Three Decades With a Cop
Lalitha Sai and her Husband- Just Married
Life was not easy,
Life was also not bad,
Life had everything,
Life did lack something,
Yes, this is the life of a cop’s wife!
Our marriage is close to three decades now. Back in 1990, (June 13) I did not know what I was getting myself into. All I knew was I had to be patient and have a lot of understanding with a grumpy police officer. He too warned me that life would not be a bed of roses.
Lalitha Sai and her family after 25 years of marriage
But was he actually grumpy? Were there thorns? No, his heart was one that would melt with the warmth that glowed from within me. His spells of anger would fizzle when his eyes meets mine, full of fear of having incurred his wrath.
Beneath his hardcore exterior were streams of love in which he still bathes me ceaselessly. I bore him two precious jewels which he cherishes from the bottom of his heart.
But his call of duty was his priority. He was married to his job. There have been many a celebrations (marriages, birthdays and outings) without him. His absence has made us wince with pain, cringe with shame, and cry out loud for want of love. But, his duty had always been his priority.
Still, the man did turn the family livelier.
There were difficult times, best moments, lovable minutes and tearful seconds. But in all we were united as a family. To the best of my effort I tried to steer him clear of any family problems and tried to give him peace. But, he would not move away.
He has held our hands,
…in times of need,
…in times of physical pain,
…in times of mental stress,
…in times of illness,
…in times of delusions,
…in times of joy,
…in times of pleasure!
He molded every one of us to be independent and a leader too. He gave us all the space whenever we needed it. He taught us to focus on the good and not the bad.
Though there were times of regret about marrying a cop, I still think it is the best decision I have ever taken in life. For, he has been a real inspiration to his engineer son, doctor daughter and journalist wife.
In my view, I also think that though he had misdirected his official stress on his loved ones at times, he has always made it up with all of them.
I would be thankful if he can, to all his intimate relationships, give more patience and diligence and make them his priority. I thank God for making us a family and giving him to me.
If not for him I would not have known love, affection, compassion, interactions, build communication skills, leadership qualities and interpersonal skills. May God bless him with good health and mental stamina to take care of all us for many more years to come.
My wish, as always: Whenever Nature thinks it is time, let me be the first to leave so that I can welcome all of them one by one till they reach the feet of the Almighty. For I know not how to live without even one of them.
How has your married life made you feel, after all those years of togetherness?
This is an original post for World Moms Network written by guest poster, Lalitha Sai, in India.
Lalitha Sai, Journalist, India
Lalitha Sai, is a writer based in Chennai, India. She is happily married to a police officer. Her son is an engineer in Europe, and her daughter is a doctor in Chennai. She has 25 years of experience in journalism and has held posts of senior editor in the leading news dailies of India, “The Hindu” and “DT NEXT”. She focused on women empowerment in her articles.
She is now working as the head of operations of content releases in a private company.
Jane Mosbacher Morris,
Founder of To the Market
What is To the Market and how did it get started?
TO THE MARKET | Survivor-made Goods (TTM) combines the powers of commerce and storytelling to empower the world’s most courageous survivor populations. We’ve developed a three-pronged social enterprise model that we believe reflects the needs of organizations employing survivors of abuse, conflict, or disease to help ensure that these organizations can continue to provide steady work to the survivors.
Our goal is that the survivors in our network eventually achieve economic independence, meaning that they aren’t dependent on someone or something else.
Our model includes (1) promoting survivor-made goods via our multiple distribution channels, including pop-up shops, custom sourcing, retail partnerships, and our online marketplace; (2) offering a platform for survivors and their champions to share their stories through TTM’s Stories and Huffington Post blogs; and (3) providing tailored services, such as trend forecasting and basic mental health resources, to our partners to improve production and management.
I started TTM after a trip to Kolkata, India revealed a way to impact the most vulnerable survivor communities by offering them an opportunity to earn an income.
I saw the light in the eyes of the survivor turned artisans when they were given the chance to earn—they wanted the dignity of work. I began speaking to incredible people all over the globe (including in the U.S.) who had created social enterprises to employ different survivor populations, usually by employing them to produce handicrafts.
I heard really positive feedback about the model of employing survivors (and all of the incredible benefits to the self-esteem and trajectory of the survivor and his or her children). However, I also heard about the challenges of making this model work—TTM aims to help augment these challenges.
Who are the artisans at To the Market?
TTM identifies and teams up with existing organizations currently employing survivors of abuse, conflict, or disease. We call these organizations “local partners”. Local partners consist of non-profits and for-profit social enterprises that have already set up shop, hired, and trained survivors to produce products.
TTM focuses on certain types of survivor populations. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to; survivors of abuse, such as survivors of domestic violence, physical and sexual abuse, and human trafficking; survivors of conflict, such as war widows, refugees, or persons living in conflict/post-conflict states ; or survivors of disease, including populations living with HIV/AIDS, leprosy, or physical disabilities.
We have partners across the globe, including in the U.S., South America, Africa, and Asia.
Do you see a pattern in consumers’ behavior when it comes to shopping responsibly?
I think there is a desire to shop more responsibly, but it often comes down to what people can afford. I am really proud of the fact that our local partners make a variety of products at all different price points—on-trend bracelets for under twenty dollars to timeless cashmere scarves for several hundred dollars.
Can you share a personal story that you think best represents the mission of the online shop?
I recently spent nearly a month in Nepal and India visiting with many of our local partners. I was particularly reminded of how transformational economic independence can be to these survivors when I spent time with their children—their daughters, especially. Most of the survivors we work with are women. When the women achieve economic independence, their daughters are so much less likely to be exploited. We recently wrote about a shelter in New Delhi, India that employs HIV/AIDs infected and affected women. You can see the video about the shelter and read about it on our Stories blog here.
How did you get involved with this work?
I began my career in counterterrorism with a focus on the intersection of women and security. Much of my mission was to try to elevate the role of women in national security-related issues, but I consistently found that women with some form of economic independence had so much more leverage in their family, community, and country than those with none.
That (five year) experience got the wheels turning quickly about the importance of economic independence in empowering vulnerable populations. When I went to work for the McCain Institute on human trafficking, I really saw how vital it was for survivors of some sort of trauma (whether it be abuse, conflict, or disease) to have access to some income.
It brings me extraordinary joy to be a part of the life-changing process of gaining even the slightest bit of independence.
What are your favorite picks for this holiday season?
- For Mom: I love this 100% cashmere scarf hand spun by master spinners in the Kashmir Valley! Each scarf contains the women’s initials that made it.
- For Dad: I love this red spice and merlot trivet. It’s the perfect size for cuff links, receipts, or coins and is neutral enough to sit comfortably on a nightstand or office desk. It’s hand-woven by craftswomen in Rwanda.
- For college kids: I have to suggest the patrice signature bag, which I am currently carrying by No41. It has two major points of impact!
- First, it provides a stable job and sustainable income to a young woman transitioning into a life of independence from living in an orphanage in Rwanda.
- SECOND (and perfect for the college student), it provides 240 meals to a secondary student in Rwanda!
- For kids: I love these brightly colored elephant ornaments (in pink or blue) hand-sewn by women in the Ivory Coast. Pink and blue patterns make it easy to pick for a boy or girl.
- For the office or book/dinner club gift exchange: I selected either a Sari Coin Purse hand-sewn by human trafficking survivors in Kolkata, India or this Hope Ornament pounded out of recycled metal oil drums in Haiti. Even if you don’t have a tree, you can hang this Hope sign up to encourage you! Both come in under $10, the perfect price point for small gifts.
- I am also including a couple “splurge on yourself “ items because I feel like most moms that I know only spend on others! I’ve included the Holiday Festive skirt, because it’s the perfect pattern for this time of year and also because it’s made by stay-at-home moms in Belize who are caring for sick children. Or, this Soledad Peru bag. The Suede straps and bottom make it strong enough to carry six wine bottles (yes, please!). The bag was made by women weavers in a valley deeply scarred by the Shining Path.
How can World Moms help spread the word about shopping responsibly this holiday season and beyond?
What a great question! Helping to get the word out about social enterprises like TO THE MARKET via social media and blogging is a tremendous help, in itself. Someone doesn’t have to have a huge following, either! Just telling your family or friends that these social enterprises exist makes a difference. So much of why so many social enterprises struggle is because they don’t have the marketing budget that big box retailers have to tell their story. There is nothing more flattering (or effective) than a personal referral!
This is an original interview with To the Market founder, Jane Mosbacher Morris, for World Moms Blog. You can learn more about the good work and great products To The Market sells by visiting their website (http://www.tothemarket.com/goods)
The image in this post is used by permission from To the Market.
In celebration of International Day of the Girl, our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, interviewed the heads of a very special school in India. What she learned and felt was nothing short of amazing…
I was ushered in, inside the Vice-Principal’s room when I expressed my desire to interview both, the VP and the Head-Mistress. It was a completely relaxed chat, and I was so surprised about the open-door policy embraced by this school for all its teachers and students. All my prepared interview questions flew out of my head as they talked about the school, the students and their passion for teaching.
Mrs. Bhavani Baskar, The Vice-Principal (left) and Mrs. Jayashree Subramanian, Head-Mistress (right) of the PSBB Millennium School
During the chat, I observed so many students and teachers, and other staff members of the school, knocking and walking in with something or the other which needed either the Vice Principal’s or Head mistress’ intervention. No, you don’t need any appointment to go and say ‘Hello’ to them. None of the students did.
And as we proceeded to chat, I became more surprised and awed at the way they addressed students on a first name basis, from various grades who had popped in for a chat. Who could remember so many names? They did!
It has been a great pleasure to chat with Mrs. Bhavani Baskar, The Vice Principal and Mrs. Jayashree Subramanian, the head Mistress of PSBB Millennium School in Chennai, India. They spoke about their teaching journey, their vision for girls and boys in the school and the murals. It was the murals which sparked my curiosity and led me into their doorway. I included picture of them throughout the interview below, and I hope you find them as beautiful, as I did! Now on to the interview…
What inspired the murals? Who did them?
Initially, we got a palm imprint from all the girls of the school to say, “I am proud of being a girl.” The boys of the school wanted to join, too, to say, “We respect you.” This was done to celebrate the “Day of the Girl Child.”
These murals were an extension of the same theme.
The senior students were encouraged to paint the walls sharing their thoughts on being a girl, and the boys also joined, to express how they felt about their girl-classmates. The result was the lovely messages that came across on the walls.
Mother Earth Needs Her Daughters
What was the effect of the murals?
They are receiving a lot of attention. The occurrences of boys teasing girls has reduced considerably. Bullying is also greatly reduced. Respect between the genders has increased. The general attitude has improved.
These murals are painted at the backdrop of the playground, and all the children at some point in time look at them at least once a day. And whether they want to or not, they have to acknowledge their presence consciously or subconsciously. Children right from grade 1 to 12 share the playground and so they would look at them. They would talk about them. And it would create an impact as to how girls are viewed.
The murals affect the thought process of both the boys and girls as they grow up. Boys would respect girls and girls would grow up to be secure, and confident in this society.
Girls Make The World Bright, But Struggle To See The Light
What is the % of boys and girls in the school?
Boys beat girls by being 54% and girls are 46%. But this is still a great ratio for the state where female infanticide is rampant in the rural areas.
Let Me See The World
Can you comment about the performance of the girls and boys in the school?
Girls always out-beat boys! They are more sincere, they are meticulous in their planning and definitely more hardworking.
Do Not Let My Life End
They also spoke about their respective personal teaching career and their journey in the school. Mrs. Bhavani Baskar, the Vice Principal joined as a Mathematics teacher and now in addition to her duties as a Vice Principal, she continues teaching Mathematics for Grade 12. She is also the HOD for the Math department. She has more than 20 years of teaching experience in mathematics, and she is passionate about it.
Girls Are Great, Nurture Their Fate
Mrs. Jayashree Subramanian, the Head Mistress is also the HOD of the Social Science department. She also manages dual responsibilities and says she would never trade the joy she finds in teaching for anything. When I asked about her retirement, she says, she is a grandmother, too, and would love to go and spend time with her grandchild. But she feels strongly attached to the school, the children, and even to the principal.
A Girl Child Today, A Mother One Day
The Principal of the PSBB Millennium School, Mrs. Sita Uma Maheswaran also had a few words for World Moms Blog in spite of her very busy schedule. The below conversation is from the Principal.
Do you feel like there is a true cultural shift taking place to recognize the importance of the girl child?
On one hand, we Indians, have so many woman deities being worshipped as God. On the other hand, we still have women and young girls being gang raped.
There is a lot of talk happening about justice and equality but it us yet to reach the rural level. Urban girls are more enthused, and they do pride in their being a woman and appreciating girls. But it is a known fact that there are certain cities where women fear to step out.
Girls Are Great, learn To Appreciate Them
What is the main factor driving this force?
Attitude among men is the main factor, irrespective of whether they are educated or not. The way they have been brought up with values in life, the way they have seen their mother or sister being treated – this can have a great effect!
I Am A Girl, Not A Choice
How do you think these murals are affecting the thought process of girls and boys in the school?
There is respect which is breeding unknowingly for the girls, from the side of the boys. They realize that girls are to be respected and appreciated.
Give Girls The Wings To Fly
What was your journey like to become the principal of such a prestigious school?
I began as a Teacher Trainee in PSBB Senior Secondary School in 1986. It has been a roller coaster ride since then. There have been many a thrilling moments and a lot of learning. It is but natural when you get to work under some one like Dr Mrs Y G Parthasarathy, The Dean and Director of the school. Becoming Principal was a lot of responsibility. The work is more challenging. My perspectives have changed, too, because of the broader outlook. I work with more people now, and the goals that I set for myself are different, too.
Girl Child – The Greatest Gift To Mankind
What is your one wish for girls in your school and all over the world?
Mrs. Jayashree Subramanian, the Head-Mistress said, ” I want girls in my school and all over the world to have self-respect, self-esteem and know that they are powerful. I want to teach the girls in my school to face the challenging world with confidence and courage and know that they can be whatever they aspire you to.”
K(no)w Mother, K(no)w Daughter, K(no)w Life
Mrs. Bhavani Baskar, The Vice Principal said, “I want to teach my girls courage, valor and self-esteem. The great South Indian poet Bharathi said, “It is a great blessing to be born as a human, and even greater honor and privilege to be born as a woman.” I want my girls to realize that. I want my girls to be mothers, sisters, daughters and to be an embodiment of love for this entire race.”
There were a few other teachers too who shared their wish for girls everywhere.
Girls Education Can Change The World
Mrs. Mukhtar Tahsin Fathima, 3 – grade teacher
Mrs. Mukhtar Tahsin Fathima, the third grade teacher said, “I want all girls to have awareness about sexual education. I want them to know and be able to protect themselves under any untoward circumstances. I want little children, both, boys and girls, to be given adequate sexual education, and the ability to take care of themselves and seek help when they need it. They should also let down their reservations, shyness and taboo and come out and speak and discuss and be aware of things.”
Mrs. Deepa Seshadri, English Teacher
Mrs. Deepa Seshadri, the English teacher said, “I want my girls to be able to wear and talk what they feel like. They should have the freedom to be natural and happy. They should not have to live in a world where any spontaneous or innocent act is misconstrued in a wrong way. My girls as well as boy students should be able to live in a world which is liberated from prejudice of gender-related actions.”
Mrs. Banu, Kindergarten Teacher
Mrs. Banu the Kindergarten teacher said, “I want equality for all my students. When gender equality is ensured, everything else follows. Education of girl-child, empowerment of women, better living conditions for girls and women and many such issues are resolved.
Girls have a say in everything happening with them. They are independent, and they get to decide what they want to do with their lives. I have brought up my daughter, instilling that she is equal or better than just about any of her counterparts. Every mother and teacher need to do the same with their children. “
The Principal of the school, Mrs. Sita Umamaheswaran said, “I want my girls to know they are no less than any boy or man. To dream big, and set goals that they can work toward. Enjoy womanhood and be in a world that respects women and safeguards them.”
The students of this school have expressed their wish for girls across the world, through these hand-painted, beautiful and striking murals.
What is your wish for the Girl-Child across the world?
This is an original post from our World Mom and Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan on the occasion of the “#DayOfTheGirl Child.”
Her contributions to the World Moms Blog can be found here. She also rambles at The Alchemist’s Blog.
Photo credit for the murals, to the PSBB Millennium School.
Today, we have a special guest post by a Ukranian mother living in the United States, Olena Centeno, of Bilingual Kids Rock. Olena opens the window and lends us her personal perspective to the current events in Ukraine…
Protest in Kiev, November 2013
What’s it like growing up in Ukraine?
As a Ukrainian, I grew up speaking two languages: Russian and Ukrainian. I ate Ukrainian borsht for lunch and Russian pelmeni for dinner. I love Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty and Carols of the Bells by Leontovych. I am raising my own children trilingual in English, Russian and Ukrainian. In fact, the two cultures (Russian and Ukranian) are considered so close, that if an Ukrainian abroad says s/he is from Ukraine people often say “Oh, so you are from Russia?”
What’s going on between Russia and Ukraine?
With Russian troops moving across the sea into Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, a lot of Westerners are starting to ask this question.
The current conflict in Ukraine is more than three months old. It began with a peaceful demonstration on November 21 at Independence Square (Maidan) in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, when the (now ousted) Ukrainian president (Yanukovich) hesitated to sign an Association Agreement with the EU. This had been one of his major election promises and in breaking it he ignored the desire of millions of Ukrainians.
During the past three months, the “EuroMaidan” demonstration has grown into a much bigger movement. It started as a response to the failed EU deal but then truly turned into a movement against the corrupt government of president Yanukovich, who moved to keep Ukraine in long-lasting and very painful economical ties with Russia.
Then, after the government passed harsh, anti-assembly laws, it became about the basic human right to be able speak and think freely without being punished for it.
More than a hundred lives were lost and thousands injured during violent attempts to remove the demonstrators but people did not leave the cold streets of Kiev. More freedom fighters came from all over Ukraine to support them. Many other Ukrainian cities stood up as well. After three months of struggle, Mr. Yanukovich was impeached and left Ukraine (he refused to sign a resignation; he just ran away). His presidency was considered illegitimate and a new, temporary government was elected.
As Ukrainians were mourning over lives lost and looking into the future with great hope to build their country on principles of trust and freedom, a new enemy emerged: Informational War.
Along with Russia, Eastern Ukraine—where the majority is Russian speaking—is dominated by Russian-language news from the Russian media. Unfortunately, the Russian media coverage of events that have happened over the past three months is falsified [and full of propaganda].
Now, after the armed occupation of Ukrainian territory in Crimea by Russian troops, the reason for their untruthful reporting is understood: Creating social opinion in Russia and Russian-speaking Ukraine justifies military intervention into Ukrainian territories.
Personally, I think Mr. Putin has an imperialistic plan to be the most powerful ruler in modern history—politically and financially—and he will stop at nothing to add Ukraine to his control.
Russian Media Propaganda Uncovered
The following are all lies that have been spread by the Russian media leading up to the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops:
1. FALSE: Kiev was Overrun by Violent Riots
Despite violent clashes, most of Kiev stayed peaceful throughout the demonstrations. The day-to-day lives of residents were largely unaffected outside of Independence Square and the areas immediately surrounding it. Very little of Kiev or the surrounding countryside was damaged or disturbed by the protests.
I know this because I called my family and friends every day. My nephews were going to school as usual, most of the people attended work on a daily basis, and all shopping malls and grocery stores were working (except for a few in the middle of the protest areas downtown).
2. FALSE: Anti-Russia Fascists Led the Ukrainian Protests
The vast majority of protesters were ordinary citizens tired of a government that they viewed as corrupt and unwilling to listen to the people. There were no fascist elements leading the demonstrations, and there are none leading the new government.
Many of the people I know personally were in Maidan: teachers, IT professionals, doctors, stay-at-home moms, businessmen, university professors, hair stylists and many others. People I worked with and went to school with. And no one will ever convince me that they are fascists. My daughter’s god-father is a surgeon and worked days and nights protecting the health and saving the lives of many.
3. FALSE: The New Government Will Force All Ukrainians to Speak Ukrainian
This is a particularly effective myth for Russian-language media, since it appeals directly to the people who would be most affected. Language has long been a contentious issue in Ukraine. Claims that Russian will be abolished are being used to generate anger against the new government.
The Ukrainian parliament voted to repeal a 2012 law allowing the establishment of minority languages as official state languages in individual provinces on February 23, 2014 but acting President Oleksandr Turchynov vetoed the move. Russian is currently recognized as an official language, is legal for state use in several Ukrainian provinces, and is guaranteed state protection “in all spheres of public life” in Crimea specifically.
I speak Russian and Ukrainian to my children here in the USA. I see language first and foremost as a tool for communication — and shame on any politicians who use it as a reason for war.
4. FALSE: Ukrainian Demonstrators Have Been Attacking Russians or Russian-Speakers
Another unproven and untrue claim widely circulated in Russian-language media is that the Euromaidan protesters were deliberately attacking Russian speakers.
The cruel result is that ordinary Russians – good, wholehearted, educated people – are now eager to help a Ukraine that they think is swamped by fascists! I have family in eastern Ukraine and my god-mother lives in Moscow. They have called multiple times, scared for the lives of my parents in Kiev. They really think Ukraine is in danger.
There is no evidence to support the claim, and nearly all cases of violence during the protest were perpetrated against civilians by security forces. The Euromaidan protests had very little to do with cultural or language issues in general.
While Yanukovych’s perceived obedience to the Russian government was certainly a source of anger in Ukraine, this anger was directed at the President and the actions of the Russian and Ukrainian governments, not to the Russian people or culture.
5. FALSE: The Berkut and Other Security Forces Fought in Self-Defense
Russian news broadcasts have shown extensive footage of the Berkut and other riot police under attack but nearly none of their attacks on civilians. The reality is that security forces attempted to crush peaceful protests with deadly force, and were barely driven back with improvised weapons like clubs and Molotov cocktails. The superior force and aggression were always on the side of the Berkut.
6. FALSE: The Independence Square/Euromaidan Protests Were Organized by Americans
We joke that EuroMaidan is now supported by Americans because my American husband and I made donations to help supply people with warm clothing and blankets during cold winter months.
I am not claiming that on a political level there is no lobbying of interests from outside countries and unions but once again: the politics of the country and the people of the country are two different things.
The vast majority of protesters were native Ukrainians and ordinary residents of Kiev and the surrounding country.
7. FALSE: Fascism Will Spread from Ukraine to Russia
This is another falsehood dependent on the idea that the Euromaidan demonstrators were fascist extremists. It is being used as a justification for Russian invasion. The Russian government claims it is defending Russian-speakers in Ukraine and its own borders from Ukrainian fascists but in reality those fascists do not exist.
What is next?
The military intervention is not over. It is hard to say what is going to happen next. There is a lot of talk going on at a very high, political level involving the EU and the US.
But Ukrainians have already had the biggest win in this struggle: themselves.
They proved to themselves that they care:
- They care about all of our people (amazing examples of collaboration happened during the civil unrest!);
- they care about the future of their country;
- they care about their freedom;
- they care enough to recognize the differences among themselves and to stay united anyway.
The revolution was heartbreaking and tearful but as a result, Ukrainians became true patriotic citizens of their country:
Glory to Ukraine, Glory to Heroes!
слава Україні, слава героїв
(slava Ukrayini, slava heroyiv)
For me, personally, it has been a life lesson in how to raise my own children. I have a clear goal to raise multicultural and multilingual children, who respect other languages and cultures and can see our shared humanity no matter how politicians try to divide us.
This is an original guest post to World Moms Blog by Olena Centeno.
Olena Centeno is a Ukrainian who lives in USA, a happy mom of three wonderful kids ages 2-9 and a wife to the great. She speaks three languages herself and is raising her kids to be multilingual in English, Russian, Ukrainian and Spanish. She founded Bilingual Kids Rock, where she helps families on their bilingual journey. She also enjoys photography and video making as a way to preserve precious moments of life.
You can connect with her at Bilingual Kids Rock.
Photo credit to Oxlaey. This photo has a creative commons attribution license.
Daria and her music speak to our mission, here, at World Moms Blog, and she has also supported our #Moms4MDGs campaign. We recently invited her friend, Lisa from The Squishable Baby, to give us the full scoop on Daria’s World Music!
Have you ever been in the car and a song comes on the radio that brings a huge smile to your face? No matter what mood you are in – good, bad or indifferent – you feel totally at peace and happy. And if you could just bottle up that song and play it over and over, you would? Have you met someone who must have a voice from Heaven? Whose beautiful voice advocates peace, tolerance and love. Someone whose voice celebrates the human experience in all its differences?
I am lucky enough to know someone like that. Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou makes children happy through her music that advocates peace, love, and multiculturalism. As a homeschooling family where art and music are at the core of our curriculum, it’s easy to see how Daria makes such an important contribution to this world. You go on her website where there are a myriad of resources for you to teach, enjoy and spend quality time with your children. I can’t think of anything better than someone whose very foundation and message is love. And she does it in a way to educate about others and celebrates everyone’s differences.
We listen to Daria’s CDs in the car all the time. The kids know the songs by heart. They are written in different languages and are about different topics but all of them have the same undertone; to love one another and to celebrate the differences (whether good or bad) that exist in each one of us. This is the message all children should be receiving in a world that screams intolerance.
It’s time to start raising a generation of children that can respect and love the differences in others; no matter the customs, religions, colors, heights, weights, etc. These are the messages in Daria’s songs. Daria has become a part of our lives and our homeschool in a big way. We use her website a lot.
When I am teaching about a subject or an area of the world, we listen to music from that area. We look at art, and then we see what Daria has in store. Daria always has fun crafts, coloring pages and special songs available on her website. It’s there and free for everyone. The items on Daria’s website are so fun and enriching for children … and adults. I learn just as much from Daria as the kids do. The most important thing is that we do everything together. It‘s a way of bringing our family together.
Here are examples of crafts we made from Daria’s website. The kids had fun making and playing a Cajon and a Didgeridoo (instructions given on Daria’s Website) from Peru and Australia, respectively. The instructions were clear and also allowed for some innovation and creativity! Check out all the fun we had making and playing the instruments.
You can see the full review I wrote about Daria here.
Daria empowers children. She makes them want to be better for the world. No other music artist I know will provide children with such fantastic family-friendly upbeat music that they can dance to; and an overreaching positive message of hope and peace, while promoting and providing a well-structured, well-rounded multicultural education in the musical arts unmatched by anything else. I am so proud of Daria and everything that she has done to bring different cultures to children in all parts of the world. I am honored that she calls me a friend. — Lisa
For the last 20 years, Daria has traveled the globe sharing her music of hope, love, multiculturalism and tolerance. In the United States she has won several national awards; including, The National Association for Parenting Publications Award (NAPPA), a Parent’s Choice Award, and a Children’s Web Music Award. Her songs have been used in educational curriculum the world over, including Australia (respecting others), South Africa (teaching on tolerance) and the United States (a special song written to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.).
You can visit Daria on the web: Facebook Twitter Website Pinterest
“Nice Versus Necessary”
As a mom, the simplest things in life often overwhelm me. I am late for everything, always worried and anxious about any kid related topic. And, quite frankly, clueless on how other people manage to have a job, kids, a tidy home and clean clothes on every day. At least, I was clueless, until I met my now very good friend from across the road, and she gave me some new advice…
When I arrived in the US, seven years ago from France, my boys were three and two. New country, new home, new town, new everything. And nobody around to help me! I constantly looked like I could not even remember my own name. I think on occasions, I actually forgot it…
I was really struggling because on top of wanting my kids safe and clean, I was also obsessed with cooking healthy meals, having a tidy home (people who know me: stop laughing your socks off, I know how incredible it sounds but I promise, I used to be a neat-freak!!) and a car that did not require a hazmat suit in order to stay alive in it.
As if this was not unrealistic enough, I wanted to get showered and dressed every day AND wear make-up and look semi-good. I had given up on plain-good after my first child was born. Even I could accept that this was never going to happen EVER AGAIN…
So needless to say, I was pretty miserable, always failing to achieve what used to be my norm of basic stuff in a pre-kid life.
As I was venting my frustration to my neighbor, she took pity on me and decided to share some of her wisdom. She, too, had two small kids, and, yet, she was always walking around with a smile on her face, acting like nothing could bother her.
“Listen, my friend, do yourself a favor and start writing lists.” What was that supposed to mean?
I was complaining about not achieving anything because of lack of time, and there she was adding one more thing to do to my already long backlog.
Seeing my puzzled look, she explained that I should filter everything I do by deciding whether it is nice, or necessary. That’s how she analyzed every task. If she decided it was necessary, she did it. If nice, she did not stress herself up and simply forgot about it.
This conversation saved my sanity! I went home and started to draw my lists. The more I thought of the necessary side of things, the more I realized that a lot of it was actually a luxury. So I moved many items to the “nice” column. By the time I was done, it looked like life could not get any better…
My “necessary” list is very minimal: keep kids safe, feed pets at least once every other day, try to be on time at school once a week (I am actually thinking of moving that to the “nice” side). The nice list has got stuff like: iron clothes, eat three balanced meal a day on it. Even “take a shower” has become a luxury! I l love it!
Needless to mention that “tidy the house”, “eat healthily” and “comb your hair” did not even make any list. They are on the “In your dream – never in this world will it happen again” list.
I have gone from “anxious-stressed-all-over-the-place-hysterical-mom” to “zen-relaxed-scruffy-but-who-cares-mom.”
If anyone suspects I don’t wash my hair often enough, I have the perfect cover: I dress in my gym gear all day and pretend I am on my way to sweat some calories out! Works like a charm…except, I will need to find a magic way to develop some muscles WITHOUT actually going to the gym (because that’s definitely not on any list!).
Now that you know my coping mechanism, just remember that if you ever come to my house, and I say stuff like, “I am sorry, my house is really messy today, I just did not have one minute to myself!”, it’s just an old habit of mine that I cannot shake. I actually don’t mean it. My house is ALWAYS that messy, and that’s because cleaning it is nice, whereas blogging and checking my Facebook is totally necessary…
Nadege Nicoll was born in France but now lives permanently in New Jersey with her family. She stopped working in the corporate world to raise her three children and multiple pets, thus secretly gathering material for her books. She writes humorous fictions for kids aged 8 to 12. She published her first chapter book, “Living with Grown-Ups: Raising Parents” in March 2013. It is a pretend self-help handbook for children to cope with their parents’ inconsistencies. Her second volume in the series just came out in October 2013. “Living with Grown-Ups: Duties and Responsibilities” has gone one step up in showing parents’ whacky behavior! Although the primary audience for her series is kids, parents are sure to giggle and laugh at their own weird ways. It will be hard for them to tell their kids off with a straight face after they read “Living with Grown-Ups”! Nadege also writes a daily blog for moms who need to smile at every day’s life. She can be found on Twitter, Facebook and her website www.nadegenicoll.com
Photo credit to Jennifer Burden.