in army, it is acceptable to not question your seniors or bosses because the decisions that are to be taken in the middle of a battle field do not provide the opportunity to question and reason so a senior has to be absolutely obeyed).

Many of you readers reading this blog must be aware of Nazi Concentration Camps during World War II. The Heads of the Concentration Camps were all educated officers, they were professionals like engineers and doctors. What did they do? They committed the most ghastly crimes. The torture and inhumanity, these officers inflicted upon the prisoners were unparalleled. BUT  they owed no explanation, because they had obeyed the orders of their Commander.See, when this mindset of obedience settles in, the Authoritarianism flourishes; at homes, in organizations, in societies and in States.

The belief that we must not ask questions because everybody else does not ask is the gross form of obedience. Where does it start? It starts at home, at school, where children are supposed to follow and do everything they are told. The schools were supposed to nurture the intelligence but instead nipped it in the bud. Any child who asks intelligent questions (at times uncomfortable too, because they shake a teacher’s core belief system also) is labeled disobedient. Obedience converts you into robots and it is easy to manage and handle the class. Imagine the class where a teacher has to answer 25 possible intelligent questions for which he/she is not prepared. Either make extra efforts to think from that perspective or snub the enquiries in the name of disobedience. Similarly at home, it is easier and comfortable for parents to push obedience rather than involve children in intelligent discussions.

Looking at obedience from this perspective is a real problem. On the contrary, disobedience is the assertion of your intelligence, of the mindset that I own responsibility and owe explanation.

Since, everybody has been doing, so I’ll also do the same way and my children must do the same. Take a deep breath dear readers, all progress of the mankind has its root in disobedience. (Disobedience to me is  questioning the norms, their efficacy, their purpose. If they no longer serve the purpose, they must be redesigned.)

I believe  we all wish to nurture Intelligently Disobedient children.

Right ???

Would sure love to know your perspective. Share your take through comments.


  1. McLeod, S. A. (2017, Febuary 05). The milgram shock experiment. Simply Psychology.https://www.simplypsychology.org/milgram.html

Building Emotional Intelligence!

Continued from..the previous blog.

The Essential Component of Success!

Emotional Intelligence like any other skill can be built up with conscious and regular practice.

Self Reflect to Build Self Awareness:

The ability to observe oneself and reflect helps one make  conscious choices. The more you acknowledge and name your feelings, better aware you become at knowing your own emotions, what triggers them, how do you feel at that time and how do you behave or act. Deliberate reflections on your own actions, helps you realize you have choices in your actions.

For Self Reflection to be a part, you can practice following-

  • Practice being in present.
  •  Deliberately stop over the day many times to check your mental state at a given point of time.
  • Acknowledge your feelings and name it.
  • Practice observing others and their feelings.
  • Notice your judgments for the self as well as about others. Doing this helps you realize that people are different.
  •  Practice sharing your feelings through speaking. This helps you pay attention to why of the feelings around.
  • Notice the intensity of your positive and negative emotions, thoughts or feelings.

Self Soothe to Build Self Regulation:

Self soothing is like positive re-affirmations to the self. It helps us to manage ourselves when somebody is attacking or blaming us. Self soothing helps us to remain objective and take the feedback positively.

Practice self soothing by-

  • Have faith in yourself and your capabilities. To have faith in your capacities, regularly ask feedback from others.
  • Be objective and look at the situation without adding emotions to it.
  • Look for what is right and not who is right.
  • Act as if you really count. This helps you to overcome your fear and empowers you to listen to yourself.

Practice Empathy to Build Empathy:

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see where is it pinching. Being high on empathy makes us able to understand others, their viewpoints, helps us to listen more and we become able to appreciate differences.

To build up empathy, we can practice;

  • Acknowledging self and self feelings.
  • Acknowledging others and their feelings.
  • Trying knowing others; your friends, colleagues, team members.
  • Try listening without interrupting.
  • Try initiating conversation during stress.
  • Practice keeping yourself at other person’s place. Consequently we get more control on our actions and behaviors.

I believe, being high on Emotional Intelligence is the new mantra of success because in real life it is all about our abilities to understand self and others, their feelings, emotions and intentions. Once we can see through that, we can enhance the outcomes of our interactions. We can see what drives us and at the same time what drives others. Together as a team, we can be more productive, at home we can be more accepting of others, at work place we may learn to go well with others. We can choose to be not in agreement at all times but our manners of disagreement can be more agreeable. We can choose to be more happy, peaceful and successful just by building on our emotional intelligence.

Happy Emotional Intelligence Building!

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