A Mother’s Prayer for Her Child By Tina Fey

Actress Tina Fey, has written a lovely little note called A Mother’s Prayer for Her Child.

Here are a couple of excerpts for you (note – it’s written as a prayer to God, so read it from that point of view):

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.


And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

Read the full article

To appreciate or not to appreciate kids/students

Recently, a friend of mine asked me this question:

In my last few interactions with freshers, I have found some to be really good. Although a lot of my conversations with freshers covers encouragement and motivational phrases, I also appreciate (from my heart) good work when I see it, good thoughts as soon as I hear it.

But I have realized that appreciation gets to their head, and they just stop delivering immediately. A day or 2 from the appreciation they just stop.

I was talking to one of my friends and he said something that surprised me. He said, dont appreciate in lots, infact do it in phases. Club appreciation with some criticism/feedback. Freshers have use this a way of feeling really good and actually start thinking that they will get 50L jobs starting tomorrow.

Throw some light on this. I am looking for some wisdom here.

I don’t really have enough expertise in this area, so I did not really venture an opinion.

However, I do remember reading about some research in the area of kids’ motivation, which essentially said this:

Do not praise the achievement. Praise the effort.

Here are more details from an New Yorker Magazine article about experiments conducted by psychologist Carol Dweck and her team:

Dweck sent four female research assistants into New York fifth-grade classrooms. The researchers would take a single child out of the classroom for a nonverbal IQ test consisting of a series of puzzles—puzzles easy enough that all the children would do fairly well. Once the child finished the test, the researchers told each student his score, then gave him a single line of praise. Randomly divided into groups, some were praised for their intelligence. They were told, “You must be smart at this.” Other students were praised for their effort: “You must have worked really hard.”

Then the students were given a choice of test for the second round. One choice was a test that would be more difficult than the first, but the researchers told the kids that they’d learn a lot from attempting the puzzles. The other choice, Dweck’s team explained, was an easy test, just like the first. Of those praised for their effort, 90 percent chose the harder set of puzzles. Of those praised for their intelligence, a majority chose the easy test. The “smart” kids took the cop-out.

These days, I am skeptical of these psychological studies since they study some tiny aspect of psychological theory in isolation, and there is no guarantee that any of this really works in practice. As someone said, in theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is.

But that article does have a lot of interesting insights to chew up.

In any case, those who have some experience in this area (those with grown up kids, or those with some sort of a teaching background, or any other relevant experience), can you weigh in on this topic. What do you think?

(You should also check out the comments on this topic on my Facebook page)

Preventing child sexual abuse – What every Parent should know and do

About 15 to 20% of adults report receiving some form of sex abuse as kids. That’s right 15-20%. Which means, if you know 6 kids, there is a high probability that one of them is being, or will be sexually abused. This abuse can range from inappropriate and repeated touching, all the way to penetrative sex. And it is happening all around you. And it affects girls and boys equally (below the age of 12, after which girls are more affected).

But, most of it can very easily be prevented. All you need to do is to have a simple 15 minute chat with your children, once every six months. This chat does not involve talking about sex, does not involve talking about genitals, and is not an uncomfortable chat, and is not scary for children.

Here is a video of what this chat is like:

If you can’t see the video above, go to see it on YouTube

That is Dr. Bhooshan Shukla, a Child Psychiatrist going through one such session.

That’s it. That’s all you need to do.

For more detail on the Hows and the Whys and FAQs, see Dr. Shukla’s blog post on this subject. By the way, you should subscribe to his blog too.

Again, this is important, this is easy. Please do it.

And please spread the word.

This is not a problem that affects only western countries, or only kids in slums, or only kids from broken families. It affects everyone. That’s why you need to do this.

If you don’t have kids, I’m sure you know others who have kids. Please tell them about this.

If you would like such a session to be conducted in your society/school, but are not confident enough to do it on your own, you can contact me, or Dr. Shukla, or meetu (email), and we can figure something out.

Update: from Dr. Shukla on 11 August 2011:

This video is gathering steam. Almost 18,000 vies at the last
count. I am answering about 25 e-mils every day (since last one month!) about abuse and people’s experience when talking to kids. So far views and mails form over 20 countries (all 5 continents!)

I think we have acquired some really good karma here.

Please continue to spread the word. Thanks.