conversation – an invisible connection


Posted by appa | Posted in communication, listen | Posted on 19-08-2009

To listen, and not just hear with words or good body language, but with one’s heart and entire  being… is a skill I have a long way to to go learn! 🙂

But for me, a connection with my own self (through practice of daily silence) has definitely helped radically in connecting with others! A good conversation is usually animated and expressive, but at times even if it may look passive, is very active application of tremendous energy!

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children learning value of silence


Posted by appa | Posted in communication, listen | Posted on 28-07-2009

A video that was posted in this comment on an article on schooling

In our current age, where with our increased access to media – the limitless internet and so many international channels on TV, with good bad and misleading information. There is only a limit to how much supervision and interference adults can do. A child definitely needs – maybe now more than ever – to be in touch with as the video says – “internal compass”.

The Compass: Children learn Mediatation [English]

Total length of the movie is 11 minutes, but above video is a bit incomplete and only around 5 minutes. But the Hindi version is complete.



Posted by appa | Posted in communication, listen | Posted on 26-05-2009

“is it?”

Abhinav completely floored me yesterday with this acknowledgement of listening – I can’t imagine where he picked up the word or the usage, maybe while we are talking amongs’t ourselves… and today he’s using it more. In between pauses in a conversation, he says “houda?”

can television add value to an infant's education?


Posted by appa | Posted in habits, listen, parenting | Posted on 19-03-2009

Abhinav has learnt quite a few rhymes and vocabulary from watching videos, so I used to think the answer was yes, to a certain extent of course. But this article from Time magazine was quite surprising.

Television often helps as an alternative babysitter or maid, but there are claims that it can add value to education as well and making them smarter.

The claim always seemed too good to be true: park your infant in front of a video and, in no time, he or she will be talking and getting smarter than the neighbor’s kid. In the latest study on the effects of popular videos such as the “Baby Einstein” and “Brainy Baby” series, researchers find that these products may be doing more harm than good. And they may actually delay language development in toddlers.

Are they suggesting a balanced approach, of a little bit of TV? No! They recommend no to any television.

This growing evidence led the Academy to issue its recommendation in 1999 that no child under two years old watch any television.

The reason they give actually makes sense… (emphasis mine)

As far as Christakis and his colleagues can determine, the only thing that baby videos are doing is producing a generation of overstimulated kids. “There is an assumption that stimulation is good, so more is better,” he says. “But that’s not true; there is such a thing as overstimulation.” His group has found that the more television children watch, the shorter their attention spans later in life. “Their minds come to expect a high level of stimulation, and view that as normal,” says Christakis, “and by comparison, reality is boring.”

Pretty amazing similarity in Nipun’s striking post: Attention, please

So what’s the alternative?

The authors of the new study might suggest reading instead: children who got daily reading or storytelling time with their parents showed a slight increase in language skills.

Very simple idea but easy to forget…

“Every interaction with your child is meaningful,” says Christakis. “Time is precious in those early years, and the newborn is watching you, and learning from everything you do.” So just talk to them; they’re listening.

Well in any case here’s one of the Baby Einstein videos on the net… its pretty cool I think.

Another article has a counterviews and presents both perspectives, that reports that viewing within a certain threshold does help.

And studies suggest that parents’ talking and gesturing frequently to their babies early on have a significant impact on their children’s vocabulary and language competence by school age.

This is something we did, that sure seemed to have worked quite well with Abhinav.

TV exposure in babies younger than 2 doesn’t do any good, Schmidt and Christakis agree. But does that mean a few minutes in front of the tube will sentence a baby to remedial classes for the rest of his life? “What I tell parents is ‘Ask yourself why you’re having your baby watch TV,’ ” says Christakis. “If you absolutely need a break to take a shower or make dinner, then the risks are quite low. But if you are doing it because you think it’s actually good for your child’s brain, then you need to rethink that, because there is no evidence of benefit and certainly a risk of harm at high viewing levels.”

In any case I don’t know how to manage to avoid cartoons and stories and rhyms without TV/computers & youtube. One thing that works well is to instead of delegating babysitting to them, we often watch the video with him and explain what’s going on in Kannada, and find him quite responsive to this.

parent's inculcation of silence and listening adds real quality to bonding


Posted by appa | Posted in communication, listen, parenting | Posted on 19-03-2009

For some stint of indiscipline, I had almost discontinued practice of observing silence daily, for a few months. I felt that even though Abhinav was right there with me, I was still missing him. I was missing the depth of the bond that deepens with this practice. Once I got back on track, I’m able to clearly see a difference even in the way he reciprocates.

(Whenever he sees me sitting on the floor in meditation, he comes and sits on my lap very happily saying “appa hatra” (near Dad). I have to call my wife to take him away for a while, even though in my heart is only prayer for his highest welfare!)

True that any father feels paternal love due to the role or relationship or ‘blood is thicker than water’ factor. But there is a lot more depth in the purity and joy of the love one feels as a meditator. And the beauty is, that the same love and joy automatically gets extended to any child one comes across eg a friend’s kids or even a small boy who comes to clean the car windshield at a traffic signal! With my limited sense of commitment, atleast just during those moments that we’re together I truly wish them well. For them it may not matter I don’t know, but its a good thing anyway 🙂

how to teach silence?


Posted by appa | Posted in communication, listen | Posted on 18-12-2007

comment here

[Note: I’m not trying to explain what Suresh means, I’m just sharing some incidents in my life that seems to be a bit along similar lines]

Usually when I interact with an infant I see I have this tendency that I always want him to do something. I want him to smile when I make a face, I want to do something to make him laugh, try some activity like making some noise or shaking some rattle or doll and see what his reaction is. And if he smiles I want to do more of it, if he dosent want to try something else. But if he’s just sitting still, all by himself, if he seems disinterested, then a kind of restlessness comes up sooner or later – some impulsive action like let me pick up something, let me make him say something, let me try to put him on his tummy and see if he wants to crawl, let me give him some object to grasp, try to make him play…

Of course, interaction is good for the infants, it helps them to develop. However once in a way I am able to overcome this impulsive behaviour of mine, and and just be with him quietly.

If he is quiet its ok, or even if he does something, no encouragement or reaction from me. He is wide awake, he is playful – but I just smile at him. After a while, he too becomes very still and curious, he looks straight at me as if he’s studying me… We’re just sitting there mesmerized in each other’s presence… for a long time. Suddenly he makes some sound, or he laughs and then continues in silence for some more time. These are undescribably beautiful moments.

I dont know whether I taught him silence, but I imagine that I convey he needn’t feel compelled to have to do something all of the time 🙂