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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In today's world it's well understood that kids learn better when they are having fun doing it. Technology, a wide range of colorful books, craft activities, science experiments, robotics and such help our kids have a more hands-on, practical, application-based learning experience. But what I'm realizing along the way is that all of it comes with a price. A literal price tag.

When I trained as an occupational therapist, I trained in community-based rehabilitation. We learnt to make aids and toys and therapy materials out of things that were low-cost and available in the community. We were challenged to provide high-quality therapy at a low cost. I've done a little bit of that, and a lot more of other types of education where I've tried to make it work when we had very little resources or finances, but at the end of the day, I've realized- without financial resources, it's very hard to bring play-based learning to kids. Even if you manage to create low-cost resources, this type of learning requires a high student-teacher ratio that adds cost to education.

I'm not saying it's impossible. I know a of homeschooling moms and innovative schools who bring a really high standard of education to their kids at a low cost. As part of Project Kalpana, my team and I use a range of hands-on activities as we teach literacy. But what I am asking us to consider is this- great education, needs investment.

If we want to raise a generation of kids who are leaders in technology, communication, innovation and science- we have to be willing to put our money there. If you want your child to be challenged and excited to learn- buy them colorful books, science experiment kits, and give them plenty of art supplies. For creativity and innovation to thrive, children need materials to work with.

So invest in education- of your own kids if you have any. Make it a priority. It's more important than an expensive outfit or a fancy meal out. Also, let's invest in the education of the underprivileged. So many kids are missing out on education right now because they don't have a smartphone or a tablet. So many kids don't have art supplies or extra notebooks if they want to do something creative. When your kids are done with their books and toys- pass them on to someone who can't afford them. Let's recognize that play-based learning is a luxury in our country, and those of us who have that privilege can make an effort to share it a little more.

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