[Weekly Writing Challenge] The power of its name…

Image Credit: http://blog.hubspot.com
Image Credit: http://blog.hubspot.com

It came to life on March 2011, almost exactly three years ago…

And it’s got a life of its own.

Some suspect it may have a mind of its own, as well… Its words are provoking, but never arrogant.

Its shared thoughts often tend to bring out stimulating conversations. But what is ‘it’?

What’s its name? Does it have any?

It’s got an individual identity, and yet, it’s got a social side. Quite a social face, some would state. It’s public and yet, it’s got its private features.

It’s an experiment, a challenge, a tale. It’s fed by others and it feeds itself. It’s lifeless and it’s dynamic.

Image Credit: http://www.seomoves.org
Image Credit: http://www.seomoves.org

What’s its name? It’s got one single title, which refers to the result of the modern transcontinental growth our society is witnessing; something spectacular, something that can never be taught or learned or fully understood by anyone who hasn’t actually experienced it…

Its name is powerful and profound.

The name was given before its birth, while the female mastermind behind its creation craved for a way to express the desire to share with the world her incomprehensible experiences living life as a nomad.

And while always a migrant, she raises worldly citizens under her wings… Citizens that will display hybrid cultures, being the product of mixed backgrounds, histories, cultures and languages.

This self-maintained creature, repeatedly mentioned here, is an escape mechanism, a tool, a voice to a parent’s cries for advice.

The voice given to this ‘quasi-mythical’ creation has a name, Third Culture Children, and through the lines of this blogging journey, the creature may have become as powerful as its creator; in an ironic and totally expected outcome.

Its name brings many meanings, and the notion of children as artefact of hybrid cultures goes beyond the physical explanations words may provide.

It’s the name given to this blog, representing the interface between the creator and the creation. It’s a living strategy to share thoughts, feelings and questions.

The name, although powerful as it should be, may never surpass the strength of the concept embedded on it – the definition of a child as a positive product of multiple influences, a TCK, a citizen of the world, ready for facing and overcoming life challenges… ❤

{Weekly Writing Challenge} Parenting as a Cliffhanger…

When being called “Incredibly Good” is really not good for children?

Great Wednesday, although it began with a not-so-welcoming weather in La Paz – the rainy season has arrived, and flooded streets displaying the hectic driving behavior are definitely not the best place to be!

Back to work, as expected, and having the opportunity to read the paper before the work day starts is key! The Washington Post column on ‘Parenting’ called my attention with an article on ‘Stop heaping praise on your kids’, by Amy Joyce, really brought some thoughts up, as well as, a few questions and concerns.

Source: http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/
Image Source: http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/

When being called “Incredibly Good” is really not good for children?

Great Wednesday, although it began with a not-so-welcoming weather in La Paz – the rainy season has arrived, and flooded streets displaying the hectic driving behavior are definitely not the best place to be! The inspiration for this ‘quasi-op-piece’ comes from the idea of leaving the readers ‘hanging’ [thanks, Michelle W., btw!]’, while I freely start a discussion on possible strategies on parenting well-rounded children [or lack of thereof!].

Back to work, as expected, and having the opportunity to read the paper before the work day starts is key! The Washington Post column on ‘Parenting’ called my attention with an article on ‘Stop heaping praise on your kids’, by Amy Joyce, really brought some thoughts up, as well as, a few questions and concerns.

STOP PRAISING YOUR KIDS??

Not really, but let’s keep on moving on. Also, nobody should be telling us what to do regarding the way we bring our kids up, correct? 😮

We’ve all done it, stated Amy Joyce. But I’m sure not all of us knew we might be hurting our kids by doing it… At least, I did not know. How could I? Simply trying to work my best magic tricks when it comes to parenting…

Why would we, parents, knowingly harm our children?

Let’s start thinking! Continue reading

The little voices in my head and I, discussing an article on ‘Working Mothers’…

As I usually do, I try to [jump]start my [work] day catching up with the news. My routine begins with a brief read through the Washington Post and a couple of coffee. Since it was Monday, I was a bit delayed with my start. After going over the unsettling headlines on the very sad events in DC [a metro stop from our house, now rented] and, as a parent, could not stop thinking about the 12 year old Florida girl, victim of cyber-bullying…

Two stories that hit really close to home, and make us reconsider the world we’re raising our children into…

I decided to move on, and hopped over to the paper’s Parenting section, another favorite of mine.

dialogo
Source: http://www.ilbacodaseta.org

As I usually do, I try to [jump]start my [work] day catching up with the news. My routine begins with a brief read through the Washington Post and a couple of coffee. Since it was Monday, I was a bit delayed with my start. After going over the unsettling headlines on the very sad events in DC [a metro stop from our house, now rented] and, as a parent, could not stop thinking about the 12 year old Florida girl, victim of cyber-bullying

Two stories that hit really close to home, and make us reconsider the world we’re raising our children into…

I decided to move on, and hopped over to the paper’s Parenting section, another favorite of mine. That’s when my ‘internal conversation‘ decided to take place. An article from Mary-Jane Williams had me nodding my head in agreement, asking the author/interviewee questions and answering them before any of them [the article’s author and the interviewee] had an opportunity to do so.

Katrina Alcorn, a writer-editor and mom of three in Oakland recently had a book published about ‘struggles, juggling work and home responsibilities’ and yes, it’s about many of us, working moms out there, trying our best to survive as professional, spouses and state-of-the-art moms.

Here’s how the ‘little voices in my head‘ began reading through the article:

source: http://formerfatdudes.com
source: http://formerfatdudes.com

[voices in my head speaking up] “I bet you she [book author, previously ‘maxed-out’ mom] will tell us it’s virtually impossible to juggle, perform and excel at all tasks we [working moms] are expected to display”…

[article] “The expectation is that there’s an adult at home, but that’s not how we live anymore. We’re trying to make something work that doesn’t work…”

[voices in my head to the conscious me] “I could have told you that. Don’t you know that already? Do I have to remind you how hard some mornings can be when, while fighting a splitting headache and trying to get a couple of coffee out of the microwave, you find yourself mopping the floor because one of the kids has already spilled orange juice from his/her breakfast? And remember, it has to be done carefully, so you don’t get your work clothes dirty before you’ve got a chance to leave the house!?”

[the conscious me]  “I guess you’re right. Maybe I don’t need a book to tell me that, it’s fairly common sense. We all know how hard it is nowadays to be a working mother…” And then, I resume back to reading the article: “but… let’s keep on reading it… she [book author, previously exhausted mom] seems to be pretty grounded. Maybe she’ll bring something up that I don’t know yet… let me keep reading…”

[article] “We need to change the conversation. We need to get out of this obsession with individual choices… We need to change the conversation so it’s not about what women are doing, but what society is doing. Do you want a bunch of bulletproof women to have this, what we think of as a normal life?”

[the conscious me to the little voices in my head] “WOW, she just nailed it on the head! See how simple the problem is: we [women, mothers] are not the problem; the society is, and the way the society ‘perceive’ the participation of working mothers is the big issue – and I loved her metaphorical comparison using the ‘bulletproof’ women! I totally feel like, every morning, before we all go out [of our bedroom] and face the real world [aka, our demanding kids, our needy spouses, our challenging jobs], we need to put on some sort of invisible, but yet, effective shield, and carry on with our daily chores. And don’t even consider the possibility of failing! Failure for a working mother, whose goal is nothing less than perfect, is completely out of question!”

[little voices in my head] “You’re overreacting. Do you believe you’re the only mother that works outside the house? You actually got it pretty easy… and don’t get me started on the whole ‘you’ve got household help’ speech… Remember: it was one of the reasons you guys decided to keep going with this foreign service gig… be honest, what would life be like if you were back in DC? Would you be working?”

[the conscious me to the little voices in my head]  “But that’s the whole point! You’re right, very likely, I wouldn’t be working. How could I? And a nanny? There’ll be no way on earth we’d be able to afford one! And if I’d decided to work, even part-time, I had to find a reliable day-care for the baby girl, juggle with a flexible work schedule, and be prepared for the ‘not-so-friendly looks’ my co-workers would give me every time I had to leave early, due to some unforeseen cause! But this lady here [the book author] is so right, let me read out loud her statement:

[the article] “The women in my life are really capable, smart, hardworking and dedicated to their families. They don’t really need advice.Their employers need advice, their co-workers need advice, the policymakers need advice.”

[the conscious me to the little voices in my head] “See? Do you get the main issue? It’s all about this endless conflict women have to deal with; the conflict between working [outside the house] and raising kids. Here’s another excerpt:”

[the article] “For better or worse, women are raised to be nurturers and to say yes. But I think there’s more to it. Research shows that when employers know a woman has children or is going to have children, her performance is scrutinized more. . . . If a woman is worried that she’s being scrutinized at work because she’s a mother, she’s going to be really circumspect about setting boundaries at work because she doesn’t want to be seen as someone who is not pulling her weight… Those things came at a price. They were not free. We may put in extra time at night after the kids go to bed, early in the morning or on weekends, but that time isn’t seen the same way as the time in the office. . . . I think we need to challenge the idea that to be effective at work or be a leader you need to work long hours.”

[little voices in my head to the now, caffeine-deprived me] “Did you notice that when you began ‘psycho-analyzing the article, your completely forgot about your coffee? It’s probably ice-cold by now! We need to fix this, asap!”

[the not-so-sure about being conscious me, to the little voices in my head] “I guess you’re right. Totally forgot about it. And now, I have to go find a microwave at somebody else’s office and warm it up… it won’t be the same, but hey, the article really got me engaged, which is a good sign…. I hope more working moms out there come out with similar ‘poking discussions’… some good food for thought… And talking about food, let me get that coffee warmed up!”

[little voices, now fading] “Good chatting with you. Hope you have a nice day at work… Talk to you soon!” 😮

Source: http://bartsblackboard.com
Source: http://bartsblackboard.com

Written in response to this week’s writing inspiration, “Dialogue”

Violence-induced media and third-culture children.

The suggestion comes out as Michael Pick pokes us all with the question “Does watching violent movies inspire violence in the real world? “. In his own words, “When tragedies happen in the real world because of the violent deeds of a particular individual, the shock and horror that this happened very soon leads to trying to unravel the reason behind how it came to pass.

For some, the violence seen in films is taken as a catalyst or the inspiration for disturbing acts of violence in the real world. For others, blaming film violence for real life tragedies is cutting corners at best and “scapegoating” at worst — an effort to pin complex social or psychological issues on an enemy that can’t fight back…”

As a parent, a traveler, a ‘serial expat’, and mother of 3 growing TCKs, I believe there are so many factors responsible for shaping up the future of a child – and this is especially true when we’re talking about raising well-adjusted, worldly citizens, well-rounded children, as products of hybrid cultures.

PhotoFunia-742c03

I’ve been away from blogging a bit too long, and now, the opportunitiy to bring up my random thoughts on a very intriguing social issue, has arisen. The suggestion for this personal op-piece comes out as Michael Pick pokes us all this week, with the question: “Does watching violent movies inspire violence in the real world? “.  In his own words, “When tragedies happen in the real world because of the violent deeds of a particular individual, the shock and horror that this happened very soon leads to trying to unravel the reason behind how it came to pass.

For some, the violence seen in films is taken as a catalyst or the inspiration for disturbing acts of violence in the real world. For others, blaming film violence for real life tragedies is cutting corners at best and “scapegoating” at worst — an effort to pin complex social or psychological issues on an enemy that can’t fight back…

Violent? :o these are Super-Heroes, embedded with super-dupper powers, and any little boy's dream!  Image downloaded from the site http://abduzeedo.com
Violent? These are Super-Heroes, embedded with super-dupper powers, and any husband’s  little boy’s dream!
Image downloaded from the site http://abduzeedo.com

 

As a parent, a traveler, a ‘serial expat’, and mother of 3 growing TCKs, I believe there are so many factors responsible for shaping up a child’s future – and this is especially true when we’re talking about raising well-adjusted, worldly citizens, well-rounded children, as products of hybrid cultures.

Some of these factors are culture, socialization and the own child’s experience; its perception of the world, and the child’s feelings and frustrations. Unfortunately, due to being exposed to a myriad of social situations and contexts, a so-called ‘third culture child‘ is also more vulnerable to external influences. One of the strongest influences relates to the common day-to-day aspects of life: the innocent act ofabsorbing‘ images and concepts brought home through movies, TV shows, streamed videos, all the so-handy resources offered by the internet! And why not say, through the apparently harmless violence-based children’s video games… 😮

Oh, well… so then, what should we do, as parents? Others here already expressed their opinion that simply forbidding the child from watching potentially violent programs/movies, is not the solution, but it does have an impact on the developing mind – and the impact is unlikely positive, unfortunately…

Third culture children are in continuous need to understand the true origins of caring, the need to help others, and the strategies to display a nonaggressive behavior. The key players in order to achieve that level of self-knowledge, comes from parental socialization, the family system, schools and cultural influence. Currently, the easiest and quickest [albeit, not fully harmless!] avenues are the social media tools, television and movies. For younger kids, especially, the last two ‘avenues’ mentioned before, have both a fast and deep impact on the children’s minds, and the way they begin developing their own concepts, affirmations and perceptions about their surroundings.

Children who are growing up under this modern ‘violence-influenced’ scenario, will likely tend to develop the understanding that violence is a regular [and maybe necessary] part of life, which could be extremely dangerous for our future generations.

Again, as a parent, I’m concerned with the loss of sensitivity when it comes to publicly offering free violence viewing to our kids, as if it were part of a healthy environment.

Is reality really as cruel as it’s perceived through the movies? Is it all necessary? What good is it bringing to the upcoming generations?

Too many questions, and not on single answer – at least, not from my parental and confused mind.

We’re all just trying to get by surviving one day at a time, and hoping that our children will turn out to be well-balanced, responsible and loving adults. That’s simply my hope; as much as I’d like to, I don’t have control over my children’s future. I can offer them advice and love, but can’t hide them inside a bubble, making sure they won’t get hurt or even hurt others. This ‘motherly bubble’ doesn’t exist, thankfully… Kids need to be kids and yet, need to experience life. Life as it is. Holywoodian life is not life, it’s not real. The ‘reality’ portrait by movies is not, in fact, real. And the violence offered by movies should always be perceived as what it really is: fiction… 😮

‘Backward’ Tale – The Boy and The Girl.

It’s been a roller coaster…living and moving… and adjusting… and moving again

It’s been a full house, with three queens and two kings

They travel because of work

They move because it’s their passion.

It’s been eleven years and eleven months

The boy and the girl have wed.

 WeddingIt’s been a nice hand, more precisely, a full house,

with three Queens and two Kings

It’s been a roller coaster… living and moving…

And adjusting… and moving again.

They traveled because of work,

They moved because it’s their passion.

It’s been nine years and eleven months
Since the boy and the girl have wed.

One decade awaits to celebrate their togetherness

But it was not always like that


The boy had dreams

The girl had fears

And yet, they were so alike…

The girl had left her home country,
Her job would take her to a far away land

The boy would wait for her.

He had found a job, he had finished school.

His job would yet take him to far away lands

But the boy liked to travel

And so did the girl.

boy and girlThere have been financial difficulties.

There have been physical distances

There have been emotional challenges

But the boy and the girl have never given up.

That boy and that girl had met some twelve years back

And could not wait to meet up again… and again…

They traveled to see each other

They traveled because of work.

They traveled to unknown places, for the ordinary pleasures of moving, seeing and learning…

Even if there had been no money to travel, they would still do it

And simply pay for it later.

Some twelve years ago,

The boy had gone to the girl’s home country

To learn a new language,

To learn a new culture,

To find himself into a whole new adventure.

Without even looking for it,
He discovered love

And so did the girl.

Neither one of them had ever believed in love at first sight.

The boy and the girl were probably the most skeptical people on the face of the Earth,

But those two were so wrong!

And they found what they were missing, on each other

Some twelve years back…

Now, the boy and the girl have aged

And they are proud to show their hand: they’ve got the most perfect full house

With three Queens and two Kings….♥

king-and-queen-of-hearts-playing-cards-courting-each-other

This post is written in response to WordPress’ Weekly Writing Challenge. The details of the challenge can be found here.

Are we missing a teachable moment?

Are we missing a teachable moment?

I do believe we are. We’re missing a great opportunity to use these recent events as a springboard for a much more fruitful debate. Not only us, parents, but all of us, adults [okay, I understand she is adult as well, but you get my point!]

English: Miley Cyrus' signature Español: Firma...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Miley Cyrus, the 20-year-old singer who began her career as squeaky-clean star of the Hannah Montana television series, seems to have ditched that goody two-shoes image for good with her recent Video Music Awards (VMAs) performance. Did Miley’s performance cross the line, are we making too much of it, or are we missing a chance to have a more important conversation about race and sex? You be the judge”.

Are we missing a teachable moment?

I do believe we are.

We’re missing a great opportunity to use these recent events as a springboard for a much more fruitful debate.

Not only the parents out there, but all of us, adults [okay, I understand she is adult as well, but you get my point!]. Instead of judging or criticizing what happened, how about using it as a family dinning-table conversation topic?

Shocked? I would also be, if I weren’t a parent of young children, living through all the social events brought to us on a daily basis – can’t pretend we’re blind to the present-future opening their wings right in front of us… maybe even, coming to life in our very own TV room! My 5 1/2 year-old knows who ‘Miley-Montana’ is, and like many others her age, walks around the house repeating song chorus. As a parent, how should I approach her questions on ‘why can’t I watch this or that Disney channel shows?’ Should I just now say that her beloved Hanna is bad, and she should completely switch her idolatry towards ‘Lava Girl’ [and Shark Boy, for that matter]?

That said, are all the previously-innocent Disney stars turned evil? Have them all become bad examples to our children? Should I just turn the TV [and the computer!] off, once and for all? Is that a plausible solution?

Controversy?  Sure!

That’s what social media lives and breathes on! Controversy is needed to sell papers, creating countless and endless postings on Facebook… increasing the Klout scores throughout social network channels… The whole fuzz on twerking? Sad to say, but unfortunately, many young girls who had not yet heard the term, are now ‘practicing Miley’s moves…

But… what’s the ‘message to take home’?

Cover of "Hannah Montana The Movie"
Cover of Hannah Montana The Movie

It’s not only about Miley Cyrus‘ performance, or her ‘not-so-appropriate’ display of oneself, and her puzzling lack of self-awareness. She is just one of the many examples of a debating behavior. Should I/could I judge her? Not sure about that. Not my place to do so, although, I can definitely take advantage of the current situation, and embrace a productive discussion. Any takers? 😮

The original article  [inspiring this mini op-piece] presents an intriguing question: if we were missing a chance to have a larger discussion about race, sex, gender roles, and the evils of stereotyping?

The key point for the discussion, at least the way I see it, is the importance to teach children/teenagers about self-respect. There’s a crucial need for them to understand the meaning of self-awareness, and the consequences of their own acts.

We live in society, no one is an island, and we should all behave [and act] with these premises in mind. Teaching children/young adults to gain self-respect will surely assist them into improving their learning and creative skills, as well as their ability to understand/welcome love. Self-respect/self-esteem is closely related to happiness and success in life.

Strong senses of self-respect and self-esteem will help our children act responsibly, responsively and respectfully as they socially interact with others. Self-respect and self-preservation are concepts that should be the foundation of any growing individual. Happiness and the much-wanted success will follow on.

 The ongoing lesson:

With strong self-respect, our children will know that they’re important, smart, valuable and unconditionally loved. We, the adults, parents, also need to do our share. We need to show our support and our respect towards that growing being. We’re asked to show our children they’re worthy of respect. And we do that by respecting their feelings, their privacy and their properties; expressing our pride in our children at every opportunity. Our children are unique, and should be cherished as such.

Also, another lesson to take home from this whole buzz is the importance the parents have on a growing child’s life. They [the children] need to learn how to fail. Mistakes are a fact of life. When we equip a child with skills necessary to make mistakes and regroup, we’re also teaching him/her how to analyze and learn from his/her mistakes.

The result will be a resilient child who keeps trying in the face of struggles and challenges. Maybe that’d have been a great advice for they ‘younger/growing’ Miley Cyrus… learn from your mistakes, even from the very big, ‘media-tweeted’, Facebook-escalated ones… learn from your failures… failures are teaching situations, whose results are priceless learning opportunities. Probably that’s the great teaching moment/teaching opportunity gathered from these recent events: instead of criticizing [the performance] to our children/teenagers, let’s use it as a ‘live example’ during our family conversations. Let’s hear from our children what they think/perceive on the situation; what is their reaction and their un-bias judgment… and maybe, they could surprise us… maybe they may see things under a different, more rational perspective… Let’s hear from the kids, before we bash the young lady around with our not-so-nice words and pre-conceived ideas… Let’s not miss this one-of-a-kind teachable moment… ♥

Keep on living… keep on learning… 😮

Continue reading “Are we missing a teachable moment?”

“Pay no attention to the woman behind the children…”

‘Who’s that woman?’

And why is she always giving orders? Acting like she’s some sort of ‘commander’ for a civilian army of three little children [and a husband!]?

‘Who’s that woman behind the growing children? ‘

The one trying her best not to fail, trying her hardest to be up to any and all tasks, excelling on her parenting skills, in the hope that other parents would look up to her as a role model?

‘Who’s the woman who lets herself be kept backstage, silently watching life play its theatrical acts, desperately witnessing her heart beat outside her body, every time one of her children crosses the house door and heads out to the world?’

 

Behind the children

‘Who’s that woman?’

‘Which woman?’

‘That one, discreetly hiding behind her children…

Doesn’t she have a life of her own?’

‘Shhhh… Pay no attention to the woman behind the children…

She may hear you. She may get upset’.

‘She seems so afraid for her little ones… She looks so fragile… like if at any moment, she will break down into tears.. or break apart into small glass pieces… I would like to see her smiling…’

‘Why is she hiding from us? Have we done anything to her?’

‘Who’s that woman behind the growing children?

The one trying her best not to fail, trying her hardest to be up to any and all tasks, excelling on her parenting skills, in the hope that other parents would look up to her as a role model?’

 ‘Who’s the woman who lets herself be kept backstage, silently watching life play its theatrical acts, desperately witnessing her heart beat outside her body, every time one of her children crosses the house door and heads out  to the world?’

‘Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtains of life…’

‘She’s no Wizard‘.

‘She’s no Witch‘.

‘She’s not longing to find her way back home…’

‘Pay no attention to her – she looks tired and helpless…’

Behind the Curtain
Photo by Sara Biljana

Who’s the woman behind the curtain? Read more about her here…