CRAFTING

A video blog on children and parenting. This is a poem I wrote some time ago, which is now in this form. Hope you will be interested enough to leave your comments!

COULD HAVE BEEN

I could have been a champion athlete,
Racing ahead to be fleet in my cleat.
But I chose to rather run the course of faith,
Striving to win the eternal wreath!

I could have been a billionaire of wealth,
Working hard, heeding not damage to health and hearth.
But I chose to rather labor for riches unseen,
Striving to lay up treasures yonder o’er the green!

I could have earned a successful and well-known name
Bulldozing hard to hold on to fleeting fame.
But I chose to remain hidden often in defame,
Striving to stand before Him as one glorifying His Name!

I could have mounted the ladders of upgrade and payscale,
Seeking to climb the mountains of leadership trail.
But I chose to refrain from the upward-mobility grail,
Striving to know Him and go beyond the veil.

I could have been a sinner living in selfish disgrace,
Cowering in fear, unable to uncover my true face.
But I chose to rather trust that Man of truth and grace,
Learning to live in restful peace, as I strive only Him to please!

©SABINA TAGORE IMMANUEL
*Photos courtesy unsplash.com

PLAYING SAFE

In a TED talk Sir Ken Robinson, Author and Educator, points out to children being naturally creative but we educate them out of it. He goes on to explain through a story that children are not afraid of being wrong, of making a mistake. His take? You cannot be creative if you want to play safe, which is what we educate them to be. Kids stop being creative because we educate them to be safe!

How true, I thought to myself, that we want our children to be safe rather than being who they are meant to be! The words with which we bombard our children daily are: Don’t do that you will get hurt! Don’t touch that you will get hurt! Don’t jump from there you will get hurt!… We inculcate in our children a mentality of fear of hurt, that they learn to protect themselves, first! We teach and train them to play safe!

We inculcate in them a culture of fear and then when they grow up, we complain that they are not risk takers! We nurture cowardice rather than fearless experimentation, then we crib that they don’t achieve anything! We kill their creativity and then reject them for being mediocre! We train them to play safe and then target them for lacking talents or the will to challenge the norm! We program them to be afraid of taking up challenges, then weep when they commit suicide! We adapt them to being so afraid of social stigma that they fear to be pioneers and pathbreakers! We teach them to play safe when we should be training them to take risks and break routines!

We inculcate a horror of being a stand-alone that they are afraid to break the mold to walk in freedom! We have boxed them with our insecurities rather than teaching them to think outside-the-box! We make them mindless robots sticking strictly to routine rather than imaginative researchers who delight to explore! We have cut their sprouting wings making them chickens rather than eagles that were born to fly. We want them to play safe around our feet rather than fly high and far and wide!

We need to blame ourselves for their lack of enterprise, for we have fostered in them a culture of education rather than an OS of adventurous creativity!

Don’t get me wrong, for I am not talking of lawless breaking of rules nor being a rebel of society. I am advocating instruction in ingenuity and creativity rather than confining safety!

If Edison had worried about playing safe, he wouldn’t have invented the electric bulb after ninety-nine failed attempts! Every inventor and explorer battled adversity before achieving their goal. We who laud their fulfillment forget that self-actualizing success doesn’t attract the fickle-minded but the beautifully bold!

I think of the One Who set the example the most by being unconventional and unorthodox. – Jesus Christ the Champion of the marginalized! He went about getting the captives free by tearing down confining walls, breaking out of boxing fetishes, challenging the norm and the normal. In His bid for freedom to all, He consistently broke down barriers, went past social stigmas and ruthlessly beat down the opposition as a true Liberator. Je ended up on the cross because He refused to play safe!

He never bothered being under attack for being singular, but even taught His followers to be so by life and example. His one word to the one disciple wanting to step out of the boat was a simple ‘come’. He encouraged Peter in his impetus impulse rather than stop him from adventuring into the unknown. The One Whose Word lists 365 fear-nots, one for every day, gave his apprentice a lesson in boldness. On the strength of His word, Peter walked in the water that day, experiencing a thrill that no one before or after him had, singling and signalling him to be a leader. Real leadership crowns the atypical rather than the fainthearted or those playing safe!

Paeidia, from which comes the English word Encyclopedia, is the Greek word for education. Paeidia should be to fit our children for what they have been created to be, fitted for and equipped to accomplish rather than teaching them to fear. Life should be taught as being a gift of, in and for exploration and adventure!

Education or Paeidia should be for instruction in self-actualizing rather than in playing safe!

*Thanks to lauren lulu taylor for making this photo available freely on @unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/vppMdk_GMo4

*TED talk link https://www.facebook.com/TED/videos/10162300976450652/

SALVAGING OR DISPOSING, WHICH WILL IT BE?

An unbearable tooth pain followed by a dental consultation showed a root canal infection needing immediate attention. As the doctor dealt with it, quite severely in fact because of the extent of infection, I distracted myself by thinking of the process of saving and salvaging, the opposite of disposing and destroying!

Salvaging is a term related to ships and seas, with marine salvage being the process of recovering a ship and its cargo after a shipwreck or other maritime casualty. Salvage may encompass towing, re-floating a vessel, or effecting repairs to a ship. The first known salvage was in 219 BC, the Chinese Emperor Qin Shihuang (r. 221–210 BC) assembled an expedition consisting of a thousand people for the salvage of the Nine Tripod Cauldrons. The tripods were considered important artifacts, Chinese legends credit a Xia dynasty emperor with their construction. The tripods were lost in Sishui River in present-day Anhui Province. The salvage attempt was ultimately unsuccessful.

As a life coach, my goal is to help people adjust and adapt to the different circumstances that come their way, especially the stressful and difficult ones. I spend hours talking with them, keeping abreast of the my clients situations, since I am often their last or only resort and rescue, especially for those stuck in a pit of depression. Just being there for them, helping them to download and de-stress, creates a space in their mind and emotions, enabling them to have the time, will and effort to recover themselves. Most often dramatic or drastic actions that are detrimental to life are the result of a temporary blinding of eyes, a sudden surge of despair, a momentary lapse of equanimity, a spur-of-the-moment impulse and an unthinking jump off the ledge. Being aware that some cares enough to listen, someone to give some time is sufficient impetus for people to recover and reconcile, both with others and with their unchangeable circumstances.

With the passage of years, I see a downward trend, an increase in and a multiplication in the number of people succumbing to instability of mind and emotions. Of late, there seems to be a proliferation of negativity, a lack of mental stamina, a loss of emotional control and a tendency to give up too easily and too readily. The impulse to throw in the towel, throw up the arms in futility, the sinking into the darkness of depression is affecting almost all and across the spectrum of age and gender. Of these, the more vulnerable section seems to be the young, specifically children and teens for whom suicide has become the most extensive and popular outlet. It appears to be an easy way to blow off steam, with the added bonus of having taken revenge on those who love you but who unwittingly drove you to it. Or so they think!

The root cause of this seems to be an inclination towards I-need-it-all-now attitude, an urge towards I-want-to-experience-it-all-now outlook and a penchant for I-must-have-it-all-now demand. A denial, then, leads to a sullen sulkiness, a moody weariness and a damaging insecurity. There is a dearth of understanding and accepting that life doesn’t promise or guarantee many of the things you deem necessary or demand it as necessary.

The basic ingredients of nature, of existence and of the universe are entropy, probability and randomness. It is what make life so exciting and adventurous, that it is so unpredictable, ever changing and ever evolving! What then is the reason for such low adjustment factor and adaptability quotient that triggers defeat, especially in the young whose very youth gives them the handle and capacity to bounce back easily!

The trigger for such defeatist mentality lies in the socio-cultural impact of a society that is tuned to easy disposal. It is the effect and outcome of living in a world wherein disposal is mooted over salvaging. Gone are the days when everything was built with the intention of durability, reliability and longevity.

Today’s world is all about constant and continuous change, a fluidity that belies stability and sustainability. This has created and birthed an environment that promotes an unhealthy appetite for constant upgrade, an avaricious longing for continuous newness and an unsatiated thirst for competitive consumerism. There is a singular lack of sticking it out, trying to make the best of it, seeking to work it out and fighting the good fight of life, whatever be cause or cost.

Nowhere is the impact of this felt more than in the basic structure of society, its foundation and fabric viz., marriage and family. A lifestyle geared up to easy disposal and a mentality tuned to instant use-and-throw has not helped foster marital and familial relationships. It has, on the other hand, eroded the stamina needed to cultivate long term relationships. It has made people weak and weary, devoid of the strength needed to build and maintain all types of relationships. We have become scaredy cats, shying away from bonding, often opting for short term connections that grant instant gratification. We have forgotten the recurring returns and lasting rewards that come from investing for and in the future.

We have become passive and content to live in the moment and for the moment. We have forgotten that we are not animals made for instant gratification by instinct, but are eternal beings made in the image of God, created to be bolstered by mutual kinship. We have created a society that’s filled with divorce and heartbreak, a structure lacking the scaffolding of nurture and care, a place where the young and weak are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. What in the world have we become!

I was born into a family where salvaging bikes and cars was a pasttime, hobby and creative outlet. Men in the family would choose to buy second-hand vehicles and restore them, before disposing them for a profit. What joy and pride I would see in their face when their task was dine. It was obvious that the price they paid was small in comparison to this sense of accomplishment!

I saw the same thing in my dentist who went the extra mile to salvage what remained of my tooth. It would have been easy for him to just pull it out, cleanse the area and go his way. Yet he chose to spend hours bent over my teeth, digging out the infection with a ruthlessness that was quiet daunting. It comforted me to note that he would not rest until I was totally free of any infection. He restored my faith in the medical profession and its practitioners.

How like the Lord, I thought to myself, who He came ‘not to condemn but to save’! How precious to know that He rejects no one, but seeks to rescue the lost! How soothing it is to know that He is all about saving and salvation, and not about disposing!

*Photos courtesy of unsplash.com and shutterstock.com