Recently when Anahita
was getting ready to go for her first high school dance, one of my friends,
an experienced grandfather, tried to pull my string by asking: "Meher,
do you have a plan?"
And I said jokingly: "I even have a plan B if plan A does not work."
To which he laughed
and said: "Meher, in the event your plan B does not work, feel free
to go as deep as you can with the alphabets."
A teacher asked
her kindergartener: "What did you have for breakfast today?"
And the child said: "An argument."
A mother was yelling at her little child: "NO,
NO, NO.... don't you understand!"
And the child said: "NO."
A wise person once said: "Before I got married, I had six theories
about raising children. Now I have six children and no theories."
Children may not be born with a manual in their hands on
how to raise them, but they do come into this world carrying an encyclopedia
of LOVE with them.
S-TEAM of a child is tied to that Unconditional Light
SELF S-TEAM is a process that is built overtime,
With that in mind, I like to share a glimpse
of some valuable lessons that I have learned from the spirit of Anahita
which helped me to develop a Parent-Child relationship of Alliance with
Reliance instead of Compliance or Defiance.
We live in a society in which we can easily communicate with a stranger
on the moon but we have difficulty in talking with a relative in the same
We live in a society that is so focused on living skills that we are pretty
much losing touch with life skills. Thus, our children do not even understand
that their net worth bears no value unless it is built with their self-worth.
We live in a society where relationships are built with
presents instead of our presence because we get so much wrapped up into
things, that we fail to relate that the best things in life are not things
but human beings.
As a result we end up baking a difference instead of making a difference
in our relationships with children.
When Anahita was two and a half years old, one day I came home and I heard
a statement, "Anahita was a bad girl today."
Immediately she came up to me and she said, "Baba, that is not true.
I was not a bad girl, I may have done a bad thing."
If we want to strengthen the fiber of SELF S-TEAM
in our children, then we must first learn to separate the BEING from the
DOING because we are HUMAN BEINGS not HUMAN DOINGS.
A pediatrician asked a little girl, "Sweetheart, when you grow up,
what would you like to become?"
And the little girl said, "When I grow up, I would like to become
This innate wisdom bears the potential for building a fruitful SELF
S-TEAM in our children.
So, let us recognize that our kids may be a part of the same cookie dough,
but they are not shaped with the same cookie cutter.
Thus, before we inspect, let us respect their uniqueness because that
is what they expect from us.
A high school teacher was demonstrating the evils of alcohol
to his students.
He took a worm and put it in a glass of water. Nothing happened to the
He took the same worm and put it in a glass of alcohol. The worm disintegrated
right in front of their eyes.
"What's the message?" asked the teacher.
To which one student replied, "I guess if we drink alcohol, we will
never get worms."
Communication is the life blood of building the SELF
S-TEAM of civilization.
Likewise, when we talk right and walk left, we discredit the message and
the messenger. So, if we want to build high SELF
S-TEAM in our children, before we talk, let us make sure that we
at least chalk the walk.
An impatient father told his little boy: "Son, I expect more obedience
To which the son responded, "Dad, in that case, you need a dog."
It is said that: "Patience is the ability to
let your light shine after your fuse has been blown."
Children are teachers of patience because patience builds SELF
During her toddler years, whenever Anahita would say "Thank you,"
I would say, "Thank you for saying Thank you."
Then, we would both laugh at this silliness but at least she recognized
that I appreciated her attitude of gratitude.
Gratitude should be a part of our attitude, not apart from our attitude,
if we truly want to build high SELF S-TEAM.
The other day, I was driving towards the beach when suddenly the road
ahead seemed to be hovered with dense fog. For a moment, I started having
second thoughts if I should continue to proceed in the same direction.
Somehow, I decided to go an extra
mile and see how it felt. When I reached the very spot that looked
foggy from a distance, I realized that it was actually clear. As I continued,
it became apparent that any given moment in time and space, the road was
clear even though the scenario at a distance seemed foggy.
Likewise in life, fogs of every kind reside in our mind, as a consequence
we sometimes see a foggy future even when have a clear present.
In order to enhance SELF S-TEAM in our children
we must always encourage them to go the extra mile
in life so that the dense fog can be cleared from the lens of their mind.
One day when Anahita was about three years old, she saw a Shampoo ad on
And she said, "Baba, I want to buy this shampoo for my hair."
Together we bought the shampoo and after we came home she used it to wash
She came out of the shower, stood in front of the mirror trying to comb
her hair for quite some time..
Then suddenly, she got frustrated and she said, "My hair does not
shine the way they showed on TV."
And I said, "Exactly, what you see on TV is not always true."
It is estimated that on an average, American children
watch over one day's worth of TV every week and during their lifetime,
they may even end up dedicating one whole year, just watching commercials
However, media by itself is neither good nor bad. But, how we use its
influence and how we guide our children to understand its impact, will
determine the strength of their SELF S-TEAM.
A girl was telling her classmate: "I really enjoy my friend's company."
And the classmate said: "Can you tell me how can I join this company?"
We live in a society where we need to hire a company
to acquire some company.
SELF S-TEAM is tied to our longing for belonging,
which is normal. However our desire to fit in should not distort the essence
of who we are.
Kids tend to put a different personae as a way of developing their own
identities. But, kids with high SELF S-TEAM
know their own intrinsic value and do not waste time or energy in trying
to impress others.
At a party, I was playing with three toddlers -- Anahita, Brookie &
While playing, I suddenly showed them an object to have some fun with
I asked all three of them: "What does it look like?"
Anahita looked at it and she said: "It's a trapezoid."
Brookie felt it, tried to race it on my hand and she said: "It's
Jennifer picked it up, put it on her head and she said: "It's a hat."
Amazing enough, that all three of them were correct in
their own unique understanding of the object.
Life is a reflection of our perception -
a factor that either shapes or shakes the foundation of SELF
A teacher asked a little girl, "How did your dog die?"
"I don't know, but someday when I go to heaven I'll find out,"
replied the little girl.
"What happens if your dog has gone to hell instead of heaven?"
remarked the teacher.
And the little girl said, "Well, in that case, you will have to go
I believe that: TO BE IN HEAVEN WE MUST TREAT OTHERS
But, sometimes even with the best of intentions, we do not realize that
there is a hair LINE difference between being instructive and destructive
and in being creative or cremative.
is that there is NO FIXED LINE. It is a dynamic phenomenon, not a static
one. So, before we choose to either draw or cross the LINE, let us ensure
that we do not end up becoming the line of bone contention.
In other words, before we take a stand, let us make sure that we UNDERSTAND.
This happens when we learn to bridge the CHANGE
in the CHALLENGE
with our LOVE & LIGHT
When Anahita was about two years old, we started writing a daily journal
of her good thoughts, good words and good deeds.
This became a meditational exercise of daily reflection before bedtime.
All we noted was just ONE good thought, word, and deed that Anahita contributed
either towards herself or others.
This also gave Anahita a subtle message that her life is important enough
for us to record it.
I remember one day we took pride in writing with joy: "Anahita helped
Julie to tie her shoe lace at school today."
SELF S-TEAM is nourished when a child can
hang on to a string of small achievements through their early childhood
experiences because self-reflection fosters self-understanding which empowers
A mother invited a toddler to spend a day with her son. The visitor accidentally
spilled milk on the new carpet.
But the mother remained calm and she said: "That's OK dear, don't
worry, it was a mistake."
On hearing that the son asked his mother: "Mom would you have said
the same thing to me if I had dropped the milk on this carpet?"
We brag about our kids to others but we drag them into dirt when they
I believe that our words can make people stars or leave them with scars.
The impact of words from parents, teachers and other caregivers will either
heal or peel the SELF S-TEAM of the child.
Our words can be an IMAGE MAKER or an IMAGE TAKER.
Thus, we must teach our kids to:
SAY WHAT THEY MEAN, MEAN WHAT THEY SAY, BUT NOT
TO SAY IT MEAN.
In one of her first tests at high school, Anahita received an A-Grade.
While reviewing her work she realized that the teacher had not caught
one of her mistakes. So, she brought that to the teacher's attention who
appreciated her honesty but deducted a point which somehow affected her
That evening she told me that: "When I did the same thing in my middle
school, the teacher said that 'Anahita, you get to keep the original grade
as a bonus for being honest.'"
I told her: "Anahita, I am very proud of you and you should be proud
of yourself too for what you did because years from now this teacher may
not remember you as an A-Grade student but the teacher may remember you
as an honest student."
Honesty and integrity are the foundational blocks for building a healthy
A little girl asked her mom: "Why are you getting some spots of gray
hair on your head?"
And the mom said: "Every time you trouble me, I get a strand of gray
After pondering for a while, the little girl perked: "Aha... now
I know what happened to my poor grandmother."
It is important to understand that life is not built on guilt, if we want
our children to become successful.
So, let us not play the lame game of blame and shame with them.
Let us practice the art of rubbing things out instead of rubbing them
Let us teach them to take and not shift, responsibility for their own
thoughts, words and deeds.
Let us show them the discipline of how to control themselves, instead
of trying to control them through punishment.
Let us become the ROLE MODEL of DISCIPLINE
instead of a RULE MODEL of PUNISHMENT.
Only then, they will learn the art of self-control which is the cornerstone
for building high SELF S-TEAM in children.
A little town was facing a serious drought so they decided to have a special
prayer service for RAIN.
The church was filled with people, but only ONE
little girl came with an UMBRELLA.
Faith is not belief without proof but trust without reservation.
Faith is the evidence of what you can't see. People exchange their faith
for evidence. They give
up what they believe
in exchange for what they see, not realizing that what is not visible
to the eye can only be obtained through faith.
Faith must first be affirmed before it can be confirmed.
It is not only the faith we follow but the framework of faith that follows
us, which determines the character of our SELF S-TEAM.
Now, I am a firm believer that: "What you set
is what you get" from children.
Thus, Anahita from her very infanthood was raised with positive affirmations.
My favorite one ingrained in her was: WHAT YOU BELIEVE,
YOU CAN ACHIEVE.
We even created a one-liner father-daughter song: ALL
I NEED FOR ME TO BE IS THE BEST ME I CAN BE.
Now, I started teaching swimming to Anahita when she was about 14-months
After each session we would sit together for a while, enjoy some snacks
and watch other kids play ping-pong.
Until one day, when she was 22-months old and made a special request:
"Baba, I want to play ping-pong today."
Looking at her height and realizing that her nose barely touched the edge
of the ping-pong table, for the first time
in her life I said: "Anahita, I don't believe that you can play this
She looked straight into my eyes and she said:
"Baba, didn't you tell me that WHAT YOU BELIEVE,
YOU CAN ACHIEVE."
That was a profound experience for me because I learned that not only
had she internalized this affirmation but she also knew when to externalize
So, we got the ping-pong rackets and the ball and to my amazement her
first serve was just perfect even though she was unable to take a return
We are raising a generation of low SELF S-TEAM
because our society is focused on producing leaders or followers instead
So let us:
this in mind, when Anahita was little, I used to read her my favorite
book -- "The little engine that could" because I wanted the
message of "I THINK I CAN" embedded
in her consciousness.
But, little did I realize that some day, she would be reading the same
message back to me.
One day, when she was about 7-years old, I decided to get contact lenses
Somehow, putting the contact lenses in my eyes became such a tumultuous
challenge that it even became a test of patience for my optometrist.
So, I came home a little bit frustrated and was trying to get the knack
of putting those contact lenses in my eyes.
It was at that time when Anahita came to me and she said: "Baba,
I think you can, I think you can, ..."
And then suddenly out of the blues she suggested: "Baba, why don't
you say, I think I can, I think I can, .... and see what happens."
So, I took her advice and started reciting "I think I can, I think
I can, I think I can...."
And, to my amazement, within moments, I was able to lodge one of the lens
in my right eye.
At that very moment, Anahita smiled at me and she said: "Baba, now
I KNOW YOU CAN."
SELF S-TEAM is enhanced when we experience
the transformation from I THINK I CAN to I KNOW
Because it is in this spirit of KNOWING we somehow discover that Surely
But this transformation requires nurturing the spirit with UNCONDITIONAL
LOVE and SUPPORT.
And as we provide this UNCONDITIONAL LOVE and SUPPORT, let us recognize