She’s beauty and she’s grace

According to wiki there are 194 species of the Heliconia. That’s 194 examples of Nature’s Beauty and Grace. One of them, this Hanging Lobster Claw or Heliconia Rostrata adds grace to my home.

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(also known as False Bird of Paradise – a wiki snippet that I had posted earlier)

While this beauty is the real Bird of Paradise flower, also known as the Crane Flower.

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Amazing Grace!

New horizons New dreams

Every year I look forward to the same New HorizonGRADUATION.

My babies move on to grade 1 and I get a new batch of babies who light up my life with their cheerful banter and colourful imaginings.

Khaos

There are many definitions for Chaos
Complete disorder and confusion.
• (physics) The formless matter supposed to have existed before the creation of the universe.
• (greek mythology) The first created being, from which came the primeval deities.

But in my life, Chaos can be defined a little differently.
Chaos – The sight that greets me when I walk into the kindergarten dormitory, of 30 boys running, shouting, playing, fighting; in short the sight of kids being kids.

My mom was an ardent reader of the mythologies, and having been brought up on a staple diet of greek mythology, I tend to draw parallels.
The Greek epic poet Hesiod tells us in his Theogony (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C) of the origins and the genealogy of the Gods. At first it was Khaos (Chaos, the Chasm/Air) that came to be, and the other Protogenoi (primordial Gods) followed. From Khaos came Nyx (night) and Erebus (darkness), and from them came Aither (light) and Hemera (day). From Nyx came many Daimones (personified spirits) like Philotes (affection and friendship), Eris (strife), the Oneiroi (dreams), Momos (complaint), the Moirai (3 fates), amongst others.

That both darkness and light come from Chaos makes a lot of sense. We see it in our children all the time, in how they manage to transform from perfect angels to terrifying hellions. As they grow up, they develop their unique balance of personalities and characteristics. The Daimones here are the many characteristics they exhibit, because each child is capable of friendship, affection, strife and complaints depending upon what triggers they have experienced in that phase space. These little children of Chaos, like the Oneiroi are capable of seeing dreams and showing us dreams. More importantly, each child has within themselves the ability to weave the story of their lives, just like the three fates (Moirai); and the terrifying part is that in this mythology, we adults, like Zeus, are capable of altering the story that is being spun.

While on the subject of Chaos, let me bring another definition here, as defined in Chaos Theory.
Chaos is the science of surprises, of the nonlinear and the unpredictable. It teaches us that dynamic systems are highly sensitive to initial conditions, a response popularly referred to as the butterfly effect, and thus even a small difference in initial conditions can yield widely diverging outcomes, and that even complex systems rely upon an underlying order.
While many consider this an over stretch, I prefer to go with the psychotherapists who believe that early childhood influences on our adult experiences have parallels to the scientific concept of Chaos theory.
So once again, much like Zeus in Greek mythology, our actions have the power to affect these little children right through till their adulthood.

Coming back to my children, here’s what I surmise.
Each child’s life starts with a different story, and when they come to the orphanage they are in a state of disorder and chaos. The institute manages to introduce some order and sate the chaos for a while. But this is a dynamic system, and once again the individual and collective behaviours of others in the group serve as a flutter of the butterfly’s wings, that escalate into a gale-force wind of emotional chaos that pummels the unconscious mind of the adult. We, as the butterflies, can chose what kind of flutter we will create in that child’s life, thereby making the difference between what comes out of the Chaos, Nyx (darkness) or Aither (light), Philotes (friendship) or Eris (strife).

Chaos or Khaos is the chasm between Heaven and Earth. It is up to us to Mind the Gap.

Dream with a pinch of reality

Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so you shall become, your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be.
-James Allen

I have heard a lot of parents and inspirational speakers reiterate this quote. Child psychologists keep harping on how we should always encourage our children; shower them with praise, set high expectations because children usually perform up to their parent’s expectations. Tell your children that they can be whatever they want. But I don’t agree with this thought entirely.

I would rather tell my child

You can achieve anything you want in life if you have the courage to dream it, the intelligence to make a realistic plan, and the will to see that plan through to the end.

It is good to dream lofty dreams, just as long as those dreams are grounded in reality. It is necessary to encourage you child, ‘encourage’ being the operative word. Don’t give them false hopes. Praise your child, compliment her work but don’t inflate her ego.

We bring up our children on stories with happy endings, where anything is possible, where a little fish called Nemo, despite his limited swimming abilities, manages to have a series of adventures/misadventures and return home safely, where the rookie car Lightning McQueen, the crop-duster plane Dusty, and the snail Turbo win the race (defeating faster and more experienced competitors by sheer grit), where the princess always gets the prince.

Children, brought up in a feel-good world, imagine they can be anything – an astronaut, a scientist, an Olympian, a film star. The next Steve Jobs or Ambani. That’s natural and that’s nice. But as parents do we merely humour them and say – “of course, you can be anything you want.” I think not. I would rather say, “Well that sounds great. But remember, achieving a dream is hard work. You must plan and work towards it.”

When he was very young, my son wanted to become either a Formula 1 racer or a fighter pilot. I had to gently break the news to him that with his ocular problems, that was not a realistic dream. Naturally he ranted at the injustice of it all, but soon directed himself towards becoming a nuclear scientist, a more plausible dream. With this dream as our goal, we sat down and drew up a road map, he had to excel at math and science, he had to develop certain skills, etc. Along the way he lost interest in becoming a nuclear scientist, but his love for science remained. He worked hard and excelled. Today he can certainly aspire to become a scientist.
Of course his father would have rather he became an athlete. We tried out a different sport every summer trying to find ‘his thing’. He enjoyed his summers, but eventually his father had to concede that sport was not ‘his thing’. As a parent he had to accept his child’s temperament and cease projecting his own dreams onto the child. Just because he loves playing soccer with his friends after school does not mean that he could have become a national player by sheer hard work and grit. Talent, genetics and temperament play a decisive role.

The dangers of blind encouragement are two-fold. Unrealistic plans lead to a waste of time and money. When a student who gets average grades sets her mind on say, medical school, other more lucrative and realistic careers like human resource management or business, are left unexplored. Even worse, if they don’t achieve their goal, they feel shame and guild and are overwrought with a feeling on incompetence. The logic goes – If I could have become anything, and I didn’t become that thing, then I have no one to blame but myself, and I am a shameful loser. Anything else that they do thereafter is a compromise and they are never happy.

Help your child understand what will make them happy and help them pursue that state of being. There are many paths to that goal. Tell them that they don’t need to chase after a ‘job they love’, rather find a job that they can grow to love. Not everyone can make a career out of what they love. It’s just as well to have a career you can respect and a hobby that you love. The eventual goal is self-happiness.

Encourage your child to have lofty goals, but let them know that in addition to self-belief, it’s going to take sensible planning, a pragmatic approach, years of hard work and a lot of patience. Teach them that there is no such thing as instant gratification and that failure and work-arounds are an inevitable part of the journey. Above all else help them understand themselves.

It may be painful to be the practical dream-crusher parent who bursts their child’s happy bubble, but it will be far more painful to watch your child loose her self-esteem, because as adults we know – We cannot become anything that we want to be.

Perspective

 Tiny, Large, High, Low
It’s all in the perspective
You see the imposing structure
I marvel the mind’s directive

There is structure in symmetry
There is beauty in its negation
Be free of preconceived notions
Indulge in passionate admiration

If you’re above, I’m tiny.

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If I’m above, you are.

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