Tag Archives: Nature

How to raise kinder, less entitled kids (according to science)

Author: Richard Weissbourd, a Harvard psychologist with the graduate school of education, and the Making Caring Common Project have come up with recommendations about how to raise children to become caring, respectful and responsible adults.

1. Make caring for others a priority

Why? Parents tend to prioritize their children’s happiness and achievements over their children’s concern for others. But children need to learn to balance their needs with the needs of others, whether it’s passing the ball to a teammate or deciding to stand up for friend who is being bullied.

How? Children need to hear from parents that caring for others is a top priority. A big part of that is holding children to high ethical expectations, such as honoring their commitments, even if it makes them unhappy. For example, before kids quit a sports team, band, or a friendship, we should ask them to consider their obligations to the group or the friend and encourage them to work out problems before quitting.

Try this
• Instead of saying to your kids: “The most important thing is that you’re happy,” say “The most important thing is that you’re kind.”
• Make sure that your older children always address others respectfully, even when they’re tired, distracted, or angry.
• Emphasize caring when you interact with other key adults in your children’s lives. For example, ask teachers whether your children are good community members at school.

2. Provide opportunities for children to practice caring and gratitude

Why? It’s never too late to become a good person, but it won’t happen on its own. Children need to practice caring for others and expressing gratitude for those who care for them and contribute to others’ lives. Studies show that people who are in the habit of expressing gratitude are more likely to be helpful, generous, compassionate, and forgiving—and they’re also more likely to be happy and healthy.

How? Learning to be caring is like learning to play a sport or an instrument. Daily repetition—whether it’s a helping a friend with homework, pitching in around the house, or having a classroom job—make caring second nature and develop and hone youth’s caregiving capacities. Learning gratitude similarly involves regularly practicing it.

Try this
• Don’t reward your child for every act of helpfulness, such as clearing the dinner table. We should expect our kids to help around the house, with siblings, and with neighbors and only reward uncommon acts of kindness.
• Talk to your child about caring and uncaring acts they see on television and about acts of justice and injustice they might witness or hear about in the news.
• Make gratitude a daily ritual at dinnertime, bedtime, in the car, or on the subway. Express thanks for those who contribute to us and others in large and small ways.

3. Expand your child’s circle of concern

Why? Almost all children care about a small circle of their families and friends. Our challenge is help our children learn to care about someone outside that circle, such as the new kid in class, someone who doesn’t speak their language, the school custodian, or someone who lives in a distant country.

How? Children need to learn to zoom in, by listening closely and attending to those in their immediate circle, and to zoom out, by taking in the big picture and considering the many perspectives of the people they interact with daily, including those who are vulnerable. They also need to consider how their
decisions, such as quitting a sports team or a band, can ripple out and harm various members of their communities. Especially in our more global world, children need to develop concern for people who live in very different cultures and communities than their own.

Try this
• Make sure your children are friendly and grateful with all the people in their daily lives, such as a bus driver or a waitress.
• Encourage children to care for those who are vulnerable. Give children some simple ideas for stepping into the “caring and courage zone,” like comforting a classmate who was teased.
• Use a newspaper or TV story to encourage your child to think about hardships faced by children in another country.

4. Be a strong moral role model and mentor

Why? Children learn ethical values by watching the actions of adults they respect. They also learn values by thinking through ethical dilemmas with adults, e.g. “Should I invite a new neighbor to my birthday party when my best friend doesn’t like her?”

How? Being a moral role model and mentor means that we need to practice honesty, fairness, and caring ourselves. But it doesn’t mean being perfect all the time. For our children to respect and trust us, we need to acknowledge our mistakes and flaws. We also need to respect children’s thinking and listen
to their perspectives, demonstrating to them how we want them to engage others.

Try this
• Model caring for others by doing community service at least once a month. Even better, do this service with your child.
• Give your child an ethical dilemma at dinner or ask your child about dilemmas they’ve faced.

5. Guide children in managing destructive feelings

Why? Often the ability to care for others is overwhelmed by anger, shame, envy, or other negative feelings.

How? We need to teach children that all feelings are okay, but some ways of dealing with them are not helpful. Children need our help learning to cope with these feelings in productive ways.

Try this
Here’s a simple way to teach your kids to calm down: ask your child to stop, take a deep breath through the nose and exhale through the mouth, and count to five. Practice when your child is calm. Then, when you see her getting upset, remind her about the steps and do them with her. After a while she’ll start to do it on her own so that she can express her feelings in a helpful and appropriate way.

Share

Conversations With God – Book 3 by Neale Donald Walsch

Conversations With God – Book 3 by Neale Donald Walsch
Notes:
– This book will have Concepts dealing with other realms, other dimensions, and how the whole intricate weave fits together.
Act as if you are, and you will draw it to you. What you act as if you are, you become. In other words, “Fake it until you make it.” Therefore, whatever you choose for yourself, give to another.

Click to get the book or audiobook

– No one is more ill-equipped to raise children than young parents. And no one knows this better than young parents. 
Most parents come to the job of parenting with very little life experience. They’re hardly finished being parented themselves. They’re still looking for answers, still searching for clues. They haven’t even discovered themselves yet, and they’re trying to guide and nurture discovery in others even more vulnerable than they. They haven’t even defined themselves, and they’re thrust into the act of defining others. They are still trying to get over how badly they have been misdefined by their parents. In most advanced races and societies, elders raise the offspring, nurture the offspring, train the offspring, and pass on to the offspring the wisdom, teachings, and traditions of their kind.

– How men created a male God and Satan because women had power back in the day.

– Death, souls, afterlife, microcosm and macro intertwined.

– 3 choices you have:
1. You may allow your uncontrolled thoughts to create The Moment.
2. You may allow your creative consciousness to create The Moment.
3. You may allow the collective consciousness to create The Moment.

– Think of the Cosmic Wheel as that CD-ROM. All the endings already exist. The universe is just waiting to see which one you choose this time. And when the game is over, whether you win, lose, or draw, the universe will say, “Want to play again?” So if you think it would be interesting for the doomsday predictions of the psychics to come true, focus all your attention on that, and you can draw that to yourself. And if you think you would like to experience a different reality, focus on that, and that is the outcome you can draw to you.

– Who You Are is love.
 What love is, is unlimited, eternal, and free.
 Therefore, that is what you are. That is the nature of Who You Are. You are unlimited, eternal, and free, by nature.
Now, any artificial social, moral, religious, philosophical, economic, or political construction which violates or subordinates your nature is an impingement upon your very Self—and you will rail against it. 
What do you suppose gave birth to your own country? Was it not “Give me liberty, or give me death”?
 Well, you’ve given up that liberty in your country, and you’ve given it up in your Jives. And all for the same thing. Security.
 You are so afraid to live—so afraid of life itself—that you’ve given up the very nature of your being in trade for security.

– The institution you call marriage is your attempt to create security, as is the institution called government. Actually, they are both forms of the same thing—artificial social constructions designed to govern each other’s behaviour. It is the ultimate announcement of fear.
 If marriage allowed you to be unlimited, eternal, and free in your love, then it would be the ultimate announcement of love. As things are now, you become married in an effort to lower your love to the level of a promise or a guarantee.
 Marriage is an effort to guarantee that “what is so” now will always be so. If you didn’t need this guarantee, you would not need marriage.

And how do you use this guarantee? First, as a means of creating security (instead of creating security from that which is inside of you), and second, if that security is not forever forthcoming, as a means of punishing each other, for the marriage promise which has been broken can now form the basis of the lawsuit which has been opened. You have thus found marriage very useful—even if it is for all the wrong reasons.
 Marriage is also your attempt to guarantee that the feelings you have for each other, you will never have for another. Or, at least, that you will never express them with another in the same way. 
Finally, marriage as you have constructed it is a way of saying: “This relationship is special. I hold this relationship above all others.” If Who You Really Are is a being who says, “This one relationship—this single one, right over here-is more special than any other,” then your construction of marriage allows you to do that perfectly.

Yet you might find it interesting to notice that almost no one who is, or has been, recognised as a spiritual master is married. It’s because masters cannot truthfully make the statement that your present construction of marriage seeks to make: that one person is more special to them than another.
 This is not a statement that a master makes, and it is not a statement that God makes.
 The fact is that your marriage vows, as you presently construct them, have you making a very un-Godly statement. It is the height of irony that you feel this is the holiest of holy promises, for it is a promise that God would never make. Yet, in order to justify your human fears, you have imagined a God who acts just like you.

Therefore, you speak of God’s “promise” to his “Chosen People,” and of covenants between God and those God loves, in a special way. 
You cannot stand the thought of a God who loves no one in a way which is more special than any other, and so you create fictions about a God who only loves certain people for certain reasons. And you call these fictions Religions. I call them blasphemies. For any thought that God loves one more than another is false-and any ritual which asks you to make the same statement is not a sacrament, but a sacrilege. Religion and marriage the way you have constructed them is what we are talking about here.

Love has no requirements. That’s what makes it love.
 If your love for another carries requirements, then it is not love at all, but some counterfeit version. 
That is what I have been trying to tell you here, It is what I have been saying, in a dozen different ways, with every question you’ve asked here.
 Within the context of marriage, for example, there is an exchange of vows that love does not require. Yet you require them, because you do not know what love is. And so you make each other promise what love would never ask. (Neale and Nancy’s declaratio to each other – http://everything2.com/title/Uncommon+wedding+vows)

– You have bastardised the Word of God in order to justify your fears and rationalise your insane treatment of each other.
 You will make God say whatever you need God to say in order to continue limiting each other, hurting each other, and killing each other in My name. You have invoked My name, and waved My flag, and carried crosses on your battlefields for centuries, all as proof that I love one people more than another, and would ask you to kill to prove it.
 Yet I tell you this: My love is unlimited and unconditional. That is the one thing you cannot hear, the one truth you cannot abide, the one statement you cannot accept, for its all-inclusiveness destroys not only the institution of marriage (as you have constructed it), but every one of your religions and governmental institutions as well. For you have created a culture based on exclusion, and supported it with a cultural myth of a God who excludes. Yet the culture of God is based on inclusion. In God’s love, everyone is included. Into God’s Kingdom everyone is invited.

– If you terminate a pregnancy, We terminate a pregnancy. Your will is My will.

– You’re approaching the same point in human history again. It’s vitally important that you understand this.
Your present technology is threatening to outstrip your ability to use it wisely. Your society is on the verge of becoming a product of your technology, rather than your technology being a product of your society.
When a society becomes a product of its own technology, it destroys itself.

– Because guilt and shame is something which is imposed on a being from outside of itself. It can then be internalized, no question about that, but it is initially imposed from the outside. Always. No divine being (and all beings are divine) ever knows itself or anything it is doing to be “shameful” or “guilty” until someone outside of itself labels it that way. In your culture, is a baby ashamed of its “bathroom habits”? Of course not. Not until you tell it to be. Does a child feel “guilty” for pleasuring itself with its genitals? Of course not. Not until you tell it to feel guilty.
The degree to which a culture is evolved is demonstrated by the degree to which it labels a being or an action “shameful” or “guilty.”

Share

Avoiding waste with the Japanese concept of ‘mottainai’

The idea of ‘mottainai’—a Japanese approach to the concept of waste—could provide the west with a philosophical answer to environmental crises. Kevin Taylor, a graduate student in environmental philosophy from Southern Illinois University, explores this nuanced ethic of care and its deep roots in eastern ways of thinking.

In environmental studies, islands are often noted as isolated places where people have caused problems by exhausting local resources. The most famous example is Easter Island.

The builders of the famous statues, aware that they were almost completely isolated from the rest of the world, must surely have realised that their very existence depended on the limited resources of the small island. Yet they exhausted its resources anyway. This is often used as a metaphor for what we are doing to the planet; an idea made popular by Clive Ponting in his A Green History of the World.

Mottainai has come to be thought of as an all-encompassing Japanese term for the four Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle and respect.

 

In an increasingly globalised world, island nations have access to outside resources but the island mentality remains in countries such as Japan, which has developed a particular environmental awareness articulated concisely by the word mottainai.

The term expresses a feeling of regret at wasting the intrinsic value of a resource or object, and can be translated as both ‘what a waste’ and ‘don’t be wasteful’.

In recent years, the concept of mottainai has been popularised by Japanese and international media, as well as through children’s literature and in academia. Despite the pop culture applications, the word itself is said to have origins in Buddhist philosophy and religious syncretism. It has long been used to express the feeling of regret that carries with it metaphysical, ethical, and aesthetic connotations.

As a concept, mottainai reflects the feeling that arises from the awareness of both the interdependence and impermanence of all things.

‘The four Rs’

Thanks to Wangari Maathai, an accomplished political and environmental activist, mottainai has come to be thought of as an all-encompassing Japanese term for the four Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle and respect.

 

Before Maathai popularised mottainai outside of Japan, the word was being used by environmentally conscious Japanese activists in 2002. But Japanese scholars and authors insist that the mottainai spirit has been a part of Japanese culture for a long time, especially during the resource-starved post-war period.

Indeed, many Japanese attribute a mottainai attitude to their grandparents. Mariku Shinju illustrated this very attitude in her children’s book Mottainai Grandma.

‘Our parents told us what mottainai is so we know what it means. But if we don’t teach them to our children, they don’t learn,’ she says. ‘It’s a very scary thing. That’s why I thought we have to make an effort to teach the idea and to change the situation.’

This older generation was forced to live through a resource-poor era and the practice of frugality found resonance in Buddhism. Mottainai Grandma was published in 2005, which was the same year Maatthai first introduced it to the world.

Shinto

According to Yuko Kawanishi, a sociologist at Tokyo Gakugei University, mottainai also has ties with Shinto animism, the idea that all objects have a spirit—or kami.

The idea that we are part of nature and should maintain a harmonious relationship with nature is a deep part of Japanese psychology.

Not only does nature find itself imbued with kami, Shinto also celebrates the spirituality in man-made objects.

A prime example of this can be found in the idea of tsukumogami(animated household objects). Tsukumogami are a type of yōkai—variously translated as monster, spirit, goblin, ghost, demon, phantom, spectre, fantastic being, lower-order deity, or more amorphously as any unexplainable experience or numinous occurrence.

When an object turns 100 years old, it attains a spirit and becomes a tsukumogami. The concept that 100-year-old objects are imbued with spirits was an outgrowth of the Shinto reverence for objects and sacred spaces. A modern day ritual known as ningyō kuyō collects unwanted but not unloved dolls and, in a kind of mock funeral, prays for them and thanks the dolls for years of fond memories.

Even though the dolls are not technically tsukumogami, a ritual is performed to purify and drive out the spirits within. Both Shinto and Buddhist sects perform the ritual, though funerals are typically the realm of Buddhist priests. The general perception is that the ritual is necessary to help the passage of the spirit from the realm of the living to the realm of the dead.

This reverence for objects is commonly applied to katana, teapots and calligraphy brushes, but also to more mundane items such as pencil boxes, room dividers and umbrellas.

Buddhism

While Mottainai has been identified in such manifestations, it is for the most part understood as having its origins in Buddhist philosophy—particularly the concept of pratītyasamutpāda, or dependent origination.

Buddhist environmentalism is said to have begun with Gary Snyder in the early 1950s. Among Snyder’s contributions to eco-Buddhism was his ecological reading of Indra’s net—a metaphor used to illustrate the concept of dependent origination.

Eco-Buddhist David Barnhill describes the theory as ‘relational holism’, simultaneously affirming the primacy of relationships among particulars, but also the primacy of the whole.

It is here that we find Buddhism and ecology share a common vocabulary—particularly in terms of interconnectedness—which cautions us to be mindful of our actions so as to minimise suffering and not be wasteful.

The Buddhist monastic tradition emphasises a life of frugality in order to concentrate on the attainment of enlightenment. In fact, stories of ascetic denial in Buddhism are not uncommon, and such stories lend credence to the belief that mottainai is Buddhist in origin. It is within this move towards frugality that a Japanese aesthetic begins to emerge from mottainai as a concept of waste.

Mottainai attempts to communicate the inherent value in a thing and encourage using objects fully or all the way to the end of their lifespan. Leave no grain of rice in your bowl; if a toy breaks, repair it; and take good care of everything.

Share

Dashavatar: The ten avatars of Vishnu Compared to Darwins Theory of Evolution … thanks Sulomi

“The first avatar was the Matsya avatar, it means the fish. That is because life began in the water. Is that not right?” Vasu began to listen with a little more attention.

“Then came the Kurma Avatar, which means the tortoise, because life moved from the water to the land. The amphibian. So the Tortoise denoted the evolution from sea to land.

Third was the Varaha, the wild boar, which meant the wild animals with not much intellect, you call them the Dinosaurs, correct? ” Vasu nodded wide eyed.

“The fourth avatar was the Narasimha avatar, half man and half animal, the evolution from wild animals to intelligent beings.

Fifth the Waman avatar, the midget or dwarf, who could grow really tall. Do you know why that is? Cause there were two kinds of humans, Homo Erectus and the Homo Sapiens and Homo Sapiens won that battle.” Vasu could see that his Mother was in full flow and he was stupefied.

“The Sixth avatar was Parshuram, the man who wielded the axe, the man who was a cave and forest dweller. Angry, and not social.

The seventh avatar was Ram, the first thinking social being, who laid out the laws of society and the basis of all relationships.

The eight avatar was Krishna, the statesman, the politician, the lover who played the game of society and taught how to live and thrive in the social structure.

The Ninth avatar, the Buddha, the man who rose from Narasimha and found man’s true nature. The nature of Buddha, he identified man’s final quest of enlightenment.

And finally, my boy, will come Kalki, the man you are working on. The man who will be genetically supreme.”

Vasu looked at his Mother speechless. “This is amazing Mom, how did you.. This makes sense!”

“Yes it does Vasu! We Indians knew some amazing things just didnt know how to pass it on scientifically. So made them into mythological stories. Mythology makes sense. Its just the way you look at it – Religious or Scientific. Your call.

(Our culture is light years ahead of Western. A Must Read n pass it on for the people who keep harping about western world)

Share

Building Without Nails The Genius of Japanese Carpentry

Building Without Nails The Genius of Japanese Carpentry

We’ve heard of the genius “technology” used in ancient times to build towering monuments with nothing more than primitive tools like stones and ropes. The Egyptian pyramids of old is a great example.

Back in the far east, Japan had plenty to offer the ancient world as well when it came to resourceful inventions and crafts. Traditional Japanese Carpenters built houses, temples, and castles, without the use of nails, screws, or bolts.
In a documentary interviewing one of the few remaining practitioners of this seemingly lost art of carpentry, an old Japanese master craftsman exclaims “No bolts, no nails. It lasts longer!”. Proudly claiming its effectiveness that no one would be able to argue against its success in the form of several majestic towering temples all over Japan still standing to this day.
After being subjected to harsh weather and clashes of changes in civilizations for well over a thousand years. But with the bold statement comes a clear understanding that the success to this art isn’t because they designed it to withstand “against” nature, instead, it is all about being “with” nature.

Moving his livelihood to New York and sharing his art form of old Japanese wood working to the world, Isao Hanafusa, co-owner of Miya Shoji, has carved himself a unique niche in the competitive market of the furnishing industry.
Sought out and revered by New Yorkers wanting that embrace with nature in their interior decor with a style and durability in craftsmanship that can’t be rivaled by most factory produced alternatives.

All furniture selections in Miya Shoji showrooms are hand crafted, even the types lumber used in all his crafts are hand selected by Hanafusa himself. Isao Hanafusa was a graduate of Industrial Revolution studies of which he states has produced countless wonders for the modern world, but its cold machinery has also tragically killed off individual talent that is supposed to reside in craftsmen.

To this day, he rejects criticisms of his methods being unnecessarily old fashioned, because with all the bold talk of technologically advanced tools and methods used in modern day construction work, the Hanafusa family believes a thousand years worth of talent refinement and mastery should not be thrown away in exchange for mass production convenience.

Nor is it going to back down from the contest that their crafts will last even longer than rigid concrete and metal structures for the simple fact they are not designed to resist against the force of mother nature, but to live with her.

Share