Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Diwali and Creativity with Rangoli

Wishing all who pass this way, " A Happy Diwali and Prosperous New Year."

Diwali brings in bright hopes and joy for a new year full of peace and happiness. More, Diwali brings in creativity and as I talked of creativity in my earlier note, I guess we don't need to define creativity nor do we need to teach creativity. Creativity comes naturally, from within. And here's an example of Chandra Ba, my mom in law, who is 70+ and very active. She presents great art in various forms - one of which is Rangoli, a tradition in every Indian home.

You can find her Rangoli in color and Patchwork paper and Pistachio covers. All from waste to best themes.

I think, as Authors, we can only preach sometimes but when it comes to creativity, it is our own desire to be creative for which, one even needs a sound health, peaceful atmosphere and an active mind to think, act.

- ilaxi patel

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Unleash Creativity

Khalil Gibran had a vision of mankind as a source of inspiration to many souls. Talking about Children, he said:

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

Life's understanding usually comes with a strife and experience. Khalil Gibran almost speak the words of wisdom on parenting - to responsibly carry on the delicate task of nurturing children and giving wings to their talent.

I was just going through the pages of 'Roots and Wings' by Raksha Bharadia and the book is an amazing Handbook for Parents. She has elaborate ways on nurturing creativity in children. Some of the topics covered are:

1. Creating environment - Issue of exposure
2. Nurturing creativity through arts
3. Fostering creativity through reading
4. Nurturing creativity through creative writing
5. Using music to enhance creativity
Making creativity a part of every day life

Raksha pens, "There is no clear definition of creativity. It is referred to in terms of imagination, divergent thinking, fantasy, intution, curiosity, problem solving, and in terms of different combinations of these factors. Creativity is the ability to see beyond what exists, and to combine thoughts and experience into new ideas. We may not be able to define but can recognise it when we come face to face with it in our own selves on in others around us." Raksha Bharadia has numerous points to motivate and encourage Creativity as she gives various anecdotes and interviewed pieces of Aparna Sen, A R Rehman, Javed Akhtar, Sanjeev Kapoor and so on. They all speak their experiences on way to success as they flowered to bloom free with creative pursuits. The book is based on the Author's experiences, extensive research work and Interviews. To read further on Creativity and other chapters on parenting, you need to grab a copy of the newest book in the parenting category here. Raksha Bharadia is also the Author of 'Me' and co-author to Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul.

Well, here's a brief Excerpt-Unleash Creativity from Guardian of Angels article in the Chapter 'Childhood Development' :

Checklist for Creativity

Creative people generally show a spirit of Intellectual entertainment. Listening to music, drinking coffee, watching television, Painting, Dancing, Surfing or chatting can also plunge into creative ideas and come up with numerous practical devices for stimulating and capturing new ideas. Check list a bunch of verbs like magnify, substitute, combine, expose, reverse, soar and so on. Apply these verbs at the time of difficulties faced as you splash the creative outputs.

Make efforts to document your ideas. Jot down the ideas or in the shuffle of day-to-day activities, you lose track of them. Be prepared to note down, keeping handy a piece of paper, pencil or open up a folder in you computer and feed in the ideas.

Day dream your ideas. It has tremendous powers to make dreams turn true or at least, grab those moments of joy to fulfill the creative pursuits.

Ponder over the creative skills. Get inspired from people, places, things or happenings – just about anything and the inspirations work wonders, flowering to bloom fragrance of your creativity spreading happiness within and around you.

Children need to be spoon-fed creativity and raise IQ. It's within reach for everyone with no exceptions. To unleash the power of potentialities in self, one need to apply strategies that need to be mastered and shoot up the Idea Bank, storing all ideas that pop up in mind. Like a proverb, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Prov 22:6). In fact, the process of turning knowledge into value, is Creativity and in a faster pace to technology which is a complexity, creativity is simplicity. In the process, children grow to be more responsible and emotionally stable. It is required that parents and teachers too, need to nurture skills to set an example and for this, it requires a great deal of devotion, dedication, discipline and exposure too.

Btw, here's the Quotes and Real Stuff page to help you find valuable quotes. Enjoy!

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for Kids

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Freedom for Bully

Watch Video on Bullying in Kidsfreesouls You tube
18-24 October is 'Freedom for Bullies week' as observed with the sole intention to free the trauma of being bullied. At Kidscape, Anti Bullying week is in November.

Bullying has just become of the most underrated but enduring problems today. Kids & Teenagers use the mobiles and the net and because there's the whole world of fun using these gadgets, it's time to stop the Bully Panic. As per the Survey by Daniel Peterson, an associate professor at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago, being bullied can challenge the survival of new nerve cells in the brain and may even lead to depression. Stress kills young nerve cells and this may scar children's brain for life.

With Change with the Change, technology has set in the pace with a massive impact in lives of the younger generation. Social networking and blogging is on a rise. Mobile Phone bullying and children are exposed to adult content on the web if not monitored properly. Parents play a crucial part in protecting children from these dangers, but too often it is children, not their parents, who are in the driving seat when it comes to the use of new technology.

A survey says, 1% of parents think, their children are blogging, 33% children use blogs and 67% parents do not know what a blog is! 13% of 11 years old are never supervised online and 11% of 11 years say, their parents are not aware about their online communications. Many parents can't check the surfing History nor do they exactly know what their children do on the Internet.
This survey results are derived from web searches which is alarming. The dangers of the web lurk as to the three main exposures:

1. Content
2. Contact
3. Buying

As parents fail to provide advice and support, children lurk into realms of the web - unknown and unaware of the consequences sometimes. Leaving the two exposures aside, Contact is one main hurdle in Bullying. Children who visit the chat rooms, emails or text messaging need to moderate their activities and be safe from lurking dangers on web with individuals who want to meet in real life.

Kind of bullying:

1. Physical - beating, punching, threats
2. verbal - calling names, spreading rumour, sarcasm
3. Gestures - teasing, making faces
4. Sexual - unwanted behavior and contacts
5. Cyber bullying - At chats, IMs, mobile text messaging, emailing

Signs of possible Bullying in schools can be:

1. Withdrawal syndrome
2. Coming home with torn books, clothes, bruises
3. fear, restlessness, depression, aggressive attitude
4. Loss of confidence, stammering, self harm, eating disorder
5. Change in routine with loss of interest, mood swings

Ban the Bully:

In the Classroom, at the playground, On way to Home, On the web, In the Neighborhoods - Bullying can be anywhere. All one need to do is :Ban the Bully. Spot the signs. Encourage the child to Speak out. Let not Bully bother, opt for smart ways to avoid. Make the child confident, use tact and be un-perturbed. Know your child's friends and what they do online.

Well, here's an article on Bullying from my book and I hope the tips may help somewhere. Mobile bullying is on a rise as well as the text bullying. You may as well surf the NCH site for more details on this and for Mobile Manners, my earlier note says all.

Here are some sites that may help:
Download Text Bully Poster - More on Bully, Hurt, Ignored.

Btw, did you miss the link to October Project? Here's the link.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day : I am In - Eliminate Poverty

Last year, I posted a Blog on Blog Action Day with the initiatives taken to save Environment. This year, today is the Blog Action Day with 'Poverty Eradication' as it's theme and Kidsfreesouls participate to support the cause.

Sometimes, we feel, 'How do I help to eliminate poverty?' A post of John Larry Limbo on Blog Catalog said, 'Poverty is a root to War' with concerns : I am really wondering if this great crisis now of the world can result into a war. In which it can lead the earth to its total destruction.
A simple concerned question but imagine the impact! As the Discussion goes on here, I wonder, Is this a beginning of another Armageddon? Poverty is a Root of War or is the root of War, Poverty? Whatever, the debate goes on. You can ponder on this and send your views too or post in comments.

I was just reading the article of Gretchen Rubin, "How to make yourself Happiner during Economic Crisis", it really do give us an insight on how to face the crisis. Bolstering your own sense of calm and security will free you to think about other people. And, in these hard times, it is the need of the hour to keep a cool. As she says, "the problem with subprime mortgages and the financial crisis won't push them into true poverty, but it will make them feel much poorer." The result would be frustrations, anger and like John says, 'Poverty could be a root to war' and the root of war - war within soul search, war with values, war with humans - Is the Nostradamus predictions surfacing up?

Well, here's 30 simples ways to battle Poverty with Technology. You can find more such Participated blogs on Blog Action Day site.

There is something always in an Individual who can Contribute. Maybe, Money, time, friendship, social cause, donate blood - Sponser a Child! One can opt in for Cry or World Vision. With the programs by Cry, 497,343 children were impacted through their programmes in 5250 villages/ slums. We can educate children, care for the need or even buy simple Cards this Diwali - We are taking action to eliminate poverty.

Protect Kids from crime, Stop them to be criminals. Let Poverty not be a root of War and not let the Root of War, Poverty! Join Blog Action Day - I am In - Are you?

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for Kids

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

How to Discipline Kids

How to discipline kids and that is one thing we all need to work on when they are almost naughty or call them Brats! As parents need to have an insight on their own behavior, even as teachers, we need to know 'How to Manage.'

A failing parent once came to me and asked, "How do I teach my children some good manners and discipline him?" She was completely frustrated and told me the difficulties she was having with her two sons, a 12 year old Bins and a 14 year old Deep. She had to continuously act a referee to determine who was right or wrong, who would use the ipod or who would watch which show on the television. I told her to exemplify the saying, "Do as I say' - All she did was telling the children not to yell and lose their tempers. However, she did the same.

Discipline is about teaching children that there are consequences for not keeping within the boundaries of rules, not about being hurt. When children misbehave, a parent reacts on how she's feeling at the moment. There has to be fair and appropriate consequences for inappropriate attitude.

Children are more in need of role models than critics. Illustrating a behavior you want them to embrace, they are more likely to emulate it. Children are going to follow examples. If you tell a child not to lie and you do by saying, "If that's an Insurance Agent at the door, tell him, mom is not at home." You need to check your actions. If you are smoking, quite before you want to tell them not to smoke. Do not adopt 'Do as I say, not as I do.'

So, How do you Manage?

A simple exercise for the inner-self helps. Get focused on what you want as a parent and know the values you can instill to get back action.

1. Know yourself within. Ask yourself, what do I want my child to learn by my way to discipline them?

2. Find the answers to What you want the child to learn

3. Do you like your own way of guidance and your style of approach with children?

4. Ask, will I like this kind of approach for myself?

5. What are your child's likes and dislikes.

6. Do they fare well under my guidance

7. Is my way of dealing worth the results. Are you getting positive results?

8. What are my values. Do I follow the rules?

There is a generation gap and so is an age factor to take into account. Children are not born experienced nor they see any problems in their actions. A parent needs constructive ways of changing behavior with tactful explanations on 'What to do, how to do' and check on own temperament values. If you call a child 'lazy' because he does not make his bed, he will have an unhealthy self image to tarnish himself. If the parent herself do not have the tolerance, the child will lose his self esteem.

All actions have consequences and children need to know this specifically. Hence, teach children the
basic principles of living :

1. Decide yourself what values you wish the child to follow.

2. Teach children what you want them to do and how to go about it. If you want your child to be courteous to a visitor, teach him to greet the guest and how to be mannerful. Teach him simple words of 'please, thank you and sorry' and actually mean it.

3. Praise the child's behavior and not be boastful about his certain actions. Nor, be sarcastic too.

4. Stop telling again and again. Instead, sort for a reminder signal.

5. Avoid being Bossy. Do not dig the past of bad behavior of the child. Focus on future improvement. Reminding of what he did, makes him feel more hurt and hurts self esteem.

Great kids misbehave too. Punishing children is not the way of discipline. In face, discuss the consequences and let the child know the causes and effect of punishment before doing so. They need to be more responsible for their actions. A continuity of guidance need to be there as Kids need constant follow up. When children learn to be responsible, they build their self esteem because it gives them control over their self. They don't have to be guilty and they know, in spite of their misbehavior, you still love them.

Kids need a secure, comfortable and loving homely atmosphere. Do not make them insecure. Apply tact and build your own self esteem. Do not vent own frustrations to pass on to them. This will only makes things worse for both. Nurture the kids with commandments of parenting in a caring way.

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for Kids   

Subscribe to widgets and link to Stage Fright

I just did a posting on my Author Page at which you may find useful.

Stage fright or performance anxiety is something that is very common among all of us and even children. Often, in school you may be asked to come up on stage and give a short speech or be a part in the debating team. But, if you find nervousness creeping in you, your hands would shake, voice falter and heart keeps pounding - chances are that you have a Stage to read more.

Btw, you can find my Widgets  appearing on main blog page. If you are subscribing the widgets, please do subscribe all the widgets separately which means, you need to add 4 codes as these are multiple blogs on diverse subjects.

Btw, How to Discipline Kids? 5th October had been World Teacher's Day and I am sure, you will find the Articles of Teachers quite helpful here.  If you are a teacher and have written an article like these, please email here without attachments and I shall be pleased to add on the page for our readers.

Watch this space as I post my next article on How to Discipline Kids. Meanwhile, you can send me your thoughts on the subject.

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for Kids 

Saturday, October 04, 2008


One of the exciting challenges to communicate on the Internet and be impressive or just 'Show off' is through the Language flow of signs. These are symbols to convey the expressions in emails, chat rooms, messaging programs,etc. They are composed of several keyboard characters which you can use and express your emotions. So, how did this Smileys, emoticons and computer jargon language start?

On the web, we find different results on who actually invented Smileys. The very earliest known examples of the graphic are attributed to Harvey Ball, a commercial artist in Worcester, Massachusetts. He devised the face in 1963 for an insurance firm that wanted an internal campaign to improve employee morale. He declared that the first Friday in October each year would henceforth be World Smile Day. The first World Smiley Day took place in Worcester, MA on October 1, 1999. The smiley face knows no politics, no geography and no religion. This day today is celebrated as World Smiley Day and the theme of Harvey Ball's site for 2008 is 'Do an Act of Kindness, Help one person smile.'

Later on in 1970, popularized by Bernard and Murray Spain who produce buttons, coffee mugs, T shirts, bumper stickers, etc with 'Have a Happy Day'

In 1981, Smileys were used by Scott Fahlman and here is his website with info. Here is the original thread in the Bulletin board where it was proposed.

Currently, he seems to be working on am working on Scone, a practical system that can represent a large body of real-world knowledge and that can efficiently perform the kinds of search and inference that seem so effortless for humans. Too high end learning for me yet, take a look at the site and this sure is Interesting!And here's with the Smiley day just gone, I remember all those smileys and frowns I got with winks and yawning, angelic and devilish too - as I passed through ICQ, Talkcity, Yahoo Messengers and even India Times and many more Chatrooms. Kidsfreesouls has the Smileys Here - The Unofficial Smiley Faq for use and you can even add more of your smileys here 0:-)

I've done a Classroom Project on Smileys earlier and it is so much fun for the kids. They can draw different smiley faces in their Project book, make a Smiley Poster and jot down all the Smileys and Computer Jargons that they can use on web as well as many of them use while texting messages on mobile phones. Enjoy!

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for Kids

Thursday, October 02, 2008

International Day of Non Violence: Gandhiji's Birthday

October 2 is marked the Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the born Leader who gave India its Freedom and spread the message of peace and non violence.

As I mentioned earlier in Kidsfreesouls News page, the World Today observes 'The International Day of Non Violence.' Gandhiji quoted, "It is my firm conviction that nothing endearing can be built upon Violence.' And as we see Violence spreading around the world, it is to follow the Gandhian Principles of living.

You can find the highly surfed page of Kidsfreesouls on Gandhiji here and find Gandhiji's Constructive Program Ideology for students and Check the Gandhiji Quiz and you too, find out the answers from Gandhiji's book 'My Experiments with the Truth'. All the Swagat children had found the answers from the book and sent competition entries to Margi Sastry of Wee wonder, Times of India long before.

Well, the Union Health Ministry of India has declared 'No Smoking' with strict rules on the prohibition of Smoking in public areas. Smoking will be banned at work place, shopping malls and cinema halls., airport lounges and even pubs and bars from today, October 2. As such, an average 11,000 deaths per day globally are caused due to tobacco. Six lac deaths per year are caused due to Tobacco consumption in India itself with 50% resulting to cancer. What is more alarming is, 55000 Indian children get addicted to tobacco every year.

Tobacco was smoked as far back as 1556 by the people of the Caribbean, as discovered by Christopher Columbus. It is a silent trap and causes lung cancer, bronchitis and asthma, mouth ulcers, etc. Smoking or chewing tobacco gets a person addicted and No Safe Cigarettes are proven too as low nicotine or the light cigarettes are also equally harmful. Researchers presented a study at the American Thoracic Society 2007 International Conference lately that Kids of smoking parents aren't so healthy. Children whose parents smoke have more respiratory problems. More puffing, wheezing, cases of pneumonia are the effects to the health of the children. The kids also have higher risk of getting depressed, hyper tense and even get lower grades in schools due to their health problems of wheezing and lower respiratory infection due to which, they cannot concentrate in class.

Hence, it is welcoming idea looking to the Health Hazards of Smoking and what other day can be set as Gandhiji's birthday to ban smoking? In 'My Experiments with the Truth', Gandhiji mentions of his habit of smoking and how hard he tried to kick off the habit, which he did. A way of prove, If one has a will, he can do it.

Also Being International Peace day today, it is to think over the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, who advocates non violence and spreads a message of peace, educating a way out of war and violence. You can read further on this in TOI as his wisdom words reflect as he becomes a Guest Editor for the newspaper on occasion of Gandhiji's birthday. The zen master who rebuild bombed villages, set up schools and medical centres, resettled homeless families and all his life advocated the principles of non violence and compassionate action speaks of peace education and its the way out of war and violence. He quips, 'Terrorists are victims who create more victims.'

One need to control two things - Anger and Tolerance. And more as an adult, Protect kids from Crime - Stop them to be Criminals. Build the Pillars of Character and follow the Principles of Good Living with value education.

- ilaxi patel

Newspaper for kids