Growing More

TEACHING THE JOY OF INDIVIDUAL CONFIDENCE and UNIQUENESS

I had a favourite professor in graduate school, a man whose every move transmitted a certain, “I’m okay, you’re okay” joy to all who were around him. He had remarkable patience. When a student could not seem to grasp a point, he would not chide or criticise; instead he would compliment the student on some other point where he was strong.
He couldn’t sing or speak well. In fact, he seemed to have few particular abilities, yet he always seemed totally self-confident–not cocky or overbearing, just quietly of the belief that he could discuss anything, do anything.
I did well in his class, in part because I found him so interesting, and by the end of the year I knew him well enough that we had lunch together once in awhile. I asked the source of his confidence. He said there were two elements, the first of which was his faith. He expressed to me, with no hesitation or inhibition, his belief in a higher power to whom he could pray and who he felt would guide and nudge and help him through life.
“What is the second thing?” I asked. “Well,” he said, “I’m a little like the great craftsman who made the finest violins in the World. Stradivari used to say, `God can’t make a Stradivarius without Antonio Stradivari.’ I have certain gifts, and I think I have discovered what most of them are. I am sufficiently confident in two or three basic areas that I feel equal to anyone.”
I’ve thought a great deal about what he said. His joy was confidence. His confidence was a combination of faith and gifts he had discovered. I realised that everyone can have both, that no one is precluded from faith, & no one is without particular, unique gifts.
Children can feel the joy of individual confidence and uniqueness. This fact is often illustrated by children themselves at our experimental Joy School. Early in our first year, while we were dealing with the physical joys, I had an experience that taught me something about the joy of individual confidence. A group of children were dancing, and the teacher was showing them how to skip. I was sitting at the side, observing. There were about ten children, four of whom just could not grasp the technique or coordination of skipping. It intrigued me that three of the four looked dejected, embarrassed and upset because they couldn’t do it. Each of the three, in his own way, stopped trying: One cried, one walked out and one started acting silly and boisterous to distract attention from his failure. The fourth little boy showed absolutely no embarrassment or concern or self-consciousness for not being able to skip. He kept watching, kept trying, kept failing, kept watching, kept trying. When the exercise was over, I asked him some questions:
“Do you like to skip?”
“Yes, but I can’t do it very good.”
“Well, did you wish they’d stop skipping and do something you were better at?”
“No, because I want to learn how.”
“Do you feel bad because you can’t skip?”
“No.”
“Why not?”
“Because I’m better at other things.”
“Like what?”
“Mommy says I’m good at painting pictures.”
“I see.”
“And I’m ‘specially good at keeping my baby brother happy.”
“I see, Jimmy. Thanks for answering my questions.”
“That’s all right. Don’t worry; some day I’m going to be good at skipping, too.”
An amazing interchange for a four-year-old! But the principle behind it is not particularly amazing–it’s quite natural. A person who is secure in the knowledge that he is good at certain things can much more easily accept the things he is not good at.

How To

Obvious, open, unconditional love. A child who feels an inalterable parental love has a built-in foundation for confidence. He knows no failure, no mistake, will rob him of that love and family acceptance. Tell him of your consistent love.
Know each child well as an individual. You can’t help a child build confidence around his inherent gifts and talents unless you come to know what those gifts and talents are. Two ways to learn: (1) In private chats with the child, time spent together watching and appreciating; and (2) in organised time, spent as husband and wife, discussing each child, sharing perceptions, taking notes, discovering together more about the personality and individual character of each child.
Genuinely respect each child and his own gifts. Our children are human beings, deserving not only our love but our respect. With this thought in mind, sometimes it becomes a bit easier to (1) show an added measure of faith in them after any kind of failure; (2) discuss our own failures with them and tell them what we learned from each; (3) praise their accomplishments lavishly and honestly, particularly accomplishments in areas where we perceive special aptitude; and (4) never criticise or tear the children down personally. We should criticise instead the bad things they have done, making sure they still know our total love for them. Never criticise in public–“praise in public, correct in private.”
Independence, self-reliance, responsibility at an early age. Confidence and its joy tie directly into being able to do useful things. Each child should have a job in the family, for the family–particularly daily or weekly jobs–for which he is praised & made to feel very able and very important, very much a part of the family.
Help the children to see what their own unique gifts are–and that these gifts are as good as anyone else’s.
1. The “one thing I like about you” game: Sit five or six children in a circle, with one in the middle. Let each child say something he likes about the one in the middle, such as “One thing I like about Tommy is that he can tie his own shoes.”
2. Individual profile charts: Trace a profile from each child’s shadow on a poster. Then, under each profile, write in the eye colour, hair colour, sex, age, position in the family, and what the child is good at. Put the posters up on the wall and let each child take pride in his uniqueness.
Special nicknames for each child. A similar feeling of specialness comes with an affectionate nickname, especially when it is used exclusively by one parent. To Daddy, Saren is “Princess,” Shawni is “Pixie,” Josh is “Herkimer,” Saydi is “Sugar Plum” or “Tater Tot,” Jonah is “Boomer Bumpkin,” Talmadge is “Mudgie” and Noah is “Nobie.”
Mommy & Daddy dates. Set aside a special time each week when there is a one-to-one relationship between mother or father (or both) and one child. These occasions may sometimes take planning, and other times they may consist simply of maximising the moment.
“Empty Books.” A dear friend mentioned at the time our first two children were still tiny that she got a great deal of satisfaction from buying an “empty book” (well-bound with empty pages) for each child when he was a baby and recording special events and character changes in the child’s life as he grew. The ultimate plan was to present it to him on his wedding day.
We have followed her example and have found many benefits that we hadn’t planned. The children know we are keeping the books and they feel a great sense of uniqueness and pride in knowing that even though, for the most part, the contents are secret until their wedding day, they themselves are individuals in their parents’ eyes. They see us writing about those special events and are secretly thrilled that we take time for just them. Also, in reading back over events from these first few years, we realise how easily we forget those momentous moments (birth, toddler’s mischief, starting school) in a child’s life unless they are recorded. They’ll make great “vicarious journals” and will be lots of fun for our children’s children to read some day. Reading back through them is also, for us, a chance to evaluate the progress and needs of each child.

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Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake, Baker’s Man……..

The crowning and final excursion for 2014 -2015 was BAKING!!! Thanks to Sunila, our parent and advocate of healthy loaves, the children started to really love getting ‘into the dough’. At first they all baked a yummy banana bread, that was made with pounded jaggery, brown sugar and whole wheat flour!! The result was perfect as you can see in the picture.

Next, Mrs. Durga Menon, owner of Iluvia Bakery on Sarjapur Road and equally a health food enthusiast, invited the children for a hands on learning how to make a pizza. They kneaded the dough, topped it with tomato paste and cheese and got to eat it in the end. What Fun learning. Thank you mam, the kids loved it and so did the adults!!

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Of Looms, Yarn, Warp and Weft

You may wonder, what little children would know about such big words? At Sunbird, they will learn interesting facts about as many topics as possible. The term ‘weaving’ was introduced and practised by them for the theme by the same name.  They learned the skill with paper to understand what happens in a loom with ‘warp’ and ‘weft’. The finale surprise was a visit to NIFT institute. They were welcomed by Professor Mogha, who enthusiastically led them through the different departments of young aspiring artists. They learned about the loom, spinning ‘Jenny’, knitting, designing, and stitching, as well as different types of cloth material. The students cheerfully taught them different ‘techniques’. Thank you , Prof. Shivalingaiah, Prof. Mogha and wonderful young people!!

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Outdoor Play: A Hot Favorite

Many magic moments happen in our outdoor free play time. Enjoy this feast for the eyes!

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BIG CHANGE COMING

Sunbird is moving to…………….Haralur Road!!!! Awaiting all Sunbird Students an amazing place with 4000sqft of outdoor space… stay tuned to the updates!!!

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Growing Together

PRESERVING THE JOY OF TRUST AND THE CONFIDENCE TO TRY

I spent a Summer in Hawaii one year working and saving money for the next year of school. I had a friend there named Kathy. It was the first week in Hawaii for both of us. We had just met each other, and we had both just met a Hawaiian named Kiki. Kiki invited us to a beach party, “a real Hawaiian one,” he said. It was on a Saturday afternoon, on a beach at the far side of the island. As I recall, the party had three distinct parts: Surfing, eating and dancing. My inclination was to watch all three. Her inclination was to do all three.
The joy of trying things and of new participation and new interest is a classic and significant joy. There is so much to do in the World, so many good things to try, 360 degrees of experience. Yet most of us eat the same narrow 10-degree sliver of pie over and over again, too afraid or inhibited (or sophisticated?) to try the other 350 degrees. Somewhere we have lost our grasp of the joy of basic confidence to try.
There are two kinds of basic fears in the World: Fear of getting hurt and fear of failure. Both kinds of fear apply to all facets of life. We fear failure physically, mentally, emotionally and socially, and we fear being hurt physically, emotionally and socially. Both fears are self-fulfilling. Physical fear often causes physical hurt, and fear of failing almost always causes failure.
Children are born with neither of these two fears; it is the learning of the fears that takes away the joy.

The Child’s Perspective

Our two-year-old Shawni came along to her older sister’s dancing class. We were watching the older sister and left the two-year-old sitting down the row of seats. I glanced over and saw her eyes growing wider. The next moment she was up, twirling, whirling, a two-year-old facsimile of modern dance. She wanted to try, to experience.
This is a joy to preserve, a joy that small children almost always have but they often lose early. (Think of the three-year-old afraid to touch the snow or the four-year-old too shy to meet new people.) The symptoms of the loss of this joy are the phrases we have all heard: “Oh, I can’t do it.” “Will you help me? I’m afraid.”
When did they lose it? Where do they leave it? Why? It is our fault. We fail to preserve it in three ways. First, in our preoccupation and “busyness,” we fail ourselves to experience new things and to manifest the joy that comes from them. Failure no.1: Lack of example.
Second, again in our involvement with “more important things,” we fail to praise and encourage their exploration. The encouragement could be verbal or, better yet, could be expressed by us learning from them, trying things with them. By criticising instead of praising, we build fear and rub out the continuing desire to try. A child performs an important experiment by pouring his milk into his soup, and we call him a mess. A child takes off his shoes to see how the grass feels, and we tell him, “That’s silly,” and doesn’t he know he will get dirty. Failure no.2: Criticism instead of praise.
Third, we often compare our children with each other or with other children, thus making them feel inferior. Johnny tries to run a race or improve on the piano and glows with the joy of trying until we say, “Say, that Jones boy sure is learning fast,” or “I wonder how the Smith girl got so good on the piano? She’s only had lessons for as long as Johnny.” Failure no.3: Discouragement by comparison or by overdone caution.

How To

Let children try things physically. Break down a trynd things with them. Climb a tree. Jump off a diving board. It will do you good and give verbal and nonverbal encouragement to your children’s physical confidence. Particularly, try things you are not good at. Let the children see that lack of skill is no reason for not trying.
The trick is to create a basically safe environment, rather than having to constantly warn about physical danger.
Fold a quilt or heavy blanket lengthwise to make a mat and let the children try various types of tumbling. Do a somersault or two yourself.
Win and keep the children’s trust. Children trust us until we violate their trust. A broken trust hurts them not only at the moment, but permanently, because it teaches fear of being hurt. Keep their trust by never lying, even a little. Don’t say, “The doctor won’t hurt you.” Don’t say you’ll spank them if they do it again and then not spank them when they do. Don’t tell them to tell the telephone caller you’re not at home. Don’t forget a promise. If they never learn to doubt you on small things, then they’ll never doubt your compliments to them, your advice to them, your love for them.
Encourage children to try new things. Look for and set up new experiences. When they ask for help, first say, “I’ll be here to help, but try it first.” Then praise the try as much or more than the success.
Praise the attempt and teach them that mistakes are okay. To praise the result when the result is not good violates the trust. But to praise the try, to compliment the effort–this sort of praise will bring about more tries and eventually more success. We thus teach that there is such a thing as successful failure: Failure from which we learn and grow. “It’s okay not be able to do it. It’s okay to miss, to fall down, to make a mistake. This is how we grow.”

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Love Art? Enjoy New Techniques! What Fun!

Most children love to experience colours on paper. Be it scribbling, using fingers or drawing amazing shapes, Sunbird students are no exception. Enjoy the snaps of them learning new applications.

Sunbird celebrated Subhashini’s birthday, and all students love her! Happy Birthday!

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Announcement: Communication with Your Child Seminar

Dear Parents and Friends

On Saturday, 28th of February, Sunbird is conducting a seminar, “Communication with your Child” for parents, caregivers and interested friends. Nine Keys to effective communication will be addressed.

Looking forward to see you! Your Sunbird Team

Venue: Sunbird Early Learning Centre

Time: 10 am to 12 noon

Entry: Free

Snacks and Refreshments will be served

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Nature Walk and Bird Watching

On a sunny Friday morning, with all students present, they packed their little bags and set off for the Kaikondrahalli lake. They took a leisurely walk around the lake, gazing into the trees to look for the nests of big birds, like the migratory stork. But they learned about many other birds that have made their home there. Kingfishers, Little Egrets, Grey Herons, Purple Rumped Sunbird, Green Bee Eaters, etc fill the air with their chatter, lovely songs, flapping wings, and amazing diving acrobatics.. They all loved the connect to Nature!

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Recruiting Little Carpenters, Anyone?

Hello parents, you might be interested to know, that your youngsters may turn out to be very practical and ‘hands on’. This is what we thought, when they could not get enough of Mr. Anil of Hamsavardhan Design carpentry unit in Tavakere. He was able to enthuse them with interesting tools from hammers to circular saws, drills, planes and everything a carpenter needs. They learned how a ‘modular kitchen’ is made, picnic tables look like, etc. They learned how wood shavings come about and what is ‘saw dust’….. a truly memorable excursion! Thank you Mr. Anil for making it interesting and safe even for small ones!

 

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Enjoying Art

A little celebration for all the children who took part in a drawing and collage competition. Some drawings were very original! The students enjoy continued classes on various art applications. Here are a few pictures for fun.

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Continuing The Joy

It seems only fitting, in order to form the skills for Life, to further cement the importance of setting goals for these skills. Happy Reading!!

TEACHING THE JOY OF ORDER, PRIORITIES & GOAL STRIVING

A speaker impressed me once with an uncommon answer to a common question. The question posed to him was, “With all you have to do, how do you look so relaxed?” (The boy who asked the question went on, partly for humour, partly for impact, to say that his father didn’t have nearly as much responsibility, yet always looked frazzled & tired.) The answer was, “Each week, on a certain day at a certain time, I spend some time alone, setting goals for the week. I follow the priorities of family first, others second, myself third. I set objectives in each area, & if time is too short to do all I want to do, I put my goals into priority order so that I know the most important ones will get done. Then I plan how, & write my plans into my weekly calendar book.”
Most anxiety comes from wondering where we should be or what we ought to be doing. Most joy comes from knowing both.

How To

The joy of goal striving & achievement is like a diamond with many facets, each one a separate & distinct joy. There is the joy of knowing our long-range purpose, the joy of responsibility, the joy of shorter-range goals, the joy of causes & commitment, the joy of organisation & order, even the joy of failing occasionally & of sometimes making mistakes.
Understanding the concept of goals. A three- or four-year-old is capable of understanding the concept & nature of goals. Explain that a goal is “something good that we want & that we work for.”
Experiencing a goal. A three- or four-year-old can experience the joy of setting & achieving a simple goal. Ask the child if he can think of a goal for himself. Help him decide on one. It might be self-improvement: Learning to zip his coat, flush the toilet, or walk across the street safely. It might be solving a problem: Not getting so dirty at school or not sucking his thumb any more. It might be making a new friend or earning money to buy something special.
Write the goal down & put a big circle by it. Periodically, as the goal is achieved, let the child fill in part of the circle. (When the goal is half completed, the circle will be half filled in.)
Help the child develop a plan to meet his goal, such as asking the neighbours if they need work done, trying to zip his coat each night before he goes to bed, not kneeling down in the dirt, inviting a new child over to play, or putting his blanket away etc.
Praise the setting of the goal, praise the plan, praise every step the child takes toward the goal.
Feel the joy of setting goals & working together. These might be anything worthwhile, from reading a book to doing the Spring housecleaning together as a family. Involve the children. Write down the goal & plan it first together, go to work on it & then discuss the results of each phase–how you are going, how it makes you feel as each part is achieved.
1. Together, do the kinds of chores in which results are visible, such as pulling weeds, washing windows, raking leaves, or waxing the floor or car. Part of the joy comes from seeing the result.
2. Have family jobs & responsibilities for each family member. For example, a little child can be in charge of clearing off the dishes after Sunday dinner. Again, lavish praise on the child, saying, “Doesn’t that look nice?” Make a chart showing each family member’s responsibility, & discuss these responsibilities as a family.
Teach the law of the harvest. There is security in knowing you will reap what you plant. Teach this joy by actually sowing & actually reaping. Have a garden. Let the children plant, weed, water & harvest. Then use the example of the garden as a way to explain many things: How brushing the teeth grow up into the joy of no cavities, how kind deeds grow up into the joy of happy feelings, how selfish deeds grow up like weeds to choke the family.
Organisation & order. Have a good set of shelves in a child’s room. Help him organise his possessions, with a place for each item. Then give strong encouragement & praise as he keeps things in their places. The simple lessons of order in a child’s life will go a long way in building the critical, later-life skill of organising his thoughts & ideas.
Gather the children in the middle of the room on the floor & tell them you want to see if they know what two words mean. The first word is mess. Ask them what it means. Then talk about how unpleasant it is when things are messy & how easy it is to lose things when there is a mess.
Then tell them the next word is order. Explain to them that order is when there is no mess. Things are in their places, nothing is lost, everything is neat & clean & tidy. Talk for awhile about how nice order is & how bad mess is.
Then tell the children you are going to tell them a secret about order. It is an important secret, & they should remember it. Get them to lean very close so they can hear you whisper. Then say, “Things will always stay in order if you take only one plaything at a time & put it back in its place before you take another out.” Repeat this a couple of times.
The joy of mistakes & failure. Discuss your own failures. Show your children that you are not perfect, but that you accept your failings & try to learn from them. The key here is simple: Praise them as much when they fail as when they succeed. Praise the try, not the result.
Share some of your goals with your children. The fact that you are reading this book probably indicates that you have a goal of being a better parent. Why not share that goal with your children? Tell them that your goal is to be the best daddy or mommy, & that you need their help on your goal, that you want them to tell you how you can improve.

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Skills for Life

At the end of November, Sunbird held a seminar “Dare to Discipline” for the parents. Parents took many notes, as the topic is vast and there are many points that one may not deem important unless it comes alive in the day to day interaction. It was very encouraging to see parents follow up on the advice and it will certainly pay off in the long run.

One aspect that was brought out in the seminar was the importance of schedules and encouragement of work. Below are two small articles which help parents encourage their children to ‘work’. Please also look at the link given.

401 WAYS TO GET YOUR KIDS TO WORK AT HOME!By Bonnie McCullough & Susan Monson

 Introduction

By the time your children reach 18 years of age, they will have spent 32,234 hours under your guidance & training. Consider that it takes only 2,100 hours of classroom & outside study time to complete a bachelor’s degree in college, & half that time to learn some skilled trades. Your home has 16 times more teaching hours than does the university! What do you want to do with this time?

Think about your children walking out the door, on their own! We assume they can cope with the everyday challenges of living, but should we? We assume they know about basic household duties & maintenance, but do they? We assume they can efficiently prepare well-balanced, nutritious meals, but can they? We assume they have mastered some basic skills of orderliness with their personal belongings, but have they? We assume they will handle their earnings wisely, avoiding unnecessary debt, but will they? Too often parents let the chips fall where they may, hoping all will turn out for the best. Can we leave the basic teachings to chance?

This book will help focus attention on a workable plan for parents & children to follow in using those 32,234 teaching hours productively. It is not too late to start, no matter what the age of your child, although the methods & incentives may vary.

Setting the Goals

You may ask, “Do we as parents have the right to decide on the goals our children should achieve?” Our answer is yes, because once the parent establishes the parameters in which the child can safely act & develop skills for successfully meeting life’s challenges, then the child’s right to choose comes into play. The child usually does not have the maturity to set goals without these limits. Unfortunately, we usually give more careful planning to a two-week vacation than we do to the training of our children in the basic home living skills.

It is interesting to note that in a survey we took, asking 250 children about working at home, 97% felt they should work.

If you don’t decide on your goals, you’ll become like Alice in Wonderland, who was asked by the Cheshire Cat where she wanted “to get to”. When Alice answered that she didn’t “much care where,” he said, “Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.”

101 ways to boost your child’s self esteem  by Alvin H. Price  supports the same idea, here is an excerpt:

Teach Your Child to Work

The child who knows how to work will be happier. He sees how he’s contributing to his family & to his world, & this makes him feel more valuable as a person.

Every young child wants to learn to work. They think it’s fun to do the things that Mom & Dad get to do. Take advantage of that willingness, but don’t give them more than they’re ready to do, & take the training slowly; you’ll have to expect a less-than-professional job for quite a while.

One thing that makes every child more willing to work is to have his mom or dad working beside him. This makes the job easier; everything seems to go smoother & faster.

Work is something everyone needs to learn to do. Teach it to your child consistently & enthusiastically, & he learns to be successful with work.

The following link puts skin on the idea and has wonderful tips of how you can encourage your child to help”

http://www.thirtyhandmadedays.com/2015/01/kids-help-clean-chores-by-age/

Snaps are taken from the November Seminar “Dare to Discipline” and special moments of ‘helping hands’ by peers during activities.

 

 

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new year and new prospects

Sunbird wishes its readers a very HAPPY NEW YEAR with good health, lots of fun and happiness with the children and growing together in Love!

“The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.”

Charles Kuralt

 

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Christmas with Sunbird

Sunbird sent all the little angels to the underprivileged at the Building Blocks Slum School and Nightingale Daycare Center to bring Cheer and gifts and a touch of Christmas. They also visited the Fire Brigade Brave Men with their dances and a little gift. The grand finale was the celebration with the parents at the Sunbird School with a yummy potluck…..

 

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