Should Schools Encourage Competitiveness?

A great post on an important topic.

The Strawberry Post

Competition has always been something in schools and also in life.  From a young age children are exposed to the idea that it’s good and even healthy to have a little competition in their daily lives.  Schools encourage competition through sports, contests at schools, and pitting kids against each other to see who will get the best exam results or the most stars at the end of the term.  Competitiveness is something that is always encouraged by governments and many people as being good for self-esteem and an important thing to get used to as competition exists in the workplace.  But is it really such a good idea to have competition at schools and what happens if some kids never get to the top of the class?

How competition starts in schools

I grew up in the UK state education system.  I went to an average primary school and an…

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The Magic of Trees


Four rows of trees…
And you’re free from the noise of traffic.
That’s almost like a miracle that you witness,
When you’re inside the wood.

Four rows of trees…
And you can hear the sound of silence.
The cricket’s sonorous creeks,
Welcome you to the lap of nature.

Four rows of trees…
And you forget about your troubles.
They seem like useless distractions,
That rob you of simple pleasures.

Four rows of trees…
And you can identify each crickets creek;
Some short, some long, some almost like a song.
They are the magical elements of nature.

Four rows of trees…
And you can be the audience to the chorus,
Of the multitude of birds, singing their songs.
Each answering the call of the other.

Four rows of trees…
And you can even listen to your soul.
The pain and pleasures of life;
Swell up and subside,
Giving way to calmness of mind.

Four rows of trees…
Is all it takes, to transfer you to that magic land;
Where you are yourself.
No guard, no pretence , no tact required.

Four rows of trees…
Can cure your body , mind and soul;
Which the materialistic world cannot.
It is a balm, for you, me and rest of the world.

Air- the essence of life

Air is precious, prevent its pollution.
Pedro Figueras

Air pollution is turning Mother nature prematurely grey.

Irv kupcinet

Humans can live three weeks without food, three days without water and just three minutes without air. Air is an indispensable part of our life. It is because of air that life has been possible on Earth. Yet, we humans are polluting that very essence of our lives.  And that too simply for hoarding wealth, which will be rendered useless if we cease to exist. 

We have been polluting the atmosphere in the name of development.  Is it really development, if it snatches away pure air from a new born child?  We must question our priorities. Which is more important for us and our children? Pure air and water or money?

Pollution should never be the price of prosperity.

AL Gore
Think before you buy. More consumption means more pollution.
Chris LeBoutillier

Definitely, every sane, intelligent person would choose the latter. In spite of our knowledge and our understanding, we are failing our children. We are busy in our rat race to provide more than needed for ourselves.  Becoming more isolated each day and refusing to share. Now-a -days, each family member prefers to drive his or her own vehicle rather than share. The end result is more production, more waste generation and emissions, leading to increased  pollution.

Environmental pollution is an incurable disease. It can only be prevented.

Barry Commoner.

Air pollution is a global killer. An estimated 7 million people die due to diseases related to air pollution. Respiratory infections, asthma, stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, obstructive pulmonary disease- all are related to air pollution.

Pollution-The offspring of Greed.

The main pollutants are nitrogen dioxide(NO2), sulphur dioxide(SO2), carbon dioxide emissions  (CO2) , Ozone  (O3), molds, particulate matters (PM). The particulate matters of less than 10 and 2.5 microns can penetrate into blood through the lungs and affect the whole system.

The short term as well as long term consequences of pollution on human health is immense. Polluted air affects our lungs, heart, brain, liver, spleen as well as the nervous system.  The effects are more on children and elderly as they are more susceptible to damages due to their low immune levels. Children breathe more than adults and breathe in more pollutants because of their short heights.

The Paris climate summit laid down rules for the global community to combat climate change. They aimed at keeping the global rise in temperature below 2 degrees, and take it to below 1.5 degrees within this century. There has been a 3 degrees rise in Arctic temperatures in the last century leading to massive melting down of glaciers. The emission of green house gases has been the prime cause of the rise in temperatures. (Green house gases like – CO2, NO2, O3, CH4, absorb and emit radiant energy within the thermal infrared range)

We are the perpetrators of air pollution, so the onus is on us to find the solution.

We must avoid unnecessary use of vehicles and use public transport and car pools.

We must avoid burning of leaves etc and make compost of them.

Farmers should refrain from burning stubble and use modern methods to turn them into compost.

Plant trees and keep indoor plants. Indoor plants are great air purifiers.

Use a bicycle or walk as much as possible, every step counts.

Jogging and exercise should be done in pollution free areas.

Children should be picked up in traffic congestion so that they are not at the same level as the emissions.

Regular indoor cleaning is a must as indoors are often more polluted than outdoors because of dust mites and molds.

Air pollution is a great equalizer. It does not differentiate between the rich and poor. Every person in a particular place will have to breathe in the same air. It is for us to see that the atmosphere remains unpolluted.  God has provided us with everything that we require to live. Let us not spoil the best things in our lives due to wrong perceptions and thinking pattern set by the society at large. For the truth is… we all need fresh and clean air simply to exist.

Water and air the two essential fluids on which our life depends have become global garbage cans.

– Jacques Cousteau.

5 Foods and Drinks to Help you Boost your Creativity

Nicholas C. Rossis

Salad | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

I’ve often written about ways to boost your creativity, including even tips on using AI to do so. But can certain foods help get the creative juices flowing? There’s research which suggests that yes, there are. So, what should you be eating and drinking to help you overcome the dreaded writer’s block?

Eating your Way out of Writer’s Block

As I’m sure many of you know, writers suffering from writer’s block find that their creative process slows to a crawl. Every new idea just doesn’t seem right, and this situation can be extremely stressful.

Each writer processes his/her creative flow differently and there’s no getting around it. From speaking to close friends or going for a walk, most of us treat writer’s block differently.

While there isn’t a foolproof way to get over it, you can take steps to help your mind overcome it. As anyone can tell you, your…

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The Forgotten Twig

The poem is based on the uselessness of office politics.
Helpfulness helps the helper.

The little bird forgot one day;
Where it kept its twig,
She would need it again one day;
To make her nest more big.

She went about her work all day;
Getting  food for the young ,
Happily she did her work ;
And laboured till it was done.

And in her work she did forget;
All about the twig ,
She thought that target had been met,
Her nest was nice and big.

The other birds saw her work;
And mused at her forgetfulness.
They hid her twigs because the shock.
Would surely raise her stress.

There was another silly bird,
Who lacked the tacts of the world.
Who liked to help one and all;
And revelled in the joy unfurled.

She saw the forgetful bird go round;
Oblivious of her loss.
She reminded her of the twig,
Which made the others cross.

They thought that the forgetful bird;
Should’ve paid for her forgetfulness,
Her ugly nest should have fallen down,
Her life should have been a mess.

The helpful bird raised her eyes
And asked, what they would gain.
If the poor bird’s nest got broke,
Or if, she received some pain.

They snubbed and ignored the bird;
For her well meant deed,
For the helpful bird, it mattered not
For peace of mind was her need.

She cared not, for what others thought;
She did not care for their might,
She always listened to her heart
And did what she thought was right.

Online Writing Jobs

Nicolas is an amazing writer, a pro blogger and freelancer. This post on online writing jobs gives great inputs to budding freelancers. Check out his other posts for really informative content.

Nicholas C. Rossis

Creative writing and AI | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksYou may remember Ben Taylor from his guest post, 5 Things I Learned About Marketing my First Book. Ben has built Telecommute Now, a website dedicated to information about telecommuting. It has an impressively exhaustive article on online jobs, listing 50 of them. Among these, there was a section dedicated to writing and editing.

At the moment, over half of my income comes from writing-related activities such as my freelance article writing. Mind you, it did take three years and a whole lot of hard work (and praying, aka luck) to get to this point! As they point out in their article, online jobs are fundamentally no different from traditional jobs. Effort is required to seek out perfect roles. Your ideal position won’t necessarily be on offer on the day you start your job search.

If you love writing and enjoy working from home, you may appreciate…

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How to Create Dynamic Fictional Characters — A Writer’s Path

by David Gittlin Most serious writers want to connect with an audience; preferably a big one. You have something to say. You have a story to tell. You want people to read it. One of the best ways to make people want to read your work is to create memorable and relatable central […]

How to Create Dynamic Fictional Characters — A Writer’s Path

Types of Sentences

It is a bright and sunny day.-Assertive Sentence



In my last post on sentences I had written about the basic elements of a sentence. I had also briefly mentioned that sentences can be divided from different aspects. The aspects being i) Functional ii) Structural iii) Polarity iv) Voice and v) Pattern. In this post I shall elaborate on the types of sentences based on functions.


  • A sentence that makes a statement or assertion is called a declarative or assertive sentence.

It simply declares, asserts or makes a statement.

E.g. It is a bright and sunny day.

        She likes to watch action movies.

         It is a Ming vase.


  1. Narrating – I saw an UFO last evening.
  2. Stating – ‘He returned home a happy man.’
  3. Giving reason – ‘He was late as he had a small accident.’
  4. Demanding action – ‘I demand action against the culprit.’
  5. Expressing doubt – ‘I am unsure of her arrival.’
  6. Protesting – Cutting trees must be banned.
  7. Describing – The rainbow is beautiful.
  8. Expressing apprehension– I won’t be able to pass the exam.   
  9. Giving information – Sharon has passed the exam.
  10. Expressing opinion – I think it is going to rain.
  11. Comparing – Ron is shorter than Harry.
  12. Giving warning –  There’s a snake behind you.
  13. Confirming – Yes, I’m coming.
  14. Contradicting – ‘No, that’s not right.’
  15. Arguing – ‘You are wrong, I’m right.’
  16. Apologising – ‘I’m sorry ; I should not have said so.’
  17. Assuring – Of course, you will pass.
  18. Addressing – Hello, Miss Muffet.
  19. Answering – Yes, I am a doctor.
  20. Classifying – There are two types of voice: Active and passive.
  21. Comparing –  Feather is lighter than wool.
  22.  Defining – A sentence is a group of words that makes complete sense.
  23. Hesitating – But, I can’t give you the whole cake.
  24. Illustrating – Latin is the mother of most European languages.


  • A sentence that expresses a command or an entreaty is called an imperative sentence.

E.g.  Please close the door.

        You must not watch television for more than two hours.

     Study hard to get good marks.

     Have mercy upon us.


  1. Alerting –  Look out!
  2. Directing – Go straight and then turn left.
  3. Giving advice  –  Plant a tree.
  4. Giving order  –  Get out of the room.
  5. Giving permission – Yes, you may leave.
  6. Instructing –  Draw a straight line.
  7. Inviting – Please come and grace the occasion.
  8. Reminding – Don’t forget to take your passport.
  9. Prohibiting – Don’t  get up till you finish your homework.
  10. Instant commanding – Halt!  Fire!


  • A sentence that asks a question is called an interrogative sentence.

E.g. Where do you live?

        Have you finished your work?

        When did you visit Paris?

         How much did it cost?


  1. Asking for permission – May I speak?
  2. Asking for opinion – Is this dress looking good?
  3. Asking for reason – Why have you come late?
  4. Asking for confirmation – You are the doctor, aren’t you?
  5. Asking for information – How do I go there?
  6. Enquiring – Will you have another apple?
  7. Expressing doubt – Will it be sunny tomorrow?
  8. Expressing disgust – Who the hell does he think he is?
  9. Threatening – Who dares to challenge me?
  10. Making request – Will you please help me?
  11. Interrogating – When did you discover the theft?


  • A sentence that expresses strong feeling or surprise is called  an exclamatory sentence.

 E.g. How very cold the morning is!

         What a beautiful scenery!

          What a shame!

          What a selfish boy he is!


  1. Elation –  What a pleasant surprise!
  2. Expressing wonder – What a beautiful scenery!
  3. Expressing joy – Hurrah! We have won.
  4. Expressing sorrow – Alas! My dog is no more.
  5. Expressing hatred – Fie! How horrible of you.
  6. Expressing disgust – Ugh! What a stench.
  7. Expressing compassion – Poor thing! She is so lonely.
  8. Encouragement – Bravo! Encore!
  9. Greeting – Hi! Nice to meet you.
  10. Bidding farewell – Goodbye!


  • Optative sentences express a wish, a prayer or a blessing.

May you be happy.

Wish you a happy birthday.

Let it be true.


  1. Praying – May God bless you.
  2. Greeting – Wish you a Merry Christmas.
  3. Expressing Desire – May you succeed in all you do.
  4. Expressing good wishes– Long live the Queen.
  5. Expressing final wish – May his soul rest in peace.
Hurrah! We have won.- Exclamatory sentence.

Golden Moments

The world is an amazingly adventurous place … just look through my eyes.

Speech is silver, Silence is gold;
Such proverbs are somewhat old.
Silence gives us blissful peace,
A silent Siesta’s  each man’s wish.

It was a hot summer afternoon, when
Venturing out would make one swoon;
The fans were on, the rooms were cool.
The ones outside were surely fools.

Mom told stories of kings and Queens,
Of a lovely princess and her dreams.
Hoping her stories would put to sleep,
Her toddler son and daughters sweet.

As her story ended she fell asleep,
Drowning in a peaceful slumber deep.
The daughters too had fallen asleep;
But toddler son wished to have a peak.

He was feeling hot, had a little sweat;
The bathroom tap could make him wet.
He toddled there, and turned the tap,
Sound of water broke the sister’s nap.

She found her Bro, missing from bed;
‘Wake up sis! you sleepy head.’
The younger one to the elder said.
And saying so leapt up from her bed.

She tiptoed to the washroom door;
Sitting happily on the  floor,
His expression one of joy untold,
The noon was hot and the water cold.

Splash, Splash, Splash went his feet;
Thump, Thump, Thump went the beat.
As he splashed the water with his hand,
At the door he saw his sisters stand.

He laughed out loud in greatest joy,
The tap water was, his newest toy.
He shrieked in glee, he felt so free;
To solve the washroom’s mystery.

The sisters pulled him from the tap,
And a towel around him wrapped.
He gave them a one toothed smile,
Knowing what he did was vile.

 The sisters laughed to see him so,
 But what he did, mom must know.
So they carried him to their mom;
And gifted her a towel wrapped son.

It amused mom, to hear the story,
Of her son’s endeavour to gather glory.
Speech is silver and silence is gold,
Not so when you have a one year old.

Memoirs of childhood days.