Tag Archives: children

The Pamela Positive: Better To Make a Few Mistakes Being Natural

“Better to make a few mistakes being natural than to do everything out of a feeling of worry.”
The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, Dr. Benjamin Spock, 1946

It’s better to make a few mistakes being natural.   It’s important to be who we are in a natural, real way.  If we get everything right, and are absolutely perfect, but it’s done with anxiety…. then it actually isn’t right, is it?

What we do needs to be done with care, love, calm.  With joy and sincerity…and since Dr. Benjamin Spock was a famous leader in parenting in the 40s, I’ll take his advice not only for parenting, but also for management.  And for our communications, how we live our lives, how we treat others…

Dr. Spock was an influential writer on childrearing, who advocated for increased flexibility and affection in the treatment of infants and children.  He was also an Olympic gold medalist in rowing, and a peace advocate.

The Pamela Positive: Why Do We Live Apart from the Family We Love?

What We Can Learn from Asia

I am one of those fortunate people who did not need to board a flight this past holiday. My family is local: My parents live 45 minutes away on the Peninsula, and my sister, brother-in-law and three nephews and niece live about 1 mile from my parents.

That’s truly been a joy for me, the simple presence of family.   Being able to babysit last minute; experiencing the chaos of taking care of kids during ‘meltdown time’ at 5 pm with a 6, 4 and 1 year old when they were growing up ; celebrating their progress on their soccer field; scootering with them to ice cream on a warm summer night, after dinner.

Why do we allow ourselves to live apart? Why is it so accepted?

I know I am fortunate.  Sometimes people have to move because of marriage. A new job. Taking care of an elderly parent.  All very legitimate reasons which contribute to family, and yet, also separate…

In a recent Gallup Poll, 16% of the world said they would like to move to another country.  This comes from both dire situations (such as Somalia) to the desire for luxury or adventure.  But in one region the rates are lower than Europe and America: Asia.  Due to progress in political freedoms and enhanced economic opportunities, many Asians are staying put: Only 10% desire to move. But there’s another factor as well: Close family ties, and a cultural commitment to taking care of family, keeps the desire to move low.

Let’s learn, if we are so fortunate, from this cultural and familial commitment to keep family close…

The Pamela Positive: “When the Child Welcomes the Mother, the Mother Rushes Off to Her”

“When the child welcomes the mother, the mother rushes off to her”  – Deborah Santana

I am not someone who cancels meetings or dinners very often, simply because it’s something to reschedule and I like to stay committed.  And yet the main reason I will cancel – as would one of my cherished friends, Deborah Santana – is for family.

Deborah emailed me this morning that she needed to move our dinner because her daughter invited her to a weekend together in Seattle.  I love what she said, and it warmed my heart… “When the child welcomes the mother, the mother rushes off to her.”  A mother should go to her child first.

There is no more important reason in the world.

Human Trafficking

Lately, you may have heard a lot about human trafficking.  Human trafficking is stealing children away from their families. They are then often used in the sex trade where they grow up in terror and are left with only one option to survive. This is an experience that, in short, wrecks their lives.

photo-1469398718052-b9d13df0d7c9.jpg

Here are some other little known statistics:

  • Expected years of schooling is 9 years. 
  • Child labor among children ages 5-14 is 16%.
  • At any given time, more than 12.3 million people worldwide are enslaved and forced into labor, bonded labor, child labor, sexual servitude and involuntary servitude.

photo-1449627359760-18dc1b942934.jpg

In some places, modern slavery is still a common practice. Let’s take a look at an example: Mauritania. According to the Global Slavery Index, the estimated prevalence of modern slavery in Mauritania is very high – 43,000 people or 1.058% of the population. The goal is 0. 

Now that you know something about this issue, you must do something.

photo-1459183885421-5cc683b8dbba.jpg

Help stop slavery. Click here. 

~~~♦~~~♦~~~♦~~~

Want to know more? Here is some Background on Sex Trafficking

Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery, in which human beings are controlled and exploited for profit. “Sex trafficking” is a modern term. It was coined during the second wave of the women’s movement in the 1980s when female activists started protesting the exploitation of women and girls in prostitution and pornography. In this industry, perpetrators use force, fraud, or coercion to manipulate and establish control over individuals. According to the International Labor Organization, human trafficking generates $150 billion in illegal profits each year. The two most commonly known forms of human trafficking are sexual exploitation and forced labor. Any instance in which an individual engages in a commercial sex act (such as prostitution) as the result of force, fraud, or coercion is considered sex trafficking. Sex trafficking also includes the commercial sexual exploitation of children or minors. Some examples include factories, “sweatshops,” brothels, “massage” parlors, online escort services. The most common industries associated with the trafficking of people include: agriculture, construction, garment and textile manufacturing, catering and restaurants, domestic work, entertainment, and the sex industry.

Background on Mauritania

Mauritania is a country in Western North Africa. In the Middle Ages, Mauritania was the cradle of the Almoravid movement, which spread Islam throughout the region and for a while controlled the Islamic part of Spain. European traders began to show interest in Mauritania in the 15th century. Mauritania is rich in mineral resources, especially iron and ore. France gained control of the coastal region in 1817 and, in 1904, a formal French protectorate was extended over the territory.

Today, Mauritania is the eleventh largest country in Africa, with about 90% of its land in the Sahara. The country’s capital and largest city is Nouakchott, which is home to 3.5 million people. Culturally, Mauritania is a special mix. The population is almost equally divided between Moors of Arab-Berber descent and black Africans, and this striking cultural combination is part of its appeal.  About 20% of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day. The country suffers from human rights issues including slavery and child labor. Mauritania was one of the last countries to pass a law abolishing slavery. However, this law has not been effectively implemented, resulting in a high number of modern slaves.

The Pamela Positive: Audrey Hepburn’s Tips for Beauty…It’s All Inside ~ New Audio Version Available!

We are pleased to announce that this post is now accompanied with an audio version! Happy listening!

I love these beauty tips by Audrey Hepburn because they are accessible to us all.  How could Beauty be constrained?  We don’t have to wait for it, prepare for it or create it.  So much of beauty is how we are, each moment. I look forward to hearing about your beautiful moments today!

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.

What Children in Syria Think About

syria

Here is a heartfelt letter from children in Syria. This is what they think about.
We are children from Syria; some of us came to Lebanon two years ago, and others came three or four years ago.
We suffer from many problems; one of them is being beaten by others. For example, in the school, we are beaten by Lebanese students. In the streets, we are beaten as well and some people make fun of us. A friend and his brother are sometimes beaten by the owner of the house where they live.
We also suffer from big economic problems. For instance, there is someone in the group whose brothers sell tissues in the street to bring money to help their parents. But sometimes Lebanese children steal the tissues from them or the money they gained from the selling. Some children cannot register at the school due to economic conditions and others because they lack legal papers. 
Despite all this, we still have dreams. Our dreams are like the dreams of all other children. We hope that no one will beat us on the road, in the neighborhood, at school, or at home. We hope that no one will speak to us in a bad way, and we would like to be treated by the Lebanese and the Syrians in a good way.
In Syria, we used to live in a house, and we live now in a tent. We wish to go back to our homes and our country, and that the war is over and that our parents can find a job to work just like any other parents. 
We also dream that the truth will come to light in order to go back to Syria and all the problems will be over. Coming back to Syria is like the re-entry to paradise. 
All of us have dreams for the future:
– I dream to become a football player and help people through sports (Ahmad)
– I dream to be a doctor in the future (Haitham)
– I dream to be a professor (Muhannad)
– I also dream to become a teacher (Fatima)
– I would love to become a police officer to help people (Wael)
– I would love to become president in order to help everyone (Madiha)
Finally, we want to thank you for all your efforts and your concern about us. Thanks you for coming here and helping us, and we wish if you can make all our dreams come true. We would like that this message could reach all decision-makers in the world in order to help us in achieving our dreams. 
-Noah, Mouhanned, Thanaa, Doha, Wael, Hiba, Fatima, Madiha, Ahmad, Saleh, Haitham, Ahmad
 
 

Help A Youth Speak!

I run a website for online giving and volunteering, but there’s nothing like getting in there on the ground!
Youth Speaks is active in helping youth get their voices heard.  They train young people in writing, advocating, speaking out, and competing in poetry slams all over the nation. This is all geared towards making a change in society, all while building their skills and self-esteem.
What a joy to visit with Ashley Smiley and Gabriel Cortez at Youth Speaks. Ashley is the Production Manager and supervises facilitators and keeps the Youth Speaks shows running smoothly. Gabriel is a spoken word poet and teaching artist. There is such devotion by the staff. Gabriel’s pure heart shines through in his work!
IMG_0959
Youth Speaks has a wide variety of programs.  What I liked the most is it was not just about creativity, but the program also creates a long-term community, a life network.
They make a commitment to the children through all their chapters in life. While it starts off with training in writing, the children are also exposed to numerous events on living positively and making job connections. As Ashley said, “We create a true family.”
Here are some of the programs with which I was very impressed: First, they have After School Programs all over the U.S. They are in nearly every state and in multiple places across the Bay Area, including San Francisco, The Mission, Berkeley, and Oakland. In these after school programs they focus on writing.
Next, there is Open Mic. Open Mic allows people to practice their poetry and get up on stage. There is no grading system and no pressure. It is an opportunity for one to put forth his voice.  What a great skill for anyone to learn, at anytime in life!
When participants feel ready, they can go into formal competitions. At each stage, one must have new original content, which is graded. With continued progress, one may be chosen to be a part of a team called Brave New Voices. Brave New Voices usually consists of five poetry creators who create three minute and thirty second long poems. There is a coach and the team goes to a national competition.
There is a clear way to express yourself in a low-pressure, supportive community. There is also a way to continue to ascend and become more advanced if you choose. I like this: It doesn’t put pressure on the kids, but shows them that there is a pathway to greater success if they want it.
Then, they really get into life. The annual event Life is Living features dance classes, sustainable foods, a petting zoo, and keynote speakers. The goal is to expose guests to all of the positive things in life; to show how you can live a life that is connected to the earth and doing good. It is an example of how to make choices in your day to day, such as choosing organic foods or composting.
Most impressive is their work with accomplished authors. Last summer Ashley worked with Anna Deavere Smith at some of the poetry competitions. They also work closely with the San Francisco Jazz Festival.
One of the most appealing aspects of Youth Speaks is its incredible balance of informality and elegance. You can simply take a class or you can participate in a celebration at the Opera House with high level authors and speakers. It is essential that our youth experience both of the following: 1) comfort and ease of involvement and 2) access to experiences that they would never have otherwise. If you have the former, then introducing the latter is much easier.
Youth Speaks opens up the children’s minds as to how special they are and what they can accomplish. They should be going to the Opera House just like everyone else.   Let’s support them — go hear their voice!