ISRAEL: Goodbye, Shimon Peres

shimon-peres

It’s funny how the loss of someone you don’t personally know can hit you so hard. Since Shimon Peres passed away I’ve been spontaneously bursting into tears. He was the grandfather of the Israeli nation and the last of its founding fathers. He was an inspiration and his loss leaves a huge void. I wrote on my blog in response:

“I got close. I was due to meet him at the Israeli Presidential Conference three years ago on his 90th birthday. Sadly the plans for him meeting the bloggers covering the conference changed and I only got to see him from afar when he was part of a panel with Sharon Stone.

Now Peres is gone and the chance to meet a man I admired will never be. I’m sitting here writing this as I watch his funeral ceremony on television and try to stop the tears from flowing.

I’m saddened because Israel and the Jewish people have lost a true visionary, a man who loved his country and his people so deeply that no job in its service was beneath him. He was quoted as saying “When you do something from love it doesn’t matter what the job is.” This is a man who served Israel is so many different capacities, as minister of defense, minister of foreign affairs, minister of finance, minister of transportation, prime minister and president…”

Please head over to New Day New Lesson to read my full post, “Israel’s tomorrow is now ours to worry about — RIP Shimon Peres.

Writing has always been a way for me to work through my feelings, so as I was watching the funeral I wrote this tribute to a great man who left us before his time. He still had so much more to give the world. Now it’s up to us.

This is an original post to World Moms Network by World Mom, Susie Newday in Israel. 

Photo credit to Susie Newday.

Susie Newday (Israel)

Susie Newday is a happily-married American-born Israeli mother of five. She is an oncology nurse, blogger and avid amateur photographer. Most importantly, Susie is a happily married mother of five amazing kids from age 8-24 and soon to be a mother in law. (Which also makes her a chef, maid, tutor, chauffeur, launderer...) Susie's blog, New Day, New Lesson, is her attempt to help others and herself view the lessons life hands all of us in a positive light. She will also be the first to admit that blogging is great free therapy as well. Susie's hope for the world? Increasing kindness, tolerance and love. You can also follow her Facebook page New Day, New Lesson where she posts her unique photos with quotes as well as gift ideas.

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USA: An Agnostic Walks Into a Baptism

USA: An Agnostic Walks Into a Baptism

religion Recently, my family and I were invited to attend the baptism and confirmation of a neighbor’s son. They are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Days Saints, and they asked friends, family and neighbors to witness this special rite of passage. I am an agnostic, and we do not practice formal religion in our home, but I was excited to take my sons to support their friend.

I grew up in a Catholic community, but I reached a point when I realized that Catholicism wasn’t the right fit for me. I explored other faiths, but none stuck. However, I have a tremendous amount of respect for formal faith-based communities. I may not agree with all aspects of any given religion, but there are many things that I do agree with and that warm my heart.

Family, community, connection, support, love…these are the things that you can find playing out in houses of worship around the world.

I talk to my children about religion. We discuss the different forms that prayer can take, and the ways in which people of various faiths interpret the presence of God in their lives. We also talk about people who do not believe in God, and ways in which they can be spiritual. We have visited Christian churches, a Buddhist temple, and a Hindu monastery. We celebrate Christmas, and we spend time in the fall and winter discussing the festivals of light celebrated around the world. We have our own version of prayer in the form of secular daily intentions that we recite together.

We talk about mindfulness, morality, and being positive members of our community. I try to draw parallels about how we think on these things and how those who practice religion do.

Prior to attending the baptism, my boys and I talked about what it would mean to their friend and his religious community. I explained that it would be OK if we didn’t understand everything that happened during the service. We would go to observe, learn and show support.

It was a joyous gathering. Family members spoke and guided the service. They did a wonderful job of explaining the process to everyone there, especially those of us for whom this was new. People sang and cried happy tears. Their friend was immersed by his father in a font while everyone, especially a front row of the littlest attendees, looked on him with smiles. He became an official member of his religious community, surrounded mainly by people of his ward but also a few from the outside.

As we drove home, I asked my children what they thought. They had both had a great time. They had interesting observations and were able to talk about what they expected and how it compared to what actually happened. But overall, they knew that this was a special day for their friend, and it helped them understand his life a bit more. As a family, we are still content approaching all things spiritual in our own manner.

However, I want to make sure that while my children don’t practice religion, they are tolerant and respectful of religion. We live in a time when it is so easy to become cynical and focus on what we don’t like about someone or something.

While it is important to champion our own beliefs, it is equally important to continually learn about those who choose a different path than ours.

Opportunities like this recent one benefit us all by bringing us closer together while still allowing our differences. At the end of the day, it’s all about the larger community, and I love mine.

Do you practice religion with your children? How do you talk to your children about faiths that are different to yours?

This has been an original post for World Moms Network by Tara B. Photo credit to the author.

Tara B. (USA)

Tara is a native Pennsylvanian who moved to the Seattle area in 1998 (sight unseen) with her husband to start their grand life adventure together. Despite the difficult fact that their family is a plane ride away, the couple fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and have put down roots. They have 2 super charged little boys and recently moved out of the Seattle suburbs further east into the country, trading in a Starbucks on every corner for coyotes in the backyard. Tara loves the outdoors (hiking, biking, camping). And, when her family isn't out in nature, they are hunkered down at home with friends, sharing a meal, playing games, and generally having fun. She loves being a stay-at-home mom and sharing her experiences on World Moms Blog!

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EGYPT: Choosing our children’s career path

career-path

One of the most challenging decisions faced by families in my country is choosing a career path and a college for their child. The journey starts during the second year of high school, when students choose between a scientific or literary curriculum. Later, in their final year, pupils who chose the scientific section must choose between mathematics-focused or biology-focused studies. Both children and parents struggle for support during this journey – and none is given.  Most importantly, children’s strengths are rarely assessed or taken into account when considering the different choices. But do we as parents have the right to choose our children’s career path?

Many factors and beliefs affect this choice. Some career paths are more prestigious than others. Some colleges are suitable for males but not females, and vice versa. Graduates of some colleges get hired immediately after graduation while others are less likely to find jobs quickly. Some families believe that children must follow their parents’ career path of their parents, or realize their parents’ own dreams. Most importantly, if the child does not get high enough scores they will not be accepted to their college of choice.

I admit that at this young age, most children are not mature enough to make such choices on their own. Even if they are interested in a certain field, most children are still unable to assess their own strengths and capabilities as they relate to the real world. As a result, many students simply comply with their parents wishes.

During a school seminar I once conducted, I met a girl whose mother forced her to select the literary course because she believed that scientific studies required too much work. The girl loved science, but her mother discouraged her from following her passion. By the end of the year, the girl was miserable and the mother regretted her decision. Another student’s father wanted her to join the pharmacy college, although the girl wanted to study arts. Many students shared their stories, lamenting that their parents were forcing them to join specific career paths.

I remember my own experience many years ago when I graduated from high school and wanted to join the faculty of engineering to study computer science, because I loved mathematics. My father wanted me to go to the faculty of commerce because he, himself, was a banker. I, however, insisted, and made my own choice.  By the end of my third year of college I knew this course of study was not for me, but unfortunately I couldn’t make a change. I did not know what else to do and no one would allow me to follow a different course. On the other hand, I never regretted because the choice was my own.

Just six years ago I decided to shift my career from software engineering to life coaching. All my colleagues and family were against me. They still consider me foolish to leave a prestigious position for a complete change and an unknown career. I believe in what I am doing, I believe in its power, and what difference it made in my life. Sometimes I wish I had done it earlier.

Choosing a career path that provides fulfillment and satisfaction  to our children and suits their capabilities and strengths is the most important choice in their lives. It is true that making a career shift is possible now, but not all people are courageous enough to take such a risk. In addition, why should they waste their time and energy on an inappropriate path while we can help them avoid it? With support from specialists, we can better understand our children’s strengths and preferred way of learning, and we can allow them to try different activities and fields to discover their real passion. Most importantly, we should not impose our own choices on our children. They must make their own decision, with support and guidance from us as parents.  With our help, they can learn how to make the best choice for themselves.

Do you have any experiences with helping your children to choose a career path? Are assessment tools used in your country to help the students make the right choice? Would you impose a certain field of study on your child just because you believe it suits them even if they do not like it?

This is an original post for World Moms Network by Nihad from Alexandria, Egypt. Nihad blogs at  Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

Image via Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Nihad

Nihad is an Egyptian woman, who was born and has lived her whole life in Alexandria, Egypt. She says, “People who visited this city know how charming and beautiful this city is. Although I love every city in Egypt, Alexandria is the one I love the most.” She is a software engineer and has worked in the field for more than twenty years. But recently she quit her job, got a coaching certificate and she is now a self employed life and career coach. She says, “I believe that women in this era face big challenges and they are taking huge responsibilities. That's why I have chosen my niche -- women looking for happiness and satisfaction. I help and support them in making whatever change (career change, life change, behavior change, belief change…) they want to bring more satisfaction and happiness in their lives.” Nihad is a mother of two lovely boys, 15 and 9 years old. She states, “They are the most precious gifts I have ever had. I madly love them, and I consider them the main source of happiness in my life.” Our inspiring mother in Egypt can also be found at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

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WORLD VOICE: World Moms Attend the 7th Social Good Summit in NYC

WORLD VOICE: World Moms Attend the 7th Social Good Summit in NYC

Last week, I attended my fifth Social Good Summit in New York City along with five other amazing friends from World Moms Network. The Social Good Summit is a unique convening of world leaders, new media and technology experts, grassroots activists and voices from around the world that come together for a two-day conference coinciding with the United Nations General Assembly meeting held during UN Week. The Summit is held at the 92nd Street Y and is truly a global conversation as it streamed around the world in multiple languages.

The Crew of World Changers from World Moms Network and other social good bloggers

The Crew of World Changers from World Moms Network and other social good bloggers

The theme of the summit– #2030NOW: What kind of world do you want to see in 2030? – challenged speakers, participants and a growing worldwide community to explore how technology and new media can be leveraged to benefit people everywhere, to spark discussion and ignite change in creating a better world for all by the year 2030. The 7th Annual Summit was kicked off with a great promise to connect the world with more humanity and give everyone a voice in improving poverty, inequality, injustice and climate change through the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed upon last year by 193 global leaders at the UN General Assembly.

In July, the first report card was released that maps the scope of the SDGs progress, giving leaders an idea of the challenges that lie ahead in order to ensure the SDGs are achieved and no one is left behind. Much progress has been made thanks to the successes of the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) yet much needs to be done in order to achieve the SDGs.

Some challenges that lie ahead include:

  • While poverty has been halved, 1 in 8 people were living in extreme poverty in 2012.
  • An estimated 5.9 million children under 5 died in 2015, mostly from preventable causes.
  • 216 women died in childbirth for every 100,000 live births.
  •  In 2013, 59 million children of primary school age were out of school and 26 per cent of women aged 20-24 reported that they were married before their eighteenth birthday.
  • In 2015, an estimated 663 million people were still using unimproved water sources or surface water.
World Moms Network contributors talking with Stephanie Sinclair, Founder of Too Young to Wed, about her quest to end child marriage around the world.

World Moms Network contributors talking with Stephanie Sinclair, Founder of Too Young to Wed, about her quest to end child marriage around the world.

As we sat at the conference and listened to all the heartbreaking and inspiring tales facing people around the world it was hard at times not to get overwhelmed or discouraged. The amount of issues and acute challenges at times seem almost impossible. Quite frankly, it can also make one feel quite powerless.

Throughout the two day summit, we learned that there is much work to be done yet there is hope. The Social Good Summit is all about making a plan for the future.  The world has a plan and 14 years to deliver it. Despite how enormous the challenges may seem, they are achievable and the Global Goals are our guidelines to make the world a better, more equitable place. It is clear that the future of our planet and our people depend upon it. And, every single human being has a role and a responsibility to make it happen.

Top Tweets of the Social Good Summit:

(Click here  to watch a powerful video on what the Global Goals mean).

I also asked my friends and fellow World Moms Network contributors what was the most meaningful quote or event of the Summit. Here is what they had to say.

For Jennifer Iacovelli

For Elizabeth Atalay

`

For Tes Solomon Silverman

For me, Two things stuck: Carolyn Miles of Save the Children talking about refugees: “Refugees are people with skills great for opportunities”. And Tiq Milan, Journalist & Spokesperson for GLAAD re: LGBTQ in the Media: “My existence may complicate yours, but it doesn’t invalidate yours.”

For Jennifer Burden

“The UNICEF vigil for refugee children was the most moving for me. Standing in a crowd, holding up candles near the UN and listening to the stories of 4 children from around the world who were refugees was incredibly important and moving. The story of the boy who was kidnapped and was going to be sold if his parents didn’t pay ransom broke my heart. And when the high school choir sang John Lennon’s “Imagine” at the end, I lost it.”

For Nicole Morgan

Loved this … Imagine a world where children are innoculated for measles AND cancers. This is not about some day … but a moment, the days, a month … there is much we can do. #cancermoonshot is about never giving up. It is about promise. And hope. VP Joe Biden.

For all of us

Being together with such wonderful like-minded friends who we could share our hopes, our dreams and our fears together was amazing. Often during our busy lives as a mother, we don’t get much time to spend together with each other. It was amazing, inspiring and fun.

I was so moved by the Social Good Summit and the dedication, enthusiasm and commitment people have towards changing the world and making a more equitable place. Despite the immense challenges, there is hope. We can’t give up. We all must do our share.

This is an original post written for World Moms Network by Nicole Melancon.

In your mind what is the most pressing Sustainable Development Goal?

Nicole Melancon (USA)

Third Eye Mom is a stay-at-home mom living in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her two children Max (6) and Sophia (4). Her children keep her continually busy and she is constantly amazed by the imagination, energy and joy of life that they possess! A world wanderer at heart, she has also been fortunate to have visited over 30 countries by either traveling, working, studying or volunteering and she continues to keep on the traveling path. A graduate of French and International Relations from the University of Wisconsin Madison, where she met her husband Paul, she has always been a Midwest gal living in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Chicago. This adventurous mom loves to be outside doing anything athletic (hiking, running, biking, skiing, snowshoeing or simply enjoying nature), to travel and volunteer abroad, to write, and to spend time with her beloved family and friends. Her latest venture involves her dream to raise enough money on her own to build and open a brand-new school in rural Nepal, and to teach her children to live compassionately, open-minded lives that understand different cultures and the importance of giving back to those in need. Third Eye Mom believes strongly in the value of making a difference in the world, no matter how small it may be. If there is a will, there is a way, and that anything is possible (as long as you set your heart and mind to it!). Visit her on her blog, Thirdeyemom, where she writes about her travels and experiences in other lands!

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SINGAPORE: Supporting Dads to get more involved

SINGAPORE: Supporting Dads to get more involved

With the rise of dual income families, the roles of mums and dads have become less conventional where roles are no longer confined to one gender. What used to be a typical arrangement of dads shouldering the financial responsibility of bringing home the bacon and mums staying home to be the main caregiver of the children have evolved over the years.

It’s undeniable that fathers bring another dimension of parenting in the family and while they do things very differently from us mums, they hold a very important role in raising and shaping the kids. A recent conversation with a girlfriend made me even more appreciative of my husband and led me to think about how as wives, we can give them a hand to be a more involved and active dad at home.

Biology is the least of what makes a father

Recognizing our differences

I used to complain about why my husband thinks and acts so differently from me on many matters, especially when it comes to parenting; but I’ve come to recognize that our diversity is what allows my child to have a broader perspective and richer experience from her interactions with both of us. Now I no longer jump to conclusion about his way of doing things and am also more open to other possibilities, a trait that I want my child to embrace as well.

Dads impart confidence

I could be stereotyping, but in our home, hubby is the one who taught my child how to cycle, ice skate, attempt wall climbing, amongst other sports. Dads tend to encourage kids to go faster, higher, further while mums tend to be cautious and protective.

When I found out that my daughter learnt how to paddle on her two wheel bike by going down a slope, I almost flipped and was about to lecture my hubby on the potential dangers when my daughter interrupted and assured me that she had her helmet on while she mastered how to cycle on her two wheel bike that afternoon.

Dads think differently

As mums, we build relationships by being open to our problems, showing empathy and being caring. While dads are all about loyalty and trustworthiness when it comes to friendship. These are all important qualities and both spectrums teach our kids how to develop healthy friendships with their peers.

Anyone can be a father. But it takes someone special to be a Dad.

Dads show affection differently

Dads may not be big on hugs and kisses but they demonstrate love nevertheless with acts of service like ferrying the kids to school, taking the kids out for their favourite dessert and giving them high fives.

And speaking of affection, did you know your man is more likely to be a more involved dad when they’re in a loving and supportive marriage. Marriage like parenting is a partnership where both parents have a role to play.

Practical ways to support your man

Here are some practical ways on how to get your man more involved with the kids

  1. Encourage one on one time: Go for a car ride to pick up dinner on weekends, read a bedtime story together, build the craziest Lego creation. Discover what common interest your child and hubby has and nudge them to spend time together without you hovering over.
  2. Attend a school event: Suggest that daddy takes a day off to attend that sports meet or school excursion that your child has been looking forward to.
  3. Do chores together: What’s even more sexy than a man helping with household chores is getting the kids involved, like washing the car together, hanging the laundry or setting a challenge to see who fold the dried laundry the fastest
  4. Be a teacher: Give dads a chance to help kids with their homework too. They may not have as much patience as us mums, but they may fare better than us when it comes to maths and science.
  5. Recognize their efforts and praise them: Dads need all the encouragement they need to be a more involve parent. If they’ve taken efforts to do so, praise them for it and they’ll more be more likely to do it more often.

How do you help your children’s father be a more involved dad? Tell us in the comments so we can get to know your family.

This is an original article by World Mom Susan Koh from Singapore.

Susan Koh

Susan is from Singapore. As a full-time working mom, she's still learning to perfect the art of juggling between career and family while leading a happy and fulfilled life. She can't get by a day without coffee and swears she's no bimbo even though she likes pink and Hello Kitty. She's loves to travel and blogs passionately about parenting, marriage and relationship and leading a healthy life at A Juggling Mom.

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