Learn to play a musical instrument

With so many distractions these days, why should we even consider learning a musical instrument? Would it not be just another distraction.

Don’t worry I will not get into another lecture.

But let me share my personal experience. I was more of a dabbler in guitar. Then one day my wife and my elder son insistent on buying a new guitar for me. I decided to give it try and started practicing 5-10 minutes of guitar every day. Slowly I started to play better and now it has become a habit.

Here are some of the things which I observed:

It gives a sense of calm – When u play music it gives a sense of calmness and you forget everything, trying to play a song or hum it with your instrument. However frustrated you are, it always calms you down.

Instead of listening become active thru playing – When u become an active player, u feel part of the song within you and makes you more creative in other areas. Also gives a sense of accomplishment.

Social gatherings are much more enjoyable & relaxing – Once in a while in a social gathering, playing guitar leads to much better bonding and elating experience to enjoy together. It gives a happy, lasting and socially exciting gathering.

Lesser distractions – As you become more immersed in playing music, other distractions don’t excite you that much like Social Media, TV etc. This can be really good for kids who have so many things to distract these days.

Learning to play music is more intrinsic than external  – In studies or sports, there are external forces to be driven, be it financially or making a career etc but learning music or playing instrument, once u cross a level, automatically drives you by the flow of it. In that sense its an art, you become more and more involved as you enjoy more and more…

Its very simple to pick up if you are consistent – Keep it simple, just start playing. Keep the instrument in your sight, don’t keep it hidden or in a closet. And give it 5 minutes a day, practice daily without fail and you will learn.

Go ahead pick up your favorite musical instrument and try it out, be consistent for 3 months and you will start seeing the positive impacts. Please do let me know how it goes…

 

Sending your kids to boarding school?

As a parent listening to other parents sending kids to boarding school for better studies brings memories when I went to boarding school in Class 5thMy son is same age now around 11 years.
So should we be sending him to boarding school? Here are some of the discussion points to ponder:
 
Positives:
 
Discipline: One of the early things you learn is to be discipline and focus. There is a routine which should be followed and gives the child a set of good habits. 
 
Mental Toughness: Being in hostel implies you become mentally tough as you have to learn things hard way with peers, seniors, and teachers who are not as forgiving as parents. The maturity makes you more open to difficulties in life later on and how to handle it.
 
Career Path: Some of the boarding schools is already giving you career path, so if you are an early protege of military or any other field etc, it’s the best way to get into that path.
 
Independent – Ability to make own decisions: As parents, we overthink for our child and hence push them to a path which they do not understand. Being in hostel allows the child to make their own decisions. Not to say parents cannot enforce this even in a hostel but still, the child is more independent in deciding things.
 
Negatives:
 
Child’s innocence or love: Children have an innocent way of looking towards life, but this is lost in a hostel with its strict and disciplined life. The gleeful way of getting excited about smaller things in life slowly dies away.
 
Traumatize for life: Some of the things in a hostel, a brawl with the peer or consistent bully from seniors etc in tender age leads to lifetime trauma which is difficult to tackle once it leaves a lasting impression. One of my friend’s child – 14 years old girl was sent to the hostel for 2 years and she got into depression, leaving parents in dismay why they have sent her.
 
Peer/Competition kills creativity: With constant competition with peers in hostel, it kills a child’s creative outlook towards life. It gives them a monotonous view and everything becomes a way to please others. We see this being done at the parents level in schools today, imagine how a child will be in a constant competitive environment.
 
Life seems very tough for everything: At very early age child seems to take life as a very difficult pill, yes there is a lot of debate around how life is tough etc. But do we really need to give this lesson to our child now? Maybe for them, it might not be tough if they figure out what they like and explore more in life.
 
Overall my vote is against sending my child to boarding school. I see more negatives than the positives. What about you?

Praising your child for motivation – good or bad?

As parents we praise our child for almost all things, big or small …whether it’s reading books, coming first in a sports or getting good marks in exams. We, in general, keep telling them how smart they are to achieve anything. Thinking this will lead to very good motivation and help them do it again.

But ever wondered whether it’s good or bad for the child to have too much praise? or how our praise might impact them?

To understand it, let’s see how we perceive our success or failure. Recent study shows (Stanford article) how our attribution to failure or success makes a big difference. If we think we are smart and hence succeeded, a notion sets in that we are born with the skills. In case of failure we tell ourselves we are not good in this and give up easily. Whereas in both the above cases if we attribute it to hard work and learning skills, we would have succeeded much better. This Mental Attribution of failure/success is the game changer for us and what we achieve.

Now imagine if we almost always praise our kids for how smart they are? or how intelligent they are, this imparts them – How good I am and he/she thinks anything can be done without much efforts and sets a pattern. Eventhough they would have worked hard for it, we in general discount that fact while praising. Whereas if we say gr8 you have achieved this by working hard (Basically communicate it better with reasoning). This makes a big difference for them and they will be more ready to accept failure and work harder to succeed in all fields.

So dont worry about praising your child everytime as long as its done right its on! Next time if you praise your child, just consider doing a small change in how you do it!