Monthly Archives: January 2017

Reminder: kids rights are human rights

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A situation observed at a primary school in the land of ” fraternite, egalite, liberte”:

A teacher’s assistant, addressing the teacher with all kids present, said:

– There could be an epidemics in the school. X, Y and Z could be carrying it. And tenderly touched the rosy chick of a child next to her. 

Back in the class, the teacher decides to give 5 and 6 year olds the full clinical picture of a suspected childhood desease and its lethal effects. It is easy to guess what this inadequate and un-adapted information does to a child’s vivid imagination.  On the way from school, the child refuses to give the hand to her parent: “you might die”, he hears. 

It is also easy to guess, the reaction of the child’s parents on this. Confronted, the school assistant denied she made public children suspected diseases. She asked the director for support. The director said “she did not say in public, X, Y and Z have AIDS quand meme!”  You should have seen my face, in case you were wondering who the parent was. 

Dear teachers, principles and other well-intended adults, the right to privacy is as much a child’s right, as it is yours. You do not want your co-workers, superiors and alike to talk in public about your disease, even if it is not AIDS. If it happens to you, you’ll seek remedies and, as a minimum, an apology. 

Children are fully fledged holders of rights. They also have a right to a lawyer and the right to compensation. This is not a threat. Only a firm reminder. 

The situation at the school was remedied. The director understood from both my words and body language what was wrong. And the anxiety it created. She offered to talk to the assistant and the teacher. And she did. And to talk in private to the child to reassure her she is in perfect health. 

“I was called to the principle’s office, mom.  And it was cool”. 

And cool it will remain. 

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Positive or Negative: it’s a choice

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I was having a dessert with my kid at the office cafeteria. A colleague joined us briefly, while waiting for his meeting over coffee to start.

– I admire the cafeteria lady, i said moving my eyes to the lady cleaning tables and arranging chairs, as closing hours were approaching. She is a model of efficiency and politeness combined. She is fast and always serves the coffee with a sunny smile. Even at the end of a super busy day.

– Ya, you should have seen the personnel in the cafeteria in the other building, my colleague responded. They were masters of ignoring you to the point of …Hmm, he said after pausing, it’s amazing how you see the positive examples.

What’s the point of focusing on negatives and ruminating over it? Answers are here:

“Positive or Negative? It’s Your Choice” by Daniel Goleman | LinkedIn published on 6 September 2016.

Negative or positive?: it is a choice. Choices create habits. Habits create expectations. Expectations create responses. Negative or positive. It’s again a choice. Your choice. My choice. I know what I choose 🙂

A travelling parent

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A travelling parent

My end-of-year message to my kid’s teacher read:

“Dear teacher,

thank you for the wonderful school experience we had with you this year. Is there anything else we, as parents, can do to help her on the trip in the knowledge world?”

Her response is priceless:

“Dear parent,

continue to do what you do: take care of her and continue to travel as you do.”

What we learn on trips from people we meet, places we see, flavours we feel, landscapes we look at, customs we get privy to, food we share, adventures we embrace offer unique opportunities to

strengthen family bonds through time together,

shape our/adults’ understanding of the world through child’s eyes (the opposite is also valid),

acquire new skills (trying that water-ski this year?),

get to know the shades of the diversity and, in consequence, improve tolerance,

practice a new language by playing on the beach with other kids,

unconstricted splish-splash (watch out for the severe looking lady tough),

build our stay-in-the-moment ability to knit common memories and create treasures to last.

About two weeks ago, at a cross-road, i met a friend who proudly showed me the pic of her beautiful and smart daughter. They went to Florence on a trip together. Her eyes were sparkling while she was telling me about the nice time they spent there and the discoveries they made together. Looking at “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli for instance…

First time travel anxieties are part of the process. It is normal to ask yourselves lots of How questions. Plan well and trust yourselves and your kids. Travellers in less comfy and infrastructure-deprived times managed it well. So there is no reason, you cannot. The joy and sparkle generated by joint experiences will erase by magic all preparations anxieties for treasures to last.

Travel well. Travel safe.

 

 

 

 

“The high mountains of Portugal” by Yann Martel

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25489094This magic realism novel has three parts – Homeless, Homeward, Home, which, at first, seemed unrelated. Each chapter has a main character: Tomas, Eusebio, Peter. Again, they seem at first unrelated. Page after page, feelings of surprise, sadness, compassion, wonder, despair and of a relentless quest accompanied my reading. “What is this character looking for?” kept popping up on my mind. And on their journey, each of them chose to object.

The first character – Tomas   – objected to the loss of dear ones by back walking in “Homeless”. Another character – a priest – objected to slaves’ life injustices  by having a monkey on a crucifix he donated to a church. In “Homeward” the objection is less explicit until the coroner sews a body shut with the deceased’s wife inside. In “Home”, a senator objects to his wife death by finding companionship in an ape he buys from a research center. They both object to the civilisation by taking refuge in his parents village in the high mountains of Portugal. They all object to the grief which took them away from home, as each understand it.

The multidimensional concept of home appears to me like a bridge between the seemingly unrelated parts. It made my understanding of the trilogy whole and complete. It still left many questions unanswered. But who said magic realism is about answering it all?