Hema Pokharna, PhD
Chicago, IL 60615
Testimonial from a woman I coached for a Year! Soon after marriage, my husband and I started having children (now ages 12, 10, 7 and 5). We decided to homeschool when our first child was 4 years old. Our vision for education has been as follows: Education is the cultivation of wisdom and virtue and it is accomplished by nourishing the soul on truth, goodness, and beauty. (Andrew Kern) But in the late winter of 2012, I hit a dark season. I felt seriously discouraged about my family, our homeschooling, and myself. I knew I needed help, another set of eyes to help me understand what was happening. In the meantime, my husband had begun to receive professional coaching from Hema. He sought her help because he was struggling with interpersonal conflict in his work. Yet, what he learned from her has transformed all of his interactions with colleagues, with family, and with himself. Specifically, he has been learning to practice the presence of God. Building on this foundation of daily connection with God, he has been learning to accept others as they are and to accept reality as it is, including the reality of his own and others needs. He has learned to practice celebration and gratitude and to trust that God has abundant capacity to meet all of the needs. Out of this trust, he has learned to be open to new strategies that might meet his and others needs, and to let go of the impulse to try to change others. As my husband was learning from Hema, I could clearly see the benefits in his work, but also in his interior life and in his relationships with the children and me. So he and I asked Hema if she would consider coaching me. Wise decision! Hema has been the main channel God has used in my life to encourage me in this season, to help me clarify and live aligned with my intentions and values, and make space for me to connect more deeply with God, myself, and the people around me. My husband and I are both Christians, so we were somewhat surprised that God would use a woman who is not a Christian to teach us so much about living in trusting relationship with him. Yet that is exactly what we have experienced, and for which we are eternally grateful. When I started coaching with Hema in April 2012 instantly my vision was encapsulated in the term BEAUTY bringing beauty to the world, especially my family. For me this meant, and continues to mean, being increasingly transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, being fully who God created me to uniquely be while accepting myself (and others!) along the journey. Much of the coaching centers on the quality of relationships in our home, particularly as I homeschool my own children. With that in mind, Im sure you will understand why the following essay, recently written by my 12 year old son, brought such joy and celebration to my husband and me, as well as Hema!: Do You Know How to Play to Play With Your Little Sister? By Age 12 years Is your sister a pest to you? She may not seem like much fun but, if given the chance, she can be one of the most enjoyable people youll ever meet! All it takes is you to start playing with her. First, to play with your sister, you must have two essential pieces of equipment. These incredible objects are you and a sister who wants to play. Secondly, and most importantly, the you object must be cheerful and kind. However, do not fake these emotions! If you fake your cheerful kindness in a sarcastic way, your sister will give you the man, you are such a bum look, and transform into her slumped shoulders, pouty face position. Likewise, if you really cannot be cheerful, you, and she, will not enjoy your time together. Therefore, before you ask to play with your sister, consider how well you will be able to play with her. Thirdly, when you ask her to play, do not barge in on her privacy! Chances are she will want to play with you but occasionally this will change. If she consents (remember, its a privilege to be able to play with her,) ask her what she wants to do. On the other hand, if you know that your sister will pick an activity that you despise playing, give her some choices to pick from that both you and she can enjoy. At times you may need to play some thing that you dont like. Remember, the goal is to be with her, not to play your favorite activity. Lastly, when you get tired, need to do something else, or when your sister is getting on your nerves, stop playing. An annoyed brother means a cranky, irritable (quick to get angry) brother, and sisters dont enjoy that. Make sure you do not simply walk out of the room. Express your needs and feelings, give or think of a game that she can play by herself, and then move on to what you need to do. The important thing is to always be kind! Sisters adore kind brothers. Playing with your sister may be hard for you, but remember, even when she doesnt show it your sister loves and is proud of you, and she is always excited for a chance to play with you. As you can see, our home and family, already rich in the Christian faith, has been made richer still through our connection with Hema, a Jain woman coaching us in the principles and practices of NVC. This interfaith relationship has been healing and life-giving for all of us, and we thank God for it.