Hello there,

It’s that time of the year again when I pen down the sojourns of the Idnani family in the year that is passing by. This year, I take a break from self-inflicted tradition, wear my parental hat and share my observations and hope for parenting 11 year olds.

                                 The latest inmates ;)
@ Olympic Museum, Lake Placid, NY June 2015
                                     

As we wrap up 2015, I observe the growth in my sons, in all spheres – intellectual, physical and emotional. Often, anything we say is responded to (No, I did not say “answered back”) in clear, concise language loaded with examples from our own lives such as, “How can you ask us to not use our phone during meals when dad reads CNN on his phone during meal time?” and the latest one, “Holidays are for down time. The very meaning of the term “holiday” means that you are exempt from work; as opposed to a working day, hence logically, we will spend our time playing, watching movies and hanging out with friends and family this holiday season.” Take that, mom and dad!!!!! What was I thinking when I enrolled my boys for chess in the first place - that they will use their analytical and logical abilities only for the board game and the rest of time they will function like mini robots, suspending their cognitive abilities and other brain functions and operating in an automated mode????

Well, over the years I have come to the conclusion that as much as I, or for that matter, many parents, expose their children to the ways of the world, sports, arts, culture, travels etc. and hope that our child blossoms into this exceptional child possessing a brilliant mind replete with irenic qualities, promoting peace, love and joy around the world, we want that brilliance to be subdued in the area of responding to their parents commands and instructions. Hence, when I say, “Taran, please eat your veggies before you eat the bread”, he will not only obey my command, he will oblige me with a beatific smile and with a response that goes like, “Of course, mom!” Of course, it is understood that my commands are ALWAYS well intentioned, based on research and on my life experiences. With this in mind, I am documenting the 10 things that I wish my children follow in 2016 and for the years to come. Taran and Roshan, this is for you….

  1. Mom is always right – this is rule no. 1. You have to hardcode it into your system. No matter what/when/where/how/why, mom is always right! When mom feels indulgent, she will change this rule to “Mom and dad are always right”. She has the vetoing power. ALWAYS! 
    August 2015
  2. Courage – This is the force that makes our life brilliant. Be fearless! Tread forward courageously. Should you fail or lose, pick yourself up, applaud yourself for trying and move on. Remember that fortune favors the bold and the brave. Set goals and challenge yourself.
  3. Enjoy learning – Grades are a byproduct of knowledge. Enjoy learning for the sake of learning and knowledge/opening up your eyes and mind; not for the sake of grades. Keep trying new activities and exploring different subjects. May you be a lifelong student, always learning something new every single day. May you be the “Rancho” of the movie “3 idiots”!
  4. Time management – The most precious resource we have is time. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t wait for the last day of a two week project to make your science model. Be a man of action – State the problem, find a solution, and solve the problem/ task at hand. 
  5. Be in the moment - Multitasking is what your dad and I were taught at business school. However, we are spending time and money in our 40s trying to unlearn what we learned in our 20s ;) When you think you are multitasking, you are rapidly moving from one task to another, as a result, not paying 100% attention to either of the two tasks in hand. It kind of reminds me of the time you switch screens between your homework assignment and Marble Blast or V0.2.0 the moment you see either of your parents arrive into the room. There is no way you will get “Gold time” if you keep switching screens. So, pay 100% attention to what you are doing and be mindful. Squeeze the present for all it’s worth. When studying, gather all the knowledge you can. When singing or playing the violin, perform as if no one is watching you. When playing chess/ tennis, play as if there is no tomorrow. When playing Madden Mobile, play as if you are playing to get an elite player J
  6. Get Bored – I wish you times where you feel you have nothing to do. This is the time for you to reflect, to introspect, to think and to just be. Only once you know who you are, can you improve yourself. Have a relationship with yourself. You cannot forge a bond with anyone, if you cannot connect and bond with yourself. 
  7. Technology – Don’t let it distract and enslave you; instead master it. Use it to connect with others, to inform yourself and to widen your horizon but keep it away during homework/ work time. Wonder aloud! And don’t ever replace wonder with Google. Before you Google anything, spend time thinking through the answer. Further, you really don’t need a phone at a party. Socialize with others - not with the phone. If possible, one day a week or a weekend every season, go on a technology free diet. You will be pleasantly surprised how uplifting and relaxing it feels.
  8. Recharge your battery – No, not your phone. I meant YOUR battery. Read a book, go for a run, breathe deeply, be present in the moment. Do whatever it takes to clear your head and calm yourself. Live your life from the inside out. Don’t let Darth Vader get the better of you. Instead, be the Jedi that uses the force for constructive purposes.  
  9. Give space for dissent – Well, I already know that you enjoy a good argumentJ But what I am really referring to here is treating feedback as a gift. Wouldn’t it be lovely to accept it in the “low lunge” yoga pose (chest open, shoulders relaxed and hands joined to heart) especially when mom is giving you feedback? And before you express your dissent here, remember Rule no. 1 - mom is always right! 
  10. October 2015
  11. Family and friends are precious – I thoroughly enjoy all the attention and affection you shower on me and everyone else. I hope you continue to laugh aloud with friends and family, live precious moments, be with them in good and bad times. Don’t let life get so busy that you let its beauty and mystery pass you by. 

I end this note with the hope that you will practice these in action and in interaction as you journey through life. The more attention you pay to these qualities/ points, the more it becomes an integral part of you. And I also hope that I can practice what I preach :)


Love always,
Mom

Happy holidays and a happy 2016 to all our friends and family. May the force be with you!

Best,
Ritesh, Nidhi, Taran and Roshan

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