• Rajesh Patnaik

How to deal with things

Top 3 things you need to teach your children while they are young.

"Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." Lao Tzu

In life, there are many instances where we regret what we had done in the past, a day before or an hour ago. It is because we have never been taught how to deal with things while our emotional state of mind is not stable. Simply, in other words, our behavior toward others or things are not in control when we are angry, happy, and sad.

Children are like delicate trees. You nurture it by giving some water, adding fertilizer and placing it in the sun and let nature do its work. Any interference will not allow the tree to grow. But for the desired plant one can’t plant a different seed and expect it to grow the one they want. One has to plant the right seed from the beginning. Children, while they grow they grow very fast. Not only physically but also mentally, their brains observe a lot of information so fast.

What it sees it learns. What it does it becomes.

Teach these three things to your children to transform them into successful personalities.

1. Keeping a Behavioral Journal

source: parentsindia.com

Being a parent one can’t keep an eye 24x7 on their children when they are at school, sports or music class, learning institutions, generally, when they are out of sight. While they are with others they quickly learn the traits of them. If they are with people of integrity they learn good things, if not the consequences are obvious. Aside from that, they learn most from their parents while at home. The reason parenting is the key to the success of children.

So how do you approach your children to tackle such things that are out of your sight and control? The answer is making a habit of sitting calmly with them and talking to them about what happened throughout the day. For this one can’t force their child to tell them everything. They should be permitted to have a personal space. It’s a long process but being friendly with them does the trick.

The most important part to do is when they are telling something, may it be good or bad, not to judge them quickly but providing them the space to be themselves. Listening carefully to what they are saying and appreciate them for their effort. The next thing to do is provide them an empty journal and a pen to write down whatever they have just said. What one can do is tell them to note down one good thing and bad thing that happened to them throughout the day.

After reading it if they’ve done something good appreciate them and if something feels wrong tell them in which way they could have responded to that situation differently. For example, if a child was with his peers, was bullied in the school, he/she responded with bad words to them then tell him/her to complain it to the teachers or administration would be a better option. Not to give away bad words that one can’t take back. Doesn’t matter whatever the situation is, anger should not be taking control of us, instead we should handle the situation with a calm and relaxed mind.

Another example is one doesn’t know if their children are with the wrong peers. Let’s say he/she is with some of his friends and some of them are bullying a child for his appearance and he/she is laughing along with them then the parents should consider that situation to approach gently. Parents should tell their children not to discriminate against someone for their appearance, status, color, gender and religion. Instead of laughing, they should stand up to a situation like that where they can tell the bullies it’s a wrong thing to do. In this case, there is a situation wherein your child may also get bullied or beaten by them and not every child courageous enough to stand up to situations like that. They all are different and it’s okay. In this case, you can also tell your children he/she shouldn’t hang out or calmly walk away from that group or person who bullies others and discriminates.

There are so many instances where parents can teach their children to approach and handle situations with more critical thinking. It could be a problematic situation or it could be a problem in academics. For example, they are unable to complete a task in time they should not be treated badly or punished they should be praised for their efforts put into completing a task.

By constantly practicing this exercise of taking behavioral notes not only helps children handle situations in their life better but also the relationship between parents and children grows transparently. It helps parents understand their children better and children can build their trust in their parents.

“By only giving up the control, you attain true control.”

2. Being Compassionate to Animals

source: onegreenplanet.org

Generation Gen Z and Gen Alpha are what the current and next-generation is being called in the 21st century. Compassion has different perspectives on these generations altogether. Generally, children and animals love and are compassionate towards each other. So, why do we need to teach them the art of compassion? Compassion for animals is not only in providing food to animals. It goes way beyond that. Every animal or living being has its own habitats, livelihood and families. They do feel emotions and pain. Most importantly they are very smart. They are natural learners. Adopt and adjust according to circumstances so well. So what children can learn from them?

If one observes animals closely they can clearly see animals are very smart at navigating, learning, and adapting. Their understanding of their surroundings goes beyond humans. Animals such as elephants, snakes, dogs, chimps, cows, cats, birds, fishes are just the same as us except for form and shape. Their lives matter too. They are as important as us.

“It is not sufficient to simply do good deeds; one must do them for the right reason.”

Watch this video

source: watchmojo.com

What is more essential for today’s generation, more than learning the 4 C’s, IMT and FLIPS, is awareness. With the help of smartphones and the internet, children are gaining and gathering information rapidly. But to what extent the accurate information is fed is a big question. In the age of consumerism and over-exploitation, it is easy to believe false information faster. Providing and guiding them with the right information and awareness is a valid choice.

Directly or indirectly our consumption has a price and our activities have an impact on this planet. To put it in simple words the global overshoot day is July 22. That does mean that we are consuming an annual resource just in the first 7 months. The consumption of our resources is at must faster rate than the earth can reproduce. Thanks to the pandemic this year’s overshoot day moved by a month.

If we consider India the extraction rate of natural resources three times the global extraction rate. The global extraction rate per acre is 450 tons whereas India’s extraction of natural resources is 1580 tons per acre. This data shows that domestic demand is at a higher rate than global demand. At the current consumption rate, we require 3.5 folds of the earth. The overexploitation and consumption may not only cause future deficiency and economic imbalance it also triggers a shift in biodiversity. This further interrupts the food chain circle of life.

The high demand for processed, packaged and manufactured food creates abundant plastic wastage. Some countries are recycling their wastage by 70% while India’s recycling rate is below 25%. In terms of carbon dioxide emission, India is the third highest country. The amount of pollution is harming wild and sea animals. The extinction rates of wild species are increasing every year due to the exploitation of wildlife for natural resources. According to WWF reports, 0.01% to 0.1% extinctions occur every year. That means there are 2 million species coexisting with us and 200 to 2000 species extinct every year. Humans are solely responsible for the 6th extinction crisis.

Many species are suffering from the occupancy of plastic in their lives. Even street animals do suffer trying to eat food from the garbage. Plastic has been found inside the stomach of many animals including wild and the sea. The consumption of plastic is causing new types of disease and cancer in animals as well as humans.

Teaching children the art of low consumption is an essential 21st-century skill and it is the meaning of compassion to ourselves and to the other species that live with us. This will help to fight global warming and other crises. Once they learn compassion towards animals and nature they can easily lead a moderate lifestyle with harmony.

“Cultivating compassion for all living beings and practicing a compassionate lifestyle can help boost social connection and also improve physical and mental health.” - One Green Planet

For more details on the psychological benefits of compassion to animals refer to the link below.


3. Life Skills

There were times when primitive skills were essential to survive such as gathering, farming, hunting, etc. As human civilization raced towards the future we’ve registered thousands of skills in our brains starting from baking a cake to making art. As we progressed our requisites to sustain modern life and the skills changed dramatically according to region and time.

Today education has become the most important medium to thrive and survive. Doesn’t matter what kind of education one is pursuing today, these twelve 21st century skills are essential for success. They are known as 4c’s (critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication), IMT (information literacy, media literacy and technology literacy), FLIPS (flexibility, leadership, initiative, productivity and social skills).

These 12 skills are highly essential for anyone. Apart from these skills there are few other life skills we tend to forget to teach our children and it becomes extremely difficult to manifest these skills if not learned while they are young. They are order, cleanliness and punctuality, in one-word discipline. In this case, one has to keep in mind that not to go too critical of children while teaching them. This is explained well with...

“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” Plato

Plato explains keeping children amused is a way to discover their true potential. Discipline is key to success and keys to discipline are order, cleanliness and punctuality. Japanese ways are highly sophisticated and sometimes harmful as well. A Japanese proverb says..

“The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour.”

But if unable to manifest discipline it can lead to unproductiveness, failures and loss. To overcome adversity one should learn to be disciplined. Let’s explore how one can teach this by applying methods in real life.

In Japan, a day begins with first making their bed. When things are in order it saves a lot of time and access to things becomes a lot easier. How often do we teach our children organizing skills? Generally, in India, homes are claustrophobic. Not every home but most. The reasons are many. Poverty, small spaces, large families and other reasons as well. But that doesn’t mean it is impossible to organize space. Any given space can be organized if once we start to accept it that they are not organized.

Small spaces are not a problem, organized things require small space and bring productiveness. In Fact, people are starting to choose to live in tiny spaces, a minimalist lifestyle. Space can be as small as a shipping container.

Also if we can rearrange day-to-day tasks by order we become efficient at handling things. It can be for a student who wants to manage his time for homework, playing with friends, or watching TV, and also can be for an employee who struggles to keep up with work. Order brings prosperity.

Often we see 5s at workplaces, not at homes. Because companies go bankrupt if they miss out on any chances of keeping their workplace and employees organized. This brings a bad reputation too. But at home, we are at ease. We often leave things as a task for another day, another time. Once we start to treat our homes as workspaces with integrity and gratitude things start to fall in place. Often the misconception of treating homes as workspaces bothers people but situations like a pandemic force people to work from home. Instead of working eight hours people are working sixteen hours because they treat the home as just a home.

A Netflix series called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo teaches how tidying up things at home brings joy in life. Marie Kondo's methods of keeping a house cleaned and organized is a skill every home needs to adapt and every parent needs to learn. It teaches from folding clothes to giving up things we do not need in life.

If parents do not change their ways, children learn what is being manifested at home and that is not a good thing. The change should be welcoming and it should be a positive one. If we learn our children will too. Thus, hygiene and cleanliness are one of the most important 21st-century skills. There can’t be a greater example than the year 2020.

source: a scene from DDLJ

Punctuality and Indian railways don't go hand in hand. Jokes apart, we know if we have to catch a particular train we’ve to be on time at the railway station and fail to be on time we miss the desired train. Of course, there will be another train in an hour to get you to the destination. But what if the next train is delayed? And this happens quite often in our lives.

When miss and delay repeats again and again in our lives day in and day out it affects us negatively. When we sum up all of those missed opportunities and delays we’ll discover that a large part of our lives is spent waiting, thinking, and stressing.

One way to avoid this is action. When we repeat certain tasks every day at the same time they become habits. When habits are developed we can wake ourselves without the help of an alarm. Often children with good habits are social, communicating, and productive. We should always focus on children to make them independent rather than dependent to perform simple tasks.

In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present. -Lao Tzu

Article by

Rajesh Patnaik

Artist & Writer

Recent Posts

See All