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Archive for the ‘take action’ Category

“There is no one way to raise our children, but a path that we must find.”  Barbara Coloroso

When we made the decision for my son Kinmond to leave formal schooling halfway through grade 11 and continue through home schooling, we both knew that it would be a tremendous challenge, but I don’t think anything could have prepared us for the discipline, work and dedication it would require.  Kinmond had a tremendous amount of work to catch up, and I continued to run my company. 

Despite the sacrifices, it was an amazing experience.  I got to spend a tremendous amount of time with my son and got to know him as the incredible young man he has become.

All the effort proved worth it when we learned yesterday that he had passed Matric.  He is now registered for a Certificate in Advanced Music Production and plans to follow this with Entertainment Management.

The lessons I have learned over the last year and a half are things that can never be taught.  I’ve come to truly believe that anything is achievable.

I’m looking forward to 2010 and all the new challenges and projects awaiting me, and to watching my son go from strength to strength on the journey he is about to embark upon.

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I’ve just had breakfast with two, yes two, chocochino’s (that’s espresso and hot chocolate for those of you who haven’t discovered this decadent pleasure yet), so I could not possibly be hungry, and yet, here I am hour later, wanting to stuff my face with whatever’s available.  I’m starving… the huger feels physical, but the need is emotional.  I’ve settled for a glass of water, but it is definitely not very satisfying.

What is it about feeling out of control, sad, no, let’s face it, depressed, that sends us (and I know it happens to many of you too) straight to the refrigerator/grocery cupboard/sweet shop?  If you’re anything like me it may send you to the bottle store for a bottle of Johnny Walker Red.

I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I’m not coping, well, haven’t been for the last few months.  There’ve been too many stresses from too many different directions and I’ve been having many mini meltdowns.  Part of making the journey back to equilibrium is admitting I need help, so I went and broke down in my doctor’s office on Tuesday.  I suspect he thought it was long overdue, and it probably was, but being the control freak that I am it’s taken a while for me to realise that the panic, the pain, the grief, the helplessness has spun out of control.

Depression is a slimy little sucker, it creeps up on you and before you know it you are completely overwhelmed.  I think I’ve caught it in time and look forward to sleeping through the night again soon and wanting to get up in the morning and smiling without crying inside… and giving up the chocochino’s …

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I have been disinclined to write for the last week or so, my thoughts being overrun by the senseless acts of violence taking place in my country. It has been a heartbreaking time and for many of us South Africans, a time of disillusionment and deep mourning. Mourning for a country that we believe in and a unity that we have fought and sacrificed for. Together.

I was hard pressed to find the fortitude to go ahead and write anyway, knowing that I had no choice but to address my feelings and the feelings of my fellow South Africans, but browsing around some of the blogs I follow, and speaking to the people around me, I am once again compelled to move forward.

Many South African’s, myself included, have recently stated that they are ashamed to be South African. Having thought about this, it occurred to me that you don’t hear other country’s citizens proclaiming shame at their birthright. When did you hear an American declare their shame at being American, or a Zimbabwean, to bring things closer to home and more within the comparative realm?

I want to state now, once and for all that I am proud to be South African. I am deeply ashamed of some of my countrymen, and even of my government, but of my nation, I am proud. What we need to remember is that apartheid was a crime by the minority against the majority. The xenophobic violence taking place now is a crime by a minority of thugs and criminals, the debris of humanity. To say that we are ashamed to be South African, lends credence to the fact that the actions of this heinous minority speak for the majority. This is just not true!

So as a proud South African who believes that all stand equal and that our brothers and sisters throughout Africa share our blood and our hopes and our dreams. As a proud South African who acknowledges that we are surrounded by crises, both in our neighbouring countries and on the home front, I urge all of you, hold onto your love of Africa, remember our history, remember that a few carried the dreams of many, and won. We have a legacy to uphold. We are not a nation who bows our head in shame and skulks off into the corner to lick our wounds. We are Madiba’s Rainbow Nation and we owe it to ourselves and to the man who liberated us to stand firm, to stand proud against the horrors that are being perpetrated against our neighbours and our friends.

These are actions you can take right now – one person can make a difference, one person already did:

  1. Firstly, speak out. When someone, and there’s always that someone – makes inappropriate comments or even, dare I say, jokes, about what is happening, cut them short and show your disgust.

  2. Educate your children, explain our past and the responsibility that comes with it. Encourage your child to celebrate our differences and treat others with respect.
  3. Offer your support. When you speak to someone from elsewhere in Africa, be sure to let them know how you feel. Offer your support, even if it’s only to listen to their stories. Get to know the car guard at your local shopping centre, ask about his family.
  4. Make a donation. There are a number of organisations offering assistance to the tens of thousands who are displaced. Find out where you can donate blankets, food, money. Talk radio 702 has posted a list of organizations that are assisiting those in need.
  5. List your organisation. If you belong to an organisation, church group or community centre that wants to help, post your details on the 702 web site, simply click here and fill in the form
  6. .

  7. Protest. “Women in the media are staging a march on Friday to support the fight against xenophobia under the banner of WIN (Women In News)” You don’t necessarily have to join a March, but show your protestations by writing to your local coucellors, newspapers, radio stations.
  8. Use social networks to connect with like minded people. What can I say, for those of you online who share my feelings so strongly, keep doing what you are doing.

It’s time to make our voices heard once again. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” Let’s climb this one together.

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These were the words of Mahatma Ghandi. He believed that for change to take place, you must first become the change you want to see. If you want to live in a peaceful world, you must first become peaceful. If you want to live in an ethical world, you must first become ethical. By doing this, you become an inspiration. You become the light that others follow to make the world the place that you want it to become.

It certainly bares thinking about, particularly for us South Africans who are so good at complaining about just about everything, from crime to the fact that the DSTv channels are being shuffled again.

Perhaps you are one of those perpetual complainers. I’m not saying you don’t have a right to voice your dissatisfaction, and I’m certainly not trying to downplay the problems we face in this country, all I’m saying is become part of the solution.

“Crime is out of control, there’s nothing I can do,” I hear you say. Well, actually there is:

The next time you’re running late in the morning and decide to park across the pedestrian crossing so that your child can beat the school bell, consider that it is not legal to do so – you’re breaking the law. It’s okay, it’s just a little thing, it’s not harming anyone – except that you are teaching your child that it’s okay to be selective about the laws that you break.

Have you taken a stand against buying pirated DVD’s? I personally know a lot of people who don’t see a problem with this.

How about the time you were stopped for speeding and realised that the officer was open to a bribe? Did you take his badge number and report it? Did you pay the bribe and drive away relieved that you’d saved some money? Did you pretend not to understand and do nothing?

Throughout history, revolutionary change has come about because of a few people who refused to do nothing. You would think that being South African we could relate to this more than most.

If each of us, in our individual capacities, took a zero tolerance approach to crime – yes, that means the minutiae of your everyday life, we would be setting the standards high for others to follow. We have no control over what others say or do – change comes from a personal locus of control.

Think about this and commit to living to a new standard.

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