Monday, November 30, 2009

5 things...

my children said over the weekend that made me laugh:

1. Is it yours Mummy? - Jordan, very innocently, after having been sent to the naughty mat twice for trying to use my make up and not stopping after being asked at least a million times. (No, I am not prone to exageration.)

2. But the car is on water pilot. - Shannon when asked if her brother could have a turn pretending to drive while we waited for Dad to come out of a shop.

3. Daddy! Look at the pantis! - Jordan regarding the praying mantis (which turned out to be a stick insect) that was entangled in the net curtain.

4. Mummy, Shannon's not being my friend! - Jordan... he is not yet 2, I can't help but laugh especially when i know he is just coppering (Shannonism) his sister!

5. Hi, my name is Shannon and when I grow up I want to be a Doctor. - Shannon at her preschool graduation. The other girls picked ballerina or shopping lady (!), and Shannon had been 'practising' ballerina the whole time prior, so where Doctor came from I'll never know, but she surely raised a laugh for her efforts! Oh, and of course I will have to hold her to it. She made her bed...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Holidays???

What is wrong with Merry Christmas? Why are all (sometimes pagan) Christian ceremonies becoming taboo? And why, for that matter, is it only the Christian ones that are getting laid off? We aren't frowned upon for celebrating Hanukah, and Diwali is still lit up with aplomb. I can understand that asking a non-Christian what their Christian name is might cause a little embarassment but come on. Why is it that in the western world of today, so many Westerners are afraid to stand up and be counted to the point where we renounce our celebrations in disgrace?

I am not implying here that all Westerners are Christians. Far from it in fact. But there are certain celebrations, such as Christmas and Easter that go way back in our cultures, and in fact some stem from Pagan ceremonies, that quite frankly we should just not feel bad about. The problem is that it is not the commercial side of these celebrations that is falling away, but the underlying bits and pieces that make them special. No Nativity plays anymore? In England? Why not? Because it is offensive to other religions? Am I the only person who thinks this is wrong, on so many, many levels? You are in England, respect their customs and their history.

Here's a shocking idea. instead of removing one culture to make others feel better, why don't we just include the new cultures in their own right? Have your Nativity and have your festival of lights celebration too. Culture is not an either/or question. Everyone has a right to their beliefs, rituals, celebrations and ceremonies, why is it so hard to work out that it is better to learn more about other cultures and religions than try to squash them? Especially when the majority of the native population are from that culture. I get that every religion believes they are right and others are wrong, well, if you can't convince others, revel happily in the smug knowledge that you are right, and leave everyone else alone. The world is a small place what with air travel and cyber space and the ability to pretty much live and work anywhere given the required skills. But if you want only your food, your traditions and your religion, stay in your country. If you want to be part of the global community, learn to share. How would it look if the English moved en mass to India and said right, no more Diwali, we find it offends our cultural beliefs? Hmmm, global outcry perhaps?

I am not picking on individual people here so if this doesn't apply to you and you are happy to allow all cultures to live side by side, don't go getting all offended. I am not talking to you. I am talking to whoever it is that is rotting this world with hatred and subterfuge, slowly culling other cultures in a way that is worse than the overt violence of history in its deception. Hating and sabotaging me for somethings that prior generations did is, in fact, immature and counterproductive.

History has not been kind in this area. I realise that. Gross atrocities were carried out globally by many Western societies, and many, many people suffered. Can we get over it? Can we pick up the pieces and move on now? I had nothing to do with any attrocities, and I am now bringing up the next generation that will have had nothing to do with them. Yet we are still paying now for what people did back then. Come on people, we have one planet here, and it's a tiny one all things considered, can't we find a way to enjoy it? At no one else's expense?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Say what?

OK so, in what could swing from pretentious to self-absorbed and back again like a well wound up pendulum, I have declared myself a writer. Pretentious and self-absorbed I am not, but this is written communication, and everybody (except those who really know me) who reads this blog depends on only words to 'get' me, so how could you possibly know that. Did you know that 55% of effective communication comes from non-verbal cues (facial expression, body language, intonation, etc.). Not really possible to convey non-verbal cues in writing, is it?

Determined I am, however, and thus I must learn how to overcome that 55% efficacy that I am now lacking in the written word. I don't actually believe this is possible as there is no accounting for every frame of reference that creates the myriad prejudices that we suffer on this ever-shrinking planet. Far more experienced writers than I cannot overcome the prejudice lens that blurs the decoding of their message by readers for whom assuming the worst is the most natural reaction. Or perhaps those readers are just picking a fight for the sake of it and because they lack the imagination to find something more productive to do with their time.

I recently took a long overdue foray into the 'bloggoshpere' to catch up on some of my favourite bloggers and was both horrified and entertained to find just such a thing happening over at Pond Parleys. Reading the post from my frame of reference was interesting and entertaining, especially having lived in both the UK and the USA. However, someone took umbrage to Expat Mum's dislike for a certain vegetable casserole, and all hell broke loose. I am quite sure EM meant no offense, rather she was expressing a personal taste. How it could have been misconstrued I will never know. But it really, really was. Really. In fact you should go on over and see the fight that ensued. Great reading!

Having said that it seems important to continually improve the way we communicate, in writing, over the phone and face to face, since there is a good chance we could be going around upsetting people who are narrow minded enough to presume that their's is the only point of view and that anything said that disagrees with it is so obviously wrong. Or maybe I should care less, afterall you can't please all people all the time.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hiatus

I know it has been a while but I am here. Sitting at my laptop starting on a new journey. For the last three years I have poured much of my creativity, cognitive effort, time and emotion into doing a degree. It is finished now (results not yet in but here's hoping).

When I started that degree I had a plan. I wanted to be a psychologist. I wanted to help others improve their lot, make better decisions and follow new paths. I have learnt more than I thought possible, and not just about psychological theory. I have learned about people, what makes us do the things we do, think what we think and feel myriad, often unrealised emotions. I have learned how we impact our social environment and how it affects us. I have learnt a great deal about how societies, communities and groups function and how people are central to that function.

I have learnt the art of communication and interpersonal skills. I have assimilated those jewels as they have been realised. What a difference effective commnication can make. I have learnt how to research, how to find the most important facts from an agglomeration of information. I have learnt things that I have stored away for future use and things I have incorporated into my daily life. I have learnt one thing that came as a surprise. One thing that has become part of who I am even though I have only been allowed limited pursuit of it due to my other commitments. One thing that I want to grab with both hands and make the most of. I learnt that I am a writer.

So now my journey begins in earnest. I am taking this coming year to focus on making a success of my dream career. Honours will have to wait. I have so much to learn so I better get to it, today is the first day of the rest of my life.