Reflections on Child Labour, Kindness, Compassion and Life….

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The sun is shining on India. We are seeing progress on so many fronts be it technology, innovation or economic growth. Yes the sun is truly shining on India. But is it shining equally on everyone?

Meet twelve-year-old Meera. Her day begins at five in the morning. She walks two kilometers to fetch water for the family’s daily use. Then she helps her mother with the cooking. By eight in the morning Meera has to report to the quarry where she works. The sweat rolls down Meera’s forehead as she works in the sweltering heat of the sun, her little hands straining to pick up the stones and load them in the gampa. But this is by far the easier part of Meera’s job. The harder part is lifting the heavy gampa laden with stones and carrying it to the waiting truck where it needs to be loaded. There is no slacking off for Meera. She can’t work slowly so that she may make fewer trips to the truck. You see, she is paid per trip. Mr. Supervisor is waiting at the truck with his logbook to record the number of trips Meera has made. And Meera’s parents expect her to make at least five trips per day so that there is enough money to buy food for her and her younger brother and sister. At six and four, Meera’s siblings Geeta and Ashok are too small to work in the quarry. But it is only a matter of time…

Every day, at noon, Meera and the other workers are given a break for half an hour so that they may eat their meal. Meera sits down under the scant shade offered by a tree and spreads out her handkerchief on the ground. The handkerchief, like most of Meera’s clothes, haven’t been washed in a while for Meera’s mother goes out to work in the fields. It is only on Sundays that she finds the time to wash the clothes belonging to the family.

So, returning to Meera’s meal, she spreads out her handkerchief and places her little steel dabba on it. She opens the dabba to find the customary roti and meager portion of chutney her mother packs for her lunch every day. Meera is hungry for her last meal was the previous night. Breakfast is a luxury her family can ill afford. “Maybe if we have a good harvest this year, we will be able to eat three meals a day,” Meera’s mother whispers wistfully as she packs her dabba and tries her best to ignore the hungry appeal in her daughter’s eyes.

Meera breaks off a miniscule portion of the roti and dips it into the chutney. She likes to eat as slowly as possible to prolong her meal. Just as she is about to eat the roti, her gaze rests on a small dog that has wandered out from the far reaches of the quarry and made his way to the tree where Meera is seated. The dog sits before Meera and stares hopefully at her. Meera averts her gaze from the dog who looks like he hasn’t had a meal in days. His ribs are sticking out painfully from his sides. The dog whines piteously and flops down before Meera resting his head on his front paws and gazing up at the girl. Sighing, Meera breaks off half her roti and hands it to the hungry dog. The dog gratefully licks Meera’s hands and she smiles as she eats the rest of her meal. Her hunger is not appeased but her little heart is filled with a sense of well-being as she pats the dog.

Just then a school bus pulls into the quarry. The school children have been brought here on a field trip to show them the workings of a quarry. Meera stares at the line of boys and girls as they tumble out of the bus, all dressed in blue and white. They stand in a semi-circle before the teacher, listening as she gives them important information about the quarry. Meera is fascinated by the spectacle of boys and girls standing before the teacher. Some of them are listening with rapt attention. Others seem bored. Then the teacher takes them on a round of the quarry. Work has been temporarily suspended so that the children are not hurt by any of the flying pieces of stones, a hazard in most quarries.

Finally the children make their way back to the waiting bus. Some of them pull out packets of biscuits from their bags as they wait to board the bus. The dog Meera had fed earlier follows them eagerly hoping to get a few crumbs. One of the schoolboys thoughtlessly kicks a stray stone towards the dog and he yelps in fright as he scampers away to safety.

Yes the sun is shining on India but is it shining equally on everyone?

A few facts I am sure most people will agree with…

  • School is the only place a child should be made to work.
  • The Meera’s of India need to find their way out of quarries and other forced labour situations and into classrooms.
  • And finally kindness and compassion are not necessarily learned in a classroom. They come from within.

A few hard facts on child labour and exploitation from Female Adolescent Workers Faceless and Fateless by Ayub Khan and Sumita Ayub

“Both in stone crushers and quarries adolescent girls work as casual labourers and perform secondary jobs i.e. to carry stones and load into trolleys. A group of 5-6 adolescent girls fills a trolley and they manage 8-10 trolleys a day. These girls are remunerated at the rate of Rs. 20-25 per trolley which they distribute among themselves at the end of the day. Due to the lack of technicality in work these girls are supposed to be the most unproductive and the lowest earner. In lieu of the hard work female adolescents put in, they are subjected to all sorts of exploitation at the workplace.”

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3 Ways Educational Technology Enhances Language Learning

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How Educational Technology Enhances Language Learning: Focusing On Reading Comprehension

In this article, we will take a look at how technology can be used to teach one of the fundamental pillars of language learning – reading comprehension.

Reading comprehension is introduced to students from grades 1 or 2 onwards. Initial sessions of reading comprehension classes designed for students in grades 1 and 2 comprise of reading aloud stories or passages to students, which help them expand their vocabulary.

Later, in higher grades, reading comprehension sessions are crafted to teach students how to analyze short stories and information–based passages. While reading stories, students learn how to identify character traits and the relationships between characters, comprehend the essence of the plot, and analyze it. Information-based passages allow students to analyze information, draw connections between different concepts, form conclusions from it, and perhaps explore the topic further.

So how can technology play a role in crafting reading comprehension lessons for students?

Well, technology is equipped with a host of tools that make it possible to embed meaningful pedagogy into reading comprehension lessons.

1. With The Use Of Audio

The use of audio narration in a tech-based reading comprehension session allows learners to listen to the story or passage at their own pace. They can pause narration to reflect on information provided or even replay vital bits of narration if they so wish. They can replay the entire story again if they feel the need to listen to it another time. This is especially helpful for students who are auditory learners – they find it easier to comprehend and analyze information when they hear it rather than when they simply read it. And the icing on the cake is that the use of audio helps students build on their listening skills as well.

2. With The Use Of Rich Media

The use of media is yet another powerful tool in reading comprehension sessions. For young learners, stories or passages can be largely image-driven bolstered with minimal text. Young learners are likely to relate and respond better to media + text passages rather than plain vanilla text passages. Technology offers immense scope for creativity here as passages or stories can even be presented through videos, animations or in comic-strip format to make the story come alive for users.

These creative tools are guaranteed to grab learner attention and create an instant connect between the users and the instruction on offer. The use of media is especially beneficial for visual learners as they can better comprehend the passage, make mental connections between the concepts presented in the passage and respond to the quiz that follows.

3. Supporting All Types Of Quizzes

Technology supports the use of quizzes and exercises based on the passage or story students have read. Again technology offers scope for tremendous creativity while designing quizzes and exercises. Questions can be in varied formats ranging from purely text-based questions to questions supported by audio or media inputs. Media-based questions are especially helpful while crafting vocabulary questions for young learners. Technology supports the use of different question types such as fill in the blank, match the following, multiple choice, and true and false questions. Technology also supports the use of game-based quizzes and exercises.

For older learners, technology supports the use of more complex question types, perhaps even branching questions. Students can be provided a set of progressive questions in which a correct answer will allow them to move to the next question while an incorrect answer will prompt them to revisit the information before attempting the question again.

Another advantage of technology-based quizzes is that feedback is instant which appeals to young learners who foster a mindset of ‘tell me what I want to know and tell me now’. Feedback can be simple in the form of correct/incorrect answers. Or it can be a little more complex providing information on why an answer is incorrect or building further on a correct answer to reinforce instruction. Students can also be given the freedom to retake a quiz or exercise to improve their scores or enhance their learning.

Final Word

These technology tools add a whole new dimension to the reading experience converting it from passive reading to a more hands-on active reading exercise. The use of rich media not only allows learners to better comprehend information, it also takes it a step further and allows them to build on their imaginative skills.

When Technology Hitched its Wagon to Education

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Four decades ago, in traditional classrooms, the focus was purely on synchronous teacher-driven instruction. Teachers explained concepts while students listened. They asked questions to engage students and encourage participation in the learning session. Students, in turn, also asked questions to clarify concepts.

By the time portable computers made their foray in the 80s, the education sector was ripe for transformation. And the advent of the World Wide Web in the 90s changed the way people communicated with each other. It also led to a sheer knowledge revolution with encyclopedias becoming passé and ‘Google’ throwing up unimaginable volumes of information at the click of a button.

Look at these facts from the National Center for Education Statistics:

  • By 2009, 97 percent of teachers had computers in their classrooms and Internet access was available for 93 percent of computers in classrooms. The ratio of students to computers was 5.3 to 1.
  • Teachers used computers for 40 percent of instructional time.

With technology making new inroads into the education sector, it has opened up new vistas and an array of exciting possibilities when it comes to teaching school students.

We will examine four different tools that can be used to introduce technology into classroom learning.

  1. Flashcards
  2. Educational Videos
  3. Online Quizzes and Assessments
  4. Social Media

 

  1. Flashcards

Flashcards are not new teaching tools. They have been around for a while. Teachers have been using paper-based flash cards to teach vocabulary and other concepts from several decades. However, the introduction of digital flashcards has added a new dimension to this great learning tool. There are a host of mobile applications that allow teachers and students to create sets of flashcards on multiple concepts. Some applications even allow categorization of flashcards according to subjects such as Math, English, History, Science etc. A few advanced mobile applications allow students to choose a school, locate their class and share flashcards with their teachers and other students. Teachers can also post cards for students.

Digital flashcards are equipped with a host of features.

Text-based flashcards – In some applications, flashcards are text-driven. However, they may include text formatting features such as making words or phrases bold, underlining them or highlighting them in different colors.

Media-rich flashcards – Other applications allow users to integrate images and audio files into flashcards. This allows students to learn by employing visual and auditory intelligences. Media elements in flashcards help students form cognitive connections so that concepts remain ingrained in their memories.

Quiz-based flashcards – Some digital flash cards allow integration of quizzes in the form of multiple choice, true and false and fill in the blank questions. Students can track results, check their scores and play in teams adding an element of ‘fun’ to the learning environment.

Using flashcards – Some mobile applications have a search feature that allows students to access a library of flashcards created by other users on multiple concepts.

Some applications give students a choice on how they want to study the cards. Cards can be shuffled or studied in order. Students can arrange the cards in any order that pleases them, say from hardest to easiest, easiest to hardest, favorite sets, recently studied or least known concepts. Some apps encourage repetition and reinforcement till students get the concept right.

  1. Educational Videos

 If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a video is invaluable. Instructional video clips can make information come alive in the minds of students. Videos can be presented in multiple formats.

Instructor-driven videos – These videos have a ‘Talking Head’ or Instructor delivering information during the video. The video may also have short text snippets and images appearing on screen to reinforce information given by the Instructor.

Videos with animated graphics – Videos may also include animated graphics. These may be in the form of comic book strips that narrate a story. Illustrations or graphic-based animations may also be used to explain a concept such as a process in science or an event in history.

Interactive Videos (Hotspots) – Videos are passive learning tools. They don’t allow students to actively engage in the learning process. However, the introduction of interactive videos transformed the learning experience from passive viewing into an active process.

In interactive videos, interactive elements in the form of clickable hotspots are integrated into linear video clips. Clicking the hotspots may reveal an additional layer of information. Hotspots can also be used to embed multiple choice questions with feedback within the video.

  1. Online Quizzes and Assessments

At times asking questions can be a powerful and impactful instructional strategy. It is also a great testing tool to check knowledge recall and reinforce concepts. There are several online quiz makers that allow teachers and educators to create and assign quizzes to students. Most quiz makers use standard question formats such as multiple choice, true and false and short answers. Most quiz makers also generate quiz scores and track user performance.

  1. Social Media in Instruction

There is a great deal of buzz about social media of late. An oft-voiced complaint by both teachers and parents is that students waste far too much time on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. But what if social media were integrated into classroom instruction to offer an innovative twist to traditional classroom instruction?

Social media can be a powerful platform for instruction and communication between instructors and students. Teachers can create Facebook groups for their classes where they can generate discussions on concepts being taught in class, post assignments, or even supporting resource material.

Students can be encouraged to post writing assignments in the form of blogs. This will generate student interest in the assignment and also create a wide reading pool for their writing. Blogs also facilitate discussion wherein teachers and other students can post comments and provide valuable insight on the topic.   

Advantages of Using Technology in the Teaching Environment

Teachers and educators who embrace technology tools in teaching environments are definitely adding an extra edge to their instructional delivery.

What are the advantages of using technology-based teaching tools in conventional classrooms?

  • Unlike textbooks that are tailored for students with linguistic intelligence, technology-based teaching tools appeal to multiple intelligences.
  • They generate student interest.
  • Learning no longer remains a chore.
  • They add an element of creativity and ‘fun’ to the learning environment.

 

 

Coping With Stress

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Tight deadlines, long workhours, impossible workloads, and demanding schedules – does this sound familiar? The constant pressure and demands, conflicts, challenges and difficulties you experience in your personal and professional lives are bound to result in high stress levels. If you ignore the problem, you may find that you are ill-equipped to cope with the challenges that life throws your way.

How can you deal with stress?

  1. Acceptance – The first step in dealing with stress is acceptance. You need to accept the fact that stress is an integral aspect of everyday life.
  2. Self-analysis – The second step is self-analysis. You need to analyze yourself and your stress tolerance limits. Ask yourself – how much stress are you able to handle?
  3. Coping mechanisms – The third step in stress management is to build a strong repertoire of stress management skills to help you cope with the pressures and demands of life.

There are various coping mechanisms that are commonly used to deal with stress. They include:

  1. Share your distress – This is one of the most popular and by far the most effective method of coping with stress. When faced with a stressful situation, you will find that it helps to talk to a friend, family member, teacher, colleague, or counselor. In most cases, just the very act of talking helps relieve some of the stress you may be facing. It may sound trite but it is incredibly true that a problem shared is a problem halved. Sharing your problem with another person also helps throw light on the issue so that you can view it from a different perspective.
  2. Maintain a stress diary – A stress diary is a great introspective tool. It can help you uncover what is causing the stressful situation. Perhaps analyzing the problem by writing it down may also help you come up with solutions or ways to deal with it effectively.
  • Do physical exercise – Physical exercise is an excellent way to vent your stress. A great deal of nervous tension, anxiety, anger, or pressure that you may be experiencing due to stress will be released through physical exercise. Choose a form of exercise that you enjoy. It can be anything – a morning walk, a swim or a game of tennis.
  1. Cultivate a hobby – Cultivating a hobby is an excellent way to combat stress. It can be anything that interests you from gardening to reading or painting, etc. Make sure that you spend a little time every day doing something you enjoy. People often complain that they don’t find the time for such activities in their overcrowded schedules. However, making time for your hobby will help you relax and develop the potential to deal with a stressful situation.
  2. Eat nutritious meals – Eat well balanced nutritious meals at regular intervals. Don’t make the mistake of skipping meals or grabbing a sandwich on the run. Irregular and poor eating habits will make you irritable and increase your stress levels.
  3. Learn the art of relaxation – There are several relaxation techniques you can use such as meditation and visualization. Mediation involves focusing your thoughts on one particular object for some time. This clears your mind of a lot of mental strain and also allows your body to relax. Visualization is also a very effective stress buster. Picture yourself in a pleasant place. Involve all your senses in visualizing the place. For instance if you have imagined yourself in a garden then visualize yourself inhaling the fragrance of the flowers, hearing the sounds of the birds, seeing the beauty around you. Focus on all the little details of the picture. This will help you relax.
  • Adopt a positive approach – Positive thinking is a very powerful tool. For instance, you may be stressed out because you are facing an impossible deadline for a particular task. If you think positively and tell yourself that you will complete the task in spite of the pressure, then this optimism will help in combating the stress you feel and also help in completing the task.

Affirmations are often a good method of adopting a positive approach. Some examples of affirmations are:

  • I can do this.
  • I can achieve my goals.
  • I am in control of my life.
  • I will learn from my mistakes.

These simple and effective coping mechanisms can help you cope with the stress you face in your personal and professional lives.

 

Seeking the Will O’ Wisp of Happiness – The Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow

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Mr. X’s life is filled with an incessant round of activities. He is constantly on the move. He is driven and he pushes the boundaries. He soars high in his career. He is sure he has it all – the trappings of wealth and success, accolades and a great lifestyle. What more could he possibly ask for? And yet, strangely enough, Mr. X still feels a lingering sense of dissatisfaction. Although his life is such a phenomenal success story, he can’t understand why he doesn’t feel happy. And so Mr. X sets out again seeking that ‘something’, which always seems to elude them. He can’t put his finger on this vital missing ingredient in his life. What is this secret ingredient that will finally make him happy?

Here are some secret ingredients to lasting happiness – add them into your life a little at a time or all at once as you please.

Secret Ingredient #1 – Don’t be Possessed by Possessions

Material possessions are great! That hot new set of wheels, that designer outfit, the latest smartphone in the market…the list is pretty endless. And which one among us can honestly say that he or she hasn’t wanted at least some of these things at some point in life. But then, here’s the drawback. Did you ever notice that once you get what you have been longing for, after the initial bubble of happiness, you are left feeling strangely flat or depleted?

I guess the trick here is not to be possessed by possessions. Of course, material possessions have their place in life. But they don’t have to become the end goal of life. So if you want that designer outfit and can afford it – go ahead and buy it and then forget about it. Don’t expect to find happiness in it. What’s even more important is not to make the acquisition of one material object after another the goal of life.

Secret Ingredient #2 – Internalize Your Happiness

Things don’t last forever. Life changes, people move on and relationships never remain the same. Life is like a flowing stream, running into little nooks and crannies for brief moments, then flowing out again, moving with the current or the slope of the land, dancing and glittering in the golden sunlight, carving out its course, shaping destinies as it goes. People may touch your life for a brief moment or even a few golden years and then they move on. And at the end of the day you realize that the one person you can count on in the endless flux of life is YOURSELF. And that realization brings with it its own sense of peace for you realize that you will never let yourself down.

But most people can’t make the connection and always looked outward for happiness. They think that when this person behaves in that manner or when they have overcome this health issue or they have got that job or promotion or bought that car or house, then they will be truly happy. And so they float through life chasing the will o’wisp of happiness in people or in material objects, always wondering why it eludes them, always believing that it can be found around the next corner. And more often than not they fail to realize that true happiness is to be found within one’s own heart. All you have to do is tune into yourself and listen to the song within your heart….

Secret Ingredient #3 – Find Joy in Simplicity

Learn to savor the simple things in life. Early morning walks, watching the sun set, reading a good book, listening to music, a quiet evening stroll, a cup of tea with close friends…simple things, little things can bring so much happiness. Savor them!

Secret Ingredient #4 – Count Your Blessings

It has been noticed that people with an attitude of gratitude are often the ones who are the happiest in life.

Here’s a little thing I do every night. Before I fall asleep, I count my blessings. Even on tough days when every possible thing has gone wrong, I count my blessings. I am grateful for all the positives in my life and this helps me fall asleep with a smile on my face.

Secret Ingredient #5 – Give Yourself the Gift of ‘Me’ Time

Yes, life is more often than not crazily busy for most of us. There are always goals and deadlines and commitments. There are work commitments and personal commitments. But don’t lose sight of YOURSELF in the midst of this busy whirlwind of life. Carve out a little alone time every day. And spend it doing something you really enjoy. It could be reading, playing a sport, working out at the gym or even meditating. Some say that their schedules are so crammed that finding that alone time is a challenge. But even if it means waking up an hour early each morning, this alone time is so important! It gives you a chance to unwind and reconnect with yourself. A little ‘me’ time goes a long way in revitalizing your mind and body.

Secret Ingredient #6 – Achieve Inner Stillness

Often we may find that we have a small storm brewing in our minds. Nine out of ten times work pressures or relationship pressures may have been instrumental in creating this storm. So how can we go about quelling this storm? How can we silence the mental cacophony that shatters our peace of mind and invades us with its negative toxic vibrations?

Connect with your inner being which lies at the core of your existence. Take a little time out every day to withdraw from the outside world and focus inward. Meditation is by far the best way to do this. Meditating in an outdoor environment in close connection with the natural world is even better. Find a secluded and silent place, preferably one with which you are familiar. While meditating, close your eyes and withdraw your mind from all external thoughts, ideas, and emotions. Focus on the point between your eyebrows. Allow your breath to flow inward and outward till a deep calm and sense of peace fills your being. Allow this sense of peace to wash over you. Revel in this peaceful silence for as long as you please.

As you meditate, you will find inner stillness. Inner stillness is a state of being where you actually enter the “no-thought” state. Inside this state, there is no time and no space. As you explore this state, you will go deeper into it.

You will experience moments when you lose cognizance of being there at all. In other words you will become “mindless”.

Once you are able to “step into” this state, you are ready to seek inner stillness. This is a Zen state of total harmony with one’s own being. In it, there is joy – complete, peaceful, blissful joy. And this joy is eternal and everlasting which you carry within you all the time like a little songbird within your heart.

Meditation can transform your life. As you make it a daily practice you will find your thoughts shifting from the negative to the positive. You will find that the mental cacophany is replaced by peace and constructive thought.

 

 

Braving the Storm Clouds of Life – Letting It Go!

“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles.”
― C. JoyBell C.

Is your life a whirlwind of chaotic activity?

Is your life an endless round of things you are supposed to do, places you are supposed to go, and people you are supposed to meet?

Do you have your all important goal list ready and a master plan on how you are going to achieve those goals?

Are you always on the move – seeking, achieving, and then reaching out for some more?

But what happens when the rug is literally pulled out from under your feet?

What happens when life takes an unexpected twist you never planned for?

Life is very unpredictable and there may be twists and turns in your path that you never anticipated.

Life may take you down some unexpected hard-to-travel pathways leaving you bewildered and confused.

You may think this isn’t quite how you imagined your life would be.

Life may throw a curve ball at you in the form of an unexpected illness, the sudden loss of a loved one, a financial difficulty or the loss of a job.

You don’t see it coming and you just aren’t prepared.

 

Your immediate reaction when faced with the unexpected – say a life-altering serious disorder – is bewilderment.

 

There is a feeling that this can’t possibly be happening to me.

 

You always think you are quite safe in your little cocoon and nothing bad is going to happen to you. It may happen to someone else, but not to you.

You are taken completely by surprise when the blueprint you so confidently laid out for your life goes awry.

 

So how do you deal with such situations?

 

Acceptance is the key

 

Human instinct when faced with a problem is denial.

 

But the first step in coping with a difficult life-altering situation or problem is acceptance.

 

Accept the problem, embrace it, and make it the new reality of your life.

 

Often when faced with a life-altering situation you may spend a considerable amount of time wishing you could turn back the clock and make things go back to the way they used to be.

 

But this is only likely to leave you with a gnawing sense of disbelief and unhappiness.

 

It may take some soul searching and introspection but it is important to accept the new reality that your life has become. With this acceptance will come an immeasurable level of peace and happiness.

 

Accepting your problem is the first and most important step in facing it and dealing with it.

 

Share your problem

 

It is trite but true to say that a problem shared is a problem halved.

 

Often you may find yourself hiding your problems because you are afraid to come out into the open.

 

You may fear ridicule or social ostracism so you keep your problem to yourself.

 

But remember you are alone only if you choose to be.

 

Don’t undermine the value of family and social support.

 

You need not publicize your problem.

 

At the same time there is no need to do a solo act and refuse to tell anyone what you are going through.

 

The trick is to be choosy. Share your problem with a handful of people you trust.

 

There are two benefits you will gain from sharing your problem:

 

You will receive support from those who know the challenges you are facing in life.

 

You will gain a new perspective to your problem or situation.

 

 

Distance yourself from the problem

 

Don’t allow the problem to become the center from which the rest of your life spirals.

 

Distancing yourself from the problem is by far the hardest step. It is also the most important one.

 

Distance yourself from the body if it is a health problem you are facing.

 

Distance yourself from the situation if it is some other problem you are facing.

 

Always remember that no problem can alter who you are as a person.

 

The core integral aspect of your nature will remain unchanged.

 

Distancing doesn’t come easily.

 

But if you make your will like steel and work on it, you can do it.

 

And when you finally achieve a level of distance from your problem, you will realize that distance lends perspective to the problem.

 

It doesn’t make the problem go away. But it does make the problem appear small.

 

And you will find that the fears that once overwhelmed you will eventually lose their hold over you.

 

Be positive and savor the beauty of life

 

It’s incredibly easy to smile when life is progressing smoothly.

 

But it’s incredibly hard to smile in the face of a serious life-altering condition or problem.

 

The trick is to avoid focusing on the negative aspects of life.

 

They are like heavy weights that will drag you down and prevent you from moving on.

 

So let go of the negatives in your life and you will be exhilarated at the incredible sense of freedom you experience.

 

Smiling and staying positive changes your mental outlook.

 

You learn to savor each moment of life.

 

And when your positive outlook becomes an integral part of who you are, you will find that there are times when the sheer beauty of life takes your breath away.

 

You learn to count your blessings and realize how incredibly lucky you are.

 

And as time goes by, you realize that problems and difficulties are blessings in disguise because they help you grow as a person.

 

The problem you are facing may test your limits but it will also help you realize you possess inner reserves of strength.

 

The ball is in your court now.

 

Do you want to be weighed down by your problems and difficulties?

 

Or do you choose to “tie no weights to [your] ankles” and fly free?

 

You can refuse to bow down; refuse to cry. You can let the storm rage on and make myself one with the stormy sky.