Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day School Projects

My son's favorite subject in this world is Science and he showed his passion with this covalent bond project they had to do in honor of Valentine's Day. It shows the (romantic) bonding between Mr. Phosphorous and Ms. Iodine. He named them Phosphoromeo and Triiodideiet:-) I thought it was cute and funny and had to take a picture when I spotted it in his hands in the morning. He said he got a standing ovation for presenting it. But no matter how much his Dad and I beg, he refuses to present it to us without his material. The poster is being used to decorate the science lab along with that of all the other students and he says he will do the presentation for us once he has the material back with him. Ok we will wait.

My 4th grader on the other hand is just starting serious projects from this year onwards. I remember helping my son on a similar project when he was in 4th and second time around things are a little easier. Like him I know she will start doing them all on her own soon too. How time flies! This is the front page of the newspaper she had to do based on 'The Bridge To Terabithia'. She said she didn't want to color her drawings. She prefers them to be black and white but had to color them as a requirement. Being the biased mom that I am, I actually like it. We had watched the movie on a plane trip long time back. I watched it on and off and so don't have a good memory of it. It was sort of nice to relive the story while helping her on the project.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Give And Take By Adam Grant

If you have not read this book then I advice you to run, not walk to the nearest bookstore and acquire a copy. It can stay in your family for generations to come and yet not lose the substance of any of its message.

So there used to be a world where there were three kinds of people. Dummies, regular people and the genius type. That is an old story. In my opinion,  Adam Grant has finally come up with a more fitting description. Givers, takers and matchers. Although the book is not religious, every religion will have to agree with what he has outlined as a good set of living principles. I have always thought that the book of 'Proverbs' in the Bible is a very practical set of rules by which to live in this world. It is full of common pearls of wisdom. (BTW, My son's class just finished John Steinbuck's Pearl, a favorite of mine from long ago) But if you don't want to find and read the Proverbs then you at least read Grant's book. He shows you how the givers eventually succeed if they know how not to be doormats. I love this principle. I have used it effectively at work and if nothing it has given me much inner peace. Yes, the same peace sought by Kung fu Panda! Adam was inspired by his grandparents and parents who were themselves great givers. I grew up seeing my mom always ready to give in any way she can and have always been amazed at her selflessness in giving.

Adam's examples are inspiring. He rightly fingers Enron's Kenneth Lay as a taker masquerading as a giver and Adam Rifkin and John Huntsman Sr as true givers. Most of us are matchers it seems. We like to make sure that when we do a good deed it is reciprocated in some form. He proves through many strong examples how giving eventually wins over taking and matching. He believes there is a giver behind every matcher and we match instead of give because of the perception that givers are pushovers. Be brave, says Adam, and be sure to do good because it will eventually bounce back. Long time ago, probably when I was in 10th grade I had read a book that impressed me with its intriguing message. It was 'The Magnificent Obsession and portrays the life of a doctor who practices what is now called 'pay it forward'. Adam's book is practical and I believe every single one of us can benefit by following the ideals put out in it. It is also the reason why he wanted to write this book. To give the ideals of giving that he has encountered and enacted in his own life and observed in others. I had many other books I had read but wanted to bring this to you hot off the press so it won't lose its steam.

At the end Adam has written down many ways you can start practicing. I am putting out some links here that I know Adam Grant will only approve of. Take a survey at to find out your give quotient. Visit to start a reciprocity ring. can help you start sharing at workplace or elsewhere. An interesting link can be found at and a help network at Then there is and and many others. A last word from Adam is to seek help and you will find a way to give help. A book with a great impact with its message is a book that cannot be ignored.