A Meta – Skill called SPICE

Pic Courtesy: Swaraa Lodha

Future of the world is changing.

Future of the families is changing.

The way leaders are deciding to take their countries forward, the way partners are deciding to raise their families has a new narrative.

Prime Minister of a developed nation like Canada talks about equality, empathy, globalism, and forgiveness as his philosophy. He apologizes with aplomb. He cries and puts his vulnerability out there.

Players like Serena Williams play their roles as a tennis player and a parent like a symphony.

Indian boxer Mary Kom continues to fight with her three children being an integral part of her daily vision of life.

Satya Nadella runs Microsoft with the energy of empathy fuelling the core businesses. He admits that the father in him has shaped the leader in him for the better.

Walls between the masculine and the feminine are breaking and they need to break to make it an ‘and’ game.

We need to put our cultural ‘learned helplessness’ behind us and embrace a more inclusive self-view. Our cultural trappings have built edifices of stereotypes which need to be toppled over and new bridge be built.

The stereotypes like “When husband earns enough money, why is the wife working?” or “A married couple must have children” or “A mother who holds on to her career alongside her children is selfish and aggressive” need not be a part of growing up of the next generation.

The way a man or a woman would etch their roles as per the script of the society is divisive and oppressive for a woman.

We need a social re-engineering of our thoughts about expectations from men & women within marriage and family.

We need to accept the learnings from ‘partnering’ and ‘parenting’ experiences as meta-skills. A meta-skill is a set of practical knowledge which can be applied to various circumstances including ones which we haven’t experienced yet.

Life should be a process of accumulating and applying meta-skills but we fail to optimize their use.

Their suboptimal use causes us to feel less happy as we age and feel less fulfilled. The cross-functional exchange of skills will refine and strengthen our competence as a professional as well as a partner and a parent. My ‘father pod’ can teach my ‘leader pod’ and the opposite is equally possible.

Use of meta-skills like parenting and leadership across many areas of life makes our life wholesome. Spice helps you develop a toolbox of meta-skills to make our passage through life-fulfilling.



SPICE” helps us to dive deep into the reservoir of our meta-skills as a partner (with a sibling, co-founder or spouse) and as a parent (with a cause, a mentee, children or old parents).

The real-life experience that we face as a partner and parent, if journalled properly and the learnings sieved out, can give valuable life learnings. These are raw material for developing meta-skills but we fail to project them and process them as valuable.

The extract from juices of life, concentrated in our parenting and partnering pods needs to be highlighted as an elixir for staying happily human.

Travel experiences are valued while real-life experiences with real people at home are neither documented nor considered relevant. This is so because no one considers them worth synthesizing and worth applying in professional processes which is a dumb decision.

All people possess experiences, but most of them fail to process & integrate them into more usable form in various domains of our lives. Every partner knows about relationship conflicts, trust issues in not only their lives but in lives of their friends, friend’s relatives, families. This information can be processed into ‘wisdom’. Every parent knows about parenting dilemmas and solutions adopted by so many fellow parents that these real-life concerns can be a great value-add in the personal and professional arena. Various failures in handling children, handling relations can be processed and analyzed to be used in managing egos and team dynamics in offices. These experiences are a goldmine of wisdom if processed, analyzed and integrated into our learning for future use.

Pic Courtesy: Swaraa Lodha

SPICE helps us to process the valuable insights from partnering and parenting and integrating them as a meta-skill in our professional and personal lives. Similarly, the professional skill sets can be used on the domestic front.

How to imagine the ‘Family of the Future’

A Family of the FutureAmazon has filed for a futuristic Patent No 9, 778,653 & it is called ‘systems devices and methods delivering energy using an autonomous vehicle’ for a drone which could recharge an electric car on the move. The technology to charge a moving car through a drone hovering over it is nowhere close to being created but it could be a fact of the future being envisioned by likes of Bezos & Musk.

Similarly, we need to think about families of the future.

“What was the ceiling five years ago is going to be the floor five years from now,” said Malcolm Frank of Cognizant.

I wish to apply this principle of Chaotic Change to our families.

Are our families already changing? No and Yes.

No, because the jobs that a family does are not changing at the moment (I can imagine changes in the future). Yes, because the way these jobs get done is certainly changing.

Let me figure out the jobs of a family. What does a family provide to its members physically, emotionally, socially, creatively?

  1. I get a secure home, stability with facilities due to my family. All the material requirements that need money are fulfilled by the family. Vinita Bali, a veteran business leader who has worked with MNC’s across the world, says, “The biggest asset of my childhood was that it was a secure childhood without any dramatic happenings. That made me a very secure and balanced person.”

This feeling of security will change if the family stops doing the job of providing security & stability.

With divorce rates rising above 50% in most of the American and European countries and the crude marriage rate declining to an all-time low, less and less people are marrying and even lesser intend to stay married.

So, stability and security within marriage are reducing. More and more children, born out of crumbling unions or very temporary unions will be filling the world. *

2. Family prepares the children for their future by educating them, encouraging them, nurturing them and giving them a social stature.

Meher Pudumjee, Chairperson of Thermax Ltd, shares that her parents gave prime importance to her education and encouraged her to study anything that interested her. It was special because she, despite being a girl was encouraged to study science while her parents were fine with her brother enjoying cooking and embroidery. Only a family with growth mindset could do this.

This encouragement and freedom will change either if the family stops providing the nurturing and freedom or children stop needing it.

Modes of education are changing. Accessibility to knowledge and ease of its application is reducing the need for educational and social support. Maybe, children of the future will educate themselves anytime, anywhere and the need of families might dwindle.

Whatever will be, will be.jpg3. The family keeps us human by giving us love, a sense of belonging and a feeling of being dutiful in return.

Naveen Jain, Founder of Viome and Moon Express, says that his biggest achievement in life is raising his amazing children and not being a visionary entrepreneur. He is more proud of his children than his professional achievements.

This sense of belongingness will change either if family stops being that source of giving love or we start living like a lonely island.

Technology is making it very convenient to break boundaries of families and intruding into the safe spaces. If children will not be able to look up to their parents, if the couple will be suspicious of each other, families will not be able to give love and a sense of belonging.

4. Families support us to surpass the odds and reach for the stars. Situation within our families (positive or negative) spark our creativity to catapult beyond imagination.

Vikram Seth, the celebrated Author could write freely because his mother discovered his sensitivity at a very young age and stood by his choices at every cost. This creative push will change if, families stop being the one stop shop for growth or we stop looking at families for the same.

Most of the families will change. Only exceptionally committed and disciplined families will survive. They will keep doing the jobs they are supposed to do.

We can patent our own family by balancing the positives of the past and present to enter the future.

We will need families to stay human.


*The crude marriage rate is the number of marriages taking place per thousands in a geographical population in a year.