Human being evolves dramatically in the formative fourteen years, all the more dramatic in the first three years. Empirical research have yielded that the child can match an adult in the mental faculties to the extent of eighty percent by the age of three and ninety percent by the age of eight. The eight intelligences inherent in the human being, as propounded by Howard Gardner, are getting sharpened during these phases. Most Indian parents are oblivious of the dramatic developments during these phases and they wake up only when the child reaches the so considered ‘critical class’ of ninth, not realizing that the real critical years of development are already behind the child.
At Indus world schools, our endeavor has been to shake the parents and wake them up, to be proactive facilitators during these formative years. Indus Learning series takes various forms during an academic year, one of which is annual parental outbound that take the parental community of the cities by storm in the months of November and December. I am in the midst of this season, crisscrossing the country facilitating them every weekend at one city or other. After a few of them this year I thought of penning this article.
Outbound learning modules have always been a great way to push ones boundaries, realize what more one can do and what one is capable of. The adventure activities and the team exercises throw one into situations that one has not been familiar with, and challenge one to find solutions in a few abstract or physical situations.
I am blessed to have been part of many an outbound every year, mostly as a facilitator, in the last two decades of the journey of Career Launcher – building internal teams, performers out-bounds of various divisions of the CL family, induction out-bounds at business school IWSB, out-bounds at schools – IWS : for mentor recruitment, out-bounds for its children and now for the parents of our school children. Every outbound continues to throw revelations for myself. The more I do, observe or facilitate, the deeper I dig within. The realizations have always been phenomenal.
In the context of schooling in India, most of the mothers and a few fathers too have never been part of any sports or games even in their childhood. Most become parents by accident and parenting is by trial and error. The limitations of thought and action of parents, who prefer to vegetate in their comfort zones, inadvertently ends up stifling the children. The parents fail to realize the impact of their deeds. It is a great loss to every child, family, community and the nation. Herein comes the parental outbound at IWS that shakes parents out of complacency to set the family on the path of realizing not only the potential of the child but also that of the family.
Parents are excited, cajoled and coxed to be part of the outbound. A great deal of effort goes into bringing parents in. Still we manage an attendance of about 40-50% only. We are not a sporting nation. Physical fitness is not in our blood, and being adventurous is not the mindset. But every parent who comes to the outbound goes back as an enlightened parent with a great deal of insights for self growth, parenting, facilitating child’s potential and family’s potential. The day-long activities of adventures, team games, creativity, learning environment, food meditation throw challenges at them – mental and physical, test their skill sets of leadership, people-people, problem solving etc.
Parents struggle to overcome the barriers of fear when they are ushered into an adventure activity. A few of them are excited, a few scoot, while the rest wait and watch questioning their own abilities as the activity progresses. Most of the excited ones, though they wear the harness with an intention to do, freeze with fear when their turn comes. Many cry, a few yell and shout, almost everyone prays! They need as much motivation and handholding as any young one would need when she attempts a new challenge.
The excitement in team games are no less when mothers are included in cricket or football; fathers participate in the kitchen for food meditation; every one asked to paint the wall …. They break the barriers and discover a new side, left unexplored in their life.
When they attempt for the first time, they nevertheless succeed and many a realization dawn….
They share… –
• “we need to be patient with our children”;
• “children cannot do at the first go. We need to encourage them”;
• “Help them gain confidence”;
• “Trust them and facilitate them to trust their own abilities”….
• “I will be active physically and encourage the child to be
• “Will play games with my child”
• “Will study myself and help the child to learn”
• “I will not shout if child takes time to solve the problem…”
• “I will create a good learning environment in my family..”
• “we will take our children to more places to help them widen their horizons..”
The list is endless. With hundreds of them sharing their ‘wow’ moments and promising themselves what changes they will bring within and in their family and home environment….
Our role as a school has been fulfilling….it is a space not only for children, but also for parents, families, communities and societies to be more humane and better enablers..
These out-bounds every year are a pilgrimage of self-discovery for all parents… hope to continue facilitating and learning too in the process..