Every New Year witnesses a deluge of resolutions, steely resolves, promises and silent vows.
Then follows a flood of Whatsapp and Facebook posts , taking snide potshot at all those burly resolutions.
And poof ! a lot of them start spiralling out of the window.
Lets turn the game around.
Lets just break some rules instead.
I don’t mean to sound like a renegade or a rebel at all.
All that I am saying is that let’s make the resoultions a bit fun. Lets put them in a ‘new box’ altogether.
You have always enjoyed a late morning in bed. Break the rule . For once or twice, get up to see the sunrise and do nothing perhaps – just gaze at the sky with a cuppa coffee.
You are the diligent variety who goes to work diligently and reserves all leaves for sickness or family weddings or emergencies.
Break the rule – take a leave on a healthy day. No rhyme or reason at all. Just a ‘me’ day. Chill out the whole day with no To-Do-List. I guarantee, that you will love this outbreak.
You are a parent who wants to be the perfect role model for your child. Great. You are so mindful of the way you walk and talk. Awesome. Just reverse it for a day. Go drop your child to school in your pyjamas, pick up some candy floss on the way, ditch the car or bike, take a rickshaw perhaps . Enjoy the freedom you get when you break away from your routine. Pick up your kid from school with a balloon wala by your side or perhaps an ice cream cart in tow. Treat the whole lot of kids to a simple ice candy. Your child will get to see the fun Mom or Dad in you . And all that happened because you broke a rule !
If you are a teacher and a disciplarian to the core (rightfully so ) , at least one day present before your class a ‘different‘ you.
Mix around the desks, ditch the black board, hang a placard on the back of each child and and ask the kids to scribble on those hanging behind the child in front. Get the desks out, spread out a few rugs and cushions and voila the class is on the floor.
Wow ! ma’m broke a rule ! (albeit a harmless one) . Now sit down on the floor and get the kids undivided attention!
Whoever heard of learning new stuff while breaking a rule ?
You take the elevator to your flat every day. Just for today , don’t ditch the elevator, just get down halfway. Admire the floor you got down at. Bet, you had never seen it before !. Now keep climbing up casually , soaking in each floor and neighbour, one at a time. Look at the richness you gained by just breaking one routine.
The list is endless…….
Don’t just whatsap your family a god morning on one Wednesday. Call them instead.
While crossing a traffic signal , wave and mouth a big thank -you to the traffic cop standing there. You didn’t really break a rule , yet you will see a jawdrop ever so pleasantly.
Each of us enjoys a mid day coffee / tea with our colleagues. Break the rule – have this mid morning coffee on one Tuesday ,with your support staff – whether at home or at work. Get to know their world too . You broke a routine but I am sure you will get admiration in plenty.
TGIF – Thank God Its Friday . Turn it to TGIM – Thank God its Monday . Because Monday means work / office / routine. And this is what gets us our bread and butter. So why not be thankful for a Monday too ? Change your attitude towards Monday. The whole week will fly by in a jiffy.
Instead of finishing all your grocery on a Saturday , do it mid week. Break the routine. Squeeze out some time mid week. Fridays will then have extra time for some more fun stuff.
Weekends are for mall hopping and shopping. Break the rule . Do go to a mall. Go hit the Café Coffee day . Buy a coffee and sit in a corner with a book. All by yourself perhaps. Get to know ‘yourself’, right in the middle of a hectic weekend.
And pray , why do we reserve just the morning or the evening for our prayers ? Our conversations with God can be anytime , no ? Break the rule . Give a call to God at peak noon. He just might be more free in these off- hours and you may have a better conversation too:)
So, my friends resolve to break the mould. Resolve to make your life fun and easy and only regimented and compartmentalised. There are some rules that are to be followed in letter and some in spirit.
Likewise , there are some rules that cannot be broken in letter ….but breaking them in the right spirit ?
Well, its all up your sleeve and entirely your choice !
Much as we may want to shield our children from topics like war and terrorism , the fact is that children will end up hearing about it from the social media, Television , YouTube, newspapers, School assemblies , school projects and peer talk.
So if your child ends up asking you a question about the war between Russia and Ukraine, the best strategy is to answer as honestly as possible.
Ignoring such questions or brushing them under the carpet does more harm in fact.
Responding to their queries with reverts like , “You are just a child / you are too young to talk about war / We will talk about it when you are grown up/ you don’t need to worry about such things ”, does more harm than good.
HOW TO TALK ABOUT WAR TO YOUR CHILD ?
If your Preschooler asks you a question about war , don’t shy away from answering. Try probing them with open ended questions like – Where did you hear about it / What have you heard about war ? . Begin from what they know about it already .
You may explain war as – a situation where two countries are fighting for their land.
Instead of focusing on the geo politics , try to bring the focus on how children in Ukraine are suffering due to this fighting. Shift the focus towards a solution. Have a solution focused approach.
Do not terrorise your child about war. Instead talk briefly about the situation on ground. Talk about the consequences of war . How some people will go hungry , thirsty, without a roof on their head and without school in case of a war. Avoid gory details about the war.
Age appropriate talk is crucial.
You may use an actual map or a globe to explain the crisis to the child.
Avoid watching disturbing visuals of war on television and whatsap , in front of your child.
Assure them that they are safe though children in Ukraine are in pain.
Talk about how people around the world are trying to help the Ukranian children caught in the war. Some are sending food and medicines and some are teaching the children Online as the schools are closed.
Make your child feel heard and understood . Validation is very important for Preschoolers .
Should we encourage children to pray for those affected ? Yes, we definitely should . At this age , children sincerely believe that prayers are the answers to most problems .
Primary school age children , aged say 6 to 10 years will probably want to hear more details .
Technology channels carry a whole lot of information and disturbing visuals which reach your child uncensored. And remember , violence is always attractive to children. They get enamoured with stories about guns, wars and tanks. So you may need to deglamourise this component. Talk real . You may add to the definition of war – as a situation of conflict between countries who fight for their land but it often leads to violence, destruction , use of military force.
Again shift the focus towards consequences of war . In addition to scarcity of food, shelter and basic amenities , you may talk a little about the economic impact of the war on world economy . Keep the focus on peaceful resolution of problems. Don’t shy away from admitting that war is a confusing and complicated situation.
You may talk about how the world gets polarised in such situations and political opinions start forming. Tell them that they will most likely be studying about the Ukraine – Russia conflict in their Social Studies class .
Your child may feel anxious and stressed. They may have heard about Indian students stranded in Ukraine. Talk about how the government is trying their best to bring them home safely.
Use a world map or a globe to explain the territory conflict to the child.
You may have an opinion on the war , but do not impose your views on the child. Your talk should help shatter stereotypes. Things are not always black and white . War does not mean that all Russian / Ukranian people are bad .
War is the outcome of situations that we are not able to solve amicably . You may round up your talk with your child by probing them on situations where they sort out differences through dialogue . It could be at school or at the playground. Who gets to take the preferred seat in the school bus first ? Who gets to lead group discussions in class ?
Use it as an opportunity to talk about kindness and co operation building , within family and friends .
A 10 year old is perfectly capable of chalking out a help plan/ reach out plan. Encourage them to think up of ways they can help people in pain . Maybe look up the UNICEF link for support opportunities ?
Be ready . Your child may sum up the talk with a tricky statement like – “So the adults failed to find a solution to the problem ?”
In such a case , it is ok to admit that we all make mistakes , at times . Very sad , but true.