Small Things#26 – Distance learning on the go!

The third trimester in the U.S. schools is from April to June, when education is in full swing but this year, Covid 19 has changed everything.

Educators are scampering for smooth running of distance learning programs to complete the courses. Their efforts are laudable in reaching out to every student through apps like Seesaw, Starfall and Epic.

But really, onus is now on parents to coordinate and make sure that kids are doing their tasks rather than exploring stuff on the tablets and iPads – the devices that were once banned at homes.

At my place, the distance learning was a little haphazard with mixed up activities and responses in the first week but this week it is better. I believe, homeschooling kids would be tough for working parents (working from home due to coronavirus) who might have to to balance work while making sure the kids are doing their job in between meal times and other duties.

Parenting and distance learning are now going side by side. Task it is, but it’s for the sake of our kids, right? So, I am thankful and have started getting a hang of how homeschooling works.

Teachers post activities on the Seesaw app and communicate through emails while students are expected to respond and answer. There is also a timetable that divides the time to what they are expected to do every 30 minutes. It is hard to enforce the time table at home, so it is made flexible and that is a relief.

Also, the principal and teachers are posting some videos to make it all look normal to the kids. And they are asking for feedback and help to make it work. Great effort!

There are a few glitches which we need to handle because I believe this distance learning will last till the end of the term or may be more than that.

As for me, I am learning to handle my third graders math problems in the way he has been taught (which is so different from what I learned decades ago).

It should be remembered that there are no prescribed text books or answer copies in the U.S. Students do not carry books and notebooks to school. It is all hands on learning, which is different from how I studied.

I am also learning to manage the learning apps with my kindergartner. I am trying to make it all work. I guess, the distance learning is also educating me, in a different way.

Education is a shared commitment among students, educators and parents. In the current scenario, I feel, enthusiastic involvement of parents is required more than ever. “Children are the priority, change is the reality, collaboration is the strategy.”

The great thing is – We are in this together!

Images courtesy Google

 

 

 

 

 

Ram Navami Special – To you we surrender!

This year, the festival of Ram Navami brings immense hope and light to our world, which is being ravaged by disease and sorrow.

We all need a break from the continuous news of distress and hopelessness due to Covid 19. And Ram Navami has arrived just in time to remind us of the value and benefits of surrender.

Just the sight of the lotus feet of Shri Ram assuages all fear and problems regarding the future. We are reminded that He is there, He will take care of the world. Ram, to you, we surrender completely!

I wish you all  Sukh (happines), Samridhi (wealth), Shanti (peace), Saubhagya (good luck) and Swasthya (health) on the birthday of Sri Hari. May with the blessings of Shri Ram everything works out well for you, your family and our world. Jai Shri Ram!

(Images courtesy Google)

 

 

A PAUSE…in the History of Time!

‘London Statue STOP’ – the denner would yell and all of us would stop, statue-like in whatever positions we were.

Those who moved would be out of the game, some would nudge and poke, some would hastily change positions, while many would simply enjoy the pause. But that pause was for a game and this pause amid Coronavirus is for…life itself. Distressing, funny, confusing, unprecedented…

India has locked down completely, USA is in turmoil with more than 3.8 million unemployed people, Spain and Italy are under great pressure, countries are taking desperate measures.

For the first time in history, no one is in control of the situation. And humans don’t like not being in control. Who is the denner? When will he say – Go?

This sudden pause…a break in our fast paced lifestyles is toppling, wrecking, shaking and affecting many lives. Many people have readily halted while many are still coming to a screeching halt. Each one of us has been affected in some way or the other.

Suddenly, everything we ever knew has paused. And there are grim realities and uncertainties to deal with – life, family, jobs, education, salary, food…! And moreover, there is no end in sight to this ordeal.

Yes, for the first time we realize no one has control over this situation. Presidents, Prime Ministers, Leaders, Millionaires… no one.

And no one knows how this crisis will come to an end – may be a cure, or unknown cause or certain steps would work. But one thing is for sure – we will prevail. Until then, we have to pause and wait.

And in this pause, there are great questions and realizations –

Where did we go wrong?

We need so little to survive, so why the greed?

What were we running after?

Has anything ever been in our hands?

What’s the use of power, wealth and luxuries when an invisible, dead virus can threaten it?

What is the most important thing for us, right now?

Who are the people in our support system? Are we taking care of them?

If we are to die tomorrow, what would matter most?

What selfless deeds have we done?

Where does our hope lie?

How important are we to others?

The answers to this questions are humbling and point out to all those things that are truly dear to our hearts. Just that much is really required for life.

Rest of the things are just extras but the people, ideals and things that matter to us in times like this form our core.

And in this pause there is great understanding. Just like the silence after AUM is as powerful as the mantra itself, similarly, this pause is profound. Who knows the human race might change for better after experiencing this crisis!

So let’s be there for others, practice gratitude and be loving, sensitive and kind… for we never know what others are going through.

One day, the denner up there will say – Go. And life will start running and go back to normal. We will return to our ordinary existence but the way we endured and handled the crisis during this extraordinary time will stay with us forever.

Heroes are not always those who fight and win but those spirited people who brave the crisis with courage, determination, cheerfulness and dignity.

This pause is an opportunity to realize and be our best self. We owe this to us and to all other living beings. Let’s make the best use of this PAUSE.

(Image courtesy Google)

Just a thought – Tulips greeting the spring?

These are my husband’s Tulips and they are blooming now! Does this mean Spring is here? Is it good-bye time for long, harsh winters? Are we getting the colors back on the white canvas that Minnesota is now?

Tulips shyly smiling, greet the spring
Tightly closed when at 
First we meet
Tulips slowly opening, begin to sing
Gaining volume 
Ever sweet

No longer shy, as days grow longer
Raising their heads
They begin to flirt
Tulips dressed in many a color
Breezes swirling
Each floral skirt

  • Mary Havran

Looking forward to seeing colors back on this landscape!

Plans may not work for new mothers, but moments do!

When my kids were little and I was in a new country away from family and friends, I often felt stuck and overburdened. No plan ever worked, there was no respite from constant care giving and it was a struggle to even have a proper bath.

At that time someone told me – Just take one day at a time as no plan works around babies and concentrate on moments… This advice of taking one day at a time, specifically, one moment at a time worked wonders for me. Because the struggle and stress due to failed plans, unfinished tasks and over-expectations were not there.

In retrospect, I realize that since I started concentrating on moments, other things began to fall in place. By focusing on little things, big things happened by default. I became more open and flexible to accepting changes in plans.

If the day would go smoothly, I would be grateful to the baby and the almighty. If it would be a hard day, I knew the struggle won’t last. Things would change the next day or the day after. And amidst these fun and struggling moments, I found my creative moments too. I managed to create this precious blog that improved me in many ways.

There were times when I felt others were going way ahead of me socially and career-wise. You know how social-media is, right? It over activates the green eyed monster who pokes and pinches you when you see people striding ahead, having fun, going places etc.

Well, little by little, the monster stopped bugging me because I had began to enjoy my own moments. My kids were a revelation to me and I felt how easy it was to enjoy ‘NOW’ with a baby around. That divine form, baby gestures and language.. I was hooked.

I also think I was lucky in many ways because I was not facing financial issues and got solid support from my husband. It is harder for those who have to work and have no support but still, I think, concentrating on moments would cut down the stress drastically.

Now, I make plans and follow a routine since there are no cranky babies to feed or care for. My kids go to school. I am beginning to concentrate on my ambitions and life again. This is great too! I know I am far behind my peers career-wise and it feels like I am starting from scratch again. Also my preferences and considerations have changed, so I am looking for a different career path. But it does not really bother me because the babyhood days of my kids have taught me a lot.

And amidst all this, if you ask me – Which is a better experience – life with plans or life with moments? I would say – life with plans is very comfortable and smooth but life with moments was simply divine!

The moments happened automatically with babies around. And I am glad I didn’t rush through them in pursuit of other plans. Other plans hardly worked out but moments always did! I am glad that I followed that advice…

Images courtesy Google

Just a Thought – Rejection

Every winner reaches the top by climbing a mountain of rejection, refusing to get buried after an avalanche of disappointments. And then, getting up to climb back again with renewed determination.

Winners know that reaching the top is not in their hands but climbing up is and that is what they do till the end… relentlessly, tirelessly and zealously.

Winners do not fear disappointments or rejections. They know the mountain of rejection is sacred, because the process of climbing, falling down, getting hurt and starting again shows them what they have got and what they are made of…!

No, nothing can break their spirit… let alone the mountain of Rejection. Because winners know that nothing is more stronger than a resilient will made of their unyielding spirit! They will just not give up!

Get up and keep climbing friends, that is the most important part!

Images courtesy Google

Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation for Kids

Today I came to know that there are two kinds of motivation for kids – Intrinsic and Extrinsic. As I read more I learnt why intrinsic motivation is far more superior to inspire kids and have a life long impact. Although extrinsic motivation is occasionally important too. The subsequent quotes will help you understand the difference.

And I loved this last one below that tells us how to encourage our children to be intrinsically motivated. Hope you will find these quotes as important as I find them. Good luck to you, dear parent!

Images courtesy Google