Dancing in the rain

Photo: http://www.giftsofmotherhood.blogspot.com

Safe inside, toasty warm, while water pitter-patters on the roof… describe your perfect, rainy afternoon.

From signing in the rain…
“I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain”. As a child I used to love rainy days. Nothing beats the power of a summer thunder storm in the Free State or Highveld. You can see it coming; feel the electricity in the air. Suddenly the sun disappears and you know it’s time. The drum roll starts far off and builds up its crescendo until the rumbling clouds converge overhead, erupting in a deafening roar. We sit with bated breath, anxiously waiting for the lighting to strike. We made a game of it: who will spot it first?! The downpour begins and it’s time for fried apple and cinnamon pancakes with sweet, milky tea. Yum!!! It never lasted very long and soon we would be playing in the sun again. Birds appear, shaking dry their feathers; rain drops compete to see which can defy gravity for the longest, precariously dangling from spider webs. After such storms we would go into the garden to pick up fruit or vegetables which were knocked off by hail. There was a spot right at the back of the garden, behind the garage, where we would play. The clay-like soil was perfect for mud cakes and clay animals. I really loved those days.

…to crying in the rain….
The move to Cape Town in 2005 signalled a huge turnaround in my life. Not only had my sister just passed away, but it was also the beginning of the end in other regards. Unfortunately my love for rain remained in the Highveld. I love sunshine and, to me, rain was always followed by sunshine. Summer rains is the way it’s supposed to be. I thrive on sunshine, even if it is the bleak winter sun of the Free State struggling to break the grip of the cold; slowly melting away at the iced over taps. Cape Town of course is a horse of a different colour altogether. Winter rain – urgh! Cold and wet just does not work for me. The beautiful Cape sees very little sun during the winter months. Everything is dark and grey and wet and it just depresses me. I hate being cold, but being cold and wet. URGH!!!!!!!!!!! Have I mentioned that I don’t enjoy winter in Cape Town? Sorry, I have. Luckily we have fantastic wine farms and luckily I have learned to enjoy a glass of good red from time to time.

Rain is to a forest what tears are to the soul. It cleanses and washes away anything that shouldn’t be there. Have you noticed how crisp and clean everything looks after a good storm? The greens are greener and everything sparkles. “I’ll do my crying in the rain” is a song which I’ve come to love. Rain is the perfect disguise for crying. Just suit up and take a long walk. Let it all out, no-one could possibly know. It’s a triple-whammy: you get a good work out (the more emotional you get the faster you walk), you get to wash clean your spirit with tears, and no one can see the awful expression as tears stream down your cheeks.

…to learning to dance in the rain!
On Friday I made the startling realization that I have, sort of, come full circle and is once again ready to start enjoying the rain. “Instead of waiting for the storm to pass, learn to dance in the rain” – I just love this quote. It is pretty much one of the principles I live by. Sitting on the side-line, waiting for a storm to pass is the easy thing to do. Take charge of the situation and dance in the rain. More often than not you’ll find a solution faster and feel better about the situation overall. So let the winter bring on its unforgiving rain that falls down softly with no rumble or lightning. I am ready to listen at the patter once more, ready to draw circles in the foggy windows and jump over the puddles.

Right now, it’s a very rare sunny winter’s day in the beautiful Cape so we are off for a walk on the beach to soak up every last ray of sunshine.
How do you spend your rainy days?

Making Youth Day count

Photo from Wikipedia showing Hector Peterson being carried away after being shot with his sister running besides him.

The young spirit enters the room and proclaims “I would like to go now, I am ready to depart to earth.”

“OK, where you would you like to go? Do you want to be Caucasian, African, American, African American, Europian, Asian – have you thought about this? Do you want to be male or female? Do you want to be born with a silver spoon or do you want to learn from an early age what it means to work for what you want? Do you want to be Catholic, Christian, Jewish or Muslim? Young spirit, there is a lot to be considered. Are you sure you know exactly what you want?”

“I just want to be loved” and with this the little spirit is sent down to earth to start his life.

I guess life would have been very different if we were given the choices before we were born. The reality is that we don’t. No child asks to be born into this world. No child asks for a certain set of circumstances to be bestowed on him or her. Children don’t have a choice. It is by our doing that they are here. It is their right to be loved and cared for. It is our responsibility to do just that.

Tomorrow we will be remembering Youth Day in South Africa. The events of 16 June 1976 are another tragic reminder of the Apartheid legacy and how far we have come as a nation. Yet, I can’t help but wonder if we are still failing the youth.

In early 1976 the South African Government introduced a law which they have been working on for some 2 years. The law stipulated that native languages in segregated school were only to be used in religious and music studies. For all other subjects the medium of instruction was to be Afrikaans. Naturally this did not sit well with the community and in Soweto children started to strike – they simply refused to attend school. The morning of 16 June 1976 saw some 20 000 school children embark on a march to Orlando Stadium in Soweto to voice their unhappiness with the new law. At some point the crowd became too rowdy for the liking of one police officer and he fired a warning shot into the air. Chaos ensued. Children panicked and started running. The police retaliated with more gun shots, teargas and releasing their dogs on the crowd. One of the first victims to die was Hector Peterson, only 13 years old. The number of people who died is sketchy to this die. Government claims that there were 23 fatalities, but some sources say that as many as 700 succumbed to their wounds.

Mother tongue education, the very thing they fought for, is now a reality in our country. Sadly that does not mean that the youth have won yet.

For the sake of this post, private schooling will be excluded. Private schooling is something that every parent would love to give his child, but for the majority of us it is nothing but a dream. Our Department of Education can unfortunately simply not cope with the number of children who need to be educated. In Luke’s class we have 38 children to 1 teacher. A recent investigate reporting program on SABC showed classrooms with as many as 132 children per class. Apart from that, we have the issue of text book delivery – last year it took almost 9 months for some schools to receive their text books. How are children supposed to study with no books? Corruption and greed means that our children are still being cheated.

Our youth asks nothing other than to be loved, to be fed and to be taught. I am sad to say that we are failing the youth.

The moral fiber of our society is such that unemployment, depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse and rape are at the order of the day. Our children grows up with the knowledge that the world is an evil place and you have to do what you have to do –regardless of who gets hurt in the process – to get what you want.

In 1976 the government was to blame for failing the youth.

In 2013 we too are to blame for failing the youth.

Yes, we can blame government for not building more schools. Yes, we can blame government for not providing the necessary text books on time. But are we blameless? It is time for some serious self-examination – time to look at the example we show to our children. Do we teach them to honor, love and respect or do we teach them that it’s each man to himself.

A child with the right set of moral values, a child with respect and love for his fellow people, is a child that will excel no matter what the circumstances are.

Take the day tomorrow and look at how you treat the children around you. What do they see when they look up to you? How you treat a child today shows him what kind of adult to be. Make this Youth Day count. Let the deaths of Hector Peterson and his fellow students not be in vain.

The miracle that is Mindset

Photo: http://www.SevenPointFive.co.za

Do you remember the slight breakdown I experienced a month ago? The one about Luke and his school work? I am glad to tell you: crisis averted! Thanks to SevenPointFive Mindset my little trooper is a changed man!

When I went for my initial blood work Lauren told me about Mindset and how it helped for her and her children. Their website offers more stories of ADD and ADHD sufferers who have benefited from Mindsent. If you find yourself in a similar situation, do yourself the favor to look it up.

I started Luke on the Mindset on the first day of his exams. For the first couple of days I had him on 1 tablet in the morning only. As we got to the more difficult subjects I upped the dose to two tablets in the morning. From the first day I could sense a change in his behavior. He was generally calmer, more relaxed and less prone to moodiness. The biggest change, however, was that he would be done studying by the time I got home from work and I only had to do revision with him. Every day I asked him how the exam went and he gave me a very nondescript “OK, it was fine”. Of course I was still nervous at this point as I did not really know how to interpret his answer.

This week we will be getting report cards, but for starters they had been given a view of their marks. Social Science (history and geography – which caused the melt down in the first place) was at an average of 35%. His result for this exam: 70%! That is a 100% increase in one subject! PSW (Personal Social Well-being) is up from 56% to 63%. Needless to say, I can’t wait to get his complete report card.

If you find yourself in a situation where you or your children are suffering from lack of concentration or focus, irritability or you simply need to study for an exam or prepare for a big meeting, I would suggest you find your nearest supplier of SevenPointFive Mindset.

And no, just in case you were wondering: I am not being paid to write this review nor have I received any products for free. I will gladly pay for the products for I long time to come.

Thank you Lauren at SevenPointFive for suggesting Mindset, it’s been a life saver!