Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Woman Worldwide
By: Nicolas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Nicolas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn are a married couple and winners of the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism. In Half the Sky they tell the stories of woman and children who experience oppression in the developing World.
Listen to their stories.
Much of the oppression these woman and children face is delivered from the hands of their own families and communities due to deeply ingrained social structures. The content is difficult; 21st century slaves, prostitution, rape, maternal health, education as a key to overcoming poverty and war, and finally microcredit.
Many of the brave woman and children who break free return to help others from the pain they have known. Their courage will inspire and change you.
In sixth grade we could go to the track across the road during lunch time. I remember one lunch break clearly, not many people were around, so I jumped over a hurdle that sat on the track. Later that spring I signed up for the 50m hurdles in the annual field day competition. I got a ribbon! (There may have only been three participants.) I knew deep in my heart I was destined to run the hurdles in track and field.
[In junior high I had a perm. I had brown glasses that were large. I had braces. I was so shy I think I might have growled at people that got too close.]
I did run those hurdles, the 100m and the 300m, all the way through my senior year in high school. Was I good at those hurdles? Not especially. I had unfortunate form, my leading leg that should have been straight, liked to bend. Instead of seamlessly alternating my jumping, I shuffled so I could jump off my right leg every time.
I kept right on jumping though, because I liked them for some reason.
Our track still had cinder when I was in high school. We did not have many home meets because of this. At one home meet my entire extended family sat in the bleachers and many, many classmates. I stood next to my rival from the north. I was winning! Two hurdles from the finish line, I bit the dust in a major way, cinder and blood from ankles to knees. I got up and finished the race. Everyone I loved witnessed my last place finish. I love those moments.
I have done some spectacular fails in my life thus far.
I have done some spectacular never-even-made-it-off the starting blocks too.
I respect my fails more than the times I never even tried.
Families: teaching children to bring renewal and give understanding to others.
Kids can serve right from home by creating artwork for those in need of encouragement. Gather craft supplies and allow creativity go wild. The recipient will receive a tangible piece of love that can be displayed. Kids learn to take a moment out of their own lives to give to someone else.
To Those Experiencing Grief: Sometimes a funeral home visit can be overwhelming for young children. Children are also extremely attuned to what is going on in the world around them. If a relative or family friend is experiencing loss, a thoughtful picture signed by a child brings comfort to the recipient. This also provides a way for the child to express their feelings that a loved one is experiencing loss.
To Those Experiencing Health Problems: Often those that are experiencing illness are confined to a hospital room, their house, or another space of healing. A cheerful picture from a child can be displayed and bring a little sunshine to a temporary dwelling.
To Those Far Away: Good, old-fashioned mail does not arrive in mailboxes nearly as often in this digital age. Nothing warms the heart of a grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, etc. as a letter with artwork. The miles are bridged with this gesture that shows family they are on your mind and close to your heart.
To Those Celebrating a Milestone: A birthday, welcome to the world new baby, a graduation, or any milestone can be made sweeter with a homemade card. Homemade Christmas cards or Valentine cards can be a weekend family project. A piece of artwork- just because- can also be a special surprise to someone’s day.
Add Extra Special Love: If children are able, have them include to and from on the card. Sometimes, these pieces of art, take center stage in a recovery room or home refrigerator. Allow your child to use their favorite means of expression whether that is crayons, markers, water color, or chalk. Personalize the cards, if an uncle especially loves motorcycles, include one in the picture.
Creating artwork is an inexpensive way for families to give.
Children become accustomed to taking time out to let someone know they care.
I hope for this blog to bring encouragement to those who read it.
Here is a little Saturday extra. I encourage you not to be afraid to take risks.
For many weeks, I have had this blog ready to go. I have dreamed about writing my entire life. I held my writing close, like most things in my life. It took all the courage I could gather to send an email and facebook invitation one week ago to friends and family. I felt so exposed and so worried. I barely slept Saturday night and again on Sunday night. Every day this week I have contemplated taking this all down and pretending it was never here.
That is what I do, venture out small and then scurry back to hiding.
Only now, I realize that would be a life lost. God asks more of me. He asks more of all of us. Not as a burden but as a gift. He has special things for each and every one of us. I love meeting people and listening to their stories. It never ceases to amaze me. God is so creative and so far reaching. He has something unique for all of us, more than we can ask and imagine.
I want to share what God did in my life this week. Every time, without fail, when I felt like going back, someone would write me a note, make a comment, or share something with me that they liked reading. God used you in my life this week.
He is using all of us. That is an exciting life, when we are being used for great things without even knowing it.
Do not be afraid. God is with you.
Leaving the grocery store yesterday, my son, who is four and half, leapt into an enormous puddle. The rain puddle soaked him from his feet all the way to his knees. His jeans were sopping wet. “Oh, man buddy, we still have to pick up the kids from school and you are so wet.” Then a question came to my mind. “Josiah was it worth jumping in that puddle even though you got so wet?”
He gave me a giant smile. “WES!” (He can’t say y’s clearly.)