School, school, which school do we choose?

With the process of admissions starting again this year, parents looking for schools for their kids tend to feel extremely stressed. In a city like Bangalore with each locality offering an array of schools to choose from, parents can be left feeling quite confused.

Opinions from family members, online reviews and past experiences; all playing on one’s mind while making such an important decision can contribute to be a truly exasperating experience. How much do you consider? How much do you compromise on? Yes, you most probably will have to compromise on few things which are ok because there is no such thing as a perfect school.

Let’s list down some pointers that might help confused parents find a path to the right school.

  1. Distance – One of the main factors to be considered is the distance. While some parents refuse to cross that 5-km radius, some are ready to travel far and find an apt school for children. It’s important to understand what’s important to you and your partner and what might benefit your child in the long run.
  2. Board – Educate yourself on all 4 boards schools offer today and understand what might be apt for your child. It’s crucial to remember that the Board doesn’t decide the success of your child’s future. It’s merely a guiding path. Choosing a school based on the board is usually better than going in for a school that has a famous name.
  3. Strength of the class – Smaller the class, greater the learning. Think about a teacher’s attitude towards 50 students and the same towards 20. That tiny difference can make all the difference in your child’s attitude towards learning. However, there’s a possibility that your child may learn more in a bigger group. Again, this is subjective to every child.
  1. Study or play? – A question you need to first ask yourselves before making a decision for your child. Do you believe in more number of hours spent on learning inside the classroom or outside? And honestly, there is nothing right or wrong, it’s a personal choice. But once you are clear, you could accordingly pick a school
  1. Culture of the school – Convent style? Conservative? Competitive? Sheltered? Now while a combination of all would be ideal, we all know it’s unlikely. So the first step is to assess your own values, family background and priorities and what kind of environment you would want your child to grow up in.

Furthermore, having a look at the school diary adds value to your decision to understand how the activities for the year have been planned out. It helps us to understand the structure and organization of the institute. Feedback from old students could be taken into account, however, cannot be taken at face value as it would be lined with their personal experiences.

The penultimate rule is to accept the fact that all children are not alike. If one child performs well at an international school, it’s possible that another one may not. And to respect the uniqueness of each child is perhaps why we have so many choices today. So reflecting upon one’s own values and priorities is the key to finding the right school for your children.

Lastly, it’s essential to remind ourselves that children are usually more flexible than adults and might take to any school better than we expect them to. Each school will come with its pros and cons and there is no magical formula for a perfect school. So once you have considered the above points and made a decision, let the fear go and make sure your children’s schooling is a happy experience for them as well as for you.

The blog is based on the following article –

http://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/opinion/you/opinion/you/parentry-how-do-i-choose-the-right-school/articleshow/62512195.cms

 

 

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Everything has to be planned!!! ….or maybe not.

Are you sure?

A question asked many a time, but more often than not, we are forced to answer in negation. So what happens if one isn’t sure; one isn’t certain of what’s going to happen next? Is that uncertainty dangerous, harmful or a drawback? The famous poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, in fact, urged us to accept uncertainty with open arms and move on with life. So for all those who are trying hard to achieve certainty in all fields in life, there’s some good news. Philosophers believe strongly that uncertainty can add real value to life. It’s important, they say, to cherish each moment and let life surprise you at times.

We are all brought up being taught to be sure; sure about what we like, what we don’t; sure about  who we want to be with; sure about what we want to do. Striving towards certainty in everything is almost inbuilt in us. And when things don’t go as planned or uncertainty creeps in, we feel uneasy, incomplete and scared. But what we forget is that what unfamiliar situations in life teach us, a familiar one would never be able to do so. If we are looking at any kind of transformation in life, we have to give ourselves up to some amount of uncertainty. Dealing with an unsettling feeling and growing out of it can teach us the most.

Let’s take a simple example – if you planned a boat ride, you would know exactly where your boat is headed, for how long and your final destination. But if you let your boat pave a path for you, you just may end up on a whole new island. Of course, while on that boat if you panic about not knowing where you are going you may just drown. The key is to be strong in unchartered waters and you might finally sail into a sea of happiness. Similarly, once you get past the fear of not knowing everything, you could be in for a surprise – a new you!

We have often heard, life is about the present. But how many of us actually practice it? It’s important to divert our attention to the right things. Instead of trying to plan everything and stressing about it not happening at times, we’d rather develop strength and patience to deal with plans not going our way. Subsequently, we might be able to actually savour each moment of life while carrying a bit of suspense with us.

This blog is based on the following article –

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/The-value-of-uncertainty/articleshow/8862361.cms?

 

 

Taboo no more!

Taboo, taboo taboo! We like to label everything we don’t want to deal with as taboo. And one such topic is counselling. The idea of “pulling themselves together” is still so strange to people. People wait to be rescued, but the point is to rescue oneself! The social stigma and the sense of shame attached with counselling prohibit people from actually understanding counselling.

 Let’s keep it simple. You have fever or you are down with flu, what would you do? Worry about it? Hide it from everyone around you? Try to look it up on Google and figure out a solution? Let it bother you all week? None of those right? You would immediately walk to your family doctor and grab some medicines. So simple! Now run the same set of questions in your mind when it comes to stress, anxiety or depression. We all know the result, don’t we?

 So trying to understand why this taboo exists in our country is futile. What’s essential now is to get past it and understand why counselling is a necessity! It’s not solely something for the ‘misbehaving’ children, not meant for the ‘depressed’ lot and certainly not a last resort. Counselling is a gradual process of strengthening oneself, being mindful and enhancing quality of relationships through self-awareness.

 The society we live in is full of stress, anxiety and rage. We can’t possibly run away from it, but we can prepare ourselves to deal with it efficiently and not let it get in the way of our happiness. Be it marriage, or child-related issues; work-life problems or personal insecurities; anything can be dealt with. There is a solution and people just need to learn to ask for help. Asking leads to finding responses and talking leads to resolving. But ultimately, the step has to be taken by us.

 Counselling is not an overnight process and requires commitment and dedication, but is that too much to ask for when the only one benefitting from this is you? We all need someone to talk to, someone who could listen to us unconditionally and someone who would advise but yet help us find our own paths in the journey of life. Hardships can’t be avoided, but we sure can develop the skill to handle them and emerge victorious.

 As the late pioneer American social worker Virginia satir had stated – the problem is never the problem; coping is! The art of learning to cope leads us to a more enriching and fulfilling life. The sooner you develop this art, the more grateful you’ll be; to yourself!

 The blog is based on the following article –

http://www.straitstimes.com/forum/letters-in-print/counselling-a-necessity-not-a-taboo

 

A new year = A new you!

As each year passes by, people reminisce the months gone by and set out for a new adventure that the New Year has to offer. Most likely, you will see people around you making resolutions to stay fit, exercise and eat healthy. While that’s great, what’s worrying is the lack of focus on mental health. With a package of diets, gyms and jogs versus one of high self-esteem, happiness and confidence; the latter seems to lose year after year. Things would be simpler if people realized the two were inter-connected and if people made an effort to target mental health, physical health would come trotting behind.

If counsellors and psychotherapists were visited as often as gym trainers and nutritionists, the world would be not just a fitter, but a happier place too. Mental health is central to every part of our lives; the people around us, our work and our emotions. And this year, strive to achieve better mental health, and these tips may help you:

 – Stop dieting and eat healthy  – It’s not about a diet, it’s about a lifestyle. A diet leads to cravings, higher levels of frustration and typically doesn’t result in permanent weight loss. The more you focus on a diet, the more it displays lack of confidence and poor body image issues which subsequently lead to depression low self esteem. It’s important to understand that the connection between healthy eating and a happier self is strong

  • Join a group and give up your screens – Social isolation is believed to be as injurious to health as smoking. With social media paving a path for people to stay put behind their screens and avoid people, actual interaction between people is becoming rare, thereby leading to loneliness, depression and anxiety. Share experiences with people, not with Facebook; share meals with friends, not photos of the same on Instagram and most importantly share your lives with people around you!
  • Exercise – If physical health depends on mental health, then it works vice versa too. You need to move your body to keep your mind active. Happiness is the goal and if endorphins (the little happy hormones released during exercise) help you get there, why not try it?
  • Seek help – And of course, lastly and if one may say so, most importantly, seek help! Only those who ask for help get it and only those who try to resolve problems succeed. If we rush to a doctor when we sneeze, then why do we hesitate to do so when we are feeling low mentally? Talking leads to resolving and seeking help leads to finding it.

These are really simple ways of leading a happy, stress-free and healthy life. It’s time we take to these measures before we are left with no choice but to look at more complicated ones! Let’s make this year a year to count in every little way possible. And remember, mental and physical health are two sides of the same coin; the coin being you! To a new year and a new you!

This blog is based on the article –
The best New Year’s resolutions focus on mental health, not physical health