As some of you know, since the day I quit my day job in corporate America, I have been a full-time momma by day and a mom-bie at night! Over the course of the last few years, I have spent the better part of my “spare” time creating hands-on learning materials in Gujarati (and Hindi) for Toddler S. When you see the fruits of your labor, there is a jolt of inspiration! Having these Indian cultural and language materials in our home has been such a wonderful resource for Toddler S and has had a great influence on his ability to read and speak fluently in Gujarati by the age of 3.
This gives me some hope! As we raise the next generation of humans, I find myself constantly asking myself how can I pass on to them, the things my parents passed on to me, as their parents passed on to them? How do I give them the opportunity and tools to explore, grasp and preserve what is also theirs? Their roots, their culture, their language. We are so lucky that the previous generations who have grown up in India or have had parents, grandparents and “the village” pass on so many valuable aspects of our Indian culture & language directly to them. We got the fruits (and maybe some lemons) of that! But our generation is not only further away from the roots but we are also disconnected from the resources and tools that give us the power to preserve what we have.
It was when I saw Toddler S’s ability to grasp the language, both speaking and reading that I was inspired and felt empowered to keep at it. He inspired me to share these materials with all of you! This is just a small stepping stone in his journey, but I am hoping it will serve as a tool for him learn from the previous generation, connect with our generation and pass on to the next.
I am so excited to introduce my first set of Gujarati & Hindi focused, learning products & materials to all of you. This is the first of many more materials to come. My hope is these materials will give us, the parents, the basic resources to help the next generation carry on the foundations of the Indian language(s), history and culture that we all were so blessed with from our mother land. In the process, I also hope it will bring us all a little closer together as a family, society and as humans.
Currently, most of these materials are in digital format which you can download, print and take advantage of right at home. I personally have found it challenging to find hands-on, cultural learning resources that are reasonably priced, readily available (now you don’t have to wait till the next person goes to India) and are just simple to use and reproduce if they are damaged by our little humans.
In an era of mobile apps and YouTube videos, it is nearly impossible to find resources that Toddler S could hold, use and really learn with in the traditional way. In our family, we are big on “no screen-time”, so it was definitely important for me to find ways for Toddler S to learn without having to rely on technology. And there is something so amazing about watching him hold, flip through, and play with his materials as he is learning. You can see the wheels turning, things processing and imprints being made into his heart and mind. In the words of Maria Montessori, “What the hand does, the mind remembers.”
It gives me such joy to share my very first printable with you! I hope it is the beginning of a valuable addition to your families learning resources and cultural experience!
I also wanted to share some quotes that really struck a cord in my thoughts and feelings about the importance of our language & culture, especially in today’s society.
“The development of language is part of the development of the personality, for words are the natural means of expressing thoughts and establishing understanding between people.” Maria Montessori
“Language is the roadmap of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.” – Rita Mae Brown
“If you respect a language and culture, it shows in your work.” – A.R. Rahman
“The limits of my language means the limits of my world.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
Lastly, in celebration of Krishna Janmashtami, I add a thought which Lord Krishna shared with Arjun when he recited the Bhagavad Gita. A thought I take to heart as I continue my mom-bie mode efforts till the wee hours of the night and attempt to function as a corporate, full-time, day-time, Mom.
You have the right to work only but never to its fruits.
Let not the fruits of action be your motive, nor let your attachment be to inaction.
Karmanye vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana,
Ma Karmaphalaheturbhurma Te Sangostvakarmani