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Sorry and please are often described as 'magic' words simply because of the inherent power they possess to transform situations -- be it placating the recipient, strengthening a bond, or managing relationships. Effective communication emphatically talks about its frequent but genuine use to establish rapport apart from being polite and respectful. In that, 'sorry' holds a special significance for children as they navigate through their growing up years.
We often define these growing-up years as work in progress as children work out cause and effect, and understand that relationship management can be 'tricky' business. During these formative years, children deal with their family, school teachers, or friends and for that matter, even strangers. Perspectives, opinions, and misunderstandings pepper these years as a child matures and embraces social skills. Experience over a period of time is what enables children to regulate their emotions. Dangers of 'damage', a natural consequence of some of these misunderstood situations, can be mitigated if children are encouraged to make amends and move on.
The early years are dominated by the child's need to put himself/herself at the centre of every situation, often not realising that in doing so (this is a developmental milestone and will ease into maturity eventually), they could 'hurt' someone. And their need to resist apologising for their actions could largely be attributed to the fact that they are unable to fathom its severity and impact. For children, they are simply reacting and not intending to 'hurt' someone in a quest to protect themselves. They consider this an act of normalcy -- like snatching a toy that belongs to them, or pushing another child to get ahead, or jumping the line or speaking out of turn. Remember, their world is about them and hence it is important to educate children about feelings, appropriate behaviour, and how to build relationships.
Sorry and please are often described as 'magic' words - Pixabay pixabay.com
As children 'age', the primary years become grounds for more experiences, and children naturally evolve into being more aware of the consequences of their acts. And through regular communication by watching adults around them, they tend to use the word more often to 'mend' the situation. As social creatures, and quick to please, they recognise the need to 'adapt' and 'mould' themselves as per norms that are likely to receive praise or acknowledgement. In middle and high school years, the level of understanding about social interactions is purely the result of exposure and conditioning over the years, and therefore children ease into managing these relationships much better.
The key always remains the foundation, and the start, and consistent communication over the years with timely intervention to help students become the polite, sensitive, aware, and amicable adults we all aspire them to be. This requires efforts on part of those nurturing these students in school and at home as the 'seniors' who lead the way.
Fatema Agarkar, Educationist and Founder of ACE Some quick tips:
Role-model behaviour: Children are silent observers of everything they see around them, and the best way for them to 'learn' how to manage relationships and use the word sorry, is if they see enough examples of adults apologising. For example, in a fit of anger, if an adult has spoken rudely to the house help or a teacher to a fellow teacher, by apologising in public and explaining the rationale to the little ones, children understand the concept of a mistake, and that mistakes can be rectified through acts or actions in a way that builds a stronger bond. Hence, the importance of public display is critical for children to know that they can adopt a similar approach when faced with a similar situation.
Children are silent observers of everything they see around them. Photo by CDC on Unsplash
Cinema: Watching films that convey this message (lots of children films are about this) together with your children, and discussions after about what they understood and how the relationships became stronger because of the apologies is also a great way to communicate in a non-threatening way to the children. Often well-meaning adults tend to 'lecture' and children tune off given the plethora of instructions theyreceive daily, and these audio-visuals serve as an effective reminder of protocols to be adopted. Discussions post the film are important communication channels because it helps point out 'facts' that are important for them to know.
Watching films that convey a message together with your children is also a great way to communicate in a non-threatening way to the children. Pixabay
Books: Cannot emphasise how crucial this component is at any age -- great tools for expressing and role-modelling appropriate behaviour for children, and post a book reading, getting them to relate to situations that they have encountered is also a way to help them self-analyse.
Books are a great tool for expressing and role-modelling appropriate behaviour for children. Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
Journals: Encourage children to 'write' about difficult situations, and how they reacted to it, and what were some of the consequences if they had said 'sorry' instead of furthering the problem! Reflection as a tool and exercise, especially in primary years, helps children 'think' back and analyse their choices. A true learning milestone if we have to raise well-balanced children. Children do tend to 'forget' things, and unless they think about writing them down, and discussing it with their parents, they will never learn the art of reflection. The adults again can guide, and mentor (without judgement) and ease the children into making amends by apologising. This forms a dialogue with them.
Encourage children to 'write' about difficult situations, and how they reacted to it, and what were some of the consequences if they had said 'sorry' instead of furthering the problem! Photo by Jerry Wang on Unsplash
Social media: There are lots of positive quotes, stories, and images on social media about relationships. Encourage children by sharing this with them especially how someone dealt with a particular situation and overcame it. It is motivational, positive, and gets them to think about 'solving' problems and for that matter, 'accepting' that everyone has them!
Encourage children by sharing positivity with them especially how someone dealt with a particular situation and overcame it. Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash
Rewards: Rewards do not have to be materialistic, but do use this liberally as words. Acknowledge, and praise when the children are using appropriate behaviour and mending ties! This is perhaps the most underutilised of all communication strategies -- as adults, the praise is reserved for performance academically or in co-curricular, and it is time, this gets incorporated for behaviour and skills that build relationships. Write your child an email, a letter, or create a card and let them know how proud you are of them.
Write your child an email, a letter, or create a card and let them know how proud you are of them. Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash
Beyond 'sorry', the crux of communication and mentoring students remains focused on building relationships. For that, the children need to accept that mistakes happen, and these mistakes can lead to feelings of anger, aggression, or trauma for those at the receiving end. But that these are the moments that can be salvaged, and lead to better experiences and closer bonds. Sometimes demonstrating this to them, standing by their side as they attempt to, or pointing it out to them when they have not noticed will go a long way in creating happier children!
(Article originally written by: N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: sorry, kids, books, movies, letter, reward, journal, apology
By Himanshu Agarwal
There is no exaggeration in saying that Covid-19 has literally taken over our lives. Whether vaccinated or not, most of us are still living in the shadow of fear and anxiety. In fact with breakthrough infections showing up for some, even the vaccinated do not feel completely safe from a possible assault of the virus. The finding that the virus can be airborne is scary enough, research also shows that the transmission of the coronavirus is higher indoors than outdoors. This means that even if you don't step out and think that the virus can't get to you because you are ensconced safely and comfortably indoors, the bad news is that you can still get infected.
So, what should you do to keep the virus at bay while being confined indoors? While taking other precautions, keeping the indoor air sanitized, and constantly so, is one big answer to this.
Indoor aerosols a carrier of coronavirus
Unlike the earlier dominant belief that only respiratory droplets could spread infection, it has been established now that the tiny aerosols in the air can carry the coronavirus. These aerosols which are smaller and lighter than respiratory droplets can not only stay longer in the air but also carry the virus farther and for a longer time. The assumption that only by making contact with a contaminated surface one can get the virus, is no more valid.
Aerosols which are smaller and lighter than respiratory droplets can not only stay longer in the air but also carry the virus farther and for a longer time. | Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash
Several natural human activities carried out Indoors
We must remember that a lot of our daily natural and basic activities are conducted in our indoor spaces many of which involve active and oral expulsion of particles. From talking to shouting to sneezing and coughing to even singing, every one of these acts and others creates aerosols in the air which whether we like it not, continue to be exchanged with the others. In fact, many of these activities create more aerosols than even breathing. So, if we do not repeatedly ventilate the room and purify the air within, we can always be susceptible to be infected by others. Even if a house has no Covid patient, the risk of the virus being transmitted through the air from the neighbours or temporary staff can never be ruled out.
From talking to shouting to sneezing and coughing to even singing, every one of these acts and others creates aerosols in the air which whether we like it not, continue to be exchanged with the others. | Photo by Shazaf Zafar on Unsplash
Indoor air is naturally more unsafe than outdoor
As opposed to outdoor air which has natural circulation, unfortunately, indoor air doesn't have the same advantage. In India, the outdoor air itself isn't healthy enough for the human respiratory and health system due to the high amount of PM2.5, PM1.0 and other pollutants. So, without timely ventilation and purification, the chances of indoor air getting stale and unhygienic and thereby becoming more conducive to the 'designs' of coronavirus become very high. Add to this, there are recent studies that prove the possibility of PM2.5 particles being potential carriers of coronavirus, carrying them too much larger distances in the air. The high temperature and humidity which often characterizes our tropical climate add to the woes. (IANS/ MBI)
The outdoor air itself isn't healthy enough for the human respiratory and health system due to the high amount of PM2.5, PM1.0 and other pollutants. | Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash
Keywords: Pollution, pollutants, indoorm outdoor, air, covid, aerosol
Children exposed to high levels of air pollution are up to 50 per cent more likely to self-harm later in life, suggested a study that adds to evidence of link between air pollution and mental health problems. Researchers from the University of Manchester in England and Aarhus University examined 1.4million kids under 10 in Denmark and found that those exposed to a high level of nitrogen dioxide were more likely to self harm in adulthood than their peers, the Daily Mail reported.
And people in the same age group exposed to above average levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) were 48 per cent more likely to subsequently self-harm, revealed the study published in the journal Preventive Medicine. Nitrogen dioxide is mainly produced by cars, while PM2.5 is mainly emitted by burning diesel and petrol, which is most commonly used for shipping and heating. These two pollutants are among those most commonly linked with causing harm to physical health, such as heart and lung diseases, by getting into the bloodstream and causing inflammation.
"Our findings add to the growing evidence-base indicating that higher levels of air pollution exposure are linked with poor mental health outcomes," lead author Dr Pearl Mok, a research fellow at Manchester University was quoted as saying. "Although air pollution is widespread, it is a modifiable risk factor and we therefore hope our study findings will inform policymakers who are devising strategies to combat this problem," Mok added.
"Our findings add to the growing evidence-base indicating that higher levels of air pollution exposure are linked with poor mental health outcomes," lead author Dr Pearl Mok | Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash
While the researchers have not explained the mechanism for how these pollutants can cause mental health problems, they say high pollution levels could trigger inflammation in the brain, leading to mental health conditions, the report said. Childhood is a 'sensitive time for brain development', so youngsters may be 'particularly susceptible' to negative effects from toxic particles in the air, they added.
Further, the team found that some 32,984 people (2.3 per cent) harmed themselves in the study period, with cases higher among women, those whose parents had mental illness and individuals from poorer families. Exposure to an average of 19 microgram/m3 or more of particulate matter each day was associated with a 48 per cent higher chance of self-harming later in life, compared to children exposed to an average of 13 microgram/m3 per day or less. And for every 5 microgram/m3 increase in exposure above 19 microgram/m3, the risk of self harm rose by 42 per cent. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: pollution, kids, exposure, pollution, self-harm, development
By- Tejas Maheta
When attempting to summarise the current performance and future portents for the South Asia economy, it's arguable that most of the region's nations are doing relatively well.
Malaysia offers a relevant case in point, as despite combatting Covid-19 whilst also dealing with a global oil price crash and political instability, the nation is poised to record economic growth of 0.5% by the end of 2020.
Sure, this is noticeably down on the initial 2002 forecast of 4.8% growth, but it needs to be considered against the backdrop of an unprecedented combination of socio-economic and geopolitical challenges.
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Similar trends have been reported in Vietnam and Hong Kong, the former of which has recorded no coronavirus deaths at all and remains one of the few nations on course to achieve economic growth this year. But which nations are really leading the recovery in this region, and what should we expect going forward?
Surviving Covid - Currencies and Stimulus Packages
Of course, one thing that unites these nations is the proactive rollout of generous stimulus and quantitative easing packages, with Malaysia having provided an RM295 billion injection into the economy.
Of this, an estimated 15% (approximately RM45 billion) is a direct fiscal injection in the government, with the remaining capital introduced in the form of slashing base interest rates and managing inflation.
Hong Kong has also introduced several rounds of quantitative easing measures since February, with April's iteration providing an HKD120 billion relief package and taking the total government stimulus investment to HKD290 (which equates to 9.5% of Hong Kong's gross domestic product).
In the case of both Malaysia and Hong Kong, these measures have also helped to boost the value of domestic currencies. The Hong Kong dollar rose for the fifth consecutive day last week, for example, while the HK Monetary Authority sold a further HK£3.72 billion of local currency and continued to boost their capital inflows as a result.
The Malaysian Ringgit has also performed relatively well against major currencies of late, although it faces additional challenges in the form of the recent global oil price decline.
So, although crude oil prices have recently rebounded slightly, Malaysia's currency value has been impacted by rising capital outflows and forced to trade within an increasingly narrowing range.
Common Ringgit notes Image source: wikimedia commons
A Look Ahead - What Can we Expect?
Asia was the region first affected by Covid-19, and therefore it stands to reason that its nations should have commenced their recovery quicker than those in Europe and the US.
Interestingly, the shoots of recovery may be green in more ways than one, with the Export-Import Bank of Korea leading the return of Asian green bonds in the primary financial market.
Also Read: Zimbabwe Ends Its Interim Currency
Of course, the idea of sustainable finance and investment has been a hot-button topic in Asia for a while now, while we've also seen a significant increase in demand for Green, Social and Sustainability (GSS) bonds in recent times.
This followed the introduction of a 700 million Euro green bond and Korea's pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 (following hot on the footsteps of the UK).
With these points in mind, there's clearly the potential for Asia to build on its relative strength and initial Covid-19 recovery by investing in sustainable assets and building a considerably greener future.
(Disclaimer: This article is sponsored and contains commercial links)