A NEW PATH AFTER BEING LOST IN COMMUNICATION
Do you remember your first childhood dream? The very first dream that made you elated every time you think about it. Did you achieve that dream? If not, why is it?
If we look at all those reasons deeply, they are all rooted in fear. Our concerns, anxiety, lack of confidence and self-esteem, hopelessness, reluctance, hesitation, denial, even a decision not to make a decision are all rooted in fear. And the root case is lack of faith in ourselves.
Unfortunately, we only came to realize this limitation in adulthood. Although help is available through self-development books, positive thinking workshops, or professional therapy, would it be better if self-understanding comes at an early age?
That is exactly what Ms Thananrada Thananart, founder of Spiritual Kids Center, thinks. A certified trainer of trainers in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Ikigai (well-being), Ms Thanaranda decided to use her expertise to work with children instead of adults even though the pay is much higher. Her ultimate goal is not only to see emotional and mental progress in her students, but also spiritual development of both parents and their children.
What made you interested in working with children? Is it because you love children?
Not at all. In fact, I studied accounting. After graduation, I studied International Business at the American Graduate School of International Management in the States because my family has a business. The thought of working with children has never entered my mind. Then one day, I felt my child needed more attention because she began to use reasons with me.
The problem is that young children don’t use reasons. Something was off. She would give me reasons for many things, like why I should go to work because she can be on her own. A relative of mine who is experienced in child raising said I need to see what I’ve done wrong if my child said this.
What’s more. She just didn’t listen to me. The whole company, our business partners, and our clients listened to me. She was perfectly fine doing things without me.
Could it be because you worked long hours at that time?
Not that much, but yes, I wasn’t home. I remember reading this book called Kindergarten is Too Late! by Ibuka Masaru. It says that a child’s first three years is the golden period for development. So what could be a better time to invest in my child than now?
The first thing I did was taking her to the Sathira-Dhammasathan, a Buddhist learning community for peace and harmony. The center offered several courses and programs so I enrolled her into them too, but she still didn’t listen to me. The only person she listened to was my husband. I even asked, “What kind of pheromone do you have?” (laugh)
That was the starting point of my new path. I thought, “If she doesn’t listen to me now. There’s no way she’s going to listen to me when she’s older.” That was more than 10 years ago so this coaching thing wasn’t known in Thailand. I am the first generation. So, I had to take self-development courses abroad.
What have you studied?
Everything. Whatever workshops and courses they said were good, I took them all. When I do something, I give my 100%. For example, when I took the NLP course, I will go all the way to the point that I can be a trainer. I also learned the principles of effective communication which is based on the receiver’s communication style, and how to develop the right mindset and the mechanisms of the mind at the conscious, subconscious, and non-conscious levels.
What have you adopted in your work at Spiritual Kids Center?
First of all, it helps me understand how different we are. This is the problem commonly found in parents. Sometimes you think your children listen to you, but they have a different way of learning. Each person has a unique method of learning. So I told parents all those problems arise because they talk more than listen. Believe it or not? Many children’s learning process isn’t through hearing. They learn by seeing, exploring, touching, or experimenting. What happens when you just talk or give orders, your words just go in one ear and out the other. This is just a fraction of the knowledge and it’s already very useful. I thought, “How can I keep this to myself without doing something for Thai children?”
Luckily, I was contacted by a major conglomerate to give a lecture on human potential development to audience of parents, totaling around a hundred. I’ve realized there is a gap that needs to be filled. Thailand has hundreds of cram schools and children’s IQ development centers, but none when it comes to the emotional intelligence (EQ) part.
After the children switched their learning method, the change has been positive. A lot of parents came to me crying, saying they were so happy to see their children’s improvements both at school and at home. Children with ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) and also benefit from this type of program too. Sometimes we think they’re stubborn and aggressive but that’s not true at all. We just don’t know how to communicate with them. Our children don’t know about it either so it’s our job to learn and understand them.
Is it true that parents are encouraged to put meditation in their daily routine after their children have been in the program for a period of time?
Humans often judge the world from their viewpoints. Most parents have this and that expectation without learning about their children; who they really are, what they are good at. But once you do, don’t judge them. You might think it’s a waste of time reading comics but they are might actually absorbing anime drawing skills. And it turns out their artwork is very good. Vipassana Meditation (Mindfulness Meditation) is about breaking down attachment. When the attachment lowers, so will the expectation. Once your kids feel less pressured from you, they’ll be willing to open up more. This is the time they will listen to whatever you say. And if you know their learning style too, positive changes will come very quickly.
So what can parents at least do in the heat of the moment to prevent the situation from escalating?
Listen. You must listen. You must be willing to understand them and listen to their woes and complaints without interrupting. Then ask them questions, the kind of questions related to what they say. Many times, the root of the problem is a huge iceberg floating beneath the surface. There’s a saying “The best answer is in the best question.” When parents’ questioning skill is developed, they will know what to say. From there, everything will get better.