Those following Adari’s excursions (YouTube or other), you know by now Adari recently turned 6. And you also know by now, Adari appears as cover model and ideation for some published Cozies (Amazon books).
Adari is very much adult (middle-aged in human terms). But not always knowing what to do with female company! and with limited duck-social-experience.
2019, it seems to be still bird/ducks breeding season for this year with our variety of weather patterns. During the last couple of weeks, we (Adari) experienced a stream of shifty, skittish, visitors normally very early in the mornings, or very late in the afternoon. To such an extent that of course, Mum is not allowed to hug or give kisses (I am now grown-up, Ma, Uggh!) As long as Ma still provides food, water, a nice sleeping spot and protect against danger, of course.
There is one Nonnetjie (white-faced whistling duck) who increasingly (at least 3 weeks+ already) comes to visit. Normally after the other random visitors have left. Jeezz, talk about living with an in-love teenager!! When this little one whistles, off speeds Adari. Whether it is 05h00 in the morning, or midnight.
I have come to call this little one (presumably female): ‘Skinny’. Typical mother, I also wonder whether this little one suffers from anorexia, and/or what other problems…. (in comparison with Adari’s full body and beautiful white face and obviously, perfect everything else!)
And why she can’t at least clean herself before visiting my boy!
If this were the human world, I also would have sat her down and interrogated her with questions such as, why are you interested in a guy still living with his mum, and you know of course, he has no money or pending inheritance. What is his prospects, and your idea around this? What can you, deliver to the relationship? Who are your parents, what are they doing, why do they allow you to without supervision, court my boy? (LoL again).
Instead, I think she wants his food and water? (Of course, I believe no other Nonnetjie is as beautiful or intelligent as my own Nonnetjie, but, still! And if possible, I would have subjected her to a variety of psychometric evaluations to screen whether she is really a suitable match).
Lately, they my son and seemingly girlfriend share water bowls outside, and they swim together. She (Female, I still think) turns her back on him and constantly wiggles her behind invitingly, but as soon as he tries to jump her*, she coquettishly jumps [hopspringe’] away… but come back for more of these activities. (In the human world we also have a name for than LoL). Part of the mating rituals, I presume. I really need to do some more research re Nonnetjies and ducks in general.
For some reason, this all also, sounds like parenting. We constantly feel we have to stay on top of what our children/teens do, and try to learn more,
of whatever research/advice out there, what are we maybe missing practices, and adjust to our own lives.
Some days before already, Adari and Skinny were cooing in an unknown language to Mum’s understanding (while Mum thought she understood most of the duck language by now), each on the other side of the fence, while pecking each other’s beaks through the fence.
They are very skittish, together. Mum has to lean over the kitchen counter and peer through the window, climb and hide over and behind walls; when she attempts to take pictures. Even then, these little buggers tend to disappear behind a tree or bush. Mum can’t see what they are up to! (Videos also seem to fail. These little buggers seem to know exactly when I am in the vicinity trying to capture them!)
Probably needless to mention, we all try to stay away from the swimming, cordoned area, which Adari ‘owns’ during Skinny’s visits. There is a lot of tip-toeing going on in the household in general, to not disturb this possible, blooming relationship…
As I am writing, Skinny is still here this morning. We now go for an at least ongoing 4 hour visit today only. This is exceptional.
I am thinking, it would be great to have Adari’s genes out these somewhere… As long as I myself, don’t have to raise them! (Otherwise, they will al probably also, end up in my bedroom LoL)
*I am very greatful Adari has after all the years, finally figured out there is some ‘jumping’ involved, somewhere!)
Some Previous Adari blogging -
How to encourage literacy in young children (and beyond)Louise Phillips, The University of Queensland and Pauline Harris, University of South Australia
How can parents best help their children with their schooling without actually doing it for them? This article is part of our series on Parents’ Role in Education, focusing on how best to support learning from early childhood to Year 12.
Literacy involves meaning-making with materials that humans use to communicate – be they visual, written, spoken, sung, and/or drawn. Definitions vary according to culture, personal values and theories.
We look to a broad definition of literacy as guided by UNESCO to be inclusive for all families. Children learn to be literate in a variety of ways in their homes, communities and places of formal education.
What research tells us
New research in three-to-five-year-old children’s homes and communities in Fiji, has revealed that children’s regular engagement in literacy across many different media has supported good literacy outcomes.
There were ten main ways of engaging in literacy-building activities. These included print and information, communication and entertainment technologies, arts and crafts, making marks on paper, screens and other surfaces like sand and concrete, reading and creating images, and talking, telling and acting out stories that were real or imagined.
Children also engaged with reading, recording and talking about the environment, reading signs in the environment, engaging in music, dance, song and, lastly, with texts and icons of religions and cultures.
These activities were enjoyed and valued by children and their families as part of their everyday lives, and were further bolstered by creating books with children in their home languages and English.
This research can be used to add to our discussions on how parents can help develop their children’s early literacy.
The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research found daily reading to young children improves schooling outcomes, regardless of family background and home environment.
The OECD Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results also indicate a strong correlation between parents reading and storytelling with children in the early years and reading achievement at age 15, with those students performing one to two years above their peers.
However, it is not just being read to that matters. The adult-child interactions are also very important.
These interactions need to be lively and engage children with the text-in-hand. Alphabet toys and phonics programs alone offer little to develop literacy, as they focus on a code without contextual meaning. Words, and their letters and sounds, are best understood when seen and applied in everyday experiences, driven by children’s motivations.
How to be a talking, reading, writing, viewing, and listening family
There are several practical things parents can do to encourage broad literacy and learning in early childhood years.
Above all, be sure the experience is enjoyable, playful, and encourages children’s active involvement. Literacy should be engaging for your children, not a chore.
I love gifts. Whether it be a bar of soap, chocolates, nuts, or a bottle of wine (preferably the type I love)
I love any gift. You bring a salad when 30+ people are gathering at my place? That is a gift from heaven. You wrap me a chocolate bar for Christmas (preferably fruits & nuts, or dark chocolate...) This means you were thinking about me when you bought this gift, because you took the time to find out what chocolates I like or love.
Does this sound strange? (Well, I do live in South Africa…)
So why do I also believe, Gifts can be a terrible thing?
Every year at Christmas, I get extremely excited. I hobble around in shopping malls attempting to two-step and ramba and samba on the ‘Deck the halls with ...’ or ‘Santa Baby’ and other Christmas tunes, even falling over my own prosthesis in the process, I cause fatty smooshing stains at shop windows for pushing my nose flat against all the windows to ‘absorb’ the decoration ideas; I decorate my own christmas tree and lounge at home (sometimes even a month or so in advance) and drive everyone around me crazy for coming up with wayward ideas to celebrate and share gifts; and oh, why don’t we do...xyz this year?!
(Also still trying to find the perfect eggnogg adjusted recipe for Africa temperatures and tastes, my previous atempts sent everyone immediately to bed LoL. And then myself, too!)
Someday, once I’m a real grown-up, I even might experience an European or American Christmas full of snow and all the possible coloured lights and decorations you can even think of.
In the meantime, lo-ong before any event, I start drawing up ideas of whom should be on my annual gift lists and what to give them. That does not necessarily mean my list is perfect, however. The list seems to be an ever, ongoing process.
Some of the standard dilemmas I encounter, is; we seem to be socially conditioned and expected to hand out gifts. Gift-giving has become a serious commercial activity, and we all, seem to buy into this.
We especially, seem to be expected to hand out gifts to everyone around us. We also seem to hand out gifts we think, ‘belongs’ to women, and gifts we think ‘belong’ to men. And then, obviously, more expensive also seems to be the norm (expensive equals apparently, better?)
Personally, I am getting a bit tired of all these expectations.
And when we don’t have ideas we give crappy gifts - for example, please let this one [3 years in a row…] never be repeated: I do not want oven gloves for christmas or even my birthday! (What are you trying to tell me – as a woman I belong in the kitchen? Have you ever put any thought into, who I actually am or trying to do?)
In this regard, I seriously want to make a recommendation – get to know the person before you simply buy random gifts. Even expensive gifts, could be not-so-ok.
A good gift does not necessarily equal expensive. Sometimes a simple delicious bar of soap in the person’s favourite flavour which says ‘I was thinking of you’, is better than an expensive gift which relates nothing to the person at all.
I repeat, gifts can be a terrible thing.
Might I make a suggestion….?
Just take some time selecting the gift for each person. Make it personal and think of the person you buy it for! It really does not have to be expensive.
(But I still would like you to wrap all my gifts nicely, colourful with a bow!)
South Africa's universal health care plan falls short of fixing an ailing systemLaetitia Rispel, University of the Witwatersrand
South Africa’s Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has finally gazetted the bill detailing an ambitious plan to roll out universal health care in the country through a National Health Insurance.
The bill responds to a global campaign spearheaded by the World Health Organisation and linked to the UN’s sustainable development goals to make sure that no-one is left behind in accessing quality health care.
There’s no dispute that South Africa’s health care system needs major reforms. There are considerable inequities in health care between urban and rural areas; between public and private health sectors and between primary health care and hospital care. And the country has a complex disease burden with heavy caseloads of HIV, TB and non-communicable diseases.
South Africa has poor health outcomes compared to other middle-income countries such as Brazil with similar health spending as a percentage of GDP. It spends more than R300 billion – or around 8.5% of its gross domestic product – on health care. But half is spent in the private sector catering for people who are well off while the remaining 84% of the population, which carries a far greater burden of disease, depends on the under-resourced public sector.
The health system performs poorly due to a combination of factors including the poor management of public sector hospitals, health professional shortages (particularly in rural areas), low productivity levels among staff, escalating private health care costs and poor quality of care.
But in its current form the proposed legislation won’t be a silver bullet. There are still too many inconsistencies and unanswered questions for it to be the final roadmap to universal health care in the country.
For example, the bill focuses on curative services, missing an opportunity to take a public health approach that focuses on disease prevention, health promotion and health protection. In addition, it doesn’t address the relationship between the public and private health sectors which is seen as a major impediment to fundamental change.
How it will work
The bill is informed by a vision of ensuring equitable access to quality health services, regardless of a person’s ability to pay or whether they live in an urban or rural area. The proposed insurance fund envisages the consolidation of public and private revenue into one funding pool.
The idea is to enable a more equitable system through, for example, cross-subsidisation and ensuring that essential services are made available.
All people will have to register as users of the fund at an accredited health care establishment or facility (whether public or private). And the fund will decide on the health benefits that the facilities will have to provide. This will depend on what resources the facility has. People will be able to pay for complementary health service benefits not covered by the fund.
To be paid, health care providers, such as general practitioners and hospitals, will have to register with the fund. They will have to claim for each patient that they treat and will have to keep a record of diagnosis, treatment and length of stay.
The structure that’s been proposed for the fund is raising concerns on two fronts: it appears unnecessarily cumbersome and there’s a lack of clarity on lines of command.
The bill makes provision for the fund to establish an independent board that will report to South Africa’s Parliament. But it makes no mention of how the board will engage with the health minister (political custodian) and public servants in the health department. Nor does it explain how the performance of the fund will be evaluated.
The bill also introduces two additional management layers: district health management offices and contracting units for primary health care. These units will provide primary health care services in specific areas. It includes a district hospital, clinics and community health centres as well as ward-based outreach teams and private primary care service providers. They will be contracted by the fund.
National, provincial, and municipal health departments will still exist.
But the bill fails to explain the relationship between the district health management offices and the contracting units and how they will engage with the national, provincial and municipal health departments.
Given that there are ten health departments operating in South Africa – a national department and one in each of the country’s nine provinces – these additional offices and units could result in a more cumbersome bureaucracy. This could lead to more inefficiency and greater opportunity for corruption.
The new structure will also change the responsibilities of provincial health departments. Some of the proposals don’t make sense such as the idea that municipalities should take control of managing communicable diseases. Ideally this should be a national function, given the serious threat that is posed by some infectious diseases.
Other parts of the bill are also unclear. These range from financing to how complaints will be managed.
Health financing and management: The bill doesn’t explain what the tax implications of the national health insurance will be for citizens. It also doesn’t set out the mechanisms that will be put in place to strengthen financial planning and monitoring systems, particularly in the public health sector. These are very important given current chronic overspending, inadequate financial management and corruption and lack of accountability in many provincial health departments.
Service provision: The bill says everyone is entitled to a comprehensive package of services at all levels of health care. But it doesn’t spell out what these packages will include. Given budgetary constraints, it’s obvious that there will inevitably have to be trade-offs and difficult choices.
The health workforce: South Africa doesn’t have a comprehensive health workforce strategy with detailed norms and standards. This remains the Achilles heel of health sector reform in the country. The lack of detail remains a serious omission in the bill.
Complaints mechanisms: The bill introduces a new separate complaints directorate – the investigating unit. But it’s unclear whether this will be the first level of complaints or whether it’s a duplication of the complaints directorate in the existing Office of Health Standards Compliance. There also isn’t clarity about where the Health Ombud fits in.
Ensuring that South Africa has a quality affordable health care system is critical. And the bill presents an important opportunity to think systematically about what needs to be done to fix the current health system. But there is still a long way to go.
Here's a mental health workout that's as simple as ABCZiggi Ivan Santini, University of Southern Denmark; Rob Donovan, University of Western Australia, and Vibeke Jenny Koushede, University of Southern Denmark
While we take physical workouts very seriously, there is much less said about the “workouts” that help us remain mentally agile and healthy. But just as with physical health, there are simple and practical ways that can help everyone to enjoy good mental health.
Our research has led us to a method for promoting mental health and wellbeing within communities, which follows a simple model that can be adopted by anyone.
An earlier study showed that people intuitively know what enhances their mental health, but they don’t think about it on a daily basis. Unlike their physical health, people rarely consider what they could or should be doing for their mental health.
At present, the focus in mental health campaigns is on treatment for mental disorders, the removal of stigma from talking about mental health problems, early intervention and the reduction of risk factors which lead to illness.
But the burden of mental illness continues to rise – it is thought that an estimated 50% of people in OECD countries will experience mental illness in their lifetime, so there is a need to raise awareness in communities and to promote simple and practical steps to achieving and maintaining good mental health.
By building on research into what people can do to improve their mental health, we have developed an “ABC” model that can be easily adopted in everyday life. Known as “Act-Belong-Commit”, the approach promotes keeping active, building stronger relationships with friends, family and community groups, and committing to hobbies, challenges and meaningful causes. Together they constitute a simple “do-it-yourself” approach to enhancing mental health.
By encouraging people to follow these principles, as well as collaborating with community groups that offer activities and opportunities for social participation, the method – currently implemented in Australia and Denmark – seeks to bring about long-term benefits to mental health in populations.
Research has credited a lifestyle with plenty of activities outside work as fostering positive emotions and protecting our brains from decline. An active mind and body, particularly in the company of others, can be naturally rewarding and a healthy alternative to worrying, overthinking or engaging in substance use.
Research has shown that our relationships with one another are fundamental to mental health in terms of providing a sense of identity, acting as a source of support, and being an important coping resource for dealing with pain, stress and difficult life events.
A sense of meaning and purpose is vital to our well-being and has been shown to help extend our lives and maintain a healthy brain. Committing to a hobby, a challenge, a good cause or helping others can all boost feelings of self-worth and protect against feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness.
Participating socially and contributing to the community can preserve brain function, promote thoughts of “making a difference” and reduce feelings which aren’t helpful for well-being, such as self-centredness.
To show that these principles promote and protect mental health, we recently completed a series of observational studies on a nationally representative sample of adults in Ireland. People were interviewed at the start of the survey and then re-interviewed two years later.
We categorised the activities of participants into indicators of acting, belonging and committing. Engaging in various social and recreational activities, such as sport, going to films, eating out or travelling for pleasure were indicators of Act. Staying in touch with friends, family and community groups served as an indicator of Belong and the frequency of engaging in social and recreational activities was an indicator of Commit.
The results of these studies together demonstrate that higher levels of all three measures enhance quality of life, life satisfaction, and self-rated mental health, protect people against developing depression, anxiety and brain function decline, and lower the risk of people becoming dependent on alcohol.
Our research has also shown that the approach is helping patients with mental illnesses and is now being used as a tool for recovery by mental health professionals.
The Act-Belong-Commit campaign aims to harness resources already present in communities – because the behaviours that promote mental health and well-being are everyday activities that most people are already doing or are readily available. Hence the campaign’s focus is on raising awareness of this fact and validating the belief that these behaviours are good for mental health.
These partners are provided with training and resources such as self-help guides while advertising and event sponsorship help spread the campaign’s message. Particular targets include schools, workplaces and people recovering from mental illness.
In Australia, an annual survey asks people if they have heard of the campaign and, if so, how their beliefs and actions around mental health have changed. Twice a year, surveys ask partners how the campaign has affected their activities. Similar approaches are being used in Denmark. In this way, the campaign stays in touch with communities to constantly improve its methods.
By encouraging people to follow and prioritise this ABC approach, the campaign’s simple messages could resonate in communities worldwide and sustain the mental health and well-being of people well into the future.
Ziggi Ivan Santini, Postdoctoral associate, University of Southern Denmark; Rob Donovan, Adjunct professor, University of Western Australia, and Vibeke Jenny Koushede, Senior researcher, University of Southern Denmark
An Emirates airliner was quarantined at John F Kennedy International Airport on September 5 after several passengers reported flu-like symptoms. Oxiris Barbot, New York City’s acting health commissioner, said the cause of the illness was “probably influenza”.
The following day, two more flights, arriving from the Middle East were quarantined at US airports after passengers reported similar symptoms as those on board the airliner grounded at JFK airport in New York.
Scenes of passengers being whisked off to hospital, wearing masks, caused concern around the globe. But this was just good public health practice – isolate the patient, minimise transmission to others and (hopefully) begin treatment.
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But if these events really were the start of a flu pandemic (a worldwide spread of a disease), the world is vastly unprepared for it. There is poor public health surveillance in many parts of the world, there aren’t enough vaccines to go around and the international legal framework designed to ensure vaccines get to the poorest countries is not fit for purpose.
Demand will outstrip supply
Vaccines are key to a flu pandemic response, but we can’t make the vaccines in advance. We need to know which flu strain is causing the outbreak before vaccines can be manufactured to protect against it.
People typically need two doses of a vaccine to provide immunity against pandemic flu. At least a third of the population need both doses to establish “herd immunity” and slow the transmission of the virus. This means that during the next pandemic we will need at least 4.7 billion vaccine doses.
The most recent estimates put the potential global supply at around six billion doses and will take a year to make, but this is based on a best-case scenario and is unrealistic.
Eggs are needed to make the flu vaccine and the six billion figure is based on an assumption that egg supply remains intact. This is unlikely during a bird flu outbreak (the 2009 outbreak and the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak were both bird flu strains). The figure is also based on the manufacturing switch-over from seasonal to pandemic flu vaccines going smoothly – a notoriously tricky switch that could cause a loss of production. It is also based on all factories with the ability to make flu vaccines making them, without interruption, for an entire year.
In reality, the number of pandemic flu vaccines we can make in a year may be closer to half the most recent estimate. This means a global supply shortfall of nearly two billion doses a year.
Bird flu would interrupt the supply of eggs – vital for making flu vaccines.
Poor countries hit hardest
Despite vaccines being crucial to combating a flu outbreak, poorer countries have long complained that they are unable to access flu vaccines during a pandemic. My research has shown that almost the entire supply is purchased by the wealthiest countries, leaving the world’s poorest to rely on donations of vaccines from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
In an attempt to remedy this problem, the WHO passed the pandemic influenza preparedness (PIP) framework in 2011. This created a “virtual stockpile”, a stockpile of vaccines promised to the WHO, but which does not yet exist, of at least 150m doses that developing countries can access during a pandemic.
Today, the virtual stockpile has about 230m doses committed to it. This sounds positive, but my research shows that the number is far too low to meet the needs of poorer countries.
Vaccine makers have committed to supply the flu vaccine to the WHO through a standard material transfer agreement (SMTA). This is a legal agreement whereby the manufacturer agrees to supply the WHO with a percentage of the vaccines they make in exchange for access to samples of pandemic flu viruses with which to develop vaccines.
Even more worrying than the fact that the WHO stockpile is unable to meet demand, is the fact that it is unlikely the vaccines committed through these agreements will ever be sent to the WHO for onward supply in the first place. If we are faced with a particularly bad pandemic, it is unlikely the governments of countries where vaccine makers are based will let 10% of vaccines leave the country, regardless of the agreement a manufacturer has with WHO. The SMTAs signed between the WHO and manufacturers even anticipate this outcome.
If the next pandemic is severe, millions of people will die, largely in poorer countries, and largely because they have no access to a vaccine – the one thing that the PIP framework was meant to resolve.
This year is the 100th anniversary of the deadliest flu outbreak in history, the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which killed 50-100m people. A major influenza pandemic on this scale will happen again, AND THE WORLD IS UNPREPARED FOR IT.
Mark Eccleston-TurnerLecturer of Law, Keele Law School, Keele University
What is Bread?
Flour or meal and water cooked over or surrounded by heat?
About 8000 BCE the first grinding stone, called a quern, was invented in Egypt, and the first grain was crushed. The modern Indian chapattis, made from unleavened whole wheat flour, and Mexican tortillas, made from corn, resemble the breads produced at that time.
Until Egyptian times bread was 'unleavened'. This means that it was flat bread like the Naan or Pitta bread we eat today. It was 4,000 years ago that the Egyptians discovered a kind of yeast to add to the dough called 'Barn', to make bread' leavened' or risen.
Bread has ancient roots, and to today, a staple of so many diets throughout the world. Bread comes in all shapes, flavors and forms, and is typically made from accessible and basic [mostly] affordable ingredients per country.
These ingredients are important because they help fill nutritional gaps in diets as well as help you feel full and satisfied.
(Unless requested, I am not going to add vitamins & nutrition per breads here. Go check your Google options per bread type!)
Bread is a Staple. Bread is great. We all need Bread. When most else fails, we still have the option to buy- or bake - Breads.
Increasingly today/s time, we also start to have Bread Buffets to Celebrate Bread.
Sometimes there’s complications about Bread - We want bread white, brown, black, seeded, chocolate, pumpkin, potato, in different shapes, large, small, twisted, rolled; and presented in all possible ways. Thinly sliced, or not sliced, or rough textures. We want it fresh, toasted with specific coverings/coatings, and some of us want it old, because sometimes old bread can be utilised much more than the fresh (housewife secrets!)
Maybe you want your bread dotted with cranberries or bacon? Or, maybe US toast style bubbling with cinnamon and sugar? Maybe you want your bread to be decorated and to look like a snake, crocodile or tortoise. Or bunny. Or hedgehog.
And maybe you simply want a slice of plain white bread with farm-made butter.
Basically, we always and continuously seem to want variety and options of life, not only when speaking about Bread.
As we start to celebrate Bread, we should also start celebrating Feelings (can you read the comparisons, by now?)
Maybe, similar to bread, Feelings unfortunately are a necessity in all of our lives, in whichever shape or size.
It is your choice, how you want to experience and present it – a bread filled with bacon, cranberries, your choice of fruits, thrown out bread not quite suitable to what you actually wanted - or a thinly fried old sliced bread with no toppings…
Or maybe, you want to change all previous bread recipes and bake your own bread, your own way?
Dear Aunty Ilze
If you want to know how to save your marriage combating the small jackal, read to the end.
I am young, happily married, and I really, really love my husband. He is such a Hunk!
I also love my mother in law, she is great. But, increasingly, I LIKE THEM LESS AND LESS!! Including not liking my husband!
We’ve been wed only for 2 years. Still in the honeymoon phase. As we are now starting to plan a family - I pray I do not do to my children, what my in-laws apparently did (or did not do).
I have a couple of serious requests (even if you might consider this as little small jackal in the vineyard. But remember, these small jackal, do the most serious damage).
If you are a mother-in-law, or a mother, you really should pay attention to my letter.
Teach your children, boys in particular!
Bottom line is, your sons are dumping and leaving everything for their wives to pick and clean up. Where did they learn this?
At home – with you as parent.
If you sons cannot even abide by the small requests above- they run to ruin their marriages.
Because, once the wife starts doing all those seemingly innocent things mothers tend over-spoil their boys with in particular -
We the wives, become the mothers!
And who on earth, want to sleep with their sons?!
Will you blame us, when we start looking towards fresher horizons, where we might find a man who could value as a life partner, instead of us being a substitute mother or cleaner?
We as wives lose respect for these little spoilt boys who seem never to grow up because they still expect Mommies to clean up after them. And now, they expect their wives to fulfill this duty as well?
We as wives do not want to share our bodies with little boy husbands we have no respect for.
Please Mums, teach your sons especially how to have self-respect and to keep it tidy! We as wives, are not here to take over your motherly or domestic duties (In which you apparently failed, as you did not raise a child who could even clean up after himself).
We are here to love your sons and to build a loving supportive life with them, which I hope, you really also want for them.
“My fourteen year old son lies non-stop about the most ridiculous things. Even when I know point blank that he is lying, he still does it. What can I do?”
“My nine year old daughter is physically aggressive—kicking, screaming, hitting, and spitting. It seems completely unprovoked. Can you help me?”
“My child is defiant. He says ‘no’ to every request I make. How can I get him to do as I ask the first time, or at least the second time, without a screaming fight?”
“My daughter gets up in the middle of the night, eats massive amounts of sugar, and then takes food and hides it under her mattress. We have never deprived or neglected her. Can you tell us why she does this and how to stop it?”
“I cannot take my child into the grocery store. He steals and runs around like he is crazy. How do you explain this, and what can be done to stop it?”
Many childhood behaviors are frustrating to parents, but few are as challenging as lying. Lying is something that most parents say they “just will not tolerate”. However, it is also such a universally common problem that it is rare to find a parent who has not had lying take place in their home, in some form or another. Whether it is omitting the truth, evading the truth, not telling the whole truth, or a blatant lie; this issue becomes the “pet peeve” of many parents.
Steve has just received his first speeding ticket. He was showing off in front of friends and happened to be in a school zone. He didn’t even see the blinking lights.
His consequence? Well, not only was Steve speeding, but he was going 45 mph in a 25 mph School Zone, which doubles his ticket.
The problem (other than the speeding ticket)? Steve just received his driver’s license two weeks ago. He was given the privilege of driving his family’s standby car, a 1985 Honda Accord, to school so that he wouldn’t have to ride the bus and his father wouldn’t have to pick him up after basketball practice. Surely he will lose this special privilege and lose face with his friends. Maybe he will even lose his license or lose his parent’s trust. He might not be allowed to drive again until he is eighteen! After all, all of these things are possibilities.
Steve’s answer? He just won’t tell his parents. He will pay the ticket himself, out of his savings account. They’ll never know, he’ll drive slower, and the world has just become a peaceful place again.
Bigger Problem? Steve is only sixteen and the ticket occurred in a school zone, so not only are his parents notified by the local police department, but the school is also notified and they subsequently contact Steve’s parents to inform them of the incident. Steve had not expected his parents to be notified, so he is taken by surprise when they ask him about the ticket. Just when he thought he had things under control, he is sent into a panic again. So, when Steve is questioned about the ticket, he lies! He says it wasn’t him, he doesn’t know about the incident, and surely the police must have him confused with another kid.
One you understand the motivator behind Steve’s behaviour, you can transform the behavior of lying into a magical opportunity for teaching responsibility, developing morals, and increasing family harmony.
The Key is that you must be willing to patiently carry out each step and let the process work itself out, even when it does not look like it will work. You cannot interrupt the process with your own attempts to teach or punish. This is the single greatest obstacle preventing parents from applying this approach with success.
Kids lie out of fear.
This is a simple, but profoundly transforming truth. It starts with a threatening event, causing the child to become stressed, resulting in fear. If this fear is not alleviated the child may go into panic mode and do the first thing that comes to mind, including lying. Worse yet, if the fear is exacerbated by the threats of a well-meaning teacher or parent, it could turn into sheer terror.
There are only two primary emotions: Love and Fear. This means that all other feelings are the display of one of the primary emotions in disguise. Underneath lying, there is first the experience of stress. Stress leads to fear. For example, there is the fear of rejection, the fear of being caught, the fear of abandonment, the fear of abuse, etc. To alleviate one of these fears, a child may lie. Therefore, lying is based in fear. The sooner you can grasp this concept, the quicker you will see your child’s behaviors begin to transform.
When a child feels compelled to do something that they innately know is not right, they stress. The problem is that in the moment of stress, they are not thinking clearly. In fact, brain researcher, Joseph LeDoux, tells us that in times of stress our thinking becomes confused and distorted and our short-term memory does not work effectively. Therefore, in the midst of a stressful situation; such as showing off in front of friends, receiving an “F”, or stealing money to impress friends, the child is no longer thinking clearly. Furthermore, any attempts to teach the child in such a moment will be ineffective because the child will not clearly process or remember what is being taught.
Let’s go back to Steve – the boy with the speeding ticket.
Steve’s father is currently employed at a local mill, and has watched as several of his friends and co-workers have been laid off over the past month. Every day when he goes to work he fears that he will be the next. Steve’s father completed 10th grade and has worked at the mill ever since. He works very hard in his job every day in hopes that his efforts will keep him employed. Steve’s father is very proud of being able to provide a good life for his family. He is very proud of his son, Steve, and wants for him all the things he did not have himself. He sees Steve as having a bright future, graduating from high school, going on to college, and becoming a professional. Steve’s father is determined that Steve will not have to work in a manual labor job, but that he will be a professional who has a good paying job with full benefits, and will be able to provide for his own family with ease.
When Steve’s father receives the call from the school, he is upset. He immediately approaches Steve about the ticket and Steve lies. Steve’s father “hit’s the roof”! He yells at Steve for getting the ticket, but is more upset about the lying. The more he yells, the more stressed and fearful Steve becomes, and the harder he clings to the lie. Steve’s father’s anger reaches a boiling point and nearly escalates to physical assault, when Steve’s mother enters the picture in an attempt to calm Steve’s father down. Steve’s father processes with his wife how upset he is that Steve is not taking advantage of the opportunities he is offering him. He expresses in his ranting that everything he does day in and day out at the mill is so that Steve can have a good life, and the way Steve repays him is by getting a ticket they cannot afford; and then worst of all, he lies about it! Steve’s mother listens quietly as her husband goes on and on. As his anger begins to dissipate, she quietly tells her husband that she loves him and that he is a very good husband and father. Steve’s father let’s out a long, deep breath. He begins to talk about all the good things he wants for his son and for his family. Steve’s mother and father talk about all the great things that they have accomplished as a family, and all the great qualities of their son, Steve. Steve’s father realizes that his feelings of anger are really connected more to fear. It is the fear that he is not a good enough father, that he is not a good enough provider, and that in general he is just not good enough! He realizes now that he has been laying his fears and issues on his son.
Any parent facing a scenario such as these, containing lying, would typically react with anger and frustration. Since there are only two primary emotions: Love and Fear; which one do you think drives your anger and frustration? You guessed it: FEAR. In reality, you are not angry at your child for lying. You may feel angry, act angry, yell, spit, and fuss; but the truth is that you are scared about your child’s lying. You may think it means they do not trust you, you are not safe, they are not safe, you are not a good parent, or any number of other distorted thoughts.
Just as your child’s lying is driven by his stress and fear, the actual lie itself triggers stress and fear within you, thus driving your own negative behavior. And do not forget, in the midst of stress you are not thinking clearly either, and neither is your short-term memory working effectively. If you were thinking clearly you would have learned, over the past however long that your child has been lying to you, that your repeated reaction of yelling, giving a consequence, or getting angry is not working to end the problem behavior. Furthermore, because your short-term memory is not working effectively in the moment, you forget that handling the lie the same way as the last time did not change the behavior then and probably will not change it now. So, you must be willing to do something different. In the words of Bishop T.D. Jakes, “If you always do, what you’ve always done, you will always be where you’ve already been!”
The angry parent is not an effective teacher. You will only cause the guilt, remorse, shame, and fear that your child is already feeling to be redirected toward you, thus delaying the healing process of this situation. It does not allow the child to internalize the feelings of his conscience telling him he has done wrong, and urging him to take responsibility for his own actions. When you become angry towards your child, you get in the way of the lesson that is inherent in the problem, giving your child an opportunity to blame you for the problem rather than taking responsibility himself. Don’t do this. It is a rather common problem with both today’s and yesterday’s traditional parenting approaches. Rather than discipline, which means to teach; we punish, which only creates more stress and frustration that is then directed outward, or sometimes even inward, which can be worse.
The loving parent may also be a scared parent, but rather than blaming the child for the fear, the loving parent uses the fear as an opportunity to teach; thus allowing the lesson to be learned naturally without force, fear, shame or blame.
Mahatma Ghandi’s grandson tells a story about a time when he was young and was charged with picking up his famous grandfather from the airport. However, on this particular day he was running late. When he arrived late to the airport to pick up his famous grandfather, he was asked by Ghandi, “Why were you late?” Ghandi had called and knew already that his grandson was running late, so he was not reprimanding him, but merely inquiring as to the cause. Nevertheless, the grandson lied. In relating this story he says, “I lied to Ghandi!” He says that his grandfather, obviously realizing the lie, turned to look at him and tears began to well up in his grandfather’s eyes. He spoke these words as tears streamed down his face, “I must give repentance for whatever it was that I did to you that would cause you to be so afraid of me that you would have to lie. So… I will walk home these fifteen miles.” The grandson states that he still remembers following his famous grandfather, five miles per hour in the dark, as he walked the fifteen miles because his grandson had lied to him.
This story is instructional on several levels; however, for our purposes the importance lies in three areas:
1) The most powerful teaching occurs in the process. When we follow the process without obsessing over the outcome, very powerful forces of nature are able to work through the child and become far more educational than our words or consequences could ever be. However, it is difficult to trust the process until you become comfortable with it. The process does not try to force, control, or dictate the future. It is only focused on now, this moment. Lecturing the grandson about the spiritual and moral reasons for not lying would have done little to influence the core cause of the lie. Making the child walk the distance home as punishment for the lie would have only led to the child being resentful towards his grandfather and feeling as though the punishment was not warranted or justified for such an insignificant action. In such an instance, the core cause of the lie would still not be addressed; rather, it would actually be reinforced.
2) There is a difference between being made to feel guilty and ashamed and being allowed to feel guilty or ashamed. The first only breeds more fear, which typically turns into defensiveness and anger. The latter is an effective teaching tool, more powerful than we can even imagine. When you make a child feel guilty or ashamed by becoming angry and acting in an aggressive or manipulative way towards him, he only turns the feelings back on to you. In this way, rather than internally processing the experience, he externalizes it and makes you the perpetrator. When you take responsibility for your own feelings, rather than blaming or threatening your child, you set up the mechanisms for self-reflection and internal growth to take place in the child.
3) There is a difference between a fear-based consequence and a love-based consequence. A fear-based consequence is punitive and blaming. It is one of the most common parenting mistakes. Typically you will hear, “Well you have to teach children responsibility.” However, this approach is more based in shame and punishment than in actual teaching. A fear-based consequence stems from parental fear about the behavior and the prediction that if the behavior does not change something bad is going to happen in the future. It is seldom effective for any long-term duration. Such an example would be had Gandhi made his grandson walk home because he lied. As discussed, this form of consequence does little to truly teach, and generally breeds more resentment and ill will. What was practiced in actuality, was a love-based consequence, delivered without blame or shame. By taking complete responsibility for the situation, Gandhi changed the moral course of his young grandson’s life. To this day, the grandson offers, he does not lie. A love-based consequence is imposed when the adult takes responsibility for the action, but the child is allowed to feel the emotional impact on the adult.
The Formula for eliminating lying is so simple that you will miss the impact if you do not give it concentrated thought and consideration. Talk about it with others, listen to your own internal stirrings that are triggered, and read this entire booklet at least four times over. Warning: this Formula will go against everything you have ever been taught or have believed to be true about the solution for lying. But remember, if the solutions you had learned before were in fact working, you would not be reading this booklet to begin with. You have nothing to lose by trying something different, but everything to gain.
Here is The Formula:
First Step: Own Your Part (and breathe).
Second Step: Ignore the Lie, Don’t Ignore the Child.
Third Step: Wait (and breathe again).
Fourth Step: Take Responsibility.
Let’s take one more look at the situation with 16-yr-old Steve, as his parents try out the new Formula they have been studying.
First Step: Own Your Part.
Steve’s parents realize that the dynamics in their family have put Steve in a bind. He has been expected to meet great standards of learning and accomplishment as set out by his father. His father suddenly realizes that these standards are less about Steve and more about proving that he is a good father. He also understands that Steve experiences pressure to be a “tough guy”, since the history of men in his family is all about being rugged and quick-tempered. Steve’s father acknowledges that he and Steve are at a crossroads, and that if he continues to approach Steve with force, the relationship will likely be broken, just like the relationship between his own father and himself.
Steve’s parents already know about the ticket and now he has just lied to their faces. Internally they are very upset, sad, scared, and disappointed - not about the ticket, but about the lie. Both taking a deep breath, they look at one another and begin to apply the formula.
Remembering to breathe in the midst of stress is the single most important factor during the first step. Breathing is considered to be the one proven way that we can interrupt our stress reaction. When you feel your stress level starting to rise, take at least 3 to 10 slow, deep breaths and remember to also stay connected to your fear. Doing so will hold your anger and frustration at bay, because you will be removing the roots of the stress by focusing on your fear.
Second Step: Ignore the Lie, Don’t Ignore the Child.
Rather than protesting or arguing as they typically would, Steve’s parents turn to him with sadness in their eyes. His father steps forward, giving Steve a hug. Steve immediately becomes rigid, not sure what to expect and his father gently says, “I’m just glad you are safe son.” With that, both parents turn and walk away.
Steve obviously is shocked, overwhelmed, confused, wanting to be defiant, wanting to protest, but not feeling compelled to do so. He just stands there and the waves of guilt, shame and remorse begin to course through him.
Third Step: Wait.
Calm yourself down. You must find a place of love and compassion within your heart, having faith that the process will dictate the outcome.
After one hour, Steve’s father knocks on his door. Steve invites him in. Steve’s father says gently, “Son, your mother and I love you and want you to be safe. It hurts us very much when you tell us a lie. It makes us feel like we can’t trust you and that you don’t trust us. We love you and only want you to be okay.”
Fourth Step: Take Responsibility. In order to teach responsibility, we must first be willing to be responsible ourselves. Giving a consequence is not an act of responsibility, it is an act of reactivity; therefore it does not teach responsibility, it teaches reactivity.
Steve’s father continues, “First of all, you and I need to figure out how to make the money to pay for this ticket. Do you have any ideas?”
Steve replies, feeling somewhat relieved, “I can use my savings.”
Steve’s father responds, “That’s not what your savings is for. In some ways this is my fault. I should have taught you to be a more responsible driver. I want you to give some thought to what we might be able to do in the neighborhood to earn the extra cash, or maybe the court will let us do some community service or something.”
Steve says, “Dad, it wasn’t your fault. Why should you have to do anything? Just let me take care of it.”
Steve’s father insists, “No, it is my fault. I should have taught you better. You aren’t going to like this very much, but for the next week I will drive you to and from school. This will give me time to teach you again how to drive responsibly. Until then, I can’t let you drive on your own. I just wouldn’t feel very safe about that.”
Steve feels a combination of shame and anger rising to his reddened face. He wants to protest, but feels it is better just to let things happen the way they need to happen. He thinks to himself, “Geez, for a smart kid, I can be really dumb sometimes.”
After you have followed steps 1-3, then leave it alone. Do not lecture. Do not mention it unless the child brings it up first, and then only listen. And do not attach any of your own shameful consequences. Remember, giving a consequence does not teach responsibility. Being responsible teaches responsibility.
Sound simple? Maybe even too simple? Well, of course. But it IS just that simple!
The only thing that may vary is the intensity of your reactions to the lie. But the root of the lie, the fear, never changes. Fear is always at the root. Think about that over and over, before you are put in the situation to have to deal with lying. Then, when you are placed “in the moment” you will already have The Formula in mind. If you immediately feel extremely reactive and angry towards your child for their lie, in spite of what you have learned here, remember that it is a normal reaction, and maybe some fear is being triggered from your past. Remind yourself of the Key to The Formula – realizing that stress has triggered the fear, which has caused your child to feel the need to lie. Calm yourself, try to find the fear you are feeling, and think about when you have felt that way before. It will help you to calm yourself and your child if you take a moment to ask yourself this series of questions:
What am I afraid of?
And if that happens, what will that say about me?
How will that feel?
When was a time I was lied to in the past and how did that make me feel?
You can also make your own list of questions that might help you think more about the stress behind your fears.
Remember, underneath the lie, is stress and fear. If the behavior continues, spend more time listening to your child and try to figure out what it is in your relationship with him or her that has caused so much fear. Fear is at the root of it all, even when you will not know what the fear is, or even feel that your child has anything to be frightened about.
Bryan Post’s E-book “Why kids lie and what you can do to stop it now”, contains a wealth of information and advice, a Must Have for especially parents of adopted children.
Where does [South African] Boerekos come from, why is it still used, and why do we care about this?
Food is food, and eating is eating. Right?
Roughly speaking, Google states Boerekos to be a plate of food containing rice, meat, potatoes and a veggie (mostly pumpkin, apparently) typical to South Africa. Oh yes, and a gravy (not necessarily mentioned). A thick gravy preferably, not the ‘watery’ type of UK gravies (personal opinion). Normally followed with a warm dessert such as sago, bread pudding, or such.
This differs rather from quick stir-fry’s and other typical easy healthy meals you might find on DSTV or internet (In particular, the Germans might have several words to say about serving rice as well as potatoes on the same plate). (Funny – Hubby is German descendant and he WANTs potatoes and rice on the same plate!)
The Google Boerekos description/s do not really combine Braai, unless you look up Braai separately – also proudly South African. Nor does it then include Biltong. Personally, I would also put Braai and Biltong as part of a Boerekos description. However, lately we use Biltong especially as delicatessen probable due to cost, but this was after all also a main meat item on the plate as ‘food’ for the old types of boere*.
I think, we might have to re-invent our own description of Boerekos; because there seems to be no real consensus as what this entails?
These wayward/belated descriptions above of Boerekos, do clash a bit with most health diets nowadays e.g. no potato and rice on the same plate/ or braai broodjies and potato salad/ mielies and rice salad together, meat and potatoes in one meal is a no-go and so on (but who knows, every decade or less all healthy foods get reclassified). It also, mostly reflects ‘traditional boere cuisine’ – I presume this to mean traditional boere* centuries ago travelling over the Drakensberge, and not the loosely (political) term ‘boer’ lately used.
Since I recently joined an ‘Ou Boerekos Resepte’ FB (and what utmost Joy from this page!) I have dusted many old recipes and forgotten recipe books in my cupboards. Many I have forgotten about and enjoy trying again. In particular, it fired up again my imagination/creativity–‘genes’. Some recipes even date back – with originations - to the 40’s (and I increasingly wonder why I have gathered them over the years, and still have and use them).
As a child, I hated Boerekos.
I am from a large maternal family (Mum being the youngest of 9 children, whom each also had more than 2 children, and so on). We regularly had family gatherings. What a schlep… I much rather wanted to visit with my friends, and do things ‘normal’ children do; instead of being forced to attend these get-togethers ( The worst part, in recollecting, was all the questions during these together’s – “Do you have a boyfriend yet? How many children do want to have? Pull down your shirt, no decent lady shows her stomach!” I still feel judged! I was only 13 that last time and still remember the fight that ensued. Get with the times, why do we have to be the only old-fashioned family in the whole town?)
The biggest of these family get-togethers, was the once-a-year celebrating of grandma’s birthday. This tradition still continues to this day (grandma died in the 1980’s), the children and grandchildren still coming together over this time to celebrate being family. Well, obviously we don‘t exactly follow the same celebrations (or recipes or eating habits). There is no way, in today’s times, also living so far from each other; all of us can actually take a whole week off simply to gather, laugh and eat till you plonk down!
As I say, I really hated Boerekos (In retrospect, mostly the feelings it invoked in me as teenager and later as young adult. I really do not know how to explain or describe how much I hated the food and all the emotional connotations I had with these foods). Please bear with the feelings, I do have a point eventually).
I also struggled with the amount of foods which was presumably consumed! I struggle to remember the people, but remember all the constant eating. Cakes morning noon and night, stews, braais, you name it, it could become a bit much for a teenager especially. Especially when you enter into the developmental stage where you start comparing your family with your friends’ families… (And try to stay slim and sexy for the rugby captain…)
I also did not understand why you had to slave in a kitchen for so many hours. I mean, wasn’t there a life to live also, for women, outside the kitchen? All I saw, was all these women, constantly in a kitchen. As a woman, was I doomed to live the rest of my life in front of a stove and, washing dishes?
I developed a total aversion to being in the kitchen. Against cakes. Against family. Against visitors. Against eating till you need to see a Doctor. I could not understand why ‘Aunt Sanni’ complained of being overweight then still stuffed herself with 2nd and 3d helpings. Or why all the women had to stay in the kitchen the whole day long, while the men outside enjoyed themselves at the braai drinking beers.
Well, since then I did manage to find quick and easy recipes, after all, girl’s gotta eat and survive. And Take-Aways’ only go so far, till not (especially if you live in a rural area and become a ‘farmer’s wife).
Today’s times, I enjoy experimenting with foods and dishes (I even do fabulous catering when required), but still hate when it is ‘expected’ of women to do kitchen duty (no wonder I find men with aprons or, who can cook, rather sexy!!! ) Not sure how I ended up with a husband who thinks one Braai means he fulfilled his cooking duty for the week LoL.
I think, my childhood experiences with Boerekos versus becoming a (mild…) feminist, really clashed with my growing-up stage experiences. But, maybe, it contributed.
But since all then, I do wonder why do I still, and increasingly, make Boerekos?! ( My so-called Feminism paid off, so that is not the issue).
Every country, has cuisine specific to them. Boerekos developed from all the input from al of settlers and people moving into and living in SA. By the way, where do you think, pap and sheba comes from…? Our ancestors lived from the land so to say, and used what was available; and drew from all around.
Boerekos, is today still actually a cheaper way of feeding a lot of people. We might think it otherwise, but think again. Most of the items you already stock, the rest is mostly imagination and knowledge what to do with it.
It also does not really mean living in the kitchen the whole day. A lamb roast, for example, does itself. You do the initial preening, but he really can cook himself for the rest.
Left-overs. Boerekos has so many ways of addressing this!
I also discovered people actually enjoy hanging around in the kitchen. It is rather a place where people get together and cozy around (My own house, some day, will have a massive kitchen and fire place, bugger the lounge).
Fortunately, at this stage, I feel less guilty when I mix up recipes. Since Boerekos resulted from ‘survival’, using what the land provides, and imaginatively putting things together, you not only feed a lot of people and revamp left-overs, but you can also here and there grab from other cultures.
The main thing for me myself at this stage, is the memories pertaining to the Boerekos I make. I think, I passed possible negative memories – in fact, I learned a lot from them.
Ever watched the Animation ‘Ratatouille’? If not, please do!!
I think, at the end of the movie you might find some answers what good food actually means.
I myself swoon over Sushi, and Mediterranean grilled veggies. But - It’s too often the memories invoked, which makes the actual perfect dish. And for me, this is what Boerekos provides….(over and above it being extremely Yummy).
I have mentioned thru-out this Blog my memories re foods, being teen-ager, family-gatherings, and Boerekos.
I think, Boerekos should simply be, foods our parents/grandparents prepared, also
learned from their parents, and their parents before that. We don’t need any Google Wiki’s or other pages to state what Boerekos should or shouldn’t be.
More than that, when we prepare and eat foods, we remember our childhoods:
We remember the smells in our mothers’ kitchen, licking the icing from the cake bowls, being taken care of, being loved, and living in simpler times. Times when being naughty in the classroom did not earn you a label of for example ADHD, but rather a hiding from the school master. When raiding the neighbour’s peach tree, was considered typical of growing up (even while giving your parents grey hair) – but not necessarily criminal. Times when chatting and sharing ‘life’ at meal times, instead of constantly checking your cell phone.
Food is not only being clever with recipes or spices. We can all, also redo recipes we inherited from our ancestors,
Boerekos is rather special. Yes, it is great in its own way but more than that –
Next time you ask what Boerekos is about, remember Boerekos is also –
- See more at: http://guinareswrites.weebly.com/3/post/2012/02/how-to-add-or-install-sharethis-button-on-your-weebly-blog.html#sthash.n5k30dnE.dpuf
Disclaimer: As stated on the home page, this site is both for educational [students] as well as self-help purposes [to reach those who do not always have access to direct professional help]. Where articles make use of case histories to demonstrate or support arguments, they are presented as examples only and comparisons which might be made with persons either living or dead is coincidental unless otherwise stated or referred to by research.