It’s All Relative…

ImageFar be it from me to tell anyone what to do or how to use their Facebook accounts, though more and more recently I’ve been noticing that the cerebral level of the items posted has gone down.

The Feed consists mostly of people collecting friends (Come on. Over 600 Friends is pushing it, unless your definition of a “Friend” is anyone you’ve ever met, or you’re a D-Lister pretending to be an A-List celebrity…) otherwise the postings are who’s just fed his pet goldfish or scrubbed algae in Fishville, or moving up in Farmville, or who’s taken a quiz to find out what kind of shoe they are, or an invitation to race car rallies or mafia wars, etc…

Rarely do we see a truly thought-provoking post or comment. If and when that happens, that person is showered with sarcasm or ridicule, or even ignored. Do you notice when someone does that? What do you look for when you log on?

What is it that makes it so? Do we refuse to read anything longer than a sentence? Have we become a dumb society, just out for token gratification? Do we only now have the ability to find pleasure in silly games, and idiot actions? Do we shy away from thinking, withdraw from discussions, and refuse to delve deep inside our brains for answers? Are we afraid of what we might find? Have our brains atrophied from neglect?

How many people on your list would you consider to be truly intelligent? Who is the most intelligent person on your list of “Friends”? I would estimate about 15% of my list, and that’s just because I’m trying to be nice. I like to play games just about as much as anyone else, but I also try to use my brain once in a while, not just carry around dead weight.

And then there’s this. Is it only a Facebook phenomenon, or are we dumb in real life too? What do you talk about when you’re with your family or friends? Who in your life do you think is the most intelligent, or the most learned or useful?


ظاهرة الانصراف المبكر من المدارس في الأسابيع الأخيرة من الفصل الدراسي، الغياب و الأثار العامة

لا أعلم الأسباب ورائها و لا أستطيع أن أجد لها مبرر. و لكن نجد كل مرة ظاهرة أن الأسبوع الأخير في الفصل الدراسي لا وزن له عند إدارات المدارس و التعليم، المدرسين و الأهالي و الطلاب…فإن نص التقويم الرسمي على أن الإجازة تبدأ بنهاية دوام الخميس 2 ربيع الأول أجد أبنائي يقولون بأن “المدرس” أخبرهم بأنه لا يوجد دراسة الأسبوع الذي يسبقه كاملاً، و يتفاقم الموضوع عندما يعود ثانية ليقول أنه لم يكن هناك بالفصل إلا ثلاثة طلاب و زملائهم أغلبهم في حالة غياب مفرطة! و يزداد الوضع سوءاً حيث تهاتفنا المدرسة لتقول أنه لا يوجد الإ ابني و علينا العودة لإستلامه مبكراً…باقي على الفصل الدراسي 3 أو 4 أيام (حسب التقويم الرسمي) فمن الذي يقر بهذا الانسحاب التدريجي المبكر؟ و أين يذهب الأطفال الذين يعمل آبائهم و أمهاتهم؟

نعي تماماً بأن الكثير من هؤلاء الأطفال يعودوا و يبقوا بالمنازل وحدهم، و إن كانت له أماً لا تعمل فذلك شيء جيد بالنسبة له، و لكن الأدهى و الأمر من هم أبناء الأمهات العاملات، اللاتي لا إجازة لهن تصادف إجازة أبنائها المدرسية، فتوضع العائلة في وضع صعب للغاية، يضطر الأب و الأم محاولة توفيق جداول دوامهم و توزيع الأيام لرعاية الطفل في أيام الإجازة، و غالباً ما يجبرهم ذلك على الإستئذان أو الغياب، مما يقلل من الإنتاجية و الإنجاز في العمل، و إن لم يجدوا فيوضع الطفل عند الأقارب أو عند صديق، و إن لم يجدوا ذلك أجبروا على ما هو أشد منه حيث وجدت أماً اتفقت مع مديرة مدرسة ابنها أن تجلبه لها في بيتها أيام الإجازة ترعاه هناك! أو الأخرى التي أجبرت على ترك ابنتها ذات الخمس سنوات وحدها في المنزل، أمام التلفاز و بجانبها طبق به بعض المأكولات يكفيها عدد الساعات اللازمة! ما الذي أحوجنا لهذا كله؟ حتى نزيد العبء النفسي و المادي و البدني على المجتمع؟ أتخيل المصائب المحتملة جراء الورطة التي يوضع فيها الأهل جراء هذه الظاهرة…

ما هو الدافع و المسبب الذي أدى إلى تفشي هذه الظاهرة في مجتمعنا؟ من الذي أشاع فكرة الانصراف مبكراً أخر أسبوع؟ و كيف تتوقع إدارات المدارس و التعليم أن يوفق الأهالي ذلك مع فترات الدوام الرسمي (سواء الجهات الخاصة أو الحكومية؟) الواجب على إدارات التعليم التشديد على التزام المدارس، المدرسين، الطلاب و الأهالي على عدم التسيب و الغياب في فترة نهاية الفصل الدراسي و ضع ضوابط صارمة لذلك.


Obstacles Facing Moms with Communicating and Interacting with Boys Schools

I could see it happening, I could feel it in my gut. My baby was growing up and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

When they’re born, they’re attached at the breast. Then they move a few inches down and become attached to your hip. A few months later and they’re grabbing onto your legs for dear life as you encourage them (with that nasty choking feeling in the back of your throat) to have fun at nursery. A few years later and he pulls away from your hugs saying: “mom, enough!” and you’re saying to yourself “it’s okay for him to take the school bus, he’s old enough, he knows what to do, I’ve taught him what he needs to know”…

In Saudi Arabia, with most schools (public and private) still segregated by gender from the fourth grade, it’s a truly trying time for a mom when boys reach age 8-9 and move to enter the no-women’s land of the boys section. At my son’s end of year school play in Grade 3, I was shocked with the sudden realization and sense of mounting panic that this was the last time I could attend one of his school functions or speak to his teachers, or spend time in his classroom seeing what he was working on…

And I slowly found out that I wasn’t the only one feeling apprehensive at the impending change; there were the other mom’s, his classmates’, most especially those of us with these 3rd grade boys being our first foray into dealing with this upsetting stage in their growth and development. None of us had an older boy and could count on that experience. We didn’t know what to expect, and had no way of finding out. There was no open day for mom’s to visit the boys section, or a meet the teacher, or even a map of the premises or photos…

You could call the school if you wanted to, and ask to speak to someone about your child, but more often than not you would be fobbed off because as the common understanding was that the male teachers just didn’t care as much as the females in the other section; they were tougher, and with much less empathy and patience. You were therefore wholly dependent on having hands on father figure (dad) who would agree or see the importance of taking time off work to go find out what was happening with your kid, and if you had that you’d best consider yourself lucky. Otherwise your only option is to send them off with a prayer and hope for the best, and become dependent on what your child wishes to communicate when he comes home.

Keep your eyes wide open and your ears perked…that’s your best defense against no opportunity for offense.

June 1 2013


Common Sense Parenting for Healthy Happy Families in Saudi Arabia

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Common Sense Parenting for Healthy Happy Families in Saudi Arabia