What parents can teach their kids about Mandela

The world is mourning the death of Nelson Mandela, an extraordinary man, a symbol of strength, dignity, leadership, survival and courage. Our children’s generation (many of whom were born after Mandela was freed), cannot even comprehend the 27 years of imprisonment he suffered and how he was able to win freedom for his country, the last remnant of European colonialism and the symbol of the dreaded apartheid. In telling the story of this great man to our children, there are several lessons we can impart:

1. The courage to hang in there:  what you think is difficult is almost negligible compared to what Mandela went through.  Unlike most political prisoners, Mandela was treated as an ordinary prisoner and given hard and menial tasks, and even contracted TB as a result.  But as Mandela himself said, “Difficulties break some men but make others.” About his persistence, he said, “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

2. Do not hate:  Mandela would have been fully justified if he can come out of prison filled with hate. What is extraordinary is that he bore very little ill feeling towards his captors, saying, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”  This is so true for us parents, and we should use the story of Mandela to show how hate and bigotry should be shunned.

3. The importance of education:  If Mandela could get a law degree in prison, in spite of working under  back-breaking conditions breaking rocks in the lime quarry, clearly he saw tremendous value in it, realizing that  “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”  We should teach our children to make education a priority, and that is  only long-term and peaceful way to change the world.

RIP Madiba.

Re-published with permission from the blog of ParentEdge, a bi-monthly parenting magazine that aims to expose parents to global trends in learning and partner with them in the intellectual enrichment of their children.This blog was written by Gayatri Kulkarni

5 Tourist Places to Visit in India with Your Children


5 tourist places

It’s December and holiday season is here which means it is family vacation time! It is time to pack yours and your children’s bags and head out for an adventure. Vacations are a great way for you to de-stress and bond with your kids and at the same it can be a great learning experience for them. Learning about a new place, new language, new food and new culture will be exciting and enriching for them. They will even get a great topic to write about in their next essay assignment – ‘What I did over my winter break’! But, more than anything else vacations are a great way to reconnect with your family – school, work and other chores usually take up so much of our time and effort that is difficult to find room for special family moments. A trip is a great way to make up for lost time. There are no distractions on a vacation – just you and your family having a gala time!

So, here is a list of places that you can head to this December:

1) Pondicherry: If you are looking for a place that is quiet, pristine, and beautiful and has beaches, then Pondicherry is the place for you! It was host to the largest French colony in India which means this place has a rich cultural heritage as well. Your kids can have fun while getting to learn something new! Visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram for a spiritual experience where you can learn about the great guru’s practices and vision. And when it comes to food you must go to the quaint French restaurants and cafes!

2) Kanyakumari: Also known as Cape Comorin, Kanyakumari lies at the southernmost tip of India and is one of the most popular tourist destinations. Famous for pilgrimage, its temples are well-known all over the world. People don’t just come here for religious or spiritual purpose, but also to witness the beauty and the stunning architecture of the temples. Make sure you watch the spectacular sunset and sunrise during this month!

3) Kullu Manali: If you want to experience true winter with snow fights, snow angels and snow sports, then head to Manali. Bathed in snow, the Himalayas makes for a magical tourist destination. The snow-capped mountains will take your breath away! Have an adventurous holiday with your family with rafting, paragliding, rock climbing and skiing.

4) Puri: One of the Char Dhams, Puri is a great destination place for some spiritual learning – for you and your children as well. Not only is it a great place to learn about our heritage with historical temples and shrines, but it is also a great place to revel in the beauty of nature. Especially in the month of December, this city is full of greenery. Beaches are an added benefit! A must-visit place is the Chilka Lake which is the biggest inland salt-water lagoon.

5) Jaipur: Old forts, palaces and other heritage structures – experience India’s rich culture in this beautiful city of Rajasthan which is known for its hospitality. This pink city is also known for its great shopping and delicious food! Make sure you visit Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal and JalMahal for an exotic trip!

The Gandhian Approach – The Non Violent Way to Discipline your Child!

Aparna Samuel Balasundaram is a USA- Licensed Psychotherapist and Parent and Child Expert with 10 years of experience in the USA. She is the Founder of Life Skills Experts and the Life Skills 360¡ System that enables parents and teachers to raise happy, confident and successful children. Visitwww.LifeSkillsExperts.com for more information.


Am sure that as each of us look back into our childhood we can share a story or two of how we were punished by our parents or teachers…many of us remember that chalk piece that came flying at us, the duster that was thrown, the knuckle and the scale method, the slap on the face and the list goes on! When I work with parents many say that while they were not emotionally traumatised by these experiences, they would NOT like the same treatment meted out to their children. Yet, many of them fall into the same trap that their teachers or parents fell into! The  intentions may be good but since we don’t know better we fall back on old patterns. Many parents have confessed that when they hit their child they feel guilty and often try to make up by indulging their child with expensive toys, candies or gadgets and this only leaves the child feeling more confused.

Parents, help is on its way! Here are three tried and tested methods of disciplining your child, without you needing to scream, hit or getting your blood pressure up! I like to call it the ‘Gandhian Approach!’

Let them face the ‘Natural Consequences’ -These are the times when you let your child see what will happen if he does not behave (as long as it does not place him in any danger). For example, if your toddler keeps throwing her toys on purpose, she will soon learn that these toys break; or when your teenager refuses to put his clothes in the basket for a wash, he will soon learn that he has run out of clean shirts to wear! When you use this method, don’t give in and rescue your child (by buying new toys for your toddler or picking up your teenagers clothes for wash). Your child will learn best when they face the natural consequence of their behaviour be it broken toys or dirty clothes!

Time-Out- This is a technique that works well when a specific rule has been broken. It works best for children from 3 to 6 years of age. In this technique you send your child to a corner or any other quiet place, as a ‘Time Out’ to give your child time to think about their behaviour, what they have done wrong and what they can change. A rule of thumb is 1 minute of time-out for every year of your child’s age (for example, a 4-year-old would get a 4-minute time-out). Once your child is ready to apologize or  talk let them out of time out [even if it is before 4 minutes].When the time is up, do not lecture or ask for apologies. Talk to your child and discuss the behaviour and set a plan for how this should not happen again. At times like these, I especially encourage parents to remind their children that they love them, and that it is their behaviour and not them, that is the problem.

Withholding Privileges- This technique works best for older children and your teenagers. In this technique your child learns that they ‘earn’ a privilege when they are responsible about what is  expected of them, be it finishing their homework, studying for an exam or keeping their room clean. A privilege that is valued by the child, such as watching television, ‘face booking’ or  playing video games, should be removed for an agreed upon time [for example the weekend or a week], if the child does not keep their end of the bargain!

So, go ahead parents try these techniques, be patient and do not give into the temptation of falling back into old patterns! You will see the stress and decibel levels reduce at your homes! Happy Parenting!

Re-published with permission from the blog of ParentEdge, a bi-monthly parenting magazine that aims to expose parents to global trends in learning and partner with them in the intellectual enrichment of their children.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

Then the traveller in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.

In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye,
‘Till the sun is in the sky.

As your bright and tiny spark,
Lights the traveller in the dark.
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
How I wonder what you are.
How I wonder what you are