WFH Daily #125: To growing up, learning, and having fun along the way

July 26, 2020: Pranay Lal on the history of the world; advice from parents; School From Home

Founding Fuel

Good morning,

There is no ambiguity that there is much learning and growing up we have to do. If perspective be needed on why, it stares at us from the pages of Indica: A Deep Natural History of the Indian Sub-Continent by Pranay Lal, a biochemist and artist.

“Scientists and thinkers have tried to make sense of geological time because, once understood, it opens up the mind to the awe-inspiring immensity and magnificence of our world….

“To begin to make sense of geological time… imagine the 4,600-million-year-old Earth to be a 46-year-old woman… Most of what we recognize on Earth, including all substantial animal life, is the product of the past six years of the lady’s life…

“In the middle of last week, in Africa, some man-like apes turned into ape-like men and, at the weekend, Mother Earth began shivering with the latest series of ice ages. Just over four hours have elapsed since a new species calling itself Homo sapiens started chasing the other animals and in the last four hours it has invented agriculture and settled down. A quarter of an hour ago, Moses led his people to safety across a crack in Earth’s shell, and about five minutes later Jesus was preaching on a hill farther along the fault line. Just one minute has passed, out of Mother Earth’s 46 ‘years’ since man began his industrial revolution, three human lifetimes ago.”

Clearly, there is much growing up and learning that remains to be done.

In this issue

  • FF Recommends: Unlock minds and have fun with your kids in the lockdown
  • A parent’s wisdom 
  • School from Home

To a magnificent Sunday!

Team Founding Fuel

FF Recommends | Unlock minds and have fun with your kids in the lockdown

Since the pandemic started, kids’ screen-time has zoomed. All their education, social interactions and time-out is now on screen. How do parents deal with it? We threw the question to the Founding Fuel network. And boy, have they been busy learning and having fun with their kids!  

Swarna V and Ramki Sreenivasan: We consciously raised our boy, who’s eight, with extremely limited screen time—half an hour a week was the max. His school too is a big proponent of students kept away from screens and gadgets, as much as possible. However, with the lockdown our entire philosophy and understanding of the screen and its negative aspects have been questioned, as all learning has now moved online—be it school, music, art, even physical training!

But we’ve made peace with it. We told ourselves this is but a temporary phase of his life and that learning cannot stop. At the same time, we make extra effort daily to engage him with activities that don't require a screen—cooking, cleaning, feeding the pets, Lego, cycling, waveboarding, constructing with waste materials, building stuff with DIY kits like Smartivity, reading books aloud, playing cricket / badminton / football inside the house and in the corridors. 

And a bonus: Covid-19 has allowed more time for watching birds from the balcony.

Amrita and Sumit Chowdhury: It’s been fascinating to see our daughter Aishani’s journey over the past four months since the lockdown started—from a student worried about the postponement of exams to a confident young baker-turned-entrepreneur, who is effectively balancing school work, co-curricular enrichment activities, along with her passion for baking.

I always recall Sumit’s fascination with the movie Life is Beautiful and how the protagonist had turned an extremely adverse life situation into a game with his child, and I can say, as an up-close onlooker, that he has been able to help Aishani transform the pandemic—and its uncertainties, challenges and downtime—into an enriching experience.

[Click to view the slideshow]

Aishani has been baking since Grade 4. Sumit has been making breads every Sunday since the past year. They launched their brand “Dough & Batter” at the start of the lockdown.

The change in Aishani has been very apparent—she has risen early and happily spent long hours baking and decorating. But the experience has been much more transformative than that. Given that Dough & Batter is a registered MSME cloud kitchen and bakery, she has learned first-hand the principles of business, finance, schedule management, production planning, order delivery, product planning, pricing, packaging, customer engagement, marketing, and much more. She has become a calmer person. Baking is her mood lifter and her meditation, and the lessons from baking—of planning, patience, diligence—are reflecting into other areas as well. 

Joydeep Sarkar: We can see the impact (of being cooped up indoors) on my son who is into soccer big time. Last Monday onwards I started walking with him for 30-45 minutes. On the second day he didn’t want to go on the pretence that he felt weak. This from an otherwise outdoorsy kid! Now we’ve made it a discipline. We talk while we walk. I hope he gets back to his normal self. We are also cutting down his recreational screen time by small portions.

Look up equally creative stories of how parents and children are bonding during the times of the pandemic, and share your narratives on Twitter using #UnlockMinds.

A parent’s wisdom

It’s Parent’s Day today. If you’re away from your parents, take time out to call them if you can’t visit them. If you are with them, spend time with them. And in both cases, try to dig up older letters they may have written to you. Such as this one from Scott F. Fizgerald to his daughter on “What not to worry about” among other things.

Don’t worry about popular opinion

Don’t worry about dolls

Don’t worry about the past

Don’t worry about the future

Don’t worry about growing up

Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you

Don’t worry about triumph

Don’t worry about mosquitoes

Don’t worry about flies

Don’t worry about insects in general

Don’t worry about parents

Don’t worry about boys

Don’t worry about disappointments

Don’t worry about pleasures

Don’t worry about satisfactions

Dig Deeper

School From Home (SFH)

A kid gets his grandmother to get his classwork done while he goofs off (H/T to Rajesh Mukherjee for the share.

Does this look familiar? Do your parents help kids with homework while you aren’t watching? Send us your pictures (on our address below). Or share it on Twitter tagging @foundingf. Better still, head to our Slack channel and join the conversation.

And if you missed previous editions of this newsletter, it’s all archived here.

And do bookmark Founding Fuel’s special section on Thriving in Volatile Times. All our stories on how individuals and businesses are responding to the pandemic until now are posted there. 

Warm regards,

Team Founding Fuel 

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Founding Fuel

Founding Fuel aims to create the new playbook of entrepreneurship. Think of us as a hub for entrepreneurs- the go-to place for ideas, insights, practices and wisdom essential to build the enterprise of tomorrow. It is co-founded by veteran journalists Indrajit Gupta and Charles Assisi, along with CS Swaminathan, the former president of Pearson's online learning venture.

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