Tag Archives: awareness

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.

Thank you Chisinau

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Thank you Chisinau

for my dearest people who make me feel at home, regardless of the time which passed since our last encounter. You know who you are.

for my first eight-pairs-of-hands-baking experience with orphan girls in the care of Diaconia and a chance to share with them a baking atmosphere I had with my grandmother.

for my daughter’s enthusiasm and support: “Mom, you were such a pro, juggling the parallel teams at baking!”.

for Diaconia’s wonderful team of people whose dedication I admire from the bottom of my heart. Check them out at http://www.diaconia.md.

for allowing young musicians to express themselves under the street lights in Stefan cel Mare park:

for the betterment if your zoo. We can be critical of many things we saw there, yet we choose to appreciate how much it evolved since its establishment 40 years ago

for my school, which celebrated 50 year recently. It was a moment of joy to retrace my steps to and from the school, with my daughter this time around.

for a great number of professionals I met and who do the best they can and aspire to do better, regardless of the circumstances. You know who you are.

and, last but not least, for your splendid autumn colours which stand to remind us of the unique beauty of nature this time of the year.

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.

“Across many mountains” by Yangzom Brauen

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“Across many mountains” tells a story of a family who had to flee Tibet to escape the Chinese regime. It is narrated by Yangzom, born to a Tibetan mother and a Swiss father. It is a memoir of three generations.

I learned many new things about Tibetan culture, religion, social structures and Institutions. As the author herself puts it “that’s why I have written this book, in an attempt to prevent the culture, traditions and true story of Mola and Amala’s country from being forgotten.”, as the life of Tibetan refugees and their descendants on foreign lands takes precedence over their native food, beliefs, faith and way of life.

The author touches upon the internal divide of Tibetan people over autonomy vs independence and their struggle to keep the international attention to Tibet and Chinese invasion. It is a personal account, so I understand why some lines befriend cautiousness in expressing views. Still, it requires courage to put on paper the account of Chinese regime’s acts and their impact on Tibetans’ lives.

“Dream big. Heroes who dared to be bold” by Sally Morgan

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7:00 am. I am reading out loud. It is my kid’s wake up routine. It works better than the alarm clock, for both of us.

My latest morning reading is “Dream big. Heroes who dared to be bold” by Sally Morgan. The book contains brief stories of 100 people of all ages and backgrounds from many different parts of the globe who made a difference and brought change. They come from different walks of life: mayors, actors and actresses, inventors, dancers, refugees, bloggers, conductors, boxers, rappers, and many others. They each had a voice and used it. Each story has a “call for action”, an invitation to reflect on one’s talents and abilities, which could be put to good use.

To me, the narrative and some terms are perhaps more fit for an American culture and understanding, so the book may not speak to some who were less influenced by/ are less familiar with a western way of thinking. The personalities in the book do come mostly from the Northern hemisphere. And its title hints to the proverbial “American dream”, at least to me. In fairness though, the author also pays tribute to much less known stories of heroes from China, Agentina, Saudi Arabia and other parts of the world.

Would I recommend the book? Yes, wholeheartedly. Would just suggest to read it with an open mind and use it for discussions with your kid over a cup of tea or hot chocolate.

“ The words in my hand” by Guinevere Glasfurd

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Imagine wanting to learn to write and your palm and finger your only “paper and pen”… Inimaginable, right?

From the gaps and holes in history of women mentioned in archives, the author built the story of Helena, a maid in Netherlands, who knew René Descartes for more than a decade. Some say this is the story of Helena’s strugle to learn. For me, it was equally the story of Descartes’s strugle to learn. It was the time before his first publication, which is considerate to date as the basis of modern science and which required numerous explorations from him.

It is also the story of a woman’s aspiration to be independent and free from social expectations and bounds.

It is the story of a loving mother, who passed on to her daughter the love of letters and thirst of knowledge. It is the story of a mother’s grief for her child and her rebirth as a mother through the birth of her second child.

It is the story of a children book writer and her belief that all children – boys and girls – need to learn to write and read.

It is the story of female sisterhood and friendship.

It is a story of love, as impossible as it seemed in that century.

And, it is beatifully narrated.