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People want to feel good about themselves, and they’re more likely to enjoy the
warm glow of a positive self-image if they think of themselves as highly competent
and attribute their failures to events beyond their control

Picture Source:BM

By: Vivek Kaul

Luck may or may not play any role in life and its outcomes, but as a parent, one must make sure that the child understands the importance of hard work

This is that time of the year when various examination results get published. And I happen to be in Delhi, where my parents and a bulk of my relatives live. So, I have been listening to a few interesting stories around these results.

More than the individuals writing the exams, it is interesting to see how their parents react, once the results are out. If a child does well, it is always because of hard work and the adjustment his or her parents had to make in order to ensure that the child could completely concentrate on studies.

If a child doesn’t do well, then it is almost always because of circumstances beyond their control. Excuses start to spring up. Here are a few that I have heard over the years: He or she wasn’t keeping well through the period of the examination; there was a power cut the night before the Maths exam and he couldn’t do well; the invigilator took away his paper five minutes before the time got over (this seems to be a favourite with parents).

As Robert H Frank writes in Success and Luck—Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy: “[A] disconnect between evidence and belief is people’s tendency to underestimate good fortune’s role in success, while being too quick to embrace bad luck as an explanation of failure… People want to feel good about themselves, and they’re more likely to enjoy the warm glow of a positive self-image if they think of themselves as highly competent and attribute their failures to events beyond their control.”

But the point is that luck plays a role both ways — in success as well as failure in exams, even though we like to bring only bad luck into the picture. Let me share a few personal examples here even though it has been a long time since I wrote an exam.

When I was doing my MBA, there were two papers, Macroeconomics and Microeconomics, which were deemed to be the toughest of the lot. As luck would have it, I never got around to studying either of the subjects but passed both of them.

How did that happen? Before the Microeconomics exam, a friend took pity and taught me one chapter 30 minutes before the exam. A bulk of the questions came from that chapter. I scored all of them correctly and got more than the required 50 per cent. Hence, luck played a huge role there.

Luck, in the form of bad luck, also played a huge role for many of my friends who had studied everything else but missed out on that particular chapter.

When it came to macroeconomics, due to some organisational hassles, there was a holiday of four days before the exams. And that was enough for me to read large sections of the prescribed text book and pass the exam. Without the holidays, there was no way I could have passed the exam by just studying overnight.

These were two examples from my end. But all of us have such lucky streaks when we write exams over a long period of time from our childhood till our early twenties.
The issue is how parents approach this phenomenon. Should they tell their children about the role luck plays in life? Or should they keep harping on the benefits of hard work? Or should they take the middle path, and tell their children that while hard work is important, luck has a huge role to play as well? And if they do this, will the children understand and be able to strike a balance?

As Frank writes: “Parents who teach their children that luck doesn’t matter may for that every reason be more than likely to raise successful children than parents who tell their children the truth. When the going gets tough, as it inevitably does along almost every career path, someone who’s keenly sensitive to luck’s importance may be more tempted just to sit back and see what happens.”

And no parent would want that to happen.


Bangalore Mirror Bureau | Jun 22, 2017
posted Jun 22, 2017 by Sidharth Appu

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The terms ‘stress’ and ‘studying’ are practically interlinked in our cultural mindscapes. That children and youth will undergo travails as they move through school and college is accepted by both parents and educators. Even as we rant that children are under too much pressure, or that education is a crazy rat-race, our kids continue to be caught in a trying and demanding net of cultural expectations.

Most of us know from experience that a certain amount of stress actually helps us perform better in tests and exams. While limited, short bursts of positive stress or eustress is conducive for learning, we have to ensure that children are not subjected to distress on a daily basis. By adopting various measures to address the multiple needs of students, schools and colleges may ensure that education is a positive, purposeful and pertinent experience for all.

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An Indian origian software developer who resides in Melbourne (Australia), has come back to the country to learn Sanskrit and according to his opinion, Sanskrit is non-translatable.

Chronicle News Service

Ajay Singh, a 32 year old software developer who hails from Samastpur, Bihar and now is a resident of Melbourne (Australia) for4 many years, is a regular student of Sanskrit and his love for Vedik language took him to Silchar learning class. What started a hobby has now become an obsession for Ajay and he is determined to continually improve his understanding of the language.

He is attending ten day Sanskrit class organised by Sanskrit Bharati under their nationwide campaign of popularising the language.

Talking to Eastern Chronicle at the premises of Pranabananda Vidya Mandir, Tarapur where the Sanskrit learning class is going on, he said "an idea tha t Sanskrit in non-translatable, changed my perception towards the rich Indian culture and my interest started growing as much as I got involved in learning Sanskrit. It all started fter I began reading a book 'Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism' written by Indian-American author Rajiv Malhotra, where I found various aspects of Indian culture and its richness. Malhotra identifies various non-translatables in Sanskrit that have been mapped into Abrahamic religious concepts. These miss-translations then are used to draw sameness arguments or to denounce Hinduism.

If I look at the Indian culture from a foreigner perspective, it will give a narrow picture because they just come for few days as travellers and see the present picture. I have not framed this myself, but got to know this by interacting with them.  But if you really want to know India, you need to go deep in to Sanskrit. This language has perfect grammatical structure framed by Saint Panini and as per Computational  linguistics it is the best language for computer, this is true because the grammatical structure of the language," he maintained. He praised Sanskrit Bharati for their continuous effort to popularising Sanskrit.  "This organisation is reaching out to the corners to make people aware about Sanskrit and people from all agesare coming forward to learn the language. It is a proud privilege to be a part of such a class and I am looking forward to attend more classes in future," he said.

Ajay is planning to start Sanskrit classes in Melbourne after he reaches back there and he believes that hundreds of children will come and join the classes. "We are not aware of the richness of Indian culture but the foreigners are now heading towards the  culture. Yoga is one such examples which represent the richness of Indian culture to global platform and Sanskrit is becoming equally popular. Hundreds of universities from across the globe, which includes countries like America, Australia, Germany and others are offering Sanskrit as regular subject and it is high time that Indians realize the value of the language," he added. 

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Source: Bangalore Mirror

Art therapists on how children can be made to visually express their experiences and feelings, and why it is vital

In the 2007 film Taare Zameen Par, eight-year-old Ishaan Nandkishore Awasthi is considered by many, including his parents and teachers, to be a difficult child who has trouble with his lessons and is a typical underperformer. Frequent comparisons to his older brother and being berated for his poor academic performance drive him to depression and despair, to the point where Ishaan even contemplates suicide. It is only when Ishaan’s art teacher, upon reviewing his art, determines that Ishaan’s failings are rooted in dyslexia that Ishaan finally receives the instruction he needs to realise his true potential –as a child and as an artist.

The movie marked the first time that the importance of art in a child’s growing years was acknowledged by mainstream media, a move that has been lauded by psychologists, educators and mental health professionals. Today, art has come a long way from its former perception as a leisurely extra-curricular pursuit for children, and is being recognised as a powerful tool to detect and heal emotional trauma and developmental disabilities in kids.

Anupriya Das Singh, a psychotherapist and counsellor specialising in child-parent relationships, explains, “Art therapy helps us to reach out to children faster as compared to other forms of therapy. Children are able to express themselves to a greater extent than their oral vocabulary permits – children are often not comfortable with being questioned, or may not understand or be able to articulate why they are engaging in specific behaviours. Art therapy gives children a safe space to come to terms with their emotions and open up without the fear of being judged for their expression.”

Counselling psychologist Kunjal Shah adds, “Children’s art contains several metaphors for the events and emotions that they encounter in their daily life. It is a much easier medium for them to express themselves, since they are not equipped with the language or abstract reasoning required to communicate their mental state.”

How does it work?

Art therapists encourage children to use art media and their own creative process to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, reduce anxiety and develop their social skills. The symbolic self-expression contained in drawings or paintings created by children are interpreted by the therapist and further discussed with the child. Singh says, “The child is offered art materials of various types and encouraged to explore them. Often, the therapist will combine storytelling with drawing, where the therapist will encourage the child to discuss what they have drawn. This could also be a collaborative process where the beginning of the story is given by the therapist, and the child is encouraged to add their inputs. The role of the therapist is neutral so that the story is led by the child. This helps the child to better narrate the incidents that stand out positively or negatively. For instance, if a child is being scolded or bullied, the child may create a story that has monsters.”

Art therapy can also be used to guide the child towards positive emotions or behaviours. Farzana Suri, a Mumbai-based victory coach, explains, “If a child is depressed and is primarily using the colour blue in their paintings because they find it soothing, I will encourage them to gradually introduce colours that they may not initially be comfortable with. This helps us to create subtle shifts in their mood.” Suri adds, “Agitated children may tend to use a lot of red or black in their art.”

Art also plays an important role in promoting mental and emotional growth in children with developmental disabilities such as autism. Muddita Guptha Thakurani, an expressive art therapist, says, “ By presenting an alternative to verbal communication, art therapy plays an important role in bringing down the stress levels, anger and frustration in these children. Autistic children also tend to struggle with social issues, such as interpreting tone of voice and
facial expression, and may feel uncomfortable relating to others. Working with a therapist can be more comfortable since the focus is directed on the child’s art, creating a powerful bond without the initial need for face-to-face interaction.”

Art and the family

Parents can also use art to better understand and respond to their young children. Suri recommends establishing a daily ritual where parents and children spend some time drawing their day. This, she believes, can serve as a starting point for important family conversations. She adds, “Children can be encouraged to create an art journal instead of a written diary. Not every child is kinaesthetic – this process helps children with a limited or developing vocabulary to effectively address their thoughts. Parents can also consider creating family journaling sessions where the entire family talks about how their day or week was.”

Thakurani believes art therapy can additionally enhance a child’s confidence, and vastly improve their academic performance.

Learn to decode

Children’s drawings can tell a powerful story about their physical and emotional state. Here’s how

Scars or knotholes in the trunk usually indicate some type of trauma that could possibly be sexual in nature.
Fruit in the trees or leafy limbs indicate a positive
emotional state.

A minimal number of windows, when combined with people who have large heads, no feet and geometrically-shaped bodies, can be a sign of abuse.
Thick dark clouds and a smoking chimney commonly indicative heavy emotional tension.
Sun indicates that the mother or a close female relative is a dominant figure in their home.

When children draw a side profile of themselves instead of facing forward, it could mean an emotional conflict.
Drawing exaggerated sexual organs could indicate
potential abuse.
Disproportionate legs and/or arms as well as missing feet tend to show up in abused children. Legs drawn pressed together could potentially indicate abuse.
A person drawn without hands is common in children, who are feeling out of control. Sometimes hidden hands indicate guilt or shame.