Recently I was having a conversation with a friend over skype. He, like me, is living and working in the Arab world. He has a son, who is as old as my younger son, and we were discussing notes on the issues of studies. “At least I am not failing in class and am not at the bottom,” his 12 year son told his father over skype when he was urged to study a bit more diligently
In the global market place, one may not find the right position in one’s field of work in the right place. Where these work factors are met, it may not be good for the educational and cultural development of the child. So, each situation being different, many parents, weighing the different complexities make the choice of visiting their children once in 3-4 months and rest of the time, may be dependent on skype
What can be the possible strategies to develop a bond, from a distanc
Here are some of the activities I felt were useful
Keeping a joint journal
Keeping a joint self-reflective journal in which there will be joint notes on experiences can be a useful device. Reflection on my first day in school, made my sons more focused on what they have to describe. The comparative section of the question –answer part of the journal made them reflect on the similarities and differences between different schools they have been in. One can make them compare libraries or play-grounds, conversations and situations.
Having shared memories
Having a photo-archive in a systematic, year wise manner and going through these regularly makes them form a sense of joint team work
If you grow separately, you grow apart” is an adage which one has to work upon to keep the sense of group.
Having tortoises on my terrace opened a window of opportunity to link in a different way. The boys enjoyed playing with them and even built some interesting stories in a fictional place which had the tortoises as the main persons organizing the show.Man’s best friend, -a puppy- can be a storehouse of many common memories
The school newsletter
Keeping in touch with the school newsletter can give one good insights into the different projects in the school where the child is studying. The environment, art, debating society projects, school sports reports and visits by professionals and prominent personalities provided a link to the goings on in the school, all of which may not be conveyed by the child.
A family newsletter
Having an extended family newsletter project, of the visits and trips with cousins and uncles-aunts can generate a sense of group
Writing about these, and then comparing them, or making picture-video archives and sharing them can be a way to seek alternative opinions within the family and have a sense of greater whole.
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In the global work-place, long distance parenting is a reality. Some people pooh-pooh this idea and tell that the connection cannot be there. However, working on some of the above resources and fronts, one can develop a sense of joint work and bonding.
Do you have any related experiences and would like to share
I fully agree. I, being an expat living away from my family , have found skype , a very useful media to interact with my kids & keep then connected with myself.
Skype has many advantages and in fact, it was from you that I learnt a lot about the potential of this application
Thanks a lot Prashant for the wonderful suggestions. All of which really can help the expat parents like us to boost up the motivation for our children.
I really agree with you keeping in touch with our children and getting to know each and every detail of them although we are really very far from them, gives a sort of ‘responsibility’ to our children. All your suggestions are wonderful help-outs which if course should applied discretely with regard to each and every child.
All the same, being an educationist for quite a long time, I still have my doubts whether we can ‘overtask’ our children, as I feel honestly that there is a sort of crazy cramming of too many things to our children’s heads in all the best schools in India, or at least in Kerala, be it a CBSE school, or Kendriya Vidyala or State Syllubus school. I really feel pity for our children, who are really overloaded (with the kilos of books they carry everyday as well as the unheard of subjects added now to the ‘curriculum’ + Co-curricular activities, and then maybe, sports and games).
I really wonder whether our children can find out enough time to relax and enjoy the childhood and school life, as we could do it in our olden days. Gone are the days of studying: One Regional language as the First Language + English as Second Language + Hindi + Science + Maths + Social Studies. I think all of them are now subdivided in to three different sub-subjects at least. So after the hectic class hours, the child comes back home and spends much of its time for doing all the homework for all the 7 or 8 class hours, and then engage himself of herself in working on this ‘project’ or that. I have the feeling that in the crazy run for being the best, our educationists are stealing the right of the children spend at least for relaxation and play among friends.
By saying all these, I don’t mean to discard the suggestions made by Prashant at all. I try to make a compromise, and let my child’s mother monitor his studies in a proximate way , but always giving the psychological support and help whenever needed, using the skype. Spending about one hour daily with them on skype and being always updated with whatever goes on at home, I believe, keeps the child intent on growing upto the expectations of his expat father. Working in a country where the students enjoy study as a ‘luxury’ (as the students get financial remuneration for attending the college here), I thought of sharing this much for our children, but not revealing this to themselves.
Once again, thank you very much for the coinage ‘Skype Parenting?’ and the positive ideas suggested.
Thanks Dr.Jose for these interesting insights.
It has been a life long quest of joint journeys
I would also go back to the approach of William Wordsworth seeing Nature as the panacea for all human problems and viewing Child as the father of man.
Thanks for your most interesting insights setting interesting thoughts regarding,
Nature, Curriculum, Teaching, Parenting
This made me remember some walks and conversations with some
1. Veteran Teachers
“I do not teach the students how to solve the theorem. I show them the genesis of the theorem. The solution they can find in any guide book. The role and task of the teacher is to show the students the genesis of thought.”
For more nuanced version see blog-
2. Exploring nature with themes of legacy…
The churches and hill temples of North India have been a very good base for these…Exploring St.John in the Wilderness…
I first started exploring the themes of stories around the churches a bit more systematically, when I went to Mcleod Ganj in Himachal Pradesh in 1998 . Mcleod Ganj is also the abode of the Dalai Lama. There is a church a little away from the main settlements. An early morning walk through the hills to St.John in the Wilderness opened new worlds to me, as I watched the morning dew shining on the green grass.
See these blogs
Walking with Fraser
What is Satsang
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