The Health Q
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) 1715 6165 | Library & Archives Canada Entry
Catch them young: How my daughter got into ‘Magichation’ ; Garbanzo Bean Burger; Education is failing our kids.
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Catch them young: How my daughter got into ‘Magichation’ [Editorial Note]
by Parmjit Singh, PhD
Advertising agencies follow it; they like to catch all the kids young so that they can make them their life-long clients. And it works very well. Catching people young and inculcating values and qualities is good idea. I am not talking about TV ads or something like that. I am talking about exposing our kids to the habit of cultivating silence, compassion and kindness. The way things are going in our schools and colleges, it is becoming increasingly important. Rampant alienation, loneliness, bullying, narcissism are some of the byproducts of our failure to teach our kids how to cultivate an inner sense of mental and emotional stability.
Recently, I introduced my three year daughter to the idea of sitting for few moments silently. She agreed, apparently fascinated by the idea of sitting cross-legged on a pillow, and saying few words which she scarcely understands but repeats dutifully. She calls it ‘magichation’, a word that I find quite appealing and magical. Every time we come to that time of the evening or when she sees I am getting ready to do my meditation, she quickly brings all the pillows for me and lays it on the floor in the order I put them. Then she brings one small cushion for herself and tries to sit on it in half-lotus posture.
It is fascinating to see her trying to fold her legs into half-lotus posture while trying to balance on a small cushion. Even more heartening is her alacrity to engage in this: she folds her hands dutifully, tucks them close to her nose with her head tilted sideways a bit.
Once she is relatively settled on her little cushion, we embark upon repeating ‘Satnam Waheguru’ (holy words from Sikh religion) for few minutes. After finishing it, we stay silent for few moments and then taking cue, she gets up smiling and goes out of the door shutting it behind her thus leaving me alone to do my practice.
Before she started sitting with me, she used to bug me, cry or even at some occasions would not let me do my meditation practice. She was feeling left out of something important I was doing. I was able to solve that problem by just inviting her to sit with me before I start my meditation. Ever since she has started sitting with me, there has not been even one instant where she disturbed me in my practice. It is rather like killing two birds with one stone: she is introduced to this beautiful habit and she leaves me alone for my practice.
The important point is that we need to introduce our kids to healthy habits, values and social responsibilities while they are young and impressionable. Setting a good role model at home helps them see the value and merits of doing those things. As they say if charity begins at home so does kid’s education.
If you have small kids, invite them to join you in your practice. It will be one of the best investment you will be making for their future. [HQ]
1 cup boiled (salted) garbanzo beans; ½ cup tomatoes, diced; ½ cup daikon (white radish), diced; 2 tbs finely chopped cilantro; 1 ts cumin seeds; 1 tbs olive oil; Salt and pepper to taste; 2 whole wheat (or any whole grain burger of choice) burgers
In a pan, heat the oil and add cumin seeds. When they splutter add the (boiled and salted) garbanzo beans and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly and keep aside. In a bowl, mix daikon, tomatoes, cilantro, salt and pepper. Slightly toast the burgers and first layer the garbanzo beans and then the salad. Enjoy!
Education is Failing Our Kids
by Parmjit Singh, PhD
Before violence spills on to ground, it simmers in the inner corridors of human mind. Desire for violence with all its hideousness and tyranny is born in the crevice of our dark thoughts and emotional alleyways populated by egocentric desires, perceived disenfranchisement and reckless disregard for human suffering.
Even when people are not fighting on a visible battleground, they are battling it out silently, within their homes, with their own wives and husbands and kids and friends. Outer violence is just an amplified version of inner battles and dissatisfactions. Any person taking to violence and killings must have lost the inner peace.
A recent case in point is Virginia Tech University where a student butchered students and Profs. What a terrible waste of life and potential! And how did it come to that? Why would a student resort to such a thing where blood is spilt like water and countless lives are snuffed and others maimed psychologically?
Does it say something about the times we live in or is it a reflection of our general attitude toward life—if what you want is not gettable through patience, it is ok to use force? Either way, the answers are disturbing and disheartening. Are we doing something to drive people over edge?
Whatever the reasons, it is all disturbing and deeply painful. What has gone wrong with our civilization, I was asking myself? Why are our kids playing with guns instead of other friendlier things?
Out of various reasons, one is that we are not allowing students to flourish as a human being. The whole educational system is geared toward packing mind with useful rational information so that they can compete in the job market and the emphasis is on making them marketable. There is no room for any mental and spiritual growth. Students are not encouraged to take a step back and see where education fits into the larger scheme of their life.
When we can not cope up with life and its demands or have no hopes of doing that, our inner dormant sense of meaninglessness and torment stirs up. This is where something goes wrong. We do not have anything in place, especially integrated within the curriculum, where students can learn ‘how not to be depressed, angry etc.’ Even if some venues are available through student services, students do not want to go there because of the fear of being labeled a ‘sissy’; or those venues simply cater to symptoms once they have developed. There are not many avenues for cultivation of positive emotions of mental states.
In order to deal with their hidden torment and meaninglessness, we need to teach our kids the merits of constant cultivation of positive qualities and offer them a hope. It is not sufficient to visit temples or churches or just reading morally edifying literature; we need to offer them appropriate methods, integrated within the school system, so that they can deal with their negative emotions and mind-sets before it bursts open in the form of violence and killing.
Death is scary in itself and when one chooses to kill himself after killing so many others, we need to sit up and ask: what wrong have we done to our kids that they choose a life of violence and death?
If it takes a village to raise a kid, then the same village should sit up and look deep within their educational process if they did something unintentionally that unleashed what we saw in Virginia Tech. [HQ]
Original version of this article was published on Intent Blog run by Dr Deepak Chopra