4/30/2018 0 Comments
The Gratitude Goggles
What does a dog do when you give it food? It wags its tail and says bow bow!
What does a Cat do when you give it milk? It comes and rubs against your legs and says meow.
When someone helps you when you are in need, the feeling that gets generated in our heart is called Gratitude.
There is a quote which goes, "If you are grateful, more good things will flow to you. On the other hand, if one complains or grumbles whatever little joy, peace and love one has come into this world with will be lost."
Research suggests that if you are more grateful your health and happiness improves.
I noticed that my daughter, Aditi kept complaining every now and then. To make her understand how to be grateful, I came up with a story 'Gratitude goggles' which I told her.
One day, Priti's mother took her to the village fair.
At the fair, Priti started complaining, "I don't like this place. It's so noisy. I can't see any good toys to buy too." After sometime, Priti saw a pair of glittery green goggles at a tiny stall. She asked the old lady at the stall if she could try them on. On being permitted, Priti wore them and noticed some positive energy in her. The same things which she had seen earlier started looking more beautiful. She said, "I am so happy, I am so excited, this is such a wonderful place. I can see people enjoying and giggling on the giant wheel." Now the same noise seemed music to her ears. Pointing out to a stall she said, "Those clay dolls look so beautiful. I would like to play with them. Thanks mom for bringing me here." Priti was surprised about what was happening to her. The old lady smiled. "Beti, these are magical gratitude goggles. When you wear them, you will see the good things in the same situation. These goggles are not for sale, but let me share a secret. All of us are already gifted with gratitude goggles. But we choose to wear a complaining cap instead and focus on what we don't have. We just need to start using the gratitude goggles by seeing what is good. Every day, think of three good things that happened to you that day. You will be happier, and you will make those around you happy." Priti couldn't believe that the key to happiness was so simple. Every night, before going to sleep, she would think, "What are the three good things that happened today?" and by following this attitude Priti really lived happily ever after.
I would like to share how Aditi applied this story in her life. One day while coming back from school, Aditi started grumbling, "Mamma, from 4th to 9th of Oct as we are having exams we will be left early. On 10th of Oct on my birthday, we start with our regular classes and we will be left at 1.40 pm." Normally, I would have given her a sermon, but now I had a brahmastra, a powerful tool with me which I used "Aditi please put your gratitude goggles." is all what I had to say. It worked wonders for me. She said, "OK, I should be happy that exams get over before my birthday. I can enjoy that day and don't need to study. My teachers and classmates will wish and sing for me that day as we will have regular classes. So, it’s good that on 10th we have normal school timings." Aditi has learnt to use her gratitude goggles. I hope all of you are using yours too.
3/3/2018 0 Comments
Parenting with C-A-R-E
Parenting with C-A-R-E by Dr. Jyoti Hegde
My speech when I was invited as the chief guest for the annual gathering of the pre-primary section of Fatima school, Margao, Goa
Instead of giving a long list of dos and don’ts about parenting, let me share four simple parenting tips in form of an easy to remember acronym C-A-R-E, CARE.
The 1st letter of CARE is C. C stands for Carefully listen
Let me share with you an incident. We run a yearlong personality development class for kids named CHAMPS. After one class, all the students left except one girl, Siya. I got a call from Siya's mom saying that she has been caught up in some urgent work and it will take an hour to reach. So she requested me to keep Siya with us till then. Siya started chatting with me about her likes, dislikes and her hobbies. As I was chatting with her I removed my cell phone to check work related WhatsApp messages and there were plenty of them to read and reply. I thought I was listening to her at the same time I was working. But Siya's sudden question surprised me. With an innocent smile on her face she asked, "Can you please put off the phone, look at me and listen?" That day I realised that just like adults, kids too need our undivided attention. Giving children our undivided attention shows them they are valuable.
Action for parents - Have a daily time slot of 15 minutes where you carefully listen to what they have to say without any distractions like WhatsApp/Facebook/work etc.
The 2nd letter of CARE is A. A stands for Appreciate genuinely
When my elder daughter Aditi was in LKG, I used to work a lot on her improvement areas. I used to keep correcting her all the time. After sometime, she started looking sad. One day she asked me, "Mamma, am I a big gaddo (zero)? Am I good for nothing?" I was shocked. I had never realised what my continuous correction was doing to her. I decided to start appreciating her. I started appreciating her for the small-small good things she did. I noticed that she did those same things better than before. She looked happy now. It also helped me stay in a cool state of mind.
Action for parents - Appreciate your child genuinely for all the small-small good things that they do.
The 3rd letter of CARE is R. R stands for Recognise Strengths
Few years back, I noticed that Aditi was good at drawing. I started sending her drawings to different magazines. She started receiving prizes and appreciation from all which increased her confidence.
At our Champs classes too, we have noticed that each and every child is good at something. One boy Denzil is not good at writing and drawing but was very good at playing chess and solving puzzles. Another girl Pooja is shy of speaking in English but is very good at drawing and colouring. Some are good at writing, some at speaking, drama, singing and so on.
Action for parents - Observe your kids carefully and recognise their strengths. Involve them in activities where they can use their strengths and become better.
The 4th letter of CARE is E. E stands for Encourage independence.
When my younger daughter Reya was 3yrs old, she would keep calling out to me every now and then. "Mamma, open the tap." "Mamma give me my toothbrush" as she was too short to reach these things by herself. The next time we visited our local supermarket I asked them if they had a small stool and took it home and gave it to Reya. She was very excited and started using it to do small-small tasks. It made my job easy and at the same time it empowered Reya to do small-small daily tasks on her own.
Action for parents - Encourage your child to do small-small daily tasks independently.
Let’s recall what the acronym CARE stands for
C - Carefully listen,
A - Appreciate genuinely
R - Recognise strengths,
E - Encourage independence
I wish all of you happy parenting using the CARE method!
8/13/2017 1 Comment
The Emotions Express!
The Emotions Express!
Speech given by Dr. Jyoti Hegde on 13th August 2017 at Ana Fonte Toastmasters Club at Margao, Goa.
If you are happy and you know it, clap your hands. If you are happy and you know it, clap your hands. We learnt this song as toddlers. Recently, I came across another version of it, If you are happy and you know it shout it out. If you are angry and you know it stomp your feet... and so on. Expressing emotions through actions is great for toddlers but as they grow its important to build their emotional vocabulary - the words used to express one's feelings. This helps them label their emotions more accurately. It also helps them to express their emotions through words instead of expressing through negative body language or actions. Recently I came up with a story to help kids to label their feelings. Let me share with you the story - The Emotions Express.
One day Tina was playing in a garden. Suddenly, a piece of magical melodious music fell on her ears. Curious, she moved in the direction of the music. The music was coming from a colourful train. The train was named "The Emotions Express." It had four coaches each having its own colour and name - Glad, Sad, Mad and Scared. Tina was drawn to the green coach named Glad since the music came from it. She opened the door, and saw a mind-blowing sight. Characters with name tags were dancing hand in hand. One of them welcomed Tina and said, "Hi, I am the word Happy. Please join us in our celebration." Tina felt happy to meet Happy, as he looked happy. Happy then introduced his siblings and said, "Most kids are not familiar with Enthusiastic, Excited, Confident, and so they don’t use these words much. However, I am the most used word." Happy explained to Tina what each word meant. Tina found these words to be full of positive energy. She wanted to spend more time with them but she was also curious to know what was there in the other coaches.
Next, she went to the blue coach named Sad. On opening the door she saw characters sitting silently in a corner with sad faces. Tina introduced herself, "Hi, I'm Tina. What are your names? Why do you look so sad?" "Hi, I am the word, Sad," said one of the characters. "When Kids feel sad, they do not use the word Sad. Instead, they usually express this emotion by crying. Meet my siblings, Disappointed, Embarrassed, and Hurt." Tina learnt the meaning of each word and realized that every time she was feeling down, Sad was not the right word for it. She said, "When I don't get what I want, I can say I am disappointed. If someone treats me unfairly I can say I am feeling hurt. If I trip and fall on the stage I can say I am feeling embarrassed."
She then ran towards the red coach named Mad. She could hear heated arguments. When Tina opened the door, a name tag came flying out! She dodged and just missed it. "I am the word Angry", said a heated voice. "We are fighting as there was a competition among all the words used by kids to express their feelings and we got the lowest score. When Kids feel angry, they do not say I am angry. They express their feeling by harming themselves, others or damaging things. My siblings too have become aliens to kids. They are Frustrated, Jealous, and Irritated." Tina realised that she too was one of those kids who would express these emotions by breaking objects or hitting others. She remembered, "I felt jealous when the teacher selected Meena for the main role in the school play. I feel irritated when my sister disturbs me when I'm studying." She promised herself that the next time she would express these feelings through words.
Finally she entered the yellow coach marked Scared. Scared came and introduced his siblings quickly to Tina in a shivery voice, "I am the word Scared. This is Nervous, Worried and Threatened." Saying this Scared ran inside. Tina realised she felt nervous when she was asked to speak on stage, felt worried when her parents would not reach home on time. She felt threatened when some of her classmates started bullying her.
Just then someone poured water on Tina's face. She opened her eyes and realised that she had been woken up from a beautiful dream by her younger sister, Ela. Her first instinct was to hit Ela, but she remembered her promise and said, "Ela, I am feeling frustrated because you woke me from my beautiful dream of The Emotions Express." Tina had started expressing her emotions through words.
Research says labelling our emotions and expressing them through words makes our sadness, anger and fear less intense and we are able to deal with it in a better way. So If you are angry and you know it you can stomp your feet but also say "I am feeling angry!" It will help you to calm down faster. However, if you are happy with my speech, you can clap your hands...
7/20/2017 0 Comments
The Emotions Express!
The Emotions Express! by Dr. Jyoti Hegde
Parents and teachers can use this short story to encourage children to express their emotions through words.
Tina was playing in a garden. Suddenly, a piece of melodious music fell on her ears. Curious, she moved in the direction of the music and realized that the music was coming from a colourful train. The train was named "The Emotions Express." It had four bogies with different colours having names - Glad, Sad, Mad and Scared.
She was attracted to the green bogie named Glad since the music was being played in it. She opened the door, and saw a mind-blowing sight. Characters with name plates of different words were dancing hand in hand. One of the characters welcomed Tina saying, "Hi, I am the word Happy. Please join us in our celebration." Tina felt happy to meet Happy, as he looked happy. He then introduced his siblings and said, "Most kids are not familiar with Enthusiastic, Accepted, Proud, Excited, Courageous, Loved, Confident, and so they don’t use these words much. I am the most used word." Happy explained to Tina what each word meant and Tina said, "I promise to use these words while speaking, when I experience these emotions." Tina found these words to be full of positive energy. She wanted to spend more time with them but she was also curious to know what was there in the other bogies.
Next, she went to the blue bogie named Sad. On opening the door she saw characters with name plates sitting silently with sad faces in a corner. Tina introduced herself, "Hi, I'm Tina. What are your names? Why do you look so sad?" "Hi, I am the word, Sad," said one of the characters. "When Kids feel sad, they never use the word Sad. They usually express this emotion by crying. Meet my siblings, Disappointed, Embarrassed, Lonely, Guilty, and Hurt." Tina learnt the meaning of each word and remembered that every time she was feeling down, Sad was not the right word for it. She was now clear that when she didn't get what she wanted, she had to express it as "disappointed."
She then ran towards the red bogie named Mad. She could hear heated arguments. When Tina opened the door, a name plate came flying out! She dodged quickly and managed to avoid getting hit hard on the head. "I am the word Angry", said a heated voice. "We are fighting as there was a competition among all the words used by kids to express their feelings and we got the least score. When Kids feel angry, they never use the word Angry. They usually express their feeling by harming self, others or things. My siblings too have become aliens to kids. They are Frustrated, Jealous, Irritated, Bitter and Offended." Tina realised she too was one of those kids who was not aware of Angry, and his siblings. She would express these emotions by breaking objects or hitting others. She promised herself that the next time instead of expressing these feelings through body language; she would express them through words.
Last she entered the yellow bogie marked Scared. Scared came and introduced his siblings quickly to Tina in a shivery voice, "Hi, I am the word Scared. Meet Nervous, Anxious, Worried, Tensed and Threatened." Saying this Scared ran inside.
Just then someone poured water on Tina's face. She opened her eyes to know that she was woken up from a beautiful dream by her younger sister, Ela. Her first instinct was to hit Ela, but she remembered her promise and groaned, "Ela, I am feeling Frustrated because you woke me from my beautiful dream of The Emotions Express." Tina had learnt to express her emotions through words.
7/18/2017 0 Comments
Double Role! by Dr. Jyoti Hegde
Parents and teachers can use this short story to encourage children to concentrate while studying.
"Neha, how many times I have told you not to repeat the same mistakes", yelled Neha's mom, Anjali in a frustrated tone. Anjali was feeling drained correcting the repeated spelling mistakes made by Neha every day. "Neha, it's OK to make mistakes for the first time. No one is perfect. But, when I point out your mistakes to you, I expect you to note where you have gone wrong, correct it, remember the right thing to do and not to repeat the blunders the next time," shouted Anjali.
Anjali had tried different methods - from explaining to her in a nice manner, making her write the same word ten times, teaching through phonics and finally through shouting. But nothing seemed to work as Neha would not concentrate while studying.
Anjali wanted Neha to experience what a teacher goes through when a student is uncooperative. So, Anjali came up with an idea. The next day, Anjali sat down with Neha to take her studies. Anjali wrote a few questions to prepare Neha for the next day's test at school and told Neha to answer them. Neha repeated the same spelling mistakes in her answers. Anjali handed out a red pen to Neha and said, "Neha, now correct what you have written by referring to your school note book." Neha enthusiastically circled all the spelling mistakes in red and then handed over the book to Anjali. Anjali returned it back to Neha and told her, "For one week you have to play a double role - the role of a student as well as of a teacher. You have corrected your work. Now you have to decide whether the student in you wants to ignore the mistakes pointed out or work on them. The choice is yours."
Neha always scored good marks in class and would enjoy the attention she got. But she was aware that the good marks were a result of her mom's constant efforts in forcing her to study. She knew that her mom would sit with her and ensure she completes her studies. This made Neha always feel relaxed before exams. But now, Neha was made responsible for her studies. Neha liked the experience of playing the role of the teacher. But the next part of working on her mistakes was not going to be easy for her. But what choice was she left with? Neha pondered, "If the student in me chooses not to work on my mistakes, then the teacher in me will not be satisfied with my work." So she chose to please both the teacher and the student in her by focussing on her mistakes while studying and remembering not to repeat them. Neha had played the double role well.
7/16/2017 0 Comments
Checkmate your Goals!
Checkmate your Goals! by Dr. Jyoti Hegde
Parents and teachers can use this short story to teach children the importance of planning in achieving goals.
Amol loved playing chess. He attended his chess coaching classes regularly and participated in all the chess tournaments. His parents had always encouraged him to play chess since the age of six. They had heard that playing chess sharpens the brain. But little did they know that there's more to it.
One rainy day, Amol's uncle Ravi visited him. As the rain pitter-pattered on the roof top, he noticed Amol sitting in the balcony with his friend, engrossed in the game of chess. Amol's friend left in a while. Uncle Ravi challenged Amol, "Amol, can I play one game of chess with you?" He immediately noticed a spark in Amol's eyes. Amol responded enthusiastically, "Sure uncle, let's play." Both tried to protect their king and attack as many rival pieces as possible.
As the game proceeded, Uncle Ravi quizzed Amol, "Amol, tell me the objectives of this game."
Amol quickly explained, "Uncle, to win you have to use each chess piece wisely to checkmate your opponents king. At the same time you have to protect your king. For this, you need to plan your each move carefully." Uncle Ravi was impressed. He grilled further, "What if the opponent makes an unexpected move?” Amol smiled and answered, "The opponent can always make an unexpected move anytime. You have to be flexible enough to make a change in your plan."
Uncle Ravi was convinced now that he could convey his message to Amol. He asked, "Amol, have you realised that achieving goals is like a game of chess?" Amol was puzzled. He had never thought about it. Uncle Ravi explained, "In chess you plan your moves carefully. Similarly, you need to make a proper plan to achieve your goals. Look at each of your chess pieces. They are just like your strengths. Each chess piece has a unique ability and can be used for a specific purpose. Similarly, you need to use each of your strengths in the right manner to overcome obstacles while moving towards your goals." Amol was stunned as till now he had seen the chess pieces only as objects used for playing the game. Uncle Ravi continued, "In chess we have to be prepared for any unexpected moves made by the opponent. Similarly, while achieving goals you may come across unexpected situations which you may not have thought of while planning. You need to be flexible and change your plans accordingly to Checkmate your goals!" Amol set a goal of winning the upcoming school chess tournament and started planning how to achieve it.
7/10/2017 0 Comments
Nurture the Inner Seeds
Nurture the Inner Seeds by Dr. Jyoti Hegde
Parents and teachers can use this short story to encourage children to work on practising their talents.
Neha was given a new class assignment. On reaching home she handed over some Moong seeds to her mom and said, "Mom, look at what the teacher gave us today. She has told us to sow them, keep them in sunlight and water them daily. We have to show the plants to her after a week." Her mom replied, "Neha since it is your assignment, it is your responsibility. I will guide you if you need any help. Neha agreed and sowed the Moong seeds in a pot and watered it. Next day, Neha forgot about the seeds.
After a week, her teacher reminded them to get their assignment to school the next day. Neha panicked for a moment, but then remembered sowing the seeds and was sure that they would have grown into plants. On reaching home, Neha went to check on the seeds. But she was shocked to see that there were no plants in the pot. She screamed, "Oh Mamma, see this! The seeds which I had planted have not grown. I must tell the teacher that the seeds were defective." Her mom asked her, "Neha, why don't you check with your classmates if their seeds too didn’t grow?" So Neha visited her friend Poonam's house in her neighbourhood to check her seeds. Poonam's seeds had grown into plants. Poonam explained to her that she had watered them daily and now they had grown into beautiful little plants. Neha realised that she had forgotten the teacher’s instructions to water the seeds daily. She returned home and told her mom, "Mom, we forgot to water the plants." Her mom smiled. She said, "Neha, I did remember, but I wanted you to learn to take responsibility for your own assignment. So what have you understood from this incident, dear?" Neha replied, "That I should take responsibility for my assignment. I also learnt that for seeds to grow into plants we need to water them daily." Her mom replied, "Yes, you are right Neha. Seeds have the potential to grow into plants, but only those which are watered daily, grow into plants. Similarly my dear child, you have the potential to excel at dancing and drawing but if you don't work on your talents regularly, they will not grow just like these seeds."
Neha could not submit her assignment the next day but learnt a valuable lesson about taking responsibility for one's assignments and the importance of nurturing one's talents. She started practising dance and drawing regularly to nurture her inner seeds of talent. She also re-planted some Moong seeds and watered them daily and this time they grew into beautiful plants.
Teaching Kids Life Skills through Stories by Dr. Jyoti Hegde
Do this, don't do that and the chorus never ends... Many of us have grown up listening to this. Isn't it irritating to be continuously corrected and advised on what is to be done? On the other hand, most of us have fond memories of listening to stories in our childhood. As most of us prefer stories to lectures why not use stories to teach kids? We have heard many stories that teach us messages on moral values, like the goose that laid the golden egg that teaches us not to be greedy. However, I haven’t come across stories that can help my kids deal with the day to day challenges they come across. I decided to come up with stories for kids on these topics.
Let me share a real life incident. My 3 year daughter Reya used to not talk to people other than her family. I tried explaining to her how important it was to open up. But to no avail. My parents, Amey, Amey's parents all tried to explain why she needed to be outgoing, but Reya just smiled and did not change. Then one day I thought of telling her the same in form of a story. The story seemed to make an impression on her. This is the story... A Tale of a Tongue
Once there lived a girl named Tina. She was knowledgeable but shy. She felt comfortable to speak to only her family members and one or two friends at school. When her parents would introduce her to anyone, or even if she met someone she knew, she would neither greet that person nor speak anything. Tina's parents kept encouraging her to speak to others but she never listened. In school too, Tina would not respond to questions asked by her teacher, despite knowing the answers. Her tongue was very upset with her as she was not making good use of it.
One day, Tina had gone for a school picnic. While playing, she got lost in the forest. In the forest, she came across several people but she didn’t feel comfortable asking them for help, as she had never spoken to people other than her family before. She tried to search her way out but only got deeper into the forest. Tired, she fell asleep under a tree. When she woke up, she saw her parents and teachers who had managed to find her with the help of some locals. Out of joy, she wanted to scream "mamma" but no words came out from her mouth despite her best efforts. Her parents and teachers got worried and immediately took her to the doctor. The doctor asked her to show her tongue. But when she opened her mouth, lo and behold, Tina’s tongue was missing! Tina was very sad and started weeping silently.
Next day, Tina’s tongue came and sat on her windowsill and said hello. Tina was surprised to see this sight. Through gestures, she asked her tongue the reason for leaving her. Her tongue replied “Tina, you were blessed with a tongue but you didn’t make proper use of it. You didn’t speak to anyone other than your family. You didn’t answer questions in class. You didn’t use me even in your hour of need. So I thought I can be of use to some unfortunate child, who doesn’t have a tongue but would love to speak.” Tina realised her mistake. She promised her tongue that she would change. Her tongue agreed to forgive Tina and returned back to her mouth.
From that day onwards, Tina started greeting known people, making new friends and answering questions in class. Tina and her tongue lived happily ever after.
Reya liked the story. She identified with Tina and found that Tina's situation was similar to what she was facing. The visual image of the tongue talking to Tina made it more impactful than listening to a boring lecture. Having characters and dialogues made it interesting for Reya and she didn't switch off. Over the next few days, I continued telling her more such stories. Slowly after a few weeks, Reya started to open up. Since I found that telling stories works well while teaching kids good habits and life skills, I came up with a few more stories. In one of my stories, 'DARE to Answer!' a girl Siya shares a technique of how to answer questions in class with her shy friend Riya. This story can be used by parents to encourage kids to answer questions in class. In 'Battery Down!', Rahul's body asks him to charge it regularly by eating healthy food on time. This can be used by parents to encourage kids to eat breakfast in the morning. In 'The Third Option', Karan's Grandpa shows him three pictures to make him understand the importance of self motivation.
Instead of giving kids boring lectures and repeatedly saying do this, don't do this I found that it is more relaxing and enjoyable for both the parent and the child if the message is conveyed through stories. So, the next time you want to share some important message with your kid, try weaving a story around it and see the difference!
Strengths Based Parenting
Guest blog post by Corporate Trainer Amey Hegde
Recently, I came across a book "Strengths Based Parenting—Developing Your Child’s Innate Talents" by Dr. Mary Reckmeyer, Executive Director of Gallup’s Donald O. Clifton Child Development Center. According to this book, parents should focus on discovering and developing their children's talents and strengths instead of trying to fix their weaknesses. Reckmeyer says that while the effort spent in fixing weaknesses can only lead to marginal improvement, the same effort spent on an area of talent can make your child excel in that area.
To start out on this journey, here are some ways in which parents can identify their children's strengths:
i) Strengths spotting: This can be useful for kids under 10 years who are too young for online tests. In strengths spotting, parents observe and pay attention to areas where kids learn more quickly and gain satisfaction, and encourage them in those areas. Some examples of inborn talents are painting, writing or sporting ability. If you notice your child is interested in and good at art, you could enrol her in an art class and provide her good quality colours at home. You could then have a mini exhibition of her artwork at home to encourage her talent. On the other hand personality strengths can be strengths of character like kindness, self-control, persistence. To identify personality strengths, parents can try to figure out the strengths which are the reasons behind their child's various actions. For example a child's kindness could be the reason why he shares with his friends, another child's self-control might be why she is able to finish homework instead of watch TV, and another child's persistence could be the reason he is able to keep practising while learning a new sport.
ii) VIA Youth Survey: Kids aged 10-17 could take the VIA Youth Survey, a free online self-assessment tool that helps young individuals discover their personality strengths. On completing the assessment, one receives a free Character Strengths Profile, a ordered list of one’s strengths. One can also purchase the VIA Youth Decoder Report which provides detailed descriptions, activities and tips for the child's top strengths. This report can help the kid to recognize and exert his strengths in different ways. The VIA survey is available at http://www.viacharacter.org.
iii) Gallup StrengthsExplorer: Kids aged 10 to 14 could take the StrengthsExplorer, Gallup's online assessment for students that allows one to recognize one’s three strongest emerging talents. The assessment offers strategies and action items to help students and their parents leverage strengths in the classroom and in life. Visit http://www.strengthsbasedparenting.com
Wishing all parents a happy Strengths Based Parenting experience!
Amey Hegde is a Corporate Trainer & Motivational Speaker based in Margao, Goa. http://ameyhegde.in
7/6/2017 0 Comments
Three Cheers for NEAR!
Three Cheers for NEAR! by Dr. Jyoti Hegde
Parents and teachers can use this short story to encourage children to start conversations with peers.
"Speak something, just don't smile." Tara was used to hearing this dialogue from her mom every time she was introduced to someone of her age. Poor Tara wished she could speak confidently and make friends easily. But she didn’t know what to speak!
One day after yet another scolding from her mom, she was sitting alone in the balcony. Her father approached her and asked her, "What happened Tara? Why are you so sad?" Tara burst into tears and replied, "Oh, Daddy! I know it is important to socialise and speak to new people since we make new friends, get to know other's ideas and learn new things. But my problem is I don't know how to start a conversation."
Tara's dad consoled her, "Dear, I will share with you a NEAR method which will help you to start a conversation when you meet someone for the first time." Tara breathed a sigh of relief. Her dad explained, "You can start asking any of these questions when you meet a person with whom you want to start a conversation. You can ask the person's Name and Education - which standard and school they are studying. You can ask about All their favourite things like food, sport, cartoon character, TV show. You can also ask about their Residence -where they stay. You will surely find some common interest which will take your conversation forward. But Tara, don't just keep asking questions as it will make it sound like a police interrogation. Share some of your details too before you ask information to make the other person feel comfortable." Tara was overjoyed. The NEAR method offered her a ray of hope to make new friends. Next day at the park, Tara's mom was surprised to hear Tara speak confidently to the girl sitting on the other side of the see-saw, "Hi, I am Tara. What is your name?"
Now, she not only speaks confidently with new kids but also encourages others to use NEAR to converse without fear!
Dr. Jyoti Hegde is a Corporate soft skills trainer and a life skills trainer for kids based in Goa, India. Her passion is to conduct sessions for kids on the values, habits, and life skills needed for health, happiness and success.