Gratitude

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Those of you who follow my blogs and have read my previous blog on Toys will know what I am trying to talk about in this one.

When we gave toys to the kids they were thankful, but not grateful.

Thank you and gratitude are two terms which are closely liked and hence need to be closely understood. Let’s look at it like this,

When I asked kids when they say thank you I got these various answers:

  1. When somebody opens the door for us
  2. When you give me a glass of water
  3. When you pack our bags
  4. When we get gifts
  5. When we receive birthday wishes, etc.

Notice, thank you is said to most and unknowingly to many. Just like we say Hi or hello when we meet, we tend to thank others for almost everything. Do we really mean anything when we say thank you to the person (say) opening the door for us? Not really, we forget it the moment that person is out of sight. Do we cautiously hold the door open for someone, thinking about that person and his act of kindness?

Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that we should not thank, but what I am trying to say is that be aware of the thank you’s you give. Saying thank you is good manners, but being grateful is a mind-set and a lifestyle. It’s an emotion, a feeling that you truly and knowingly acknowledge their act of kindness towards you.  Can we thank our parents enough for raising us? NO, we can just be grateful to them.

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Being grateful is a step ahead to being thankful. But yes to be able to be grateful one needs to be thankful first. Being grateful is healthy (in Pranic world we say , it generates good karma), it helps in improving relations, it teaches us to count our blessings and makes us reciprocative. As a practice my children count on their blessings (3) for the day before they retire to bed.

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Yesterday I told my kids how grateful I was to them for having them in my life. To my amazement Sparsh said “Yes mom, we should be grateful for the food we eat, there are so many children who die out of hunger”.  “For the clothes we wear and for the house we live, so many people don’t even have these” added Anaya.  To which I slyly added “You should study well and be grateful to your teachers too”. They mutually decided to follow a no waste policy after this.

After keeping quiet for a while Sparsh sighed “Now I know why you said that you won’t buy any more toys” exactly, be grateful for what you have and relish them (refer to toys to know more).

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Being grateful encourages lateral thinking, helps in developing the EQ. Makes us non-judgmental and more accepting. It showers empathy and fosters personality development. Sending thank you notes is one of the ways we can instill this in us and our children. Encourage them to participate in social events rendering help to the needy. Remember Help Age India? we have all collected funds for them in our school days. Right? grateful people have high levels of happiness and know how to combat stress effectively. Getting children to donate for the needy is another great way of instilling gratitude in them.

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It’s human nature to see the glass half-empty from time to time — and children are no exception. When kids complain, it can be helpful to try to find a response that looks on the bright(er) side. It’s called “attitude of gratitude” for a reason — it’s about perspective more than circumstance. Sometimes it’s tempting to wallow lingeringly in self-pity. But as parents we need to remember that it’s more productive to teach our kids to be resilient and refocus them on the positives they may be overlooking.

 

Being grateful to yourself, to your mind, body and soul is extremely important because if you were not you, you would not be in a position to read this. Be grateful to the divine for empowering you with your senses which enable every act of yours.

“Gratitude can transform common days to thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy and change ordinary opportunities into blessings “ – William  Arthur

 

Last but not the least, practice gratitude in your own life and see the world change for you. As a Pranic healer, I am practicing 31 days gratitude meditation starting this December 1st and each day I share my experience with my kids before tucking them to bed.

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Please do not hesitate to point out to me if I have missed a point you think is worth mentioning. Do share it in the comments and make this n enriching experience.

 

Happiness and sunshine 🙂

Nidhi

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Look in

“Yummm” is the international language for food , and

“Happiness” is the international food for the soul !

And the best thing is that we don’t have to cook to taste it , just look inside , open the doors and windows and experience it !

Happiness and sunshine 🙂

Toys

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We come back from a holiday both my husband and I carry gifts for the children. We hear their giggles and slowly enter the kids room to surprise them. They leave their toys, scream in delight and rush towards us. We drop our gift bags and hug them tight. While they tell me their stories my man hands the respective gifts to the kids. With all excitement they start to guess what’s under the wrapper, and with all anxiousness tear the wrapper to reveal their possessions.

It’s a Lego, squeals Sparsh. While Anaya jumps with joy seeing her book key chain and scrap book. They youngest in the house little Avni starts exploring her airport book and begins to assemble her toy. They carry their new toys to show to everyone in the house while I stare at the ones scattered on the floor crying for attention.

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After two days their favourite aunt and uncle visits us and gift them each with some more toys. This time I notice the mountain of toys and amongst that I see the toys we had bought for them. My heart sinks. I begin to ponder am I getting them more than what they need? Do they really play with toys? For often they are glued to the screens. Do they even have the time to clean up? 7 to 4 they are in school. When they cannot take responsibility of their toys I think it’s time that I stop buying them more.

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As a matter of fact, every toy excites the child only for the initial week and later it lays unnoticed for months together. Decided this winter break I will ask them to revisit their old toys and analyse and understand if it carries any value to them now. If yes, they need to keep it properly else I will donate it to the needy.

You will all agree; more toys mean more mess. I will make them clean up their toys section and encourage them to maximise their happiness with minimum toys. To me, making a new friend or learning a new sport is far better than playing with a toy. One neighbourhood friend is worth more than a basement full of toys and a hike in the woods beats a new video game any day. We think buying toys is buying happiness to them, yes they feel happy, but for how long is what we need to understand.

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Toys are good for babies and toddlers it helps in the development of sensory and motor skills, hand eye coordination and many others. But for kids aged 6 and 9 toys are becoming meaningless. They are so fascinated with gadgets and screens that they hardly play. Activity sets which involve creative thinking and engage the hands are well entertained but board games are becoming less popular. I don’t remember the last time they played monopoly or sat down to chase each other over the carom board. Even their all-time favourite Ludo and UNO must be lying somewhere piling dust.

Yesterday I asked both my kids what they wanted for Christmas ans apart from one robotic dog they did not anything else to ask for. We (my husband and I) agreed for this last buy and decided to gift them no toy gifts from then on. There are so many other things which can keep them busy like a day trip to a museum , a factory visit , a play date, a self cooked meal , gardening , making jellies , joining a club or even learning a life skill.

Its time they know and value what they have before claiming a new one. Please let me know your thoughts on the same. For I know more or less we all sail the same boat.

Happiness and sunshine 🙂

Nidhi

Disclaimer: This post is not intentional or meant to hurt anybody. It’s just a reflective.

Canvas


Who needs a decorated canvas? 
A street child finds inspiration in an abandoned drawing book and uses the street as her canvas and carves out her lines using a piece of chalk. 
Timidly she contracts in her own self and after enough persuasion agrees for a click , carrying an innocent smile on her lips and truth in her eyes.
In all her humbleness she adjusts her anklets tinkering in her feet and placed her dupatta carefully on her hanger like body ! 
She jumped like a spring to see her picture on my phone and grinned from ear to ear. How I felt seeing her is beyond the capacity of my words.
Life is a lesson , all we need is a quest to learn!

Happiness and sunshine 🙂 

Nidhi 

P.S: This is not about my kids but another kid who bought happiness to me and made my evening walk memorable . 

Festivals

On a recent assignment Anaya was asked to make a chart on festivals of India. Quickly we downloaded pictures from the internet, printed them and pasted on a white chart paper. She wrote a few lines about each and viola it was done.

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Since she cannot keep quiet, she kept on asking me questions while I was cutting the pictures for her. First things first, “Mom, what is a festival?” Not that I didn’t know, but I wanted to tell her the precise meaning.

 
As per Wikipedia, “A festival is a special occasion of feasting or celebration, usually with a religious focus. Aside from religion, and sometimes folklore, another significant origin is agricultural. Food (and consequently agriculture) is so vital that many festivals are associated with harvest time.”

Now she had a new set of questions resulting in me breaking down each word for her better understanding. Festivals help us to keep connected to our roots, our culture, our values, and our origin and makes sure we preserve this priceless gift. It helps people come together and celebrate, eat together and make merry.  Ok this is the reason why we have so many parties around Diwali? she nodded.

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It gives us the opportunity to let go of people and things and live harmoniously. “It’s a time to forget all the chaos of life and to embrace good hopes.” I added. “Yes mom, now I know why Bhaiya and I hugged on Raksha bandhan and promised that we will never fight again “she responded in all innocence, while pasting raksha bandhan pictures.

But why Makara Sankranti she asked? Well, it’s a harvesting festival. It is the time to embrace all the hard work done in the past and to celebrate its rewards and fruits. It teaches us the importance of fruits of labour. “Mom I was happiest when I saw my salad leaves sprouting remember?”

Ok tell me what you like most about festivals? I asked her.

She thought for a while and said “holidays, new clothes and chocolates”

Well yes, today we plan holidays accordingly. Brands offer discounts around festival times. The big fat amazon sale or the Phoenix market city sale all are planned around festival times. Even the restaurants, pubs and cafes have extended happy hours for fest ivies.

But more importantly, festivals Helps to document culture in an undocumented manner. Tells the tale of evolution throughout the years from the changes in the way of celebration. Take any one particular year and study how a particular festival was celebrated then and it open the door of what life was then. It also marks the significant events important to the human race. It tells you about mythologies and stories revolving them.

“Yes I know Hanuman and Ram and Durga ji” she said and started to recite four lines of “Aye giri nandini …” known to her. “ I know Krishna, she said and told me the story of his birth and the ways he used to steal butter in Gokul later and started singing her favourite “choti choti gayiya ,chote chote  gwal song…”

“But Holi is so dirty”, she said with a frown. “Well it’s true that we really have to work hard scrubbing off those tough colours from ourselves, but Holi celebrates colours, irrespective of caste and creed. It brings unity and spreads the colour of love I added.”  “I love to spray water from my water gun she grinned.”

By this time we were left with only a few more pictures to be stuck and written about.

She happily wrote about Christmas and Eid without my help while I checked upon Sparsh’s assignments.

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Ever noticed that when it’s time for the arrival of a festival, the whole aura changes, the whole community gets directed towards a faith, a surrounding full of good hopes, happiness, joy, celebrations is created. It simply uplifts you bad mood and fills you with positive energy. It gives us the time to rethink, reset and rewind our busy lives and set it at a comfortable pace. Festivals brings families closer, rekindles bonds and brings happiness.

Lastly she added “Why is Birthday not counted as a festival?” It’s the best day of the year  for me !”

“Life is a festival, if you want it to be.”

Happiness and sunshine.

Nidhi

 

P.S:  I forget to take a picture of her chart 😦

Halloween

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To be honest I really don’t know why we celebrate this? Pardon me, the more I tried to read about it, the more complicated it seemed. End of harvest, praying for dead, feasting etc.….  I am sure it has a well deserving history, no wonder so many costume ideas, decoration pins are shared on Pinterest each day. Sharing treat recipes is common too. Without taking much time there are some interesting facts about Halloween.

  1. Formerly called All Hallow’s Eve it is celebrated on 31st of Oct each year. Literally meaning hallowed evening. No wonder we hallow our pumpkins and gourds and put a light inside to ward off evil.
  2. It is the end of harvest, marking the onset of winter. People believe that this eve the evil spirits (demons)return to live.(No wonder people dress scary)
  3. People leave teats for them outside their houses in pumpkin shells and light up the area for them to see the treats.It is assumed that if they like the treats they will not trick or cast evil spell. Here lies the origin of present day trick or treat.
  4. There was a belief that ghosts cannot see their own reflection, no wonder people dress up on scary costumes to scare the evil and protect themselves.

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But what excites me is to see the excitement of trick or treating on my kids’ faces.  They never bothered what they would be wearing for Diwali, but for Halloween they prepare in advance. Well whatever it is, I am happiest when I get to eat all the goodies and treat Sparsh get back on Halloween. It is fun to see hem dressed as little monsters and ghosts. All I do is keep a box of candies ready for all the monsters that knock my door that evening.

“Mom, can I go out with my friends on Halloween?” questions Anaya.  I just look at her and say nothing. Honestly I don’t like the idea of she going out alone in dark lanes knocking doors in the neighbourhood.This reminds me of how I went hunting for Sparsh who left out with another friend on his bike. So this year I am not sending them out, instead we will plan something boo-tastic and have fun. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

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We have decided to accept trick and see what the little monsters have in store for us. We will dress up as monsters, paint our faces, have spooky eyes with red paint oozing out of our skins here and there and scare them off instead of getting scared. Sparsh has plans to scare them with his handmade spider while Anaya wants to use her scary sound torch and shoo them away. Sparsh decides to wear a cape, fangs and paint his face, while Anaya has decided to wear a poncho which has a spooky head and some make up too.

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our pumpkins shall smile and not scare
To me Halloween means something else. I told the kids this Halloween lets scare the evil in us and shine bright. Let’s promise to trick the demon, kill it and enjoy the treats of happiness instead .I am glad they have agreed on this, saving me from becoming a demoness. Get ready to shoo these demons forever and live happy.

Happy Halloween

Happiness and sunshine as always.

Nidhi