Not only children but learning and growing is for parents as well! - Manisha Singh

A parent and a wellness coach Manisha Singh shares her insights about the need for children to follow their passion. She also talks about how parents need to grow with their children and parenting is a journey as a child grows. At Shenomics she helps women from various backgrounds to find their passion. In an interview with Openhouse Manisha speaks about the need to change the current curriculum of the education system and the need for children to keep up hope. She also talks about the role of parents during these tough times.

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It is a pleasure to have you here with us today! Before we get started for the day, we would love to hear about your journey towards Shenomics.

I’ve been working for Shenomics for the past six years now. It came into being when Bhavna, the founder, was at her own crossroads of journey to find a meaning and a purpose in living. She then realized that there must be many women out there looking for support and help in the path that they want to pursue. She then thought of creating a leadership platform dedicated to women, that is how Shenomics came into being.

I met Bhavna through a common friend, when we spoke to each other for the first time we realized that we had an alignment of vision. But back then I would only facilitate her to conduct different sessions. Then I realized that I could help her with the coaching forefront and that is how I joined Shenomics. It is a platform for women who are looking to work on themselves.

How has the journey been of shifting from a corporate sector to a socially inclined platform that supports women?

Growing up we had only two or three options to choose from. Either to become doctors or engineers. And I chose to become an engineer. We just went with the flow.  

But I eventually started enjoying working with people. Out of 14 years of my career I have been a manager for 11 years. Later, in the year 2000 I had to manage a team of coaches for which I had to take up a certification. It was then that I realized, as one goes up the ladder their behavior changes, they carry themselves as perspective leaders.  

As I continued I felt that there was something missing at the holistic level. And one thing that startled me was that there were very few women, hence no one would actually understand the needs of women. After which I decided to quit because that was not what I wanted.

I later joined back after the birth of my child, but they gave me the job to handle five geographies at a time. Then I decided to do something different. But first, I decided to work a bit on myself first, it was all worth it. I studied peace and consulting. Then I met Bhavna and with my knowledge about the corporate landscape I realized that I had much more to offer. 

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So Shenomics is an all women run organization and is based on passion and the love for doing something new. But children these days seem so lost given the uncertainty of anything and everything. How important is it for anyone to keep up hopes in these testing times?

During the pandemic, we have seen different generations coming together. There is a lot of anxiety among children. There is always this pressure on children because everyone tells them that boards are important. As children try to prove their worth we forget to teach them basic life skills. 

Given the current time and situation we must learn to get comfortable with uncertainty. There are two ways of looking at it, one is with being anxious and the other is with curiosity. When we see it from the angle of fear we focus only on survival, which is important but it shrinks our vision to the basics. But when you are curious, you start taking actions you do not accept the state of misery but look for viable solutions. Even during the lockdown there have been many kids who have tried their best to help those in need. It would be wrong to say that they are not scared, but they try to bring a change. And this is the perspective that one needs to cultivate.

We as parents pressurise our children, there is a long way to go before we stop. So it is important to keep up hopes instead of just accepting life just the way it is. Children learn quite fast and we need to encourage them to be creative. That is our job.

 I have seen many parents who do not understand the need of their child to follow their passion and they are more invested for them to have a secure future, which at times over powers the needs of children. And most of the times people get lost and suddenly start questioning their choices in life. 

This problem is carried over from generation to another and not to mention it is an age old problem. There are two aspects to this issue. First when we become parents we think that the child is under our control. Second, we feel that we are naturally equipped to bring up a child. But my view over here is that even parents need to grow with the birth of a child. They need to adapt with the changing situations and facilitate their child to achieve the same. They should not take over the lives of their children and decide for them.

It is important for parents to retrospect about the impact that they want to leave on their children. Parents should not see themselves to be placed over their children just because they have seen more of the world. But getting this perspective takes a lot of time because parents tend to be overprotective. Once people become parents they have the opportunity to go through the learning process all over again.

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As parents sometimes isn't it important for them to be patient with their children? 

Yes absolutely! When I found out that my child was dyslexic I also noticed that she was gifted in her own creative way. She understands colour and stories much better than most of us. I did not give up on my child I just let her be the way she wanted to, I definitely did not want to force her. As a parent I get to learn so much from my daughter. We need to parent responsibly to let our child engage well. We as parents need to involve ourselves into the process of our child’s growth.

We need to encourage children to ask better questions. They need to develop new ways of thinking. That will be their way of survival later on, for which they need to keep up with the curious attitude.  

Sometimes it so happens that a person figures out his/her passion quite later in life. We know that there is no right age to follow your interests and passion but at times it is tough to take that leap. What would you like to say to such students and their parents?

It is important to surround yourself with the right kind of people, these people need to be your support system. Someone who listens to your ideas and being non-judgmental about it. But here’s the catch your friends or family may not always know what is right for you. They need someone who helps to make the move gradually, this is also where coaching helps. The reason why most of them do not want to make a shift is based on normal fears.

The biggest mistake that most people make is to take comfort in asking a non-experienced friend for advice. This might backfire, it is like asking your friend to fly a plane. One should seek professional support in such a case. One needs to find their own answer and not absorb someone else’s answers. By finding your own answers you feel empowered. Then look into the possibilities of taking the leap.

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Many children have aspirations of becoming a professional at something later on in life but due to certain circumstances they stop themselves from taking onto that path. Do you think the redundancy of the Indian education system has a role to play in this?

One needs to look into possibilities rather than looking only for ONE correct answer. There needs to be a subtle yet significant shift in the education system. A child needs to look for answers, there should not be a need for a right or wrong answer. Children need to be taught about the basic life skills. These skills are very essential to navigate the world.

We need a curriculum that helps children develop personally and this needs to be at the earliest stage of education. This needs to be included also because by the time children understand the need to be out there, they already feel lost and exhausted. Children need to move with a certain pace and they also need time to process the change.

Introducing a curriculum that helps children grow personally also helps them to adapt to the world. They learn to make better choices earlier in life and are less dependent on a second person. They choose their own journey instead of just being a passenger who goes with the flow.

Here at Openhouse we believe that education can be fun. We believe in letting students interact and open-up. We ensure that children not only study but also include and indulge into the process of studying. We needn’t force a child into studying all we have to do is to make it interesting and fun.

At Openhouse, we believe that every child is unique - especially in the way they learn. Our classes are designed to be inclusive, student-friendly environments that encourage children to engage with their teachers and each other. This could be through interactive discussions, activities or experiments.

 

To sign up for a free demo class at Openhouse, click here