The single most important parenting workshop - ever.
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There are workshops and then there is Jagriti.
Seriously, I’ve attended my fair share of learning workshops and training sessions, courses and programs as an individual, a parent and a professional. All of them promise to change your life in some way and indeed many touch you and leave an impact.
But if I had to vote for just one that changed my entire outlook to life, learning and parenting, Jagriti would still take the first 3 spots.
What is Jagriti and why is it so valuable for parents?
In the words of Ratnesh Mathur, who along with Aditi is the founder of Aarohi Open learning Community and has run 56 batches of Jagriti over the last couple of decades,
“Parenting or teaching is NOT about some tricks or techniques or strategies
- It is about deeply understanding the child and his or her learning and development
- It is about providing a relationship that would enable the child to blossom into the unique human that he or she is
- It is not about child's future, but about the joy we all have in the years we live together
While what you know and have been doing as a parent is correct, there are at least 50 more ways of seeing the same thing. When we open up our windows, we get to see new vistas. Automatically, these new perspectives lead us to respond to and work with our child in different and perhaps much more effective ways. The child, in the end, is a huge beneficiary. That we start to enjoy working with our child is a nice side benefit.”
Jagriti is Ratnesh and Aditi’s attempt to structure the process of opening those windows of possibility through a series of 16 online sessions held over a 1.5 month period.
But really what it is, is a public service. A true gift to parents everywhere. I would go so far as to call it a blessing and a privilege that we have access to such a world-class workshop sitting at our homes.
And to add to the beauty of it, they do not mandate a fee for it. Jagriti is not free, but it follows the Aarohi philosophy of ‘Apni Khushi Se Do’, roughly translated as ‘Pay based on the value and joy you find from the workshop’. There is a sliding scale suggested, which starts at INR 7k, but whether you choose to pay nothing or a lot more than 7 or 10K; whether you pay now or even several years after the workshop (there have been people who have done that too!) it’s all up to you.
Irrespective of all that admin stuff, the important thing is you - anyone - can attend, participate, and transform with Jagriti!
Committing to Your Parental Awakening
Jagriti is intense. But like any relationship, you get back what you put in. It demands your complete attention, engagement and commitment. It’s not about some test or certificate at the end. The real value is with processing, questioning and exploring the content, one theme at a time, over a period of 16 weeks. There is no real homework or prep work, but your mind will be churning during - and long, long after - the 16 sessions are done. You may find yourself closed or even not engaging in first couple of sessions, but with the natural pondering, wondering, and questioning that will naturally arise in you, you will find yourself, slowly, in spite of yourself, opening up like a flower may open its petals, and discover that a whole new world awaits once you free yourself to see the sky and every possibility under it.
For me, the biggest value at the end was noticing the many opportunities I have, everyday, to help my children empower themselves to be the truest, most authentic versions of themselves. I realize my role as parent-facilitator is not to smooth the path for them, but to be there with them, be present with them. Empowering them is not letting them do ‘as they please’ or to not question their choices, but to respectfully co-navigate their journey with them. That has really opened up the joys of parenting for me. In fact the more I think about it, while I did get a lot of love and affection as a child, I think what I missed was that sense of respect and agency. Of knowing that I was in charge of my own choices, that I had a say in all the decisions and choices that affected me, that I was ultimately responsible for myself and my choices.
The program attempts to add perspectives, possibilities, and potentialities by seeing our parenting, our children and our life as unlimited, and through entirely different pairs of lenses, while acknowledging that there is no right or wrong lens. Each lens just needs to be experienced, and understood.
What Jagriti is not
In Hindi, jagriti means awakening, awareness. In my view, there couldn't have been a more appropriate name for this workshop, which not only opens our mind to so many new possibilities as a parent and a learner, but also helps us find truer self-awareness.
Jagriti is many things to many people, but it is NOT a coaching or solutions session. In fact Ratnesh and Aditi are very clear from the start that they are not there to solve our problems or offer any crisp formulas and remedies for anything. In fact, forget trying to get any straight answers in response to any of your questions during the session. Some may find this too challenging and even frustration, as they go to workshops and camps hoping to get answers from experts.
What Jagriti DOES promise is to help us question everything that we have tended to assume or take for granted as parents. Attending Jagriti, for me, opened up so many windows of possibility when it came to my relationship with my children, and it’s a rare workshop where I’m STILL discovering and using what I learned in my everyday interactions with my kids.
What are the 16 sessions about?
There is no one way to define or describe Jagriti as an experience. It has to be, well, experienced! Each of us would interpret it differently, and take away different ideas of value from it. Ratnesh and Aditi use a great mix of activities, stories, videos, role-play and discussions to bring the ideas to life while still giving you enough space to interpret each notion in your own way. They will however not hesitate to challenge you and expect you to challenge yourself.However, if you would prefer to read few lines about each session - read on:
Session 1: UNLEARNING
Most of us want to learn. But it’s important to explore the value of perpetually emptying our cup and making space for new perspectives or to look through new windows. The biggest learning for me was to unlearn that I know what’s best for my child, and instead co-learn/ co-create that journey with them.
Session 2: BELIEFS
As I keep repeating on Polymath Parenting, we are way too conditioned by strong beliefs and assumptions about how kids learn, many of which are limiting, not empowering. This session really takes the blinkers off those beliefs and assumptions and challenges us, as parents, to relook at the notions of how our children really learn.
Session 3: FEELINGS
To be understood is a universal need - for kids and adults alike. This session explores how we understand, relate, connect and help children become emotionally intelligent.
Session 4: SELF-ESTEEM
Self-esteem starts with knowing and understanding ourselves, and accepting ourselves as we are, in all our shades. How can we build the habit of treating ourselves as we do someone we love? Or as the Jagriti team puts it, ‘Can I help the child start the journey of self-awareness and perhaps also better understand myself as a parent along the way?”
Session 5: MOTIVATION
Self-directed learning comes from a place of real motivation. But when we, as parents, try to motivate our kids, we are usually met with resistance. By understanding our child’s learning process we can help them embrace and follow their own motivation instead of trying to foist our notions of why they should learn something onto them.
Session 6: EMPOWERMENT
Empowerment is believing that "I am able"! It’s not something we as parents can give our child, but as parents we can create an enabling environment that helps our child find their own source of power and empowerment. This session explores the possibilities with empowerment which we have never considered till now.
Session 7: CREATIVITY
Creativity is in everything we do. This session explores how we can make each act a creative one, and live our life out of creative, choice and connection.
Session 8: HABITS of MIND
Have we conflated the idea of learning with education with studying? These are three different things. Learning has to do with living, and it is in our day-to-day interactions with our children that we can build the skills and habits-of-mind that will help them be successful in life. The session explores characteristics like perseverance, sensitivity, responsibility, integrity, open mindedness, etc. and is one of the best sessions of the series, which is saying a lot, since each session is transformative by itself.
Session 9: MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES
Can parents really walk the talk of self-directed and child-led learning? Can we trust and respect that our child is free to explore their various intelligences and that each is as valuable as the other? Or do we say one thing (you can be whoever you want) even as our actions say the opposite (Why are you wasting your time on art when you need to study math?). The session explores "What is Multiple Intelligence?" and what are its implications?
Session 10: BEHAVIOUR
Adults are obsessed with their children’s behaviour, but we look at how they behave from our own lenses. This session helped me see how we can see the behaviour of our children from many different perspectives and lenses.And by doing so, how we can respond to them more appropriately for effective learning to occur. The session explores our own behaviour when it comes to understanding our child’s behaviour better.
Session 11: POTENTIAL
We all want our child to discover and live upto his or her full potential. But what exactly is this potential and what can we do about it? Is it about providing or guiding or letting go?
Session 12 and 13: PREPARING SEXUALLY and PREPARING AGAINST ABUSE
These session really got me wondering and questioning the way I have been approaching the topic of sexual awareness and safety with my kids. It is a set of sessions designed to shake us to think why, what, and how we are actually ‘preparing’ and ‘empowering our children to be 'sexually' safe.
The sessions delve into how to talk, what to talk, and how to work with all the exposure a child receives from the media and the world. The goal is to ultimately empower the child to form healthy and safe physical and social relationships through life.
My takeaway was that one session about good and bad touch is not going to help our child save themselves should a situation arise. They need to feel empowered, heard and in control of their life, choices and body from the start so that whether the situation is of sexual abuse or any other uncomfortable one, they feel the agency to protect themselves with appropriate action.
Session 14 and 15: FACILITATING
Facilitation is clearly a parent's most important role. Like I said, our job is not to smooth the path or constantly advise our children, but to walk with them, facilitating their journey, enabling them as needed, and making them aware of their self-empowerment. These last two sessions delve into the idea of parenting and the role of facilitation in that journey.
Don’t miss the next batch of Jagriti starting June 2022.
If there is one gift I can give you this year, let it be the awareness about the existence of a workshop as unique and life-changing as Jagriti. If you are serious about changing anything in your life as a parent and family, I URGE you to invest the time and attention to participate in Jagriti. The impact on your child's learning outcomes is just a wonderful bonus that will occur as a result of making the changes and the transformation that will come about.
The next 57th batch starts on 17th June 2022 - you can get all the details, view previous participant reviews, and sign up here.
Disclaimer: this is an independent review of the Jagriti program which I attended in 2021, and is not a sponsored post.
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