Category Archives: Awareness

Thank you Bucharest, Riga and Vilnius

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Thank you Bucharest, Riga and Vilnius

for showing me how different yet similar we are in living our values. We tend to use our differences to put a distance between ourselves. Sometimes, still, we learn to accept our differences as ways to complement and build each other.

In cultures where the value of big words overshadows their meaning, small gestures come to rescue to mean the world.

In places where the mind must absolutely know the exact number or budget, the storyteller will give meaning to both big and small numbers.

In cultures, which knew command and control, a creative mind will find a new way to give birth to chocolate molecules.

Preferences to do things behind the scene will meet the preacher of transparency with “just try it in the open, even if you fail, and you’ll see that it does not hurt”.

A disastrous service will end-up on a positive note, as it was met with kindness and acceptance of the fact that a waiter is also a human and who knows what she has to deal with outside her work.

Our knowledge of cultures will try to attribute the above behaviours to humans from certain countries and/or nationalities. Please do not do that. Attitudes and behaviours have no passports and do not stay confined within borders.

Next time you are in an environment your brain stereotypes about (which is normal, as the brain thinks in categories), just ask it to take a break and inhale the diversity in all its splendor. And if you absolutely must, call me naive. I do not mind.

“I am naive” Molecules Chocolate made in Lithuania, by Domantas Uzpali.

Bucharest, Catedrala Neamului/Nation’s Cathedral, seen from Marriott Hotel.

Riga, flags and church.

“I am naive” Molecules Chocolate made in Lithuania, by Domantas Uzpali.

Social capital: the gains, the losses, the flow

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Pamela B. Paresky PhD writes in her article “Meet the teen who discovered the secret of social capital” in Psychology Today: “As a rule, we don’t teach children to tend, defend, and befriend those without social status — to spend social capital on targets of derision and exclusion.» https://www.psychologytoday.com. This deserves reflection and action, for the good of all concerned.

I saw this happening in my high school, then latter in life at my child’s kindergarten. Many do see, not many act. The choice between social capital, which can be replenished, and the dignity and life of the other should be straightforward. Moreover, kindness and warmheartedness are not energies spent. They are energy fuels.

Kids at any age only mirror the parents and adults in their lives. Let us fuel kindness and courage to not be afraid to spend well our social capital. And then it will not be even necessary to ask children to do so. It will become a natural flow of social captal to serve humanity.

I challenge you

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– We challenge you. No girl will dare to cross this ravine!, shouted my classmate.

The ravine was in deep forest. A fallen tree served as a “bridge”. Of all the 10 year old girls it had to be me the one to respond to the challenge. The whereabouts of adults accompanying us is blank in my memory.

I started crossing it. I still remember the depth of the ravine when I looked half way through. Someone shouted “Do not look down!”. It was the my classmate. Or perhaps my guarding angel. I managed to cross it and return, in one piece. Except couple of my curly hairs taken by the subtle air current between trees.

As my child embarks into the age of stretching limits and testing boundaries I want her to do it because she wants it and not because someone challenges her. I also want her to understand what it means to challenge others. Does it help her and the other kid grow and become a better human?

I want to believe that all parents explain to their kids what it means to challenge and be challenged and that the final choice if theirs. I also trust that we, as adults, show this by our actions and through our words. Because kids give what they receive.

Thank you Brussels

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I was on a 4 hour train ride.

– How are you, Madam? It’s ok, not too long?, asked the conductor, as we approached our destination.

– Thank you, it is just right. And how are you? You are the one working all these hours. I am only giving a massage to the seat 🙂

– Oh, thank you very much for asking, a big smile lighting up his face. I adore it. It’s the best job in the world! When all goes well.

– I wish you that it continues to stay well, in all its ways.

– Thank you very much, Madam. A pleasure to see you again on our trains.

A one minute dialogue with a thousand riches in it. People find meaning in serving others. People are opening up when asked with autheticity how was their day/duty trip/behind-the-cashier day. A grateful customer can give meaning to someone’s work. Be kind.

Coffee mug courtesy of Courtyard by Marriott – my kind of coffee fortune telling.

Kids, nature and MPs

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An ordinary day in Strasbourg. Kids are on the river.

An ordinary day in the European Parliament. MPs are in their comfy chairs in the modern tower of Babel.

Let’s switch their places for a while: MPs – on the river and let the kids play in the tower.

As an MP, if you want to have the floor, you’d have to paddle to the chair, against  the wind, the waves, the rain into your face…

If you want to talk to a lobbyist, you’ll have to paddle to the bank (of the river)… .

For committees’ works, you’ll have to do it in the open. Whispering will not work, as the passing by boats can be noisy. And there is no air-conditioning to protect from the boats’ emissions…

Perhaps, this will make the MPs hear the voice of kids, when they demand care for the Earth, nature, the health and well-being of generations to come.

Parenting: as small as that

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This week, Brené Brown shared with us “What Toni Morrison Taught Me About Parenting”. I warmly invite you to read it. There was a specific part, Brené quoted from a Toni Morrison’s interview, which drew my attention: “Let your face speak what’s in your heart. When they (kids) walk in the room my face says I’m glad to see them. It’s just as small as that, you see?”. These words resonated with me on many levels, as a kid, as well as a parent.

I was raised under the vigilant lenses of “not enough” of a soviet time. My school socks were not white enough, my hair was not well enough braided, my voice was not loud enough in pioneer marches … My parents got in the spirit of “not enough” and kept a faithful devotion to it at work and at home.

“Let your face speak what’s in your heart” reminded me of my grandmother. She was the only one who looked with wonder every time she saw me. Her face would light up, regardless. Mismatched socks or not. Braided hair or not. Scratched knees or not, dismissing with a smile my parents’ worry of “how would you look on the school play pic?!” Who cares 10-20-30 years later? Back then, pictures were black and white anyway.

When I became a mother, some family members would almost demand that the baby smiles at them. They probably thought babies come with a smile button on their back or that I have it on a remote control. My response was and is “she brings joy by her mere existence. She does not need to do anything special for anyone”.

I know that she knows that today, as well as she did when she was a baby. Because when I put shoes’ laces first, she does not hesitate to remind me of what’s important in parenting, with love.