We are all born for love…

Photo by willsantt on Pexels.com

 “We are all born for love. It is the principle of existence, and its only end.”

Benjamin Disraeli.

The following question was posed to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, ‘What does love mean?’ Check out a few loving answers below.

‘When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore… So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.’ Rebecca – age 8

‘When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.’ Billy – age 4

‘Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.’ Karl – age 5

‘Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.’ Chrissy – age 6

‘Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.’ Terri – age 4

‘Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.’ Danny – age 8

‘Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and just listen.’ Bobby – age 7 (Wow!)

‘If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.’ Nikka – age 6(we need a few million more Nikka’s on this planet)

‘Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day.’ Noelle – age 7

‘Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.’ Tommy – age 6

‘During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling.He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.’ Cindy – age 8

‘My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.’ Clare – age 6′

Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.’ Elaine – age 5

‘Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.’ Chris – age 7

‘Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.’ Mary Ann – age 4

‘I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.’ Lauren – age 4

‘When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.’ (what an image!) Karen – age 7

‘Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross…’ Mark – age 6

‘You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.’ Jessica – age 8

And the final one: The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, ‘Nothing, I just helped him cry.’

Be a child again today and share your love!

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

Sources: From Facebook

Fairy Dad Father

Every time my teenage kids make me roll my eyes in despair I think about my wonderful dad and all the times I made him roll his eyes and scratch his head. His dad’s logic just could not comprehend the power of teenage imagination…

Like that time when me and one of my University friend spent all the money we had to go to the local Ballet Theatre to watch ‘Swan Lake’. Next day dad visited me and took me to the fridge.

“So, what are you going to eat for the rest of the month, darling? Feathers of those imaginary swans?” he said staring into the empty fridge.

His engineering logic just could not comprehend how his only precious one could spend the whole monthly pay from Uni on ‘Swan Lake’. I just giggled and reassured him that he had absolutely nothing to worry about. After all I did not spend it on boys and vodka….

At that point not only his eyes rolled, but his jaw dropped too… He never ever mentioned the empty fridge again… In fact magically that fridge has never ever been empty again… Coincidentally a magic fairy took care of it since that day, regularly filling it up with all the essentials…

My friend’s dad, who was a doctor, tried to approach the same subject from the medical perspective first, hinting on a very poor nutritional value of the imaginary swans and feathers. My friend just giggled. In despair, her dad changed to the historical perspective: “Now I see why in so many cultures fathers were supposed to provide dowry for their daughters at the marriage. Otherwise one would need to be utterly insane to take my precious darling with all these imaginary swans and feathers!”

His historical perspective only tripled the giggles. “Don’t worry dad. I already found my utterly insane one,” my friend burst into laughter.

Next day we met with other friends at Uni and had a good giggle about swans, feathers and all. After all, behind every smiling girl at Uni was a wonderful Fairy Dad Father rolling his eyes and scratching his head…

Credits:

One loyal friend…

If a man’s neither friend nor foe
Just another so-and-so
If you can’t get past his shell
Whether for good or for bad –
Take him up a high mount with you
Not letting him slip away
Now he’s stuck in a bind with you
Now you’ll see who he is –

If the fellow up there ain’t there
If he’s bitter and tears his hair
If he falls on the ice and feels
He’d rather drop you than freeze –
Then this can’t be the man for you
Don’t waste words on him but shoo
Just another one of the throng
Not a man for a song –

If he kept his rage in a shell
As he pulled through without a sound
Grabbed out for your hand when you fell
May have groaned but he held!
If he marched through with you to fight
To a summit which stole his might
It means you’ve found a friend
You can keep to the end…

Credits:

  • Song by Vladimir Vysotsky (1938-1980)
  • Translation by David Vinnikov
  • Image from me.me

Invincible love and smile…

“My dear,

In the midst of hate, I found there was,

within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was,

within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was,

within me, an invincible calm.
I realized, through it all, that…
In the midst of winter, I found there was,

within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.

Truly yours,
Albert Camus”

Never lose that invincible
love and smile…

THE END

Dad’s love and intuition

Father

My father never told me… he was not a talkative man… but the way he looked at me, the way he treated me made me feel that way. I never stop admiring how my dad seemed to always intuitively know what was the best for me, without reading any fancy parenting books or having any teaching degrees. I never stopped feeling his silent love.

At the time when men were rarely actively involved in parenting, my dad was always there for me, taking me for long walks, bathing me, putting me to sleep, calming all my fears… And I was a very fearful child scared of everything imaginable: darkness, heights, being alone, fights and arguments, snakes, worms, caterpillars, mice and rats to name a few…

Protection

Dad always asked the right questions, listened without making any assumptions or twisting the meaning of what he heard. Even when he disagreed, he rarely argued – he always found another way… Like the time when I saw him chopping the wood and then picked up his axe. “Don’t touch my axe”, he said. “Why? If you can chop the wood, why can’t I?” “Because you are not much bigger than that axe and I don’t want you to chop your head off”, he patiently explained. “Don’t worry,” I laughed. “My head is probably the only part of my body that I’ll never be able to chop off.” He did not argue, but made sure no axe was ever left within my reach…

Eye

Dad never used gender stereotypes. He never told me that I am a girl and therefore should behave or do things in a certain way. He just accepted me the way I was, without trying to mould me into anything else. It felt like a breath of fresh air, a welcome break from my mum’s and grandma’s constant nagging: “You are a girl, so you should be dressed like this, you should talk like that, you should do this and don’t do that….” I could never quite comprehend where my mum and grandma got all those dos and don’ts, which somehow I always managed to get wrong…

Girl

While my dad rarely expressed himself in words, he had other ways of getting his point across. His communication toolbox included not only admiring looks, but also silent staring, rolling eyes, raised eyebrows, all sorts of winks and a million of other facial expressions. I’m sure, there were some pulled hair too every now and then…

Staring

While parenting my own children, I met a lot of truly amazing dads and learnt lots more from them than from any parenting books or my teaching degrees. I never stopped admiring their creativity, ability to make any activity fun, patience, intuition and perfectly balanced approach to setting boundaries to provide maximum opportunities for challenges and freedom while keeping all risks under control.

Father and daughter

It never stops puzzling me however that so many dads rarely recognise their amazing parenting abilities and intuition and are often quick to retreat and silence their views on parenting. Something that Celia Lashlie also noted in her book “He’ll be OK”.

Do not doubt your parenting skills. Follow your heart, trust your intuition and have fun.

Children do change us and our lives in lots of ways. Enjoy this special period in your life, treasure all the wonderful moments you are having with your children and stop pulling out your hair over not-so-wonderful ones….

Credits:

Stories of Compassion: Aristides de Sousa Mendes

Aristides20I

Eighty years ago, a middle-aged, mid-ranking diplomat sank into deep depression and watched his hair turn grey in days, as he saw the streets of Bordeaux filling with Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis.

As Portugal’s consul in Bordeaux, Aristides de Sousa Mendes faced a moral dilemma. Should he obey government orders or listen to his own conscience and supply Jews with the visas that would allow them to escape from advancing German forces?

Sousa Mendes’ remarkable response means he is remembered as a hero by survivors and descendants of the thousands he helped to flee.

But his initiative also spelt the end of a diplomatic career under Portuguese dictator António de Oliveira Salazar, and the rest of his life was spent in penury.

Portugal finally granted official recognition to its disobedient diplomat on 9 June 2020, and parliament decided a monument in the National Pantheon should bear his name.

Honour

It was mid-June 1940 and Hitler’s forces were days from completing victory over France. Paris fell on 14 June and an armistice was signed just over a week later.

Portugal’s diplomatic corps was under strict instruction from the right-wing Salazar dictatorship that visas should be issued to refugee Jews and stateless people only with express permission from Lisbon.

For those thronging Bordeaux’s streets hoping to cross into Spain and escape Nazi persecution there was no time to wait….

In a letter dated 13 June 1940 Sousa Mendes wrote: “Here the situation is horrible, and I am in bed because of a strong nervous breakdown.”

“No-one really knows what went through his mind in those two or three days,” says Dr Paldiel, who ran the Righteous Among the Nations department at Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial centre for 25 years.

“Some say the duty of a diplomat is to obey orders from above, even if those instructions are not moral…

Whatever did go through the diplomat’s mind, Sousa Mendes emerged on Monday 17 June with a new determination.

According to his son, Pedro Nuno de Sousa Mendes, “he strode out of his bedroom, flung open the door to the chancellery, and announced in a loud voice: ‘From now on I’m giving everyone visas. There will be no more nationalities, races or religions’.”

No-one knows for sure how many transit visas were issued, allowing refugees to pass from France into Spain and travel onward to Portugal. But estimates range between 10,000 and 30,000, and most sought to cross the Atlantic to a variety of American destinations.

Refugees

Salazar’s Portugal would later be praised for its role in allowing refugees to escape from Nazi occupation and repression, but Sousa Mendes was expelled from the diplomatic corps and left without a pension. This condemned him to live the rest of his life in the most absolute misery. Sousa Mendes survived thanks to a soup kitchen run by Lisbon’s Jewish community. In 1954 he died in obscurity, still disgraced in the eyes of Portugal’s government. His family home in Cabanas de Viriato fell into ruin, and remains so today.

“Sousa Mendes was mistreated by Salazar. He died in misery as a pauper, and his children emigrated to try to find a future somewhere else,” says Henri Dyner (one of the people saved by Sousa Mendes).

Henri’s family ended up in Brazil, before he moved to the US for professional reasons. But he remembers a man who had courage in his convictions.

“The way things are in the world today, we need more people prepared to stand up for what is right and take a stand.”


Let’s remember such heroes
and honour their compassion!

 

Over the years I collected a number of real stories of compassion from different time periods, cultures and geographic locations. Among them are:

I’m always looking for more stories of compassion, so if you know any, please share them via a comment. Thanks so much.

Compassion

Credits:

Hard times…

Tell

Through broken glass and faded dreams,
I find a place where I can scream,
This pain is huge and takes me over,
I cannot smell the scent of clover,
I kneel down and count my blessings,
For sometimes life is distressing,
I make my way through each raw minute,
Feeling blessed that I’m still in it,
This life is hard but I go on,
It’s my soul journey to walk upon,
I look out from my mind’s eye,
Never questioning or asking why,
I know that whatever happens to me,
Is to teach and set me free,
A life taken for granted is not good cause,
Take a breath to think and pause,
I am strong and intelligent,
I know I live with good intent,
The shackles that I once wore,
Can’t contain me anymore,
I am free and fly my wings,
Appreciating every thing,
Being true to who I am,
Upon my bravery I do stand.

By Victoria Gauci

Hard

Credits: