Wednesday, 26 March 2008

The Pain of Parenting

Being a parent is something that really amazes me everyday. My daughter is growing [thank heavens!] and each day brings a new set of new questions and interesting situations to deal with.

A friend of mine recently had the awful experience of facing the fact that her grandson has a malignant life threatening brain tumor. He is 7, the same age as my daughter. A religious friend of mine made the comment that ‘we all have a path’. As an adult I understand that philosophy but as a parent I don’t. It may just be that I do not have as much faith? The pain of watching my child in pain and being helpless is something I am not sure I could bear as a human being.

Having to face the hard choices when you have a sick child and knowing that either choice involves suffering or even the potential of death. How does a parent explain that to a child, someone you are supposed to protect?

A child’s sickness or death is something no parent should ever have to endure, yet every day 100’s of children and parents live through that suffering and pain.
As someone sitting on the outside watching the drama and pain unfold, I am reminded of the value of my life and that of my daughter and family. I cannot help feeling guilty that I have options and other families are so focused on living that few options exist other than surviving as people and a family unit.

This post is a tribute to those that have had to endure this kind of suffering, I do not profess to understand what you are feeling, but I can vaguely feel your pain as a parent when I look at my daughters laughing face.

May this be a reminder to those of us that are more fortunate to never take life and people for granted. Live life, Love lots.

Sunday, 09 March 2008

The 'Free' State?

Zaprino captures the essence again...

I am more than horrified at the behavior of the 4 kids at Free State University [the irony in the Free State name has not gone unnoticed for me either]. It is painfully clear that they are bewildered by the attention that they have received following their humiliation of elderly cleaners on their campus. That in itself is scary.

There are 2 points I have noted here:
1.It is clear they come from families that are of the opinion that black people are beneath them because of their skin colour .
2.What is also evident is their lack of respect for elders. Once again something you are taught in your family.

The way we bring our children up will define the very future of this country and it saddens me that there are still those that seem to seek refuge in the wings and hatred of racism. It puzzles me really…… it is something that I simply do not understand, why would you want to burden your children with your own hate? I am not na├»ve and realize that these people both white and black alike, will exist for many years to come [not just in SA], passing on their hate for skin tones and different cultures. What then becomes important is how we as a society/community view and treat the actions of these people. We need to unite against it, not against each other.

Preserving culture is understandable but at the same time it can be dangerous as it sometimes enables judgment and intolerance. Cultures need to adapt and move with the times as much as people do, otherwise they become out of place in the modern world [dangerous topic I know especially since we have many different cultures in SA]. As a white English speaking S African, we probably have a very English [colonial- to some otherwise known as- the enemy] type culture mixed with bits and pieces from other cultures that exist here in SA. I consider myself African and I find Europe a foreign place that I do not feel comfortable in –my family has been in African for 6 generations or more. What does that make me? It seems we as country have not dealt with racial/culture issues that have been festering beneath the service of our Rainbow Nation. I will never understand the Free State kids mentality, as I was brought up to respect people and approach every person as an individual no matter what their skin colour. So I may have white skin, but that is the only thing that I have in common with the hatred those people carry with them. That in itself is a burden, hell on earth.