Lesson to be learnt from ‘A Kid’s View on Nature’

Lesson to be learnt from ‘A Kid’s View on Nature’

Reena Ranger, Chair of Women Empowered, is In Conversation with Onkaar and Avneet Nijjer for her regular series for ‘iGlobal’ to explore some inspirational facets from the life and achievements of prominent Global Indians.

Onkaar is a 10-year-old happy and confident boy. He loves exploring nature and the world around us. He finds different ways to let nature shine into his life! Avneet is an 8-year-old calm and inquisitive girl. She loves connecting with nature and reading to relax. She wants everyone to open their eyes and really see the wonderful world around us! The brother-sister have each won awards for their writing and deliver workshops to children.

Q

Onkaar, at 10 years old, you are already an author of two books, one on helping young people build confidence through fun activities and another on a kids’ view on nature. How did you begin this journey?

A

I wrote ‘A Kid’s View on Confidence’ because I’d realised how important confidence is in life and if someone lacks confidence it can really hold them back in life. My journey actually started when I was much younger with not very much confidence.

For example, I didn’t believe that I was any good at swimming. So, I would avoid swimming and I developed a fear of it. Gradually I worked through this with my family by developing a Growth Mindset. Now I swim competitively for my school Squad and local council Academy. It proved to me that my thoughts are really powerful and I wanted to share this with everyone through my Confidence book.

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Q

Avneet, your book covers so many fun, informative and mindful activities. Which is your favourite and why?

A

My favourite activity in our ‘A Kid’s View on Nature’ book is how to make your own herb garden. I love this one because we’ve been doing it with our Grandpa and Grandma and it’s amazing to see all of the little seeds turning into herb plants which we can eat.

We’ve also been growing tomatoes which is brilliant, and they taste so yummy!

Q

What does nature mean to you?

A

Onkaar: To me, nature is about being outdoors and connecting with the world around us. We really value just being outside which can be from the countryside or nearby woodland areas to our back garden or local park! It can be for a few minutes or longer. It’s about opening all your senses to the world around us – like hearing the birds singing, seeing all the autumn colour changes of the leaves or touching a spiky looking holly.

Avneet: I love being outside too and seeing different animals or insects in their own environment. My favourite place to be is in our garden and lots of the activities in our book are things that kids can do in their garden. I love understanding how everything is linked together and at school we learn about food chains and lifecycles. For example, flowers make pollen and attract insects, but then birds eat insects so there is a cycle. We should support their habitats and life cycles.

Q

What would you like adults to know about looking after our planet?

A

Onkaar: As human beings, we are part of nature and part of our planet. Please look after our planet by reducing waste and pollution and by planting more trees, so we have a healthy planet for our children. I hope that the adults today can stop and think of their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren and think about how the planet will be for us. Being selfish today, will mean that we will pay for it later.

Avneet: I feel sad when people don’t respect nature and our planet. I want adults to remember that the planet was here before us humans, and we have no right to destroy it. I think it’s amazing that we are only alive because of the leaves on trees! They give us oxygen and we should be protecting the trees and world around us.

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Q

What has been the lesson you have learned during lockdown and the Covid-19 pandemic?

A

Onkaar: I have learnt that gratitude is very important. During lockdown this was especially important because so many things that we were used to, or take for granted, were taken away. I write a weekly newsletter for my school, and in my ‘value of the week’ column I often write about gratitude because sometimes we need reminding that you must appreciate what you have, your time with each other and everything around us.

Q

Which one person has had the greatest influence in your life, and why?

A

Avneet: My Grandpa has had the greatest influence on my life because he moved from another country when he was young. He had to learn to live a new life and he worked very hard. He has taught me about having strong values or roots like a tree. He says that I was like a seed and I’m growing every day, so that one day I will be a big strong tree.

Q

What is the one lesson or words of wisdom that you try to live your life by that you would recommend to others?

A

Onkaar: Be Yourself! You are unique. There is not another person in the whole wide world that is you. Only you are you. So, love being you! This will help the next generation to be mentally more resilient and to respect one another.

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Q

If you could have dinner with four people, living or passed on, who would they be and where/what would you eat?

A

Onkaar: I would love to have dinner with these four inspirational people – David Attenborough, Marcus Rashford, Florence Nightingale and Thomas Barnardo. I think we would have a fascinating conversation about their different lives and their views on charity and helping others. I would love to have sushi as that is my favourite food, but I don’t know if the others would like it!

Q

What is a place in the world that fills you most with peace/ leaves you awestruck? What is your favourite place in the world?

A

Avneet: I love going to my local park! We’ve been going there for years and it fills me with peace and excitement too. When I go to the park, it’s enormous and I can run free, play games and we have loads of happy memories there! You don’t have to go far from home to find somewhere special. In fact, we made a den inside a hollow bush in our garden and that is my second most favourite place because we often hide out or we have a picnic in there.

Reena Ranger is the Chair and Co-Founder of Women Empowered. In this exclusive “In Conversation” series for iGlobal, the dynamic entrepreneur-philanthropist catches up with high-achieving Global Indians across different fields to spotlight some insightful life lessons.

*The views expressed in the answers are of the interviewees.

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