March 12, 2008

Is it a bad idea to praise your kids?

For a few decades, it’s been noted that a large percentage of all gifted students (those who score in the top 10 percent on aptitude tests) severely underestimate their own abilities. Those afflicted with this lack of perceived competence adopt lower standards for success and expect less of themselves. They underrate the importance of effort, and they overrate how much help they need from a parent.

When parents praise their children’s intelligence, they believe they are providing the solution to this problem. According to a survey conducted by Columbia University, 85 percent of American parents think it’s important to tell their kids that they’re smart. In and around the New York area, according to my own (admittedly nonscientific) poll, the number is more like 100 percent. Everyone does it, habitually. The constant praise is meant to be an angel on the shoulder, ensuring that children do not sell their talents short.

Full story: How Not to Talk to Your Kids

December 27, 2007

Are You A “Helicopter Parent”?

Vicky Tuck, the principal of Cheltenham Ladies’ College, claims that some mothers and fathers are hindering their child’s ability to learn and become self-sufficient because they are constantly hovering overhead, supervising and directing.

The trend towards parents confiding in their children and treating them like mini-counsellors is also preventing children from being carefree and learning from their mistakes, she believes.

….

The term “helicopter parenting” was coined by Madeleine Levine, an American clinical psychologist, who claimed in her book The Price of Privilege: “Kids are unbearably pressured not just to be good, but to be great; not just to be good at something, [but] to be good at everything.”

Full Story: ‘Helicopter parents’ hinder children’s learning

June 21, 2007

Life, an Empty Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee

Got this incredible piece forwarded to me by email. Not sure who the author is, but the story just struck a chord somewhere deep inside. A must read…

When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things–your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else—the small stuff. “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

So go on and pour out all the contents of your jar, re-fill it the right way this time around – and yeah, don’t forget to have a wonderful life!

– Ravi Jayagopal
What is Ventriloquism? Click here for some amazingly funny videos

June 18, 2007

Swami Vivekananda’s Speech – Amazing Audio From 1893

Swami Vivekananda (January 12, 1863 – July 4, 1902) was one of the most famous and influential spiritual leaders of the philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga and a major figure in the history of Hinduism and India. He was the chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and the founder of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission.

While he is widely credited with having uplifted his own nation, simultaneously he introduced Yoga and Vedanta to America and England with his popular lectures and private discourses on Vedanta philosophy. Vivekananda was the first known Hindu Swami to come to the West, where he introduced Eastern thought at the World’s Parliament of Religions, in connection with the World’s Fair in Chicago, in 1893. It was there that he was catapulted to fame by his by wide audiences in Chicago and then later elsewhere in America.

Here’s one such speech from the year 1893. This is the one with his now famous opening statement “Sisters and Brothers of America”. The audio is split into 4 parts. Click on the big “Play” symbol on each of the videos below. The video primarily shows the transcript.

Part I:

Part II:

Part III:

Part IV:

Introduction text source: Wikipedia