Let me introduce Narayana and Laura Meyer. We wish to recognize them as the Donor Spotlight for this month and express our gratitude for their support over the past year. In addition to their regular monthly donation, they gave $1,500 to TKG Academy over the New Year holiday.
Narayana is the son of Kalachandji Dham’s Mathuranatha Prabhu and Mother Lila. He grew up in the Dallas Hare Krishna community. Along with his brother Janardan, he attended TKG Academy throughout his entire education – from preschool to high school. Narayana and Laura have recently moved back to Dallas. Their daughters, Catherine and Laleh attend school in Highland Park and Rockwall High School, respectively, and their youngest son, Ethan, is enrolled in the Preschool class at TKG Academy.
In getting to know Narayana and Laura, I have grown to appreciate how gentle and relatable they are. Mathuranath Prabhu’s and Mother Lila’s Vaisnava qualities combined find their perfection in Narayana. My recent interview with the couple revealed even more admirable qualities, rendering the staff of TKG Academy privileged to be serving their family.
Narayana currently works as Director of Merchandise and Design for Sports Obermeyer, a sports company that manufactures ski clothing. He previously worked for St. Bernard Sports in Dallas and was Vice President of Merchandise. His work requires him to travel to international locations such as China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Germany, for more than two months out of the year.
Narayana proudly credits his professional success to the education he received at TKG Academy. He was a student under the tutelage of Rupanuga Prabhu and Mother Jayanti. “The main reason why the Dallas Gurukula has flourished all these years has been the Robinsons’ team.” When asked what he applies from his education, his first response is respect. “I learned how to treat people in the world. Rupanuga Prabhu was very respectful – from his expecting students to respond, yes, sir; no, sir, to the very demeanor in which he taught us.”
He also appreciates how the Gurukula taught him to “question everything”. This is the basis of the Krishna conscious philosophy, athato brahma jijnasa. Children aren’t expected to just follow the regular norm of society – they are expected to challenge it, question it. They are expected to consider how something can be better, different, improved. “This gets you ahead in the world.”
Even his expertise in sales and marketing he attributes to his Gurukula education. Narayan fondly remembers distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books at Deep Ellum. “Preaching taught me how to sell!”
“The flexibility that the Gurukula offers isn’t found anywhere else. We break stereotypes. We educate differently. Creatively.” Because of all of this, Narayan feels that Gurukula children have an edge. They are ready to take on any hurdle, without fear. He gives the example of how he had to learn Adobe Illustrator for his job. What would have taken others two years to learn, he tackled in less than two months. Laura nods knowingly.
What does Laura think about all this? Born in a devout Christian family, she too has had a remarkable journey. When asked about this, she laughs, “I told him I could never marry him because he was a Hare Krishna. I was conflicted. Ultimately, my dad told me, ‘Listen. He loves God and you love God. That’s all you need.’”
Today her son Ethan is in a Hare Krishna school, and she loves it. “It’s the best any private school can provide. It offers what people pay thousands of dollars for. His teacher, Nrtya Kishori, takes it upon herself to individualize his education. What’s right for Ethan may not be right for every other student. In the previous private school, he was stuck. Here, I’m seeing him make such strides. His fine motor skills have significantly improved.” She loves the individual learning environment. Her favorite quote: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
And though she isn’t a practicing Hare Krishna, she has never felt foreign to the TKG Academy atmosphere. She comes to the playground and sees an Upper Elementary student carrying her little son. “We’re part of the family,” she says with a smile.
Yes, TKG Academy is a family because of supporters and parents like Narayana and Laura Meyer. Thank you.