NEW JERSEY, USA: Interview with Jennifer Burden, Founder WMB

NEW JERSEY, USA: Interview with Jennifer Burden, Founder WMB

World Moms Blog founder, Jennifer Burden, with her baby at the Social Good Summit in NYC September 2011.

Where in the world do you live? And, are you from there?

I live in New Jersey, USA.  I was born and raised here, and I returned after many years of living in the DC metro area to be closer to family.

What language(s) do you speak?

I speak English fluently.  I studied French in high school and Japanese at university.  Lack of confidence weighs into my foreign language speaking ability.

I know this is true because if I’m out and have had an alcoholic drink or two, I can speak so much better.  My Japanese is very rusty, and I’m better at French…but, I still have a long way to go!
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Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post, ONE.org, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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MALAYSIA: Lessons From My Childhood

Image used with permission from E By Elaine

When I think back on my childhood memories, I see moments — like it’s on a patchwork quilt.

I am two. My second brother pushes me, and I fall and land on our pet dog, Rufus. Sweet, gentle Rufus turns his head as I land, then growls and snaps at my ear. I remember being horrified and offended at the same time. At my brother. Lesson learned – watch where you fall, little one.

I am two and a half. I sit proudly with my baby sister in my lap. I smile at her, she’s my new doll. Except she moves, and gurgles! I’ve never loved anything or anyone more. Lesson learned – sisters are awesome.

I am four. In kindergarten, a bigger girl pushes me off the swing. I shrug, walk to the sand pit and start digging with a little spade, pouring sand into a bucket. She comes over, snatches the spade off me, throws it. Outwardly, I shrug. Inwardly, my four-year old self holds a deep-seated grudge that would last for over 20 years. Lesson learned – forgive and forget.

I am six. Running, screaming from my second brother (again) wham! Right temple makes contact with a wall, sneakily hiding behind a thick curtain. Six-year old head splits, blood spills and a scar forms, forever reminding me of this lesson learned – watch where you’re going, literally and metaphorically. You never know what’s behind that curtain.

I am seven. My nanny and the housekeeper, who’s looked after me since I was born (I was told) is leaving. There are tears. From my mother. She told me years later she was terrified of having to look after 4 children all by herself. She couldn’t even cook. Lesson learned – never, ever depend on just one person. Also? Learn to cook.

I am eight. My parents are out for the night, leaving us kids with my 13 year old brother in charge. He slights me in a manner which I can’t recall now. I threaten to tell my father. I do. I hear yelling, then screaming. He’s being belted. I lie in bed and whimper, thinking how much trouble I’m now in with my brother. Lesson learned – don’t be a telltale.

I am ten. Standing behind my second brother (yet again), who’s holding a lit match, balancing on the bathtub, as he lights the old-fashioned water heater. A swift turn of the body, a lit match goes straight into my eye – fortunately, my reflexes are faster than my screams. Result, a burned eyelid and no lasting effects. Lesson learned – stay away from your sibling who seems to attract danger.

I am twelve. Teetering on the edge of puberty. I pick a fight with my younger sister, ten. It’s a battle of hair pulling, scratching and arm biting. Result? I get blamed and punished. Lesson learned – older siblings are supposed to know better. 

What lessons did you learn from your childhood?

This has been an original post to World Moms Blog by Alison Lee in Kuala-Lumpur, Malaysia. She can also be found blogging at Mama Wants This! 

Photo credit (with permission) to E By Elaine.

Alison

Alison is a former PR professional turned stay-at-home mother to two boys. Growing up in a small city of Ipoh, Malaysia, Alison left home at 17 to pursue her studies in the big city of Kuala Lumpur. At 19, she headed to University of Leeds in England and graduated with a degree in Communications. Returning home to Malaysia in 1999, she began a 10-year career in public relations, event planning, and marketing, working for various PR agencies and one of the world's biggest sports brands. After a decade of launch parties and product launches, concerts and award shows, international press junkets and world travel, Alison traded all that in for a life as a first time mother in 2009, and has not looked back since. Aside from writing for her blog, Writing, Wishing, Alison is the Founder and chief social media strategist for Little Love Media.

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