Category Archives: Relationships

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.

Integrity

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integrity (n.)

from Latin integritatem (nominative integritas) “soundness, wholeness, completeness,” figuratively “purity, correctness, blamelessness”

When you go back to the origin of words, things come sometimes into a long forgotten perspective.

What is integrity actually? How does it manifest? What kind of behaviour a person with integrity displays?

From my observations and writings by smarter people, integrity has a number of positive behavioural traits:

Humility: there is no pride, no sense of competition, no desire to prove anything or to anyone.

Kindness: a person acting with integrity will treat a CEO and a janitor with the same kindness.

Authenticity: there is no mask. Integrity has nothing to hide.

Reliability: you can always rely on people with integrity.

Honesty: integrity is open and truthful.

It’s about giving credit: integrity does not claim what is not hers.

Always on time: people with integrity respect your time and their own time.

Integrity will never offend: even under the cover of an anonymous on-line account.

Integrity is open minded and also knows when not to change its mind.

Integrity places an emphasis on emotional intelligence more than on IQ.

Integrity knows when and how to apologise. People with integrity know they are only human and keep themselves in check.

Integrity keeps its promise. People with integrity will be there for you, if they said so.

Integrity is intuitive and will not let harsh calculations have a decisive say.

Integrity will not take advantage of others vulnerabilities.

Integrity knows a hammer is not only for nails. It is also a sculpture’s  tool.

Integrity serves. It does not wait to be served.

Integrity has a great sense of humour and can LOL about itself.

Integrity results in accountability. If we act with integrity in all walks of life from parenting to interacting with colleagues and partners, the world has a change of becoming a better place.

When you think of it, when integrity is in place, harassment, discrimination, fraud, humiliation, deprivation and others stand NO chance.

 

Hunters for love

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Matilda approached her long chair on the beach. A man stood by, checking his mobile. Or, rather, pretending to.

– Hm, that’s my seat, he said.

– No, she replied.

– Oh, I thought you are attracted to me and chose this chaise long, he put on a smile.

“Here we go”, she thought, “a pick up line”.

Matilda laid down on her chaise longue, a 200 page report in her hands.

He sat down on a chair nearby and launched into his scenario.

– What’s your name?

– Matilda. Yours?

– Liham. Where are you from?

– The poorest country on this continent, she said.

– Oh, I know Cristina Smth. She exports luxury goods to your country.

As if she was supposed to know all Cristinas in exports.

– There are beautiful girls there, he sticks to his lines. I traveled to O. with a friend last year. He wanted a beautiful girl.

– And not too smart, preferably. Matilda just could not help it.

– And smart too, he had to adapt his lines. But I was not looking for girls. I was in love at that time. Broke apart though recently.

“Aren’t’ we all in love!?”, Matilda thought to herself, with sarcasm.

– I live in France now, she said, to see what else he has in his arsenal of lines. I am married.

– So what?, he exclaimed and kept it faithfully to his lines: I am French. But I travelled a lot. I am open-minded. I could be your lover.

He was really in love with his learned lines, so he continued:

– I am attracted to you. Your body. I like petites. I like to dominate in bed.

– It is an illusion you have, she spoiled his lines. Again.

Confusion on his face.

– You think “petites” is by definition “obedient”. Obéissantes. It is an illusion, she repeats.

– You have brain, he looked her up and down.

“Probably my brain is all over my body”, she thought.

– A No is a “No”, she said.

Five seconds pause. His plan B had to come to rescue.

– Do you believe in God? he asked.

– You ask because of this? Matilda touched her small cross pendant with a diamond. It is a gift from my husband.

– You are smart and fast. You do in life what you like. You are married and in love…. He stood up and handed over his business card to her. Call me. In ten years, maybe.

He marched to the sea and jumped into cool water.

“Who has business cards on the beach, in beach attire only”? Matilda was amused.

Couple of minutes later, Liham met his friends on the beach and mentioned to them that he leaves for Paris in the evening. Just loud enough so that Matilda can overhear.

Next morning, there was a sign on the door: “pardon us”. It was on the door next to Matilda’s hotel room.

Before the trip, her husband playfully warned her “careful with the guys there!” : “Darling, men come there accompanied by girls twice younger. Or, if they come alone, an army of skilled huntresses is after them. I cannot compete with either.”

After her encounter on the beach she thought: “oh, there is a third breed – beach hunters for love”.

Back to school. Oh dear

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The School year restarted. So did a myriad of complaints. Parents complaints. And then we are surprised kids complain. And by the way “they have no reason to complain”, the parents say in one voice.

After hearing so many parents complain, I remembered about the wonderful book What All Children Want Their Parents to know: 12 Keys to raising a Happy Child by Diana Loomans. One these keys is “Leave your Values”.book

If there would be a championship of complaining, I would probably also get a prize, if not a medal of some sort. It is so much easier to complain then to acknowledge and appreciate for the human brain. We still can:

Appreciate that kids can go to school (I’ll not bring in the numbers of children around the world who do not attend school as they become family providers very early in life).

Acknowledge that a person invested in career of a school teacher, which is fun, if you are high everyday.

Appreciate the neural connections that form in the child’s brain, even if we know the mantra “the school prepares the kids for the jobs of yesterday and not tomorrow”.

Acknowledge your kid’s efforts and aspirations, struggles and successes, friendships and relationships ups and downs, etc.

Appreciate your role as a parent, who lives his/her values.

Acknowledge that school is important, but more important and life lasting is your relationship with your child, when the results on the evaluation sheets perhaps do not meet your expectations.

And have a slice of cake, or two, together to celebrate every school week 🙂 It works like magic.

A birthday experience: cakes and more.

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For my birthday this year I wanted a new family experience around something we all love. And that is easy to choose. We are all into cakes and making a cake by learning from a French pâtissier in France sounded just right.

I chose Atelier de Yann in Colmar, Alsace. It is a multi concept store: boutique factory, tea time, ateliers de patisserie, opened in 2015 by Yann Navarro, maitre pâtissier, chocolatier. And it was a perfect choice. The first word which came to my mind to describe this place and the service is i m p e c a b l e from the registration to the class to the unboxing of the products of our hands at home. I am very happy to note how client-oriented are the owner and staff, something of a gem in France. I notice it when I encounter it. I am grateful that they adapted to the presence of my kid, in a workshop otherwise designed for adults. In fairness, she has better self-management and dexterity than many adults I know.

The class was conducted by Yann, the owner of the place. We navigated through the stages of the Succès Pistache & Framboises, under his patient and humble guidance. We all felt at ease with maneuvering, matching and spoiling, tasting and mixing, taste and quantity balancing, regardless of the age and level of baking skills. Now the pastry bag has no more secrets from me. I also loved that we could each manifest our own creativity at the decorating stage without being bound by French pastry rigors. And there are many.

We left with a sense of great satisfaction as all our questions were answered with the clarity of a great master and the generosity of the host manifested tiny yet significant details of the true hospitality.

It inspired us to share the experience with friends over a cup of coffee. No that we could not devour the three cakes at once.

We will no doubt come back for more and warmly recommend this temple of nurturing the love for French pastry, with our best wishes of success and prosperity to Yann and his team! If I would award Michelin stars, one would certainly go to Atelier de Yann.

To mother. To all mothers

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ddef8f5f5acf2cfbcca081d7147d25dd--mommy-quotes-mother-quotes“Mother is a verb. It is something you do. Not who you are”: it made me think of all those who mothered me.

My hubby who got me water when I collapsed from dehydration. My kid who places her hand on my forehead to check whether I have fever. My baker, who slides into my bag a little sweet surprise. My swimming trainer who helped me overcome a childhood fear with just two words: “trust me”. My cat waiting for me by the door to come back from my first trip abroad twenty years ago… His mothering ended at that, as stealing my breakfast  remained his favourite game 🙂

Here is to all beings who mother each day, with gentle gestures, words of kindness and touches of love.

I’ll go now and mother someone.

Happy mothers day!