Name of Activity: Two day residential camp
Date and Venue of Event: 3rd to 5th May 2019, at Garudmachi, Mulshi
Kind of Activity: Indoor activity and outdoor activities
Resource Person: Parag Shah, Dr. Anand Godse, Kasturi Khirsagar, Vinaya Malvankar, Kirti Vaze, MPP Team
Objective of Session :
A deep dive into character strengths- Introducing parents to various strategies for improving themselves as individuals as one of the pre requisites for mindful parenting
Experiential with a mix of:
Number of participants : 90 persons (48 Adults and 42 children)
MPP had organised a 3day residential camp on the 3rd, 4th and 5th May 2019. The camp was conducted at “Garudmachi,” the eco friendly and flagship management training center of High Places (a pioneering organization in Outdoor based Management Development programmes) located at a distance of 75 km from Pune city amidst the scenic surroundings of the Sahyadri mountains.
The group for the camp included parents and children. Most of the activities were planned as separate activities for children and parents and only some common. Various activities were conducted from 6:30 am to 9: 30 pm with comfortable breaks in between. The activities were a mix of outdoor and indoor activities. The details are as follows.
- Activities for Children: These included:
- Yoga & Pranayama (outdoor activity)
- Soul Nurture (outdoor activity)
- Games (outdoor activity)
- Outdoor activities by Garudmachi (walks, rappelling)
- Inner Governance (Indoor activity)
- Nature walk (outdoor activity)
- Role Play
- Group Meetings
- Activities for Parents
The 3 day residential camp started on 3rd May 2019 evening with an ice breaker activity and comprised of the following activities:
The activity was conducted twice on 4th and 5th May. Dr. Anand Godse conducted the activity on 4th May focusing on ‘Suryanamaskaras and some easy Aasanas’. Ms. Kasturi Shirsagar conducted the activity on 5th May. Her focus was on ‘Pranayama’.
Soul Nurture & Graditude Walk
The activities were conducted on 4th and 5th May by Mrs. Malati Kalmadi. The objective of the activity was to connect with our inner selves and with nature. The activity included walking around, observation and reflection. Some of the experiences shared by children and parents are as follows:
- “I saw faces in the trees.”
- “I could feel the freshness in the air. I want to stay here.”
- “There are so many trees here. Maybe they are sharing.”
“Nature is so still. It was asking me, why are you running around.”
“Felt nice to remove my shoes and touch the ground with my bare feet.”
Life’s Balance Sheet- about Forgiveness and gratitude
The activity was conducted by conducted by Ms. Vinaya Malaviya on 4th and 5th May.
On the first day – Life’s Balance Sheet 1 – each participant made a list of the people who had done something good to him / her without any expectations and people to whom they had done something good. Most parents said that the list of the good deeds done to them by others was much longer than the list of good deeds they had done for others. Parents expressed gratitude to almighty, friends, relatives, parents, maids and even bus drivers, taxi / auto rickshaw drivers, pilots and doctors. The outcome of the discussion was the realisation that a good deed done to us is a gift we receive. But the good deeds that we do selflessly for others prove to be our most valuable assets in the long run. We do not have control on the good deeds that others do for us but we can definitely work towards increasing the list of good deeds that we do for others.
On the second day – Life’s Balance Sheet 2 – participants were asked to make a list of people who they have harmed and a list of their wrong doings. Parents expressed the following during the sessions:
- “I regret hurting my family.”
- “I have misused the trust others kept in me.”
- “In most situations there were circumstances to blame, but there was also an agenda.”
Inner Governance- About listening to our conscience
Inner Listening. Tools for Opening big doors: The activity was conducted by Parag Shah on 4th May. The session put forth the thought that ‘purity of heart’ comes over time through a process. It is not instantaneous. Therefore, it is important to listen to our inner voice, check, ask questions and jot down the learning. In short, we need to tune our life every morning. The facilitator shared his own life story to illustrate the importance of ‘inner listening’ and ‘acting based on the findings without wasting time’. Following the presentation, participants were asked to reflect on whether they listen to their inner selves. The following is what the parents shared after the reflection:
- “I have learnt not to hesitate in expressing what I want to say to someone.”
- “I realised I am very self centered.”
- “I need to value myself the way I am and not the way people perceive me.”
The session ended on the note that life’s experiences will eventually clean our ‘selves’ and we will have ‘goodness’ to share with the society.
Kind World Challenge
This session was conducted by Jyoti Kumta. The session started with a brainstorming on three questions: What is kindness? Why should we be kind? And How kindness? ‘Being kind’ has a lot of benefits for our body and soul and there is research evidence confirming the same. The purpose behind including the “kindness challenge’ in the camp was to provide parents and their children an opportunity to experience the benefits of ‘being kind’.
So it was followed by explaining the Kind World Challenge. The challenge itself included doing acts of kindness for 21 days. Parents were asked to record what was done what it felt like doing the act of kindness daily.
Mindful Parenting for Inclusive Education
The session was conducted by Ms. Kirti Vaze and was a part of her doctorate research. The session opened a discussion on the ‘differences’ that are there among children in a country like India in terms of culture, colour, religion, language, abilities and economic status of the family and the role that parents can play to promote ‘acceptance of the differences’ among children. Perceptions and attitudes of parents regarding the role of mindful parenting in promoting inclusive education were recorded in form of a pre test before the session. A feedback was also collected from parents regarding the session and what they learnt. The main outcome of the session was that it opened a discussion on ‘inclusive education’ among parents and made them more aware about the topic.
Parenting Strategies and Some Research Findings
The session was conducted by Mrs. Malati kalmadi and mrs Vijayam Kartha on 5th May. The session involved a presentation and discussions with parents on the following:
- What are the experiences that I can give so that my child can make choices that are good for it?
- What kind of a parent do I want to be?
- How the parent – child relationship plays an important role in the wellbeing of the child
- Need for parent – school relationship
The session also included a presentation on research based mindfulness practices.
The findings of the Family Meetings regarding the challenges faced by parents and their concerns regarding their children were also addressed during the session. Some of the parents came forward to share mindful practices they have adopted to overcome the challenges / concerns they are facing. For example, a common concern was the attachment of children to mobile phones. One parent shared the practice that his family has adopted where the child is allowed to use a smart phone with the rule that no message sent or received will be deleted. Another parent shared a best practice where he and his daughter kept records of how many times in a week they had junk food and gave marks for it. Eating junk food was marked negatively and not eating got extra points.
Family meetings were conducted daily every night after dinner. Participants were divided into groups of 10. There were 5 parents groups and 4 children’s groups. The groups were sharing platforms. Parents shared what they liked in their children, their concerns regarding the children and parenting challenges that they were facing. Children were asked about the characteristics they would like their parents to have. The findings were shared during the session on Parenting Strategies that took place on 5th May. Parenting challenges faced by parents and their concerns about their children were also addressed during the session.
Feedback and Way Forward
Feedback forms were distributed and feedback of parents on each session conducted (in terms of Information provided during the session, strategies for self improvement and strategies to be used with children introduced during session, Interactions/discussions with other parents during the camp and Resource person) was collected. Feedback was also collected on whether parents were able to participate, whether the program challenged their perceptions and opinions, whether parents learned strategies that will help them to grow as an individual and improve their relationship with their children.
This was followed by a discussion on how the parents would take-over the Mindful Parenting Programme and run it on their own in their respective schools with support from the MPP core team. It was agreed upon that parents will volunteer and take the following steps in their respective schools:
- Start by holding webinars
- Take registration of interested parents
- Provide an orientation on MPP
- Form MPP Clubs
- Start conducting MPP activities
The three day camp closed by thanking the staff of Garudmachi. Children had prepared cards for each staff member of Garudmachi.
One parent presented a skit along with his daughter. Parents also thanked the MPP team.