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I've been working in the field of e-learning for over 10 years and it has been interesting how the world suddenly changed overnight. Before Covid, people believed that online courses were less effective, easy to cheat, or just not equally valuable. E-books were barely read and educational videos were scarcely used. Educational apps were just used for entertainment. The pandemic has changed a lot. All types of skills are being learnt and taught online- from piano to dance and crochet and so on. Online classes, online school- all became common language that everyone understands. Schools have developed their own apps, and educational technology to reach and engage with their students.

So now what? Can we ever go back to what it was? I don't think so. Teachers across the world, irrespective of which country, have discovered the power of technology in education. Google searches became part of classroom lessons, and video learning became normal. The idea of using classroom time for engagement and not just absorbing content has become more and more mainstream.

A bonus is that parents have gotten involved in their children's education. So many moms have taught their kids to read, or write, and have discovered that they can. They've been their child's motivators and supporters as they tried to cope with online school. Parents now feel empowered, and so many are questioning if they really need to send their children back to school.

Education has to evolve and grow from now on. It has to include use and training in technology. We have to use networking to learn practices and gain knowledge from experts across the world. We have to be more transparent and communicative with parents so they can support their child's learning.

Technology has also taken quality education to the remotest villages. The government created and published books, videos and other learning materials online to be accessed freely by any child who wants to learn. Online tuition centers and online schools can connect underprivileged children to opportunity. These efforts must continue to grow.

So what can you do? If you are a parent, don't step back from your child's education. Stay as involved as you were over the past two years. If you are a teacher, use this as an opportunity to grow. You saw what all you were able to learn and do when the switch to online learning was made. Now take that learning even further. I believe that we can use the lessons and skills from the hard times to strengthen and grow our country's educational system and give our children an even better future.

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I sometimes hear people say that "maybe I made the wrong decision" or "that person made some bad decisions." I think decisions are more complicated than that.

Let's talk about a simple decision- like shall I eat a banana or a piece of rat poison. Yes, in this case, there is one right decision and one wrong decision. But what if I say- shall I eat a banana or a pack of potato chips. That made that decision so much more complicated. And what if the decision is - shall I eat a pack of potato chips or a piece of pizza?

In life, there are many many decisions where it's not so clear what is right, and what is wrong. Maybe it's better to see it as - what is the "best" decision I can make. Sometimes all the options you are given aren't good at all. Sometimes the decision involves so many factors that you have to take time to evaluate all of them. Take the potato chips and pizza decision- What are the ingredients used? What type of cheese? What type of pizza base? Is the pizza homemade or shop bought? Do I have any allergies? Do they both cost the same? Can I get both easily? So many of these answers can make either decision a better one.

So how do we approach decision making? I think we have to develop the practice of considering the problem at hand, or the decision to be made from multiple angles and perspectives. Consider all the factors, and the possible solutions. Maybe there's a third solution that you have not even thought of at all. Consult experts and wise people who can weigh in and help provide opinions. At the end of it all, pick one that seems to be the "best". But it doesn't end there. Most often in life, what you do after making the decision defines the outcome. If you picked a career, you need to do the work to make that decision a success. If you decided to buy a particular car, you have to maintain it well to be able to say that it was a good buy.

There's another piece. Some decisions are just morally wrong. Some are legally wrong. Ethics, morality and legality also play an important role in helping us understand why some decisions are just wrong, and walking that path may lead to a lot of pain.

So consider the options, pick the best, and make it work. And beyond that, when we see someone making a decision that doesn't seem like a good one, let's not be so quick to judge. Maybe they are choosing from the options they have, and are doing their best to make it work. For example - a young student who works at a call center all night to support themself. A little empathy and listening to understand why they are doing what they are doing, can go a long way in supporting them through something that might be really hard for them too.

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We all need moments in our daily life when we can stop, think, look around, look back, and be grateful for what we have. In today's world, everything goes so fast. We go city-to-city in a day. We work on multiple projects at any time. Sometimes we are conversing with multiple people on multiple windows, apps or websites at the same time. Even at this moment, I'm waiting for a response from a friend on whatsapp, writing this blog, and giving instructions to my son, at the same time.

Man made everything so much more efficient so that we could be more productive, earn more, spend more, have fancier stuff and it goes on. Our environments are so controlled that rain, or heat, or cold- nothing stops us from getting our work done. Our devices get better every year, helping us do things faster, and do more at the same time. What's the result. There is no need to pause, no wait times, no rainy days. And in our efforts to become more efficient and productive, we've forgotten that we aren't machines. We are people.

When the environment controlled our lives, there were seasons. Times like the harvest when it was crazy, and times when you just sat and watched your crops grow. There were rainy days when you stayed home and had chai and hung out with your family. When the sun went down, it was time for family, storytelling, and reminiscing. In our city lives, we have lost this. And maybe it's one of the reasons why we are so much more stressed.

We all need a moment to pause. Last year, during the pandemic, we rented a tiny house a few hours from our city home, in the middle of a forest. We can barely afford it, but we make it happen. We've been getting away every month or so for a few days at a time. We have wi-fi and we continue work and school, but these forced breaks in nature, have been such a source of rest, healing and replenishment. We go for walks in the daytime, stare at sunsets, watch birds, discover and learn about insects and plants. We tell stories to each other, share plans and dreams for the future, pray, and hear the voice of God.

People wonder how we manage to go on breaks this often. Some think it's strange that we need to. I'm well aware that it is a privilege. But I think the idea is important. And for our family, it's been the thing that's carried us through these hard (and hectic) times. Now that I've learnt to pause, I find ways to do it while I'm in the city too. I go for a walk without any music in my ears, because I just want to think and process. I sit with my tea a little longer, sometimes not doing anything at all. My moment to pause is a priority. It's worth putting aside money for, it's worth working a little less. It's worth my home being a little messy, or saying no to a party.

What are you willing to sacrifice for a moment to pause?

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