– 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.
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.
for such a warm welcome on my bday with my family
for the fun in water
for your blend of tradition and excellency in hospitality
for a picture perfect design with nature at its center
and last and not least, for decadent desserts and … the coffee which took me by surprise – it was hot! A first in France 🙂
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.
The last city break we took inspired me to put together some tips for trips with kids. These might be valid sometimes for the “big babies” of the family (we all know who they are 🙂 ).
So, here are my tips:
– limit the number of visits per day and plan breaks every 2-3 hours, depending on the age of the child;
– look for sensorial-friendly activities. Luckily, museums these days integrate in their displays lots of interactive features for a more fulfilling experience.
– alternate landmarks with visits to zoos, amusement parks or public parks, where local kids play.
Paris, Trocadero Gardens
– with some commitment, you can find nature spots even in busiest of cities. Your urban kid and your urban self will be thankful for a day spent among trees and other creatures.
– let the kid sleep longer in the morning. They will be rested and eager to explore through the day. That’s also the perfect time to plan for the day.
– consider whether you need to book a hotel room with breakfast or rent an apartment with a kitchenette. Choose what serves better your own morning rhythm.
– book hotels with pools for a “chillaxing” (my kid’s favourite word from “chill” and “relax”) experience in the evening, after long walks. It will also serve you well in rainy weather.
– allow some TV time, if you have no TV at home (which is our case) or stick to your usual TV time-allowed at home.
– complete each day by asking the kid what she enjoyed most during the day. She is your most valuable customer, so – ask for feedback.
– enjoy every moment and look at places through your kid’s eyes. You might be surprised by what you experience even in familiar places.
Seen in Paris