1st day: A Framework for Meaningful Interactions
Nitasha started with the most beautiful quote: “To love to learn is the most precious thing one can give to a child”. This is applicable not only for kids but also for adults. The key takeaways from the first session were that every challenge we face with our kids every day are only opportunities to make them conscious of their own thoughts, emotions, and environment.
As a parent, I had this great paradigm shift in parenting when I saw my daughter not only as a child in evolution but also a fellow soul-traveller.
In my parenting, at a point of time, there has been a great amount of guilt and blame for not being that perfect mom. However, the statement, “There are no failures but just feedback”, reminded me once again that it is alright to make mistakes as long as we learn from them. The beautiful part of this session was to take principles, “Nothing can be taught”, “The Mind should be consulted in its growth”, “Growth from near to far” and apply them in a very practical way to every situation in order to observe, connect, identify, co-create and integrate. I have practically applied this process with my daughter and it has worked wonderfully.
As a parent, we need to facilitate the discovery, nurture their curiosity by connecting through love and empathy and following the near to far principle.
Children are natural ‘Hero Worshippers’. By connecting them with their horoes, and through stories we can guide in their progress.
My daughter loves Hanuman stories, we take his example when she needs to do physical exercises. I am so grateful for Sri Aurobindo who provides such practical useful tools for parents and Educators.
2nd day: Parenting the Parent
For parenting, being a mindful, life-long learner, mentally agile and joyful, are keys. Somewhere I felt how we can achieve all these qualities? A great parent has to be a conscious being, to be at the centre, plastic and joyful. All this can only be achieved with a constant connection with the Divine and by offering everything to the Divine. Everything else is but a temporary fix.
The one thing that resonated in this session was making our kids recognise their emotions and thoughts and make them be aware of them. Having a deep conversation about a meltdown or conflicting event afterwards, and bringing their awareness into the causes of the breakdown, can help prepare them for future. It helps teaching them to witness themselves from a very young age and it assists in making their brain stronger as an instrument.
A few practical tips in learning to breathe with one’s hand on the chest helps them to stay calm in any crisis with this simple hand gesture. The neurons that fire together wire together.
Doing some physical exercise, for example, jumping jacks, can make kids calm in any meltdown. Making a story to their meltdown can help them better recognise their emotions and helps in the development of their brain.
3rd Day: Parenting with presence
Being a parent, showing up is the most important thing to do. For me, the one and only way to connect with our kids is through LOVE. Connections won’t happen without that. We have to show up with our kids with lot of Love and empathy.
In order to parent with presence, Daniel Siegel offers the ‘4 S’: Safe, Seen, Soothed and Secure.
Sometimes as parents, we may become the source of fear; we have to be conscious not to transmit that energy and purify that energy by offering it to Divine. For example, when my daughter was holding lizards, she was fearless but I had intrinsic fear of them, it was definitely hard for me to not show that emotion. Sometimes with my perspective of protection, I might underestimate her capabilities and become a roadblock for her progress. For example, my daughter was ready to ride her bike with two wheels, but it took a long time for fear to get over it and provide her opportunity.
We have to provide a safe environment, not just physically safe, but mental too, where they feel safe to express themselves. That can be only be achieved with constant love and compassion.
Seen is having that empathy to understand what they are going through. Soothed is through physical soothing for young kids, and also by recognising what calms and soothes them. With all these: Safe, Seen and soothed, automatically the child feels secure.
This can be achieved for parents who constantly self-reflect on these four aspects, if the kid is feeling safe, seen, soothed and secure. Writing a journal will help in this process. Even before reflecting for our kids, we have self-reflect if we ourselves feel safe, seen, soothed and secure. For me, the only way to fill our cup is to have a safe feeling that we are protected by Divine and if there are conflicts, it’s only a lesson for our progress. Filling our cup with Divine Love in any physical relationship will help, so we freely pour infinite Love onto our kids. So, the bigger question is: how do we fill our cup with Divine Love? The Divine is all-loving and always pouring out love. All we have to do is stay open to Divine Love. This process is not metaphysical, it’s very practical. When I’m connected to the Divine Love, my parenting with my daughter is very beautiful.
4th day: Shifting Parenting Paradigm
Instead of ‘Reward and punishment’, choose love and reason. I need to develop myself to love and reason rather than reward or punish. However, when I am in ‘survival mode’, the first thing that comes to me is reward.
Something that resonated in this session was that the Mind is a reflection of the Divine Consciousness when it is in silence. Some characteristics of the mind were defined. for example, the mind’s negative bias, ‘yes or no’ mindset, growth mindset, the deceptiveness of the mind. A question arises, why are we holding onto the mind? The mind cannot give us the truth. We have to rise higher to the intuitive mind to get a glimpse, but how do we the reach the intuitive mind and know this truth?
We have to calm our mind and purify the vital. Best way to calm our mind is to connect to the Divine. Remembering the Divine, japa of the the Divine name helps to silence the mind. Of course, for the purification of the vital, everything has to be offered to the Divine constantly.
Certain practices were mentioned, for example, journalling, gratitude, being conscious.… these all resonated with me. Something that has helped me in my everyday practice is that, “I’m just the physical mother, the real Mother is The Divine Mother.” Remembering the Mother and constantly offering to her everything has been very helpful in my parenting.
“Beautiful and so many practical tips”
“It allowed me to become aware and step back. And I have already noticed the difference.”
Enjoy most? “The connection, interest, regard and patience with which Nitasha interacted with the participants.”
“The practical nature of this adding value to my day-to-day life. The deep calibre of the facilitator who has expanded in her journey and is able to see the need of the different participants. Plenty of case- discussions. Non- judgmental atmosphere.”
“I unlearned, learned, revised, and thoroughly enjoyed the sessions.”
Practical take-homes? “Step back. Observe. Connect. Support.”