Food and Exercise Part 5

This is the last of our blog pieces on Food and Exercise.  We have already looked at food and exercise for the body, the mind, and the heart.

For the body, nourishing physical food, and enjoyable exercise do the trick.  For the mind, interesting factual information forms the food, and the exercise comes in the form of reasoning, problem solving, and focused enquiry.  Beauty, magnificence and wonder feed a child’s heart, and they get this through the creative arts – music, poetry, song and stories.  Creating their own works of art, performing in plays, singing in choirs, and writing their own stories is the exercise which makes all this a feast for the child’s emotions.

Indian Family Eating Meal At Home

Now let’s look at the soul or spirit of the child.  Here we are in very subtle realms indeed!  There are many points that can be said about this, but let’s just take two of them.

First is the question of good character.   This shows itself when a child’s inner spirit swings into action.  How does a child respond to challenge?  What happens when someone needs his or her help?  Or when something goes wrong in their world?

Do they have the inner resources of resilience, courage, fortitude, forgiveness and honour?  Do they know the right thing to do, and do they have the will and courage to follow through with effective action?

These questions are not theoretical.  Life itself is the School and we are all, children and adults alike, constantly sitting for the Tests!  The question is: What marks are we garnering?  Are we passing in the ‘Exam of Life’, or failing?

This leads us to the second key element: the basic nature and personality make-up of the child: Who the child really is in their heart’s core.

Much of this is in their nature, which they bring with them into this life.  But the development of their nature is influenced, for good or ill, by parental influence, schooling, peer group pressure and the generally accepted norms of the wider community.

The Premium Prose India team includes teachers of children with many decades of cumulative experience.  We know the efficacy of good content and stories in feeding a child’s spirit.  And a strong spirit shows itself in good character.  We hope our stories will be loved by generations of children, and they will contribute to their growth into fine, admirable men and women.

Download a FREE video story here. Or, see our special bundle packs from just $10 here.

Food and Exercise Part 4

So far we have looked at physical and mental food and exercise.

We know how important it is for children to get nourishing physical food. Each day they need breakfast, lunch and dinner; and we also know that they need to get fresh air and exercise to turn that food into a healthy body for life.

And mentally it is the same.  Children need good, useful, factually correct information; and then they need to work with those facts to turn information into understanding, knowledge and wisdom for life.

What about emotional and spiritual food and exercise?

Emotional food comes through exposure to the beauty, the wonder, the majesty, the mystery, and the brilliance of art, music, drama, architecture and poetry.  In short, human creativity in all its many magnificent forms.  Surrounding a child with the riches of his or her culture and heritage, feed and nourish a child with delight and inspiration.

The artefacts of other cultures can also do this, as well.  We all need to know where home is, and most of us feel a warmth and comfort with the familiar and the well-known.  We have found that children are inspired by the stories and traditions of their own culture, but they can then experience equal delight in spreading their wings into the stories and traditions of other cultures as well.

So the food for the heart, for the emotional centre of a child, is in beauty, and wonder, and magnificence.

They turn this emotional food into exercise when they themselves stand with a choir and sing, when they pick up a pencil and draw or a paintbrush and paint, when they learn their part and step out onto the stage and perform; and when they take up their pen, allow the Muse of Creative Imagination to flow, and they begin to write.

When they create their own beauty, they add their contribution to the rich store of beauty in the world, and become an inspiration for others.

Next time we will consider Spiritual Food and Exercise.

Food and Exercise Part 3

 

Physical food needs to be healthy and wholesome, and it needs to be rich and nourishing, satisfying the taste, as well as the needs of the body for sustained energy, growth and vigour.

Physical exercise also needs to be appropriate in its force and extent.  Such exercise needs to turn all that wholesome food into muscle and tissue for strength and vitality.  Both good food and effective exercise are needed for a child to grow up healthy and strong. They need to be supplied regularly and in the appropriate measure according to the individual child – not too much and not too little.

So much for the physical side of things.

Let’s now turn our attention inwards and look at the world of the mind.  Food and exercise for the mind consists of interesting, useful, factual information; and also stories, mathematics, songs and poetry.  The usual school curriculum is full of this sort of “food” for the mind.  But this mental food is also found in a myriad of other places – books, games, conversations with Mum, Dad and friends, and in sport and entertainments.

All of this can yield mental material upon which to exercise.  This exercise takes the form of the use of reason, problem solving, and enquiry; and the child can then experience the delight of discovery, by learning to use this information and input, to develop mental faculties, the power of reason, and problem solving abilities.

This is fruitful exercise for the mind: problem-solving in Mathematics, essay writing in History, conducting experiments in Science, field trips for Geography and Nature Study.  And writing and speaking in English and other languages.

Premium Prose India provides stimulating stories with a rich use of language, and inspiring characters, and engaging plots.  All these are excellent food for a child’s mind.  They stimulate imagination and creativity, much more than just watching a movie. This is food and exercise indeed!  We would love it if the children who listen to our stories were inspired to write their own!

Part 4 of this series of blog pieces will take the question of Food and Exercise further – into the emotional realm, discussing Food and Exercise for the Heart.

Download a FREE Video Story to experience the power of storytelling today and nourish your children with their culture.

Food and Exercise – Part 2

 

What is food and exercise for the physical body, the enquiring mind, the emotional heart, and the mysterious soul?

Let’s start by considering food and exercise for the body, and then, in the next few blog posts we can take this as a model for the mind, heart and soul.

Food and exercise for the body is really the easiest one to consider because it is, actual physical food.  And a conscientious parent will ensure their child eats the best food available at the price they can afford.  They will take into account their child’s special requirements – allergies and so on – and will work hard to ensure that all the necessary vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates are in their child’s diet.

And it doesn’t stop there.  Because a well-fed child who sits around all day becomes an unfit, out of shape child very quickly.  The loving parent ensures that their boys and girls are engaged in healthy activity, whether helping around the home, joining a sports team, or just kicking a ball around, or jumping rope with the neighbourhood children.

The aim is to give the children the best.  This will ensure their physical growth into healthy happy young men and women who are fit to take up the challenges which life throws at them.

And feeding them well with nourishing food, and then encouraging lively activities and play is all plain common sense.  But the story becomes more intriguing when we turn our attention to a consideration of food and exercise for the mind, the heart and the spirit.

Next time we return to this fascinating subject we will look at food and exercise for the mind.

 

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Food and Exercise – Part 1

 

Children need food and exercise to grow up strong and healthy. A careful parent will naturally select the best food for their child. And will ensure that the child is engaged in healthy exercise as well.

 

This is on the physical level. But what about mental food and exercise? What about emotional food and exercise? What, indeed, about spiritual food and exercise?

 

How does a conscientious parent ensure that their beautiful child receives the proper nourishment at all levels?

 

Let’s confine this blog post to asking these important questions. Over the next few weeks we’ll post some thoughts on all of these areas.

India’s Contribution to Civilisation

 

Every great culture contributes something uniquely beautiful to the totality of the human symphony. These days there is much to worry and perhaps frighten us. But let’s leave those things for the politicians and the evening news bulletins, and do our bit to raise the consciousness of the world by focusing today on the great positives around us.

Each people has made a wonderful gift to all of mankind. The Greeks gave us the spirit of enquiry, the Romans gave us law, administrative order and organisation, the Chinese, a sense of harmony, and the Buddhists, tranquility and serenity. A long list could be made which includes the ethical monotheism of Judaism, the simplicity of faith of Islam, the idea of equality before the law of the Anglo-Saxons.

So what of India and the Hindu civilisation? There is such a rich tapestry here that one is daunted to even try to sum it up in a few catch-phrases.

But one thing that strikes the visitor to India, and anyone who delves even for a moment into its rich culture is the sheer explosive joy and colour of the place and the stories and the religion – and the food, and the clothes and the people!

It is India’s great gift to the human story to find a divine spark of joy in every corner of life – from the humblest transaction in the market place, to the epic test match between India and Australia, to the entire Bollywood film industry, to the daily joy of each temple’s ritual devotions.

To see divinity, joy and the transcendent in the ordinary and the mundane – and therefore to transform the mundane into the extraordinary. This is one of India’s great gifts to mankind. We hope that, in our own small way we are joining this great gift by making every Indian story available to every child in the world.

Download a FREE Video Story to experience the power of storytelling today.

The Power of Storytelling

asian girl of indian origin reading a book

 

Everybody loves a good story.  Stories are everywhere in our lives, from the briefest ad for a breakfast cereal – showing us a growing boy with his doting mother – to the greatest epic films covering the whole range of human experience in two or three hours in a darkened cinema. The power of storytelling is axiomatic.  All the greatest teachers of mankind have used the power of stories to get their message across. Earnestly tell a child of the need to be grateful; and they yawn and wriggle, and wait for something more interesting to come along.  But tell them a story of a clever crane who helps a fierce lion with a bone caught in his throat, and the story does the work. We are told to be humble and beware of puffing ourselves up too much.  But if we want to know what this might look like in practice; how much more powerful is an illustrative story of Narada, who thought himself the Lord’s greatest devotee, getting a gentle lesson in humility when he meets a simple farmer who remembers the Lord throughout his busy day. The power of storytelling indeed.

Download a FREE  Video Story to experience the power of storytelling today.

The Meaning of Stories

mother and daughter of indian origin reading a book

 

Stories are like a delicate flower.  Touch them too roughly and the bloom is spoilt.  Stories are like an intricate watch.  We can take it to pieces and carefully lay each spring and dial and mechanism out on a table.  From one point of view, we may have a greater understanding of the watch.  But it will no longer tell us the time. With these caveats in mind let’s boldly consider the meaning of stories. One way of looking at meaning is to ask what stories do.

An obvious “meaning” of stories is, therefore, enjoyment.  Whatever it is that they do for us, it is the fun and excitement of the story which makes us want to come back again and again.

We can also look at different levels of meaning of the classic stories.  There is the literal level: a fearful nest of mice, menaced by a fearsome cat, devise a cunning plan to place a bell around its neck; a young mother looks into her naughty boy’s mouth, and sees the whole Universe. The Goddess Ganga comes from Heaven to Earth to purify a pious King’s ancestors.

At the next level we can ask: what is the moral of the tale?  Courageous words must be accompanied by courageous deeds; the Universal can be found in the most surprising places; simple faith not only moves mountains, but can bring a great river pouring down from Heaven.  Sometimes uncovering the moral of a story requires us to apply our minds, so we can derive a message that is uniquely tailored to us.

Then there is the allegorical level.  What do the mice represent?  The courage to overcome fear?  The application of practical intelligence to a seemingly insoluble problem?  What does the cat represent?  The many challenges that life throws at us? Our baseless fears?

We can similarly ask about the symbolic meaning of Yashoda – the power of unconditional love; of Krishna – the Divine Spirit in everything. And so on.

And finally there is the personal level.  We can experience that same love which Mother Yashoda had for Krishna; we can search out our own timorous mouse-like fears, and apply reason and courage.

Like Ganga we can allow our energy and spirit to flow so everything around us is purified.

For children, little of this matters.  They just love a good story.  And rather than lay out the story’s springs and mechanisms, it is better to let the story weave its magic.

Want to experience the magic of Indian Cultural Stories? Download a FREE video story now.

The Developmental Ages of Children

Grandparents Helping Children With HomeworkThere is much research on how children learn.  Much of this research is concerned with how their thinking changes as they grow.  There are several models such as Piaget’s four developmental stages, and Kohlberg’s levels of moral reasoning, and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Without getting into too much arcane detail, we all know that as children grow and develop their world widens and their ability to consider the needs of others expands.

The development of a creative imagination is a crucial part of a child’s growing ability to encompass and respond effectively to others.  It is miraculous, when one thinks about it, that a person can actually make the effort to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, and then respond with compassion and care to that other person’s needs. How is this done? One key element is imagination: the ability to conjure up in the mind and heart a picture of what that other person must be thinking and feeling.

And how can this skill be taught?  Through various means:  good example, direct instruction, and also through the telling of stories; when a young girl hears of the courage of Savitri, or a boy reads of the steady faith of King Ambarisha; when children laugh at the antics of the mice who belled the cat; or the wily crane who saved the lion, then their imagination expands and their power of creativity is enhanced.

Want your child to experience the power of creativity? Download our FREE video story now.