Learn the potter’s craft (…to develop positive self-concept in children)

Self-concept or self-image is knowledge about self. Developing positive self-concept in a child can be compared to a potter’s craft. A potter uses clay; the soft pliable mud is transformed into a viable object with the skill of his hands and the mechanism of a wheel.

Self-concept or self-image is knowledge about self. Developing positive self-concept in a child can be compared to a potter’s craft. A potter uses clay; the soft pliable mud is transformed into a viable object with the skill of his hands and the mechanism of a wheel.

Self-concept is mainly a product of parents’ role in a child’s life. Here the potter are the parents, the clay is the child. The skill of hands signifies parents’ attitude and responses towards a child. And the mechanism of the wheel refers to the surrounding, a child is raised in – all these factors contribute towards developing self-concept in a child.

Alike a potter, who kneads the clay to work on its consistency; a mother influences her fetus’s well-being by taking care of her physical, mental and emotional health during pregnancy.

It requires the tactful knack of the potter’s hands to gradually shape up the pliable clay into a worthwhile object. To build positive self-concept in a child – a thoughtful approach should be adopted towards childcare:-

  • At birth, taking care of your baby’s needs is of prime importance. The calmness and warmth of the mother’s body while breast feeding…the gentleness of her hands while changing the clothing advances for a secure emotional bond between the baby and the mother.

Talk to your little one in a soft and a bubbly tone. Sing songs in a soothing pitch or play soft music.  Hang colourful toys on top of the cradle. Pay attention to their cries and respond by talking and caring for their wants.

At about two months, your baby will respond by smiling so smile back at them – this reflective positive response will stimulate their sense of self-worth.

  • Your baby will slowly progress to crawl, to sit and to walk and will simultaneously explore their immediate environment by touch and taste. Contribute in their expedition by offering them colourful and movable toys to manipulate. Carry your little-one around and talk about the different objects in the house.  Initiate taking along your baby for social events or family get-together and visit a nearby park as often as possible, this will increase your child’s awareness on the immediate surroundings.

Your child begins to understand verbal communication so avoid using harsh language or criticism because usage of offensive language influences the feeling of shame. Their curiosity and mobility will help them to imitate your words and actions. They will shut doors or open them, open or close lids of containers and will also pull down things which are within their reach. Big plastic blocks to build towers, being in small water pool with floating toys, big light-weight plastic balls to throw and pick are plays that your child will thoroughly enjoy.

  • As two year old, your child’s exploration will grow with some use of language to their aid.  Providing a safe environment for their adventurous pursuits is a must. They verbally express their preferences towards food, play and people. As parent we should portray a flexible attitude towards their demands. If a child insists on eating chocolates during lunch time, gently reason them by maintaining that they should eat the lunch first to eat the chocolate. Children of this age will express curiosity to handle some of the household products because of its colourful packaging; give box wrappers of these products and keep the product out of their reach.

Just when your child begins his journey as a two year old, gradual process of toilet training should begin. This advances his sense of autonomy with a forward leap towards forming a positive self-concept.

  • Three to four years of age, is a period for rapid development in gross motor and language skills. An environment to explore their physical capability should be provided e.g. climbing the jungle gym, cycling etc. They should also play with children of the same age group. As their language skills soars up high, your child should be encouraged to express their interpretations regarding the day to day happenings in school and at home.  Stories should be narrated; especially stories related with moral values and socially accepted behaviours.

This age marks the onset of fine motor skills.  Some activities to develop fine motor muscles are threading beads, colouring and paper crumbling.

Permit your child to do small tasks related to self-care, for instance… selecting clothes for oneself, clothing oneself, taking care of toys and books. They should also be given easy household tasks to carry out; this initiates the spirit of usefulness.

At this age, self-concept slowly shapes to take a concrete form. The mechanism of the wheel i.e. the outside influence also begins to set in, the performance at school marks this – they might express it by saying, ‘Teacher gave me two stars … for writing neatly’ or ‘Teacher scolded me… for not writing’ or may complain to you that one of his classmates pinched him.  As parents, we should motivate our kids with praise and by hugs.

  • At the age of 5 to 6 years, children become effective communicators and will express their feelings and thoughts without any inhibition. Encourage your child by asking their opinions on matters concerning them, if the child answers in affirmative or not, tie-in the question by asking the reason for the same. This enables a child to realise that his views are important and also encourages them to voice-out inner conflicts.

They will participate in group games wherein they will learn to wait for their turn, cooperate in play and obey the rules of a game.  It is during group games, children begin to recognise their acceptance among friends. Some children find it difficult to adjust in group games and this defiance may reflect when all of a sudden they become attention-seekers.  Help your child by playing indoor board game e.g. Snakes and Ladders, Ludo etc. which will help them understand that while playing games with friends, they have to follow a set of rules in order to enjoy a game.

Children’s cognitive ability will mark a big boost. To encourage, parents can provide age-appropriate books to read and to observe. They will also be well-aware of their emotional needs and will also be sensitive towards the needs of others. They will recognize that they are a part of a society and will label themselves and others as ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’ in terms of moral conduct.

Early years of life are the formative years in development of self-concept. While employing these ideas try not to compare children, to show dominance or to curb free thinking.

When the clay is moulded into a pot – using a stiff wire the potter pulls it  separate from the wheel and later bakes it, for it become a worthwhile object. Similarly, children who are moulded to have a positive self-concept develop in society as individuals portraying a strong sense of self- respect and they instil the same sense in others.



Marigold, these sun-kissed flowering plants are widely cultivated across India. It’s very common to see statue of God and Goddess being honoured with garlands of marigold flowers and also numerous strings of these flowers synchronized to enhance the beauty of religious places. Most of us are unfamiliar of its antiseptic properties.

Calendula, the golden marigold is also famously called as the English or Pot marigold. According to expert Dennis Leppanen, knowledgeable in nutritional healing and a believer in herbal therapy, “Calendula stimulates the liver and gall, flushes out toxins that often underlie skin problems. The infusion of 1 ounce to a pint of boiling water is given internally as a local application”.

Dennis Leppanen states, “A lay person can prepare herbal remedies using marigold flowers and its leaves, its action is stimulant and diaphoretic. The gypsies used them in ointment form for sprains, wounds, and skin problems.  Bright flowers are plucked and the leaves are gathered in fine weather – in the morning after the sun has dried up the dew. These flowers are loosely spread out on a sheet of paper so that they do not touch each other or there are chances that they become discoloured. In a good current of warm air they are dried up in shade.”

Remedies suggested by the expert are:-

  • For shiny hair: Two ounces marigold, one ounce mullein flowers and two ounces chamomile. Mix together all ingredients. Put a large handful into a bowl and saturate with boiling water. Cover and steep. Strain when cold and add one T. oil of citronella. Brush into hair in the morning and at night to give a healthy shine. It should be made freshly every other day.
  • Poultices or dressings: Bruise the leaf and flower. Pour just enough boiling water over to wet the materials. Apply the botanical to the affected part and cover with a cloth that has been wrung out in hot water. Replace the cloth with another as it gets cold.



Quick Indian recipes – Easy,healthy,delicious

Cooking chicken is a good option for me when I run out of options. Chicken easily amalgamates with variety of vegetables and spinach is also one of them ….

  • To oil add butter as well. At first, sauté mashed garlic followed by thinly sliced onions. Stir the onion occasionally and let it loose colour. Add cumin, mashed ginger and very thinly chopped tomatoes.
  • To this mixture add salt, turmeric, chilly, coriander and garam masala powder – stir the mixture.
  • Put chicken pieces in the mixture and stir it well.
  • In another utensil, cook spinach in water till minute boils appear, immediately remove the spinach from the hot water and let it cool by running cold water over it. Grind the spinach into puree.
  • Pour the spinach puree to par cooked chicken and leave it to cook by stirring occasionally.

Happy Eating!

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Tactics to beat nagging

Nagging is one of the most common side effects of marriage. Your critical analysis of your partner draws an invisible line of partition between you and your partner. Here are some beneficial tact’s to beat your nagging streaks.

Nag: “Why are the clothes lying on the bed? Can you ever put them to the right place?”

Hitch: Perhaps your better half may hesitate to say this to you but may surly think, “You do the job just fine so why should I. ” And calmly watch you walk-by – carrying the load like a donkey, in anger, contemplating to kick its master. You may end up smelling the fumes of your frustration by unconsciously playing the role of a parent in your spouse’s life.

Transform: Try saying, “Could you please pick up the clothes which are lying around” will surly pay off. It will definitely take your spouse by surprise and will cost him a fraction of a second – to digest your kind, non- critical words. But it may surly act as coal to the fire engine – to get started!

“I haven’t spoken to my wife in years. I didn’t want to interrupt her.” – Rodney Dangerfield- comedian and actor

Nag:You are always glued to the T.V! You don’t have time to listen to me!”

Hitch: Probably your spouse may reply, “But I am listening to you”… while still concentrating on the on-goings of a cricket match. Satisfied by the response echoing its way to the kitchen – busy chopping vegetables for dinner, you may break open the flood gates of all the trivial issues. Soon realizing the dead silence coming from across the other end; you may hurry to check on your spouse – only to be stunned to witness your spouse hale and hearty, enjoying the game. On your shocking arrival with a knife in hand, he may utter your words like a parrot (in desperation) to prove to you that he was listening … Then with an easy smile he may conclude to say, “See I was listening.”

Transform: If you see your spouse enjoying a T.V. program, try being a detective to know exactly what your sweetheart is watching. If you think it is a boring stuff for your brain, try indulging in activities of your interest. Call up a friend to gossip about the whole world … or listen to music and dance to your favourite number … or relax and enjoy reading a book. For a conversation with your spouse, choose a relaxing time – may be the dinner time or just before going to bed. Hold your beloved’s hand, gaze in the eyes and calmly discuss the issues troubling you, all these loving gestures will lead up to initiate a healthy conversation.

“When a girl marries she exchanges the attentions of many men for the inattention of one.” – Helen Rowland – journalist and humourist

Nag: “Why do I have to suffer like this? I end up doing all the household chores while you do nothing at all, am I not a human being?!!”

Hitch: Your spouse may possibly think, “God! What’s making her sulk today? And when did I ever doubt, she not being a human!”  In anger, he will respond to protest, “So are you trying to tell me, I treat you like an animal?” Rapidly, with equal efficiency you will respond back saying, “Yes you do!” Slamming the bedroom door hard on your husband’s face, almost hurting his nose, you may retire to cry at your heart’s content.

Transform: “Divide and rule”, employ this famous phrase to your aid, it means divide the chores according to preference. If you’re a better cook, employ yourself to the task, meanwhile, let your spouse take responsibility for the kids study or play activity. If your spouse hates messy rooms, allow him/her take in charge of maintaining the house clean. You can take the responsibility of payment of bills and shopping for groceries. At times, odd or long office hour is the reason for disruption in leading a healthy family life. To counter attack this situation, you can hire a help for the household chores and spent the precious hours relaxing in the arms of your beloved.

“I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They’ve experienced pain and bought jewelry.” – Rita Rudner – comedian, writer and actress                              

Nag: “You are an idiot!!”

Hitch: Certainly, you are on the attack by dropping the boom of irresponsible words. The consequence of it would surely be – by defence attack or cold war techniques employed from the defensive end. Seriously, it implies that – criticism may make your spouse resentful. The more you criticize the more your words will become ineffective or your spouse may feel inadequate. Finally, it leads your partner to avoid you completely.

Transform: Is your spouse a mirror image of you? Definitely, the answer is – No! So avoid adding your own expectation on your partner. If you want a work done according to your specifications, get things done yourself (… This theory works better than burdening your spouse and later criticizing). If a particular habit of your spouse is driving you insane, discuss the issue.

“Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.” … “The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret.” – Henry Youngman- comedian and violinist


What’s your New Year’s resolution?

New Year’s resolutions are self- improvement promises we make to ourselves at the start of a new year. The most common self-upgrading resolves are … (guess) to lose weight, to drink less alcohol and many more unreserved choices out of the numerous reserved ones. However, our resolves loses its momentum very easily … A study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol, conducted in 2007, indicated that 88% out of the 3,000 people involved failed in their New Year’s resolution!

“Never tell your resolution beforehand, or it’s twice as onerous a duty”, is a very right quote of John Selden – an English jurist and a scholar, to explain the study result that women succeeded 10% more when they made their resolutions public and of course, with dependence on encouragement from friends. The study result is neither empathetic towards men, it states that they completed their goals 22% more when they were involved in small measurable aims.

Toward the end of the Great Depression, the concept of New Year’s resolution became popular among the masses in the United States and because of its secular concept this tradition fast gained popularity across nations. As years go by, New Year’s resolutions have become more and more superficial, a quote by an anonymous writer rightly reflects our insincere attitude – “A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.”

It is very amusing to know that the ancient Babylonians started the New Year promising the Gods that they would return borrowed things and pay their debts. Neither the Romans were low-spirited in welcoming the New Year; they began each year by making promises to the God Janus. It is said that the custom of New Year’s resolution partially originated from the Lenten sacrifices of the Catholic community, when the followers reflect upon one’s iniquities and seek and offer forgiveness.

So what’s your New Year’s resolution? …


Savitribai Phule

‘Clad in a cotton sari along with her head covered, walking timidly, she would reach a school in Bhide Wada, Pune. Her face showed no traces of self-pity for the verbal abuses faced. The tell-tale signs on her sari announced aloud her plight of being the target of tomatoes, cow dung, rotten eggs and stones – mercilessly hurled by the many orthodox men of the society’.

Savitribai Phule (3rd January, 1831 – March 1897) was a social reformer, who worked towards education and liberation of women in the male-dominated society of the pre-independent India. She and her husband Mahatma Jyotirao Phule witnessed heart breaking sights of Sati rituals (a practice that required the widow to burn herself to death on funeral pyre of her husband). The illogical practice of child-marriages would eventually cause images of misery.

A large number of young widows were forced to look ugly by clean shaving their heads, unexplainable to the fact that they were easy prey for lust seeking men. These victimised widows, when pregnant, would resort to the extreme step of suicide or kill the new born to avoid humiliation form the watch dogs of the society.

The sight of this social injustice awakened up Savitribai Phule’s consciousness. Against the social prejudices, along with her husband as her inspiration and strength, she worked towards building self-esteem and confidence among the female folks. Using education as a tool to improve the scenario they set up schools for women, where she worked as a teacher. Delivery homes were also opened up for distressed women. The history of India, proudly remembers her as “Vidya Jyoti” (light of knowledge) and also as a first woman ever, to light the funeral pyre of her husband.



Indian Cinema is trooping ahead of its 100 years of magnificent existence. Apart from its female stereotypes, few movies have celebrated women in a liberated form. Here is a list of seven Hindi movies along with description of woman’s reformist portrait, demanding independence from a patriarchal mind-set

Indian Cinema is trooping ahead of its 100 years of magnificent existence. Apart from its female stereotypes, few movies have celebrated women in a liberated form. Here is a list of seven Hindi movies along with description of woman’s reformist portrait, demanding independence from a patriarchal mind-set:-

‘Mother India’– An iconic movie of the Indian Cinema, exposes the exploitation of illiterate farmers by the moneylenders. Released in 1957, was directed by Mehboob Khan and is a remake of the film Aurat (1940).
Character: Radha (Nargis Dutt) is not afraid of hardship and her independence. She is proud to be a woman and respects the rights of other woman’s as well.
Presence: In the atmosphere of rural poverty, Radha bravely strives to survive by working in the fields along with raising her children. She never hesitates to shoot down her debauched son.

‘Arth’ – Is a movie on a woman’s journey towards self-dependence. A 1982 release; directed and written by Mahesh Bhatt.
Character: Pooja (Shabana Azmi ) is an unsecured and a cocooned character, when faced with hard facts of life, slowly emerges as a secured and a free willed woman.
Presence: Pooja is a housewife living in a rented apartment, has a dream of owning a house since her days of an orphan girl. The key of her new house brings in happiness followed by a deep cut of betrayal from her husband, in love with other woman. She leaves the heart-broken nest and lives through the difficulties of life as a single person and becomes independent.

‘Mirch Masala’ – A movie based on a village, where its people are slaves to a local tax collector. Released in 1985; directed by Ketan Mehta written by Chunnilal Madhiya.
Character: Sonabai (Smita Patil) character portrays a strong sense of independence, in believing she is the owner of her own body and mind.
Presence: Based during the period of British Raj where a tax collector by the use of force makes the villagers obey to his pitiful demands. A demand of sexual favour by him offends Sonabai, whose revolt sets a fire of agitation among the women folk, ultimately attacking the tax collector with red chilli powder.

‘Damini’ lightening – Is a story of a woman’s struggle, in seeking justice for a victim of rape. A 1993 release; directed by Rajkumar Santoshi and written by Sutanu Gupta.
Character: Damini (Meenakshi Sheshadri) is a clear-conscious woman,  who feels no inhibition in speaking the truth and is courageous to stand for it.
Presence: Damini is a middle class girl, who gets married in an affluent family and develops a strong bond of friendship with her house maid. On the occasion of Holi, she witnesses the brutal gang rape of her maid. On seeing the maid’s fatal condition, she sets on a determined fight for justice. Against the family’s false honour, corrupt law enforcement and the prolonged system of judiciary she succeeds in seeking justice

‘Lajja’ – A movie based on the life of four women, in revolt with the structure of a patriarchal society. Released in 2001, was directed by Rajkumar Santoshi and written by Ranjit Kapoor and Rajkumar Santoshi,
Character: The four women characters Vaidehi, Maithili, Janki and Ramdulaari portray self-respect, maturity and are fighters of self-independence.
Presence: A pregnant Vaidehi (Manisha Koirala) sets on a journey, escaping from the goons of her philanderer husband. She gatecrashes into a wedding and meets up with the bride-to-be, Maithili (Mahima Choudhary), a woman who sets the groom’s family fleeing on the day of her wedding, insulting them, for the harassment caused to her father with demands of a hefty dowry. Next, she comes across Janki (Madhuri Dixit), a theatre actress, a woman not caring for the norms of the society and pregnant with her lover’s child. Later she meets Ramdulaari (Rekha), who is a local midwife, a woman opposing the exploitation of innocent women by the village leaders.

‘Astitva’ – Is a movie on a woman, who in the autumn of her life, initiates to discover her self-identity. Released in 2000, was directed and written by Mahesh Manjrekar.
Character: Adidty (Tabu) is a homemaker, with her life revolving around needs and wishes of her husband.
Presence: Adidty is married to a very ambitious and self-centred man. During the early years of marriage, she is left lonely and longing for love by her husband – who has to travel for months on a frequent basis. Her sexual yearning, leads her in committing adultery. Later in life, her husband discovers that he is not the father of her child and insults her. She stands up and questions her husband’s male chauvinism. She puts forward the question whether martial rape or curbing of sexual desire by a woman can be justified, in a marriage.

‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ – A movie about three friends, gaining insight on life during a road-trip to Spain. A 2011 release; directed and written by Zoya Akhtar.
Character: Laila (Katrina Kaif) is a free spirited and an emotionally secured woman.
Presence: She sparks up the movie with matured sensibilities, where surprises are part of life not expectation and built with one’s own choices.