When You Know Your Worth No One Can Make You Feel Worthless – Because You Really Do Matter.

Archive for October, 2011

A Warm Hug And A Bright Smile

What is mentoring? Why is mentoring important? Does it work?

As Lyndon B. Johnson aptly said, “We must open the doors of opportunity. But we must also equip our people to walk through those doors.”

That was all about mentoring, helping people walk through those doors of opportunity. To me mentoring is, indeed, important. How many times haven’t we all heard people revisiting past incidents and lamenting, “I wish there was somebody who could have told me that what I’m doing was wrong and I wouldn’t be here toiling to get over the mistakes I made and suffering forever.”

Similarly, I heard many successful people say with thanks, “I had a wonderful mentor who was always there for me to guide me in the right direction and because of that support I am what I’m today. But for he/him I would have been lost in the dust of confusion.”

I myself have some wonderful mentors who help me make better choices in my life, career, and in raising my child properly. When confusion capsizes the thinking power, we need help from a person who could step into our shoes and think on behalf of us and give us positive alternative solutions.

Mentoring is empowering the mentee with strength, thinking tools, power of positivity and everything that it takes to opt for better choices. Mentoring is creating trust in oneself and helping others to protect their self-esteem from corroding. Most of the time when a person whom you trust has the ability and prudence, lays out the pros and cons and lets you think vertically, it will start making a lot of sense. But the key to success is finding such a person who is truly your friend and a well-wisher. Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa  mentored several people to speak up against apartheid,  practice of  non-violent agitation, and embrace others with love, respectively.  Because of their mentoring, people have had courage to reinvent themselves and forge ahead for a good cause.

Does mentoring work? I surely think so.

Columbine High School, Littleton, Colorado – Would eleven Kids be dead if two young classmates had had a mentor to help them understand some positive alternatives to their horrific action?”

I read this question on a mentoring website which, I felt, is so true.

A slap on the hand and a word of positive advice will always work to promote better results of an action. Mentoring initiative combined with proper conflict resolution steps have resolved and will prevent many internal and external wars. There is an urgent need to strengthen the society to work toward that goal.

California Mentor Foundation surveyed 124 mentor programs with 36,251 mentors and 57,659 mentees.  The survey showed that:

98% stayed in school

85% did not use drugs

98% Deterred from teen pregnancy

98% Did not join a gang

Doesn’t mentoring works? It sure does. Aren’t these young students our future leaders and protagonists for a building a better society? I bet they are.

What an amazing impact could mentors make on young persons! What happens even if 75% of the mentees in the world have mentors and they work together to build a better society?  Then there won’t be much to relay about wars, economic turmoil, ponzi schemes, mall shootings, endangered animal species, juvenile crimes, and drug cartels. The media will go out of business. 

“Mentoring comes first, because we know that if society doesn’t provide constructive mentors and role models for kids they are going to find their own on street corners, in gangs or in drug dens,” saiGeneral Colin Powell at the 1998 California Mentor Summit hosted by CMF and Disneyland.

Currently, 18 million children in the United States want and need a mentor, and only three million have one.  And we have 196 independent countries in the world with a total population of approximately 7 billion in 2011. You can estimate the mentor requirement figure for the rest of the whole world.

Mentoring doesn’t need any special qualifications but in essence needs special qualities. A mentor must have a big heart and open mind which will foster compassion, patience, empathy, and a nature to help others.  A mind-set to reach out for the needy, walking the walk, and talking the talk with the mentee is all that it takes to be a good mentor.  There are a myriad of ways to become a mentor.  As charity starts at home, mentoring starts within the family and circle of  friends.

Many NGO/NPOs and social organizations need and welcome mentors. Take a dip and see. You may really find something worthy to put your experience, education, and abilities to best use. Maybe there is someone awaiting your arrival and help.

How do you feel when a child graduates with flying colors because of your encouraging words; a family together celebrates a festival because of your counseling not to go for a divorce; a distraught  parent gives up  drugs with your help in therapy sessions; an old couple save themselves from getting into a scam scheme upon your education to them; an immigrant family learning to read with your coaching; a young lady escaping from the clutches of a bad marriage because of your timely help; a harassed employee stood up in self-defense because you talked to him about employee rights.

I always have an exhilarating feeling when I get a warm hug from my mentee. The bright smile on that face gives me a good night sleep. I have a lot  of those smiles, hugs, and thank you notes in my stash which I have to pass on to my mentors  for consistently making  changes in my life to think better, behave well, talk sweet, share happiness, and for empowering me to mentor others to make changes in their lives.

Statistics Resources:

The California Mentor Foundation.





Our Beautiful Home

I have been looking forward to fall, because my husband promised me that he will take me to the fall color belt in California.  I would die to feast my eyes with those fall hues. What a magnificent gift from Mother Nature!

The promise had been delivered.  Last week we went to Lake Sabrina and Mono Lake. We walked in the morning sniffing the fragrances and reveling in the beauty of fall hues.  We drove and parked at an elevation of 9,000 ft. and walked up for a mile from there.

My mind’s eye painted a picture of the lake like a bride decked up in orange, yellow, pale green ensemble and gleamed in the morning sun. Lake Sabrina  looked stunningly pristine and scenic. 

I’m so blessed to be a part of this beautiful planet and nurtured by Mother Nature. The combination of morning chill and warmth of our sweaters gift wrapped us in coziness. We stood on the wooden bridge watching people walk, fish, and take pictures. The calm and peace was unexplainable.

From there we drove to Mono Lake which is another enigma.  I blinked like a shutter-bug when I read the age of the lake – 760, 000 yrs approximately.  The visitor center lady told us that the lake has no single fish but the basin is a home for millions of birds belonging to over 300 species.  How do they survive?  They gobble algae, shrimp, and alkali flies which slither on the banks.

The other intriguing sight is the formation of Tufa towers on the shoreline. Some formations seem like sphinx, bull head, and minarets to me. The formation is natural. It’s, indeed, a photographer’s delight and a pack of them already there running in all directions lugging their paraphernalia to click the best sight of this marvelous place.

On the way back to our hotel we drove through the June Loop which was like a neck-lace road with small lakes strewn along it.  The splicing mountains bordering the lakes stood as gigantic bodyguards on the vigil for the beauties.  If we hadn’t taken this small detour we sure would have missed a precious thing in our lives.

We took a good rest in the night and embarked on our return journey. On the way we visited Mount Whitney and Red Rock Canyon. I will write about these mystifying pieces of nature another time because I don’t want to overdose you.

My epilogue: From the heavenly patchwork of nature, in the next five hours, we catapulted into a concrete jungle filled with brick and mortar structures and with sound waves from the automobiles impinging our eardrums. What a sea of difference!  This place also would have been the same one like the one I’m blessed to visit – maybe some millions of years ago.  Mother Nature is so liberal in giving more than we need. Abundance is always redundance.

I remember my economics lecturer explained about the law of  diminishing marginal utility theory in simple words : “When you eat one apple, it will taste delicious, second one will taste good, third one will taste ok, fourth one will not taste at all, fifth one you don’t want to eat,  and the next you will throw it away.

That what is happening now.  There was an abundance of vegetation, water, resources, animals, marine world, clean air, mountains, snow, timely monsoons, farming, fresh milk, and family. Now there are skyscrapers, hazards industrial wastes, polluted air, scarcity of resources, upside down seasons, endangered animal and marine species, packaged food, unidentifiable diseases, disappearing snow sheets, wars, and disintegrated families.  What a barter!

Earth is our home. A beautiful home. Our children and their great-grandchildren also need this home. They are also entitled to own what we are enjoying today. I suppose. Can we protect our beautiful home for them?

(Pics: Ganesh Devan)

Don’t forget to read “Thought of the Day”.

Links: http://www.monolake.org/


Water for Humans !

Scene I: In one corner of the world, it’s a peak summer midday and scorchingly hot.  The woman looked at her empty bucket. Sweat from her forehead dripped into it.  Her six odd hours of waiting in a serpentine queue for the drinking water tanker landed her back to the same status – no water until the tanker came next time. Like her the other women and children lined up with their buckets and pots.  Several pairs of eyes glued, without a blink, toward the end of the curve of the muddy road.  A feeble honk or a minor vibration of tires on the road made them stand-at-ease taking their position to handle the battle.

Parched lips, dusty clothes, crying children with dehydration, and growling stomachs had become part of the lives of these people.

After hearing the announcement about the water tanker arrival for the next day nightmares of missing the tanker, sleep eluded her in the night.

By six in the morning   she stood in the line rubbing her droopy eyes. Now the time was almost two hours past noon and there was no sign of the damn ramshackle tanker – out of which 30% of the water drained down the road through cracks s or sloshed out of the uncovered top of the tanker. Thoughts of hungry kids at home crossed her mind and she pressed her lips tight.

The tanker was coming  almost after four days.  Thank God, it was at least coming – she looked at the silvery sky. If the tanker didn’t come today, no drinking water at home. The only way to get some drinking water was to walk five miles to the nearest well and fetch. Water was at least needed for drinking. Bathing, washing, and even cooking weren’t the priority now.

The litany of raspy honks of the tanker consumed children’s cry for hunger and exhaustion. The tanker arrived. Suddenly everyone in the line wanted to be first.  The  somewhat peaceful atmosphere turned into a war zone.  They jabbed each other with elbows, knocked the next person down, yelled and pulled hairs. Irate adults dragged the children, who were passing through the crowd looking for the parents, to the sides.

 Ultimately, no one got what they wanted – a bucket of drinking water. The driver   decided to leave because he failed to control the frenzied crowd.  The brawl continued, leaving the woman perplexed and helpless.

Could you believe this whole battle was just for a bucket of drinking water?

Well, the story is far different in other part of the world. Let’s see.

 Scene II: A beautiful ranch styled home perched on the coast of   a sun drenched beach. Well manicured lawns laced with spring seasonal flowering beds made the place dreamy.  Looked like the sprinklers enjoyed ultimate freedom with no control over them. The water was overflowing making the flowerbeds swim.  Excess water gushed down the gutter.

 “Honey, there is a small speck of mud on the rim. Please hose it down until it’s gone,” Mom ordered.

Dad obliged her with hosing down the entire vehicle, for a small dash of  mud, again for another ten minutes.

In the backyard kids enjoyed the weekend thoroughly. They sprayed water at each other from the hose connected to the tap.   The boy dropped the hose on the ground and went inside the house to play his video game.  The little girl gave a lavish bath to her toys using the hose.  Water flooded down the slopes of the backyard.  Mom discussed the “ladies night out dinner” arrangements with her friend on the phone – had no time to supervise and tell  kids not to waste water. 

Grandma in the kitchen washed dishes while watching the TV.  Some of the scenes in the soap touched her heart so much that she forgot about closing the tap and opened her tear ducts. Tears and water competed with each other – Ms. Tap Water won the race of speed and wastage.

The water wasted in the house could have provided drinking water to the lady (in scene 1) who stood in the line for nothing and for her whole village for a few weeks, at least.   

It’s a truth my dear friends, these scenarios are my personal experiences.  With due respect to everybody, I have to say that I witnessed how the water was being wasted in some societies and on contrary, in others, people toil for a bucket of drinking water. Water is more precious than any other wealth.  I myself, as a child in India, faced acute water shortage. My memories are fresh with missing my school just to fetch water.

Please promote water conservation lest nature is going to give us the taste of our own medicine.  For more interesting details, amazing facts, and how to get involved in water conservation please check this website: http://water.org/

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q54a4PCV9Ac . Please don’t skip watching this video. 

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