Friday, June 24, 2011

Balika/Bal Mandal Go To Move #4: Mukhpaath Relay

Mukhpaath is not something that balika/bal mandal looks forward to. It is something they dread. This summer, our "B" mandals are going to be taking part in the Summer Challenge.

Now, there seems to be a paradox with this Summer Challenge. On one hand, our instructions read, "Remember, the goal is to allow the balaks and balikas to have a fun summer, with a set of activities that are both entertaining and educational." Yet we are also going to be doing mukhpaath. So the question we are going to address is how can we make mukhpaath enjoyable. Our solution - and Go To Move #4 - is the Mukhpaath Relay. We essentially make the mukphaath into an activity.

Here is the recipe.
  • Create two teams. Give each team member a number (or some identifying label: color, letter, Paramhans name, etc.)
  • With both teams sitting still and concentrating, go over the mukhpaath slowly. Have both teams repeat the lines. Do only a small amount.
  • Give instructions to the teams as follows. You will say the identifying label (in our case a number). This selects one member from each team. When you say 'Swaminarayan Bhagwan ni Jai!' this selected member of team A will stand up and recite the verse we just went over. The counterpart member from team B will do an activity. Whoever finishes first gets a point for the team.
  • Repeat but alternate which team does mukhpaath and which team does an activity.
Selected activities:
  • [my personal favorite] Run out of the bal mandal room, all the way to the shoe racks. Find someones shoes that are on the floor and put them on the shoe rack. Run all the way back to the bal mandal room and sit down. Also only the person doing mukhpaath can talk, otherwise - no points.
  • Push ups: The number you have to do is matched with the length of the quote you are reciting.
  • Limited space? Stand up and draw the something related to the shloka on a white board or sticky pad.
  • Do a dance around the group.

  • Think of fun ways to select teams.
  • Make the mukhpaath bite size: That is keep it short. If it is a long shloka, break it down into small parts.
  • Add bonus points: Examples: If they say the whole shloka AND the reference (e.g. Loya 9), they get one more point. If the person does the activity AND five extra dandvats to Maharaj's murti, they get five extra points. This way, each person now has the option to go for the extra point at the risk of losing the point they have.

    Saturday, June 11, 2011

    Deconstruction #1: Sheryl Sandberg

    The Chinese have a saying, “Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand."

    Presenting/speaking is as much as an exercise when we get sabha presentations as when we are in the audience, and if we are mentally involved in it, we can pick up pointers through distilling it into the three elements: simple, shakeup, and stories.

    For instance, take this commencement speech given by Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, one month ago at Barnard College. Can you figure out her simple, her shakeup, and her stories? Post back below and let us know before we take a stab at it ourselves.

    Saturday, June 4, 2011

    Finding Shakeups & Stories

    Simple, Shakeup, Stories: That's our mantra, but there's more...

    Little present 

    As school winds down and summer vacation starts up, we thought it would be a great opportunity to do an upgrade and have been busy preparing for it. It seems that while we've identified the three core elements that pack a punch in any presentation, we need to shed more light into their intricacies.

    In the following weeks, we will explore a breadth of topics:
    • How can I make a simple statement?
    • How can I add strong links to my presentation to make it coherent and sticky?
    • How does presenting help with SAT/ACT and any other standardized testing?
    We will kick it off with an appetizer. Shakeups and stories help deliver the simple statement to our audience, yet we may be at a loss as to where to look for them. 

    The sources are infinite in number - books, videos, scriptures, Bliss - but we have to start somewhere. A fellow Sabhaologist sent us one place to start. Take note that TED is at the top of the list and is a frequently cited source here on our blog. 

    As we can see, examples can be found nearly everywhere, but we have to dig deep into them to find how they relate back to Satsang - a topic of a future post. 

    After all, we can't spoil the entire surprise!