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Stewardship and Trusteesh
  By A.J. Philip  
  I ACCOMPANIED Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his visit to South Africa on the occasi  
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  DEVOTIONAL  
 
   
Letter to Metropolitan
  By Rev A.P. Jacob and five other priests  
  Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar  
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  EDUCATIONAL
 
Small word, big problem
 
  By William Grimm  
  PEOPLE who have studied English as a second language tell me that three of the biggest challenges they encount  
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  COUNSELING  
     
 
   
Pleasures of parenting
  By Shaheen Chander  
  AFTER a tiring day at work, she rushes to pick up her bundle of joy from the day care centre, where the child is eagerly waiting. As they reach home, the husband also arrives, worn out and tired.

Due to professional strains, both parents have little time left for their child. They still try to keep him content in every possible way -- lavishing him with games, toys and, of course, some basic conversation. However, the poor child longs for much more.

This story is typical of every home where professionals -- especially young working women are striving hard to strike a balance between parenthood and work. Bringing up a child is meant to be a full-fledged job for both parents. Yet, societal expectations have always been higher on mothers.

Now, the role of the mother has undergone a drastic change. Her job is not merely confined to the home and her children. She has become more career-oriented as well. Ultimately, the one who suffers is the child, who is deprived of attention and care.

The importance of paying attention to children

The concept of 'paying attention' signifies the expression of consideration, care and love in the context of child-rearing. Parenthood not only refers to child-bearing, but also requires active child-rearing. However, considering the present lifestyles, are we really able to give sufficient attention to our children?

Early childhood years are significant for the overall development of the child. At this stage, certain growth patterns can be observed. In the case of infants, parents tediously monitor the child's crawling, sitting and walking, but later on, several other aspects of development need consideration, such as physical and mental growth patterns. Parents can also gain pleasure and happiness from hearing about their child's experiences at school.

Moreover, as the child moves from kindergarten to regular classes, he/she requires more parental attention and regular feedback from teachers, to assess his competence.

Incorrect parenting and its outcomes

When we are unable to provide enough time for our children, we generally make up for this by fulfilling all their demands. But are we really gratifying our children's needs, or simply our own insecurities?

Providing attention for the sole reason of making our presence felt results in producing an unpleasant child. When he/she becomes uncontrollably annoying and we have no time for him/her, the Xbox and television comes to our rescue. This is a quick way of appeasing the child, but have we thought of the ill-effects of the multimedia?

As children copy their role models, the mindset of the young child is affected by aggressive acts displayed on television. By adopting such techniques, we make the child feel ignored, irritated and attention-starved.

Solutions for good parenting

Raising children ought to be a shared responsibility. For parents, swapping roles and performing dual roles proves to be of the greatest benefit. If possible, spend little free time together. Plan family-oriented events. The weekend is a good time when you can work out special activities. Try to determine the child's interests, such as drawing or art.

A joint activity such as baking a cake or creating a greeting card for a loved one is a good bonding time and will instill good qualities in the child. Engross your child in smaller activities as well. For instance, while going shopping, take him/her along. Engage the child in mini-tasks, such as identifying the best items on sale at the store. This will encourage his participation in household activities.

Last, but not least, conversing with your child helps him/her learn several things and also adds to the child's vocabulary and reasoning power.

Child-rearing is hard work, but can be fun, even for working parents. Planning a proper schedule for your child will allow you enjoy every precious moment of his/her life.
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The writer has done MSc in child development and is currently working as a research assistant with a publishing company, Pearson Education
 
   
   
Becoming one
  By Edit Bajema  
  A MARRIED couple came to the counselor's office, seeking guidance. "We have been married only six months, but we are starting to fight all the time" said the husband. "She says I don't do enough to help her".

"You never look after my interests!" said the wife heatedly. "The only thing you care about is what you need".

After listening to this for half an hour, the counselor gave them one suggestion. "Each of you write down what you feel you need out of this marriage and out of your life".

The couple did this, and the counselor continued: "Exchange lists. Margaret, your job is to focus primarily on Tim's list and assist him in any way to meet his needs and goals. Tim, you do the same with Margaret's list. Forget your own list; let your spouse be the primary caretaker of your own needs and goals".

They agreed reluctantly and left. Two weeks later, they returned. After hearing what they had to say, the counselor told them, "You are on the right track. Call me if you need me".

That was 25 years ago. Now they are celebrating a very successful marriage and their anniversary with their four children and many friends.

The secret to their unity? Taking the other person's needs, feelings and desires into themselves. In a sense, a bit of Tim was "in" Margaret and vice versa. Margaret gave of herself to help accomplish Tim's goals, and Tim did the same for her.

Unity in marriage is wonderful when it happens, but it's often difficult to achieve. Unity among believers can be even more elusive. Believers differ, disagree, hurt each other's feelings, fight about issues and problems.

The key to becoming one lies in Jesus' prayer to his Father for all believers: "that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me".

Do you willingly pledge yourself to put Jesus' plans and priorities first, making them your own? Then you have allowed Jesus to be "in" you.

And when you meet with other believers who have done the same, you can't help but become "like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose".
 
   
   
Understand the adolescent
  By Shaheen Chander  
 

AT a family gathering recently, I overheard my parents sharing with some friends the experience of raising children.

I enjoyed the baby tales, but when they reached stories of our teen years, I couldn't help wondering if it was we they were talking about. They perceived me so differently from how I felt about myself. This took me back to those years when I was a befuddled teen.

Adolescence is, no doubt, the most enthralling stopover in this human journey. However, at that stage, one is in a state of dilemma; whether to rejoice over achieving yet another milestone or lament over the psychological and emotional turmoil.

On the one hand, there is an exciting new world welcoming one with open arms. On the other, there is a wave of emotional upheaval baffling the individual with his own identity -- where does it lie? Is he an adult or a child? It represents a clash of wishes and expectations whereby parental expectations do not match a teenager's cravings.

He/she might wish to try his hand on a new car. If he is fortunate enough to get a chance, he has to bear a ride under Dad's supervision. For Dad, it is a matter of pride, but for the teenager, it is embarrassing. He thinks, "What will I tell my friends? They will laugh their heads off. Am I a kid?"

What an adolescent should do

You can make the transition smoother by keeping yourself involved in different chores and occupying yourself with interesting activities. This relieves stress and enables you to channelise your energy constructively. Read, take part in sports and pursue hobbies. Share your thoughts and ideas with friends and socialise with peers and family. Yes, family! It is a good stress buster.

Make a list of things you want to do in a day, in a week, in a month. While making any decisions, keep in mind the moral standards and familial factors. Seek guidance from your parents, levelheaded relatives and elder siblings. Work on your relationships. Their views may sound alienating, but they aren't all that appalling. Your relationship with them ought to be open. Parental guidance will solve half of your problems.

Parenting an adolescent

Adolescence can be a stressful time for the parents as well. You often become the ultimate victims of your child's emotional turmoil. In this scenario, all he/she needs is your support and understanding. But not many of us are able to provide both.

At times, we tend to support them, but can't understand them. This support could be in the form of basic necessities, requirements, but is this sufficient for the child? In many cases, we try to understand them, but can't provide support. This could be due to familial or societal pressures that make us incapable of sustaining our child's interests.

Parenting techniques shape the overall personality of a child. Encourage him at every stage. When your child scribbled something on a piece of paper, did you bother to appreciate it? The same childhood activity could take the shape of a hobby. This helps the child in dealing with the tumult.

As parents, we need to give our children an environment conducive to express their viewpoints and thus improve upon our personal relationship with them. Involve the young adults in small discussions. This makes them feel important and cared for.

At this stage, they develop a relationship with the opposite sex. This should be dealt with in a considerate way. Remember your child seeks an understanding friend. You could be the one!

Adolescence is a period of challenges for both the parents and the child. This is a fragile subject that requires concern and thoughtful dealing. Encouragement and support of the parent and for the parent can make this phase less stressful and more exciting for everyone.

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The writer has done MSc in child development and is currently working as a research assistant with a publishing company, Pearson Education.
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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