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Home » Building Strong Children: Ranbir Puar (Transcript)

Building Strong Children: Ranbir Puar (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Ranbir Puar’s talk titled “Building Strong Children” at TEDxRenfrewCollingwood conference.

Listen to the audio version here:


The Moment of Change

Close your eyes just for a moment and take yourself back to the time when you stopped feeling like a child, when your innocence was lost and you were challenged to act adult. On that day, you knew in your heart for the very first time that you were absolutely alone and that you could count on no one really but yourself. And how did that feel? How did that feel for you?

In the twinkling of an eye, your world changed; just in a moment, your course was set. And from that time forward, you would devote your energy to proving yourself worthy and to justifying your existence. You went into hiding, and you built an armor for your protection. You started to speak negatively to yourself, putting yourself down. You may have even told yourself that you are nothing. Does any of this speak to you? Please feel free to open your eyes if you haven’t already. Well, here’s how it started for me.

A Personal Story

I have four older sisters, beautiful older sisters, and for each one of those pregnancies, my folks and extended family, I’m Indian after all, we go big. They were all hoping for a boy. And so, what they decided to do was go for a child number five, surprise, surprise, daughter number five. So, you know, they weren’t so pleased, to say the least. I was told explicitly and repeatedly, probably well before I could understand.

But certainly by the time my baby brother was born two years later, that I was not what they were hoping for. In fact, they were actually wailing when I was born. And if any of you have ever seen a Bollywood movie, you know what kind of wailing I’m talking about. It is the big, you know, the big wail.

So, growing up with that start, I really, I began to believe that I was less than. It didn’t matter what anyone else said. I really, really believed that. So, I was a good kid. I achieved excellent in academics, athletics, service. I made my teachers proud. I even made it into the local papers, go Nanaimo, many times. But it was as though I lived two separate lives, one at home, this mental prison I created for myself, and one at school, my escape.

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