Some children need their own space and time to understand and explore themselves and the world around them. Avinash was one of them. It’s not that he has some disability but if the roots are not strong then the tree will not be healthy. It is the same with him. As far as academics are concerned, his basics are not clear and there’s no point in taking efforts for it. When he started to attend the Foundation Program at the Touching Lives Learning Center, his interest in academics was nil. What he did like was drawing, painting, playing or making mischief. After many one-on-one conversations with him, I realized that his interest in studies can be rekindled if we go to his level to teach him. And this cannot happen in a big group, nor can it happen in a mainstream school. So twice in a week, I started taking up his individual classes. I also felt I should speak with his parents. I have always believed that no matter what the circumstances are, parents are always the first teachers to a child. And if there is a little shift in a parent then obviously, you will also see it in the child. And that’s what happened with Avinash. After couple of sessions with Avinash and his parents we started noticing slight differences in Avinash’s behavior. He is now in the 8th std. and is yet to learn his English and Marathi alphabets. We are still working with him because this will be a long process. And yes, Avinash will soon be an independent learner and a conscious human being!’
‘This was such an important learning experience for me because I learnt so much about treating each child differently, sans judgement.’ says Rubina while sharing her encounters with Avinash. Rubina is a founding member of Touching Lives’ Care Program. Her story with Avinash is somewhat of a legend at Touching Lives. Because not only is it a transformation in both of their lives, it also became the founding idea for a whole new venture of Touching Lives – theCare Program.
To care for one another is not new really. It is in fact the simplest of human gestures. There is no need to explain it, only to express it – a hug, a smile, a touch, a whisper, a kind word, an pat on the back. That is why Touching Lives has started this program, so that care becomes an integral and conscious part of each child’s life. ‘We provide hands on tools to the children, parents, and youth to develop conscious connections and healthy relationships with their birth, nature, and body intelligence.’ says Rubina, speaking about her journey. ‘It’s a program in which we provide to a child their personal space. A space where they can spend some time with themselves, feel comforted, where they can know the importance of their birth, and can recognize their hidden talent. We want especially children and their parents, to realize the significance of their talents and how their talent can be useful for themselves and to our world.’
The vision behind care program is to have a meaningful connection with the world and your own self. It is to realize the importance of birth and connect the ancient (shamanic) wisdom to give birth and further live life in a healthy way. To conceive and realize this vision, Rubina is being closely and lovingly guided by the founding director of Touching Lives, Sonia Mackwani – a renowned healer, psychotherapist, intuitive channel and author. Together they seek to lay a strong foundation of care, through intensive training, self-work, and by setting up systems and processes, and setting and meeting goals.
‘To care for a child means to be present at the moment of their difficulty, to cuddle them, to let them express their difficulties. It is to develop a sound approach to solving problems, by sitting together, and together seek out a solution for it. There are two methods to go about this – one is to deal with each person individually and there are other therapeutic processes that take place in a group.’ she continues.
Individual sessions involve first observing the child, their needs, and then evaluating the possible solutions and outcomes. Remedial therapy sessions are then designed to match the needs. Priority is given to provide comfort to the children and enable them to connect with the facilitator/healer and to build the feeling of trust and oneness. Rubina often likes to say, ‘having a simple conversation with a child, and a beautiful, loving smile on your face can heal half of their riddle.’ She often keeps up her connect with the little ones with innocent chats about how was their day in school, what they ate for lunch, and so on.
‘There is always something to learn from any given situation.’ she says. ‘When you become aware of that learning, your problem will get automatically solved. You don’t even have to work on it.’
Looking ahead, the Care Program intends to develop specialized, in depth processes and programs to cater to the need of parents as well. She believes ‘A child’s behavior is largely influenced by his/her parents, so before dealing with their children we have to first heal their parents, to transform their thoughts. Parents lay the foundation in a child’s life. If they so wish, they are the ones who can free their children from all the fears, grudges and loneliness. A child feels safe in their cuddle and a feeling of acceptance is just what they need. The Care Program is where a child develops his/her confidence, self-esteem and learns to develop a conscious relationship with the society.’
And here is a word of cautious advice to become a conscious caregiver. Care is not something you give only to others. It’s not something which you have to provide to others by suppressing yourself. You may think that caring for others will indirectly help you. But don’t just do it for the rewards, because most people in this world who care for others, actually need care for themselves. So, before caring for others, be conscious and ask yourself, have you provided that care for yourself? Have you provided those privileges and affection to yourself? Without harming yourself, have you heard your inner voice – what your mind wants to think, body wants to perform and soul wants to express? If not, how can you be capable of providing it to others? So experience yourself first, before giving to someone else.
Prashanth Jamol is a Community Leader at Touching Lives and upcoming author of the Publishing wing.