Teen: to fit in

Allow me to share my theory of teen years in simple language…

  • 0-12 years: Exploring with pure innocence. Egocentric. Living for the day. Smooth.
  • Early teen years: Choosing peer group, the game of “fitting in” begins, it all seems possible.
  • Mid teen years: Trying to fit in. Acting phase, having two personalities; one in school to satisfy peer pressure, other at home to satisfy parental pressure. Believing life can easily be double faced.
  • Mid to late teen years: Realising it’s not easy to fit in. Playing it safe, a little here a little there. Internal conflict manifested in disinterest, boredom, depression and/or rebellious behaviour. Rough times!
  • Late teen years: Realising “fitting in” will not thrive. Finding faults in peer group. Attempting to build own identity.  Tough times, but quite a ride.  

Later on: Enjoying newly developed identity. Responsible. Standing up for values, life becomes much easier! Well, with annoying minor incidents of each of the above!

 

Agree/Disagree?

(Captured @ the Great Wall of China)

Human rights!

My dear blog followers: Arafa was full of Human rights, this post is not Hajj(part 3) 😉 .. certainly not as pleasing but just as important, read on.. 

He (my Mr., my Shahrayar) comes back late every single day complaining, sometimes it escalates to cursing. Not on me (he dare not!), but on what he relays in this little story of his.

Check what the Mr. has to say :- 

Human rights!!

Once upon a time I met this slave, a skinny man with popped eyes, you could clearly see he is overworked. This man has to get up at dawn – and with no time to have any food in his guts – starts working till mid day where he is given a short break to catch his breath and eat so that he can continue working till dusk. By night-time he is completely worn-out as he has his evening meal and heads to sleep to recharge for the coming day. His master – a fat man with a big belly – who uses slave drivers to get the slaves working hard, gives the slave days off to avoid criticism over the controversy of his slavery acts.

The slave drivers – big guys with big trucks which they drive around to check on the slaves – are slaves too. But they are favored by the master because they ensure that the work is done. All the slaves get food and shelter but the slave drivers get to drive the big trucks and punish their fellow slaves. The slave drivers would threaten their fellow slaves to cut down their food quota if they did not perform.

The idea of running away has always lingered in the mind of the slave every night as he goes to bed, but he would think about the savage world out there with no food or shelter, he would undoubtedly not survive a single day … next morning he would wake up from dawn and continue working.

The master – being in the 21st century – has learnt cleverly how to avoid human rights’ laws and pay no heed to human rights activists’ demands to free the slaves. He grasped that knowledge cunningly by reading the law and using the loopholes and weaknesses in the system to keep onto his slaves. Although he does not practically own those slaves – for legal reasons – he surly has leverage on their livelihood in a way that enslaves them with no chains around their ankles.

This may sound by far very uncommon to you. But that slave is YOU, me and everyone who works for big corporations. If you replace the words; slave by employee, slave driver by manager and master by board of directors you will find the story fits you just as well. Oh and don’t forget to replace food and shelter by salary and housing allowance.

Today, big corporations make millions of dollars from the work done by the low-level employee. The ratio of generation of wealth to salary is incomparable, where the most worked is the least earned and vice versa. Today, job security is the chain that is wrapped around our ankles. The 21st century has given human beings freedom within the laws but in reality slavery has just changed name and form.

Open your eyes to how entangled we are in a system that reduces our freedom of time, where we stay and what we eat. A world order that has been created systematically with boundaries that are very hard to break free from. The sad fact is that we are all slaves of the 21st century.

Dying..

This blog is dying, and I’m in the process of resuscitating it with all my might! However, I’ve come to realise it’s not a one-man’s job (“woman” for this matter).

I know for some people this place is still ALIVE, because I see silent readers every single day (in the statistics), to you I say: I need your help, I need you to chip in!

If this place touched you in any way, if it managed to lift your spirits one day, or made you smile, or maybe just proved a point, or made you say: Yes, I do agree. Then please, comment here, let me know. You can be as specific as you wish, or just a nod would do, wait I can’t see you nod, so comment, say something. In whatever way, tell me that this place matters (if it genuinely does of course, I’m not inviting anyone to lie, I’m just back from Hajj remember :p)!

Salute to the Fathers!

Salute to the fathers, Salute to the Omani fathers from very deep within my heart!

During my course in London, a Danish speech therapist came over to me surprised, asking if I see fathers of young clients in my clinic where I come from. Hearing me proudly say “YES, in fact more fathers than mothers attend therapy sessions with their child” left her gobsmacked! I honestly do not know the source of her surprise or what exactly she meant by that. I can only assume and I will assume; maybe, because Arab men are usually perceived as Macho macho, hence the thought that they would show limited care towards their children? Maybe, she thought about the segregation of genders in my country, hence the surprise that I do actually meet men in my clinic? Other than these two reasons, I found the surprise rather shallow because what I see within the walls of my clinic is by far the most compassionate of relationships. A relationship that is devoid of lies, hypocrisy or personal interests. The all heart relationship between “father and child”!

I do not deny the role of the mother here, I only do not flaunt about it now because it’s the “default” setting if you like, a mother concerned about her child that is. You rarely see otherwise in almost all cultures. However, when the father takes the driving seat, when he runs for his child’s interest for whatever it costs, when the mother is at home and have never even met the therapy behind her child’s improvement, and the father brings the child in for a long-term fortnightly therapy session that could last for years (it happens). That’s the tender heart of a father I’m talking about.  

I’ll leave you with this true story that left me touched, disturbed and impressed in the same split of a second, while taking the case history of a child in clinic.

The Doctor calls me referring a patient with a complicated history of multiple abnormalities. A few minutes later, a gentleman, a lady and the little child are in my clinic. The lady sits on a chair, the child on another chair, sadly I do not have a special chair for children with hypotonia (very weak muscles), their sitting positions are difficult to maintain, someone needs to hold the child or else he’ll lean sideways and could fall down quite instantly. The father kneels on the ground holding his son with his arms, helping him maintain his posture while the child moves, jerks and twitches uncontrollably. 

I started taking the case history, asking the lady pre and post birth questions. I took it for granted (like I assume you all did) that she was the mother. She was apparently the paternal grandmother (She looked really young, it must be the pure heart she has that gave her the glow). After a few questions, I saw a few hesitations with back and forth looks from the lady and her son (the father), as if contemplating whether to trust me and expose the hidden bit or not, and they started… The child had been neglected the care of his mother since birth, or actually the mother has lost this precious son to suit her ego and her heartless family. The story is, after the child had been born, the mother astonished by the amount of physical abnormalities her son has, decided to run away from the hospital, abandoning her son under her family pressure that she will not enter their house with a disabled! The father and his mother were left or rather privileged with the responsibility of taking care of this young boy.

Not only do they care for this child, they show tender love and absolute affection beyond imagination. The grandmother showed repeatedly how blessed she is to have him. The child’s mother on the other hand filed a divorce, got her wish granted, re-married and has a family of her own now. She has never seen her first child after the abandonment in hospital.

I was left repeating “Subhan Allah” all day long!

Two generations on facebook!

Where do we draw the line? When do we hang the “STOP” poster up?

Facebook (fb) is a social network, it’s also an eye-opener! Through it we’ve seen images of relatives and friends in many forms, whether normal, good or bad. My colleague came to me yesterday, tears filling up her eyes, after she’d discovered (from a family member of hers) the “other” side of her teenage daughter in facebook. Her daughter happens to be in my friends’ list in fb and I sort of knew what she was up to all along. Honestly speaking, I assumed her parents approved of her acts, there were no signs that told me otherwise.

Teens of this era are difficult to understand, they know we’re watching, they know we have a “mouth”, but to draw that connection from A to B, nope?!  The daughter knows I have access to her profile and she knows I have a mouth, wouldn’t she suspect that I may use my mouth to tell her mother of her “hidden” identity? Of course it wasn’t me who exposed the daughter this time, it was someone else, but you get my point?

The world wide web has allowed us to wear masks and hide behind those masks to portray more of our “covert” selves. Either an image of what we really are deep inside but fear to show the world, or more of how we want to be perceived by others. Well, that was achievable to us on some level 10 years ago, because we were the pioneers of Internet users, we had no parent/aunt/uncle watching over us when we’re in our discreet life on line. Youth of this era on the other hand, have us as an older generation watching what they say and do, observing their hidden or “covert” selves unfold, and also view “how” they like to be perceived on the digital world. What happens is that they, unlike us, do not have the privilege of hiding. They cannot maintain that double identity,  they are forced to maintain a mono-identity in the presence of both (1) “us” – those who know the teen within his/her family surroundings (2) plus their social network of friends, to those who they strive to portray a different image in front of!  If the teenager is usually the rebellious character among friends, they’re left with no choice but to continue portraying that image in facebook. The twist is that if an adult in the family or a family friend is part of facebook, the youngster is exposed, we suddenly see their other or rather “hidden” side.

What’s really interesting from what I’ve noticed, is that teens albeit showing off their “cooler” side  to satisfy their friends, do not really care how they’re perceived by the older generation, it does not matter anymore. I’ve seen images that left me dumbfounded and others that shattered my nerves for days! That in itself is another question, why and how do they have the courage to ignore what “we” ( us who can contact their parents if we wish) think of them?    

Now this colleague of mine is blaming me for not telling her long ago, and is now expecting me to spill the beans whenever I see anything again. I would like to deal with matters in my own way if something like this is to ever come up again, because I wouldn’t like to break trust with the daughter or any other. I have youngsters in my list, with pictures of actions that would not please their parents much, but so far I’ve resorted to disapproval within myself or in certain circumstances discuss it with my significant others.

What do you usually do in situations as such? Do you approach the teen or their parent?

When do you usually take action? When they’ve crossed certain boundaries or do you issue warnings before?