US AND THEM not US VS THEM: A few lessons from a dog park

What can a dog park teach us about bridging great societal divides? Brilliant talk. I cannot think of a more appropriate time in our lives to hear this message. There is a difference between US AND THEM and US VS THEM. We all can go beyond our own identities and ‘packs’ to find common ground with those we may disagree with on personal, work-related, social and political grounds. We are all humans after all – this human identity is common to us all…

NO to WAR

It is hard to stay silent with the recent events in Ukraine. I’m one of the thousands of Russian-Ukrainians. As a child I used to spend all my summer holidays with my Ukrainian family in the Luhansk Region, which is now in the epicentre of that war. It was such a beautiful place with wonderful people – very caring close-knit community of Ukrainian and Russian coal-miners, working shoulder to shoulder in the deepest and some of the dangerous coal-mines in the world. Amazing men who were going 700-800 meters under the ground to feed their families, always coming home with a big smile and a hug for us, kids! Such a terrible crime against people, such a terrible war…..

Coalminers

This area has never recovered from the 2014 war with sobering pictures of destruction. Here is just one of the images from that time – an airport before and after the 2014 war.

Donetsk Airport before and after the 2014 war

Who could ever imagined that Kharkiv in 2022 would look like London in 1942. Kharkiv is the second-largest city and municipality in Ukraine that I used to travel through when visiting my family in Ukraine in 1980s. Beautiful city with wonderful people – people who have nowhere to run now and are hiding under the ground from shelling.

Kharkiv in 2022

Russians of all genders, ages and walks of life are standing with Ukraine against the war! In all major Russian cities people are protesting the war. The breathtaking bravery of people who know they’ll be arrested and prosecuted for this….

Russian people are protesting the war in Ukraine

NO to WAR!

Dad’s lessons and jokes

Dads…. We may respect them, appreciate them, get annoyed by them, or laugh at their jokes. However one thing is for sure: We wouldn’t be who we are without them. And so often their jokes turn out to be some of life’s most important lessons…

One of my dad’s favourite songs was about a friend…

Once when he heard this song on the radio, he said: “Like with friends, do not be in a rush selecting a life partner… Take your chosen one up a high mountain with you… And if he survives your sense of humour, bring him home – I’ll have a look…” 😉

Funnily enough, we lived in a flat part of the country with not a single hill in sight…. 😂😂😂

What was the best advice you ever got from your dad?

Is Your Relationship Naughty or Nice?

Santa’s making his list of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice this year. Will you find you or your partner on the naughty or the nice list? Check out OneLove Foundation’s naughty and nice lists to find out!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Nice List

1. You accept and love your partner for who they are, including their quirky qualities!

2. You don’t make jokes at your partner’s expense and you can have constructive conversations if something is bothering you in the relationship.

3. You trust your partner and don’t get suspicious of what they’re doing when you’re not around.

4. You and your partner make relationship decisions together with neither person feeling like they have no say.

5. Your relationship doesn’t feel like an emotional roller coaster. You keep your cool when you argue, drink, or get upset.

6. You and your partner are both happy with the amount of time you spend together and the amount of time you spent apart. You have your own life outside of your relationship and can balance a love life and a personal life.

7. If there’s a problem in the relationship, you and your partner can have a constructive conversation about it without fear of retaliation.

8. Your friends and family like your partner and your partner encourages you to maintain healthy relationships with these very important people in your life.

9. Your partner respects your decisions. They don’t tell you or make subtle hints about what you can do, what to eat or wear, and who you should talk to or be friends with.

10. You know your relationship is making you a better, happier person. You have no doubts about whether or not it’s right for you.

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The Naughty List

1. Your partner tries to hide or change you instead of accepting you for who you really are. Your partner makes you feel like you need to change to keep them satisfied.

2. Your partner nitpicks and criticizes you more than you’d like.

3. Your partner is always wondering or worrying about what you’re doing when you’re not together.

4. Your partner is the one calling all the shots and you feel like you need to follow along to keep the peace.

5. Your partner wants all of your time, but you want a little more time to yourself. You don’t bother talking to them about it because you know they will overreact or, if you do bring it up, they lash out at you or make you feel guilty for wanting some time apart.

6. Your partner makes you feel responsible for their happiness or success.

7. Your partner makes you wonder if you’re the problem in the relationship and they blame you for everything.

8. Your partner doesn’t get along with your friends and family.

9. Your partner tries to control what you do, who you spend time with, and who you talk to. They’ll tell you an outfit doesn’t look good so you change, ask you not to talk to someone they perceive as a “threat,” or tell you what parties you can go to.

10. Your partner is belligerent and out of control when they drink.

If you find yourself thinking, “that’s my relationship” after reading this naughty list, start the New Year by addressing this and seek professional help if needed.

Photo by Timur Weber on Pexels.com

Credit: OneLove Foundation

Afghanistan – Soviet Vietnam 1.0 and US Vietnam 2.0…

Afghanistan, once described as the Soviet Union’s Vietnam, became Vietnam 2.0 for the US…. Another unwinnable war with lessons never learnt….

Otrazhenie

* * *

Afghanistan
1984-1986

“When I was drafted into the army in April 1984, I was a nineteen-year-old  boy. The club where they took us was a distribution centre. Officers came there from various military units and picked out the soldiers they wanted. My fate was decided in one minute. A young officer came up to me and asked, “Do you want to serve in the commandos, the Blue Berets?”  Of course I agreed. Two hours later I was on a plane to Uzbekistan (a Soviet republic in Central Asia), where our training base was located.

During the flight, I learned most of the soldiers from this base were sent to Afghanistan. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t surprised. At that point I didn’t care anymore because I understood that it is impossible to change anything. ‘To serve in the Soviet army is the honourable duty of Soviet citizens” –…

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Saving us all from the 3rd world war…

I love following Everyday Hero on LinkedIn and reading stories of amazing people – people like all of us. We all can be heroes: in our homes, our communities, and our lives… Lets share our stories to make this world a better place and give us all more reasons to smile and laugh… To get the ball rolling, I’m sharing one of mine…

Saving us all from the 3rd world war

This story happened almost twenty years ago when my three children were under the age of four. Me and my friend needed some papers with official stamps. So off to the Russian Embassy we went. We entered the waiting room and my heart sank. There was a huge crowd of people there and nothing to keep my wild little boys entertained. We joined the queue, my children started squealing. Here the door opened and the consul came out growling.

“Whose are those kids,” he asked looking at my friend.

“They are not mine… Mine are at home..” – she said

“At home…. With whom?”

‘With my husband of course’

‘How many of them?”

‘Three boys all aged under four’

“Alone, with your man…. How did you dare… No Russian man will ever survive there…”

“Don’t worry…. My man is German’, responded my friend.

“German!” shrieked the consul. He just could not comprehend. “That’s even worse! If he won’t survive, I’ll be blamed of course…. All Russia will be blamed for your kids under four. That will surely start the third world war! You go first,” – he said to my friend and took her in his office with all her papers to stamp.

My kids got much noisier from all the boredom. The consul came back and went straight towards them.

“So whose are these kids?”

“They are mine,” I said.

“You go next… Or I won’t survive them.”

A few minutes later with all the papers and stamps, we left the embassy with a sense of achievement and a huge relief that we saved the world from the 3rd world war grief.

Never fear to be YOU…

“Understand: you are one of a kind. Your character traits are a kind of chemical mix that will never be repeated in history. There are ideas unique to you, a specific rhythm and perspective that are your strengths, not your weaknesses. You must not be afraid of your uniqueness and you must care less and less what people think of you.”

Robert Greene

Photo by Jou00e3o Gabriel Amorim Antunes on Pexels.com