In this lesson -Explore your
roots -Understand your family history, culture and traditions
-Learn about your shared family values -Prompt discussion
about your cultural heritage.
Here are some of Meenal's books. Roll your mouse over any of the images below to order the book from Amazon.com
Extension activities -Think
about yourself - how do you think you reflect your family values
and expectations? -Create your own family tree. Share
it with others in your family. -Download
My Family Stories. This is a ten page work book
created by the Teach India Project. Fill it in to create
your family history to share and treasure.
Cultural parenting, multicultural, intergenerational
communication, balancing cultures, Indian-American, tradition,
heritage, parenting, informed choices, family stories, leadership,
integrity, leading by example, make your own traditions, family
values, family history, western culture, western influence.
Meenal Pandya has been writing
about India and its culture for more than a decade. She has
written several books, hundreds of articles, and poems. Her
writings have appeared in many prestigious magazines, newspapers
and journals around the world. She lives in the US and is a
writer, publisher and a consultant. She has raised two
Meenal wrote these essays offering invaluable
advice and guidance especially for
Teach India Project readers and subscribers.
Being an adult and being a parent is about being a leader and a
role model. As long as there is someone who looks up to you,
depends on your decisions, or follows in your foot steps, you
are a leader. In fact, contrary to what we may think, being a
leader is a tough job because your every action – or inaction –
brings consequences to many and may change the course of the
future generations depending upon how big a leader you are.
Gandhiji said “my life is my message". If we look closely at
his life, we can derive some fundamental principles of being a
we talk about leaders, we think of politicians, business leaders,
and spiritual leaders but we forget that just being an adult is
being a leader and a role model – especially if you are a parent.
As long as there is someone who looks up to you, depends on your
decisions, or follows in your foot steps, you are a leader. And
being a leader is a tough job because your every action – or
inaction – brings consequences to those in your life. You may
change the course of the future generations depending upon how big a
leader you are.
Mahatma Gandhi was, without doubt, one of the most respected leaders
in recent times. He said “my life is my message” and thus when
we look closely at his life, we can derive some fundamental
principles of being a good leader.
Govern by principles and not policies.
It is natural for a leader to make rules and policies that can
be implemented. Many business locations display a sign, usually
a retail store or a small business where they proclaim that
“Honesty is the best policy”. Although it sounds great and
policies are needed to run any business, organization or even a
family with a clear perspective, the true leader should govern
by principles and not by policies. Honesty is a great
principle. Policies can be bent when needed but a principle is
something you live by. Gandhiji always perfected his actions
according to his principles and made every decision – political
or personal – based on his guiding principles of truth and
non-violence. Be clear about what you value and which principles
dictate your leadership.
Integrity is sacred.
When any leader’s integrity is derived from values that are
absolute, it becomes sacred and dependable. A great leader is
the one whose integrity is never questionable and rests on
absolute principles. In Gandhiji’s case, his absolute values
were truth and non-violence and even during the toughest of
times or against the strongest of enemies, his actions always
abide by those two values.
Have one single standard for all your actions.
Gandhiji always believed in a single standard of conduct in his
public life and his private life. When we see today’s leaders
behaving very differently while they are in public versus in
their private life, we understand why this is a very important
aspect of being a good leader. Having a single standard of
conduct creates the kind of persona that others can trust.
There is no distinction between who you are at work with who
you are at home, there is no distinction between how you treat a
superior and how you treat your inferior. When this line is
erased because you have a single standard of conduct, then you
emerge as a leader who is respected by every one.
Lead by example.
Gandhiji proclaimed that “my life is my message”. Whether your
role as a leader comes from being a parent, a small business
owner, a supervisor at work or a leader of a community, lead by
your example. This is easy to say but hard to follow. As
parents we always know that children learn from our actions and
not our lectures. Let people around you see how you conduct
yourself and without saying a word, they will understand what
the right behavior is.
Of course, Gandhiji taught us many things, including brevity,
truthfulness, non-violence, resistance to injustice, and service to
humanity; traits that are extremely important in a leader. But
these traits can become hollow words if they are not practiced with
principled leadership that Gandhiji modeled, the kind that we can