Weekly Highlights 15th September 2013


Our kids were very excited this week as the last two books in the fugitive slave “Freedom” series arrived from www.bookdepository.com  Hubby was home at the time & couldn’t believe how thrilled the kids were. There are 6 books in this series and all 6 books have held us captive!! I thoroughly recommend this series for kids to get a great introduction to slavery in America in the 1850’s. It touches briefly on the role of a slave but the series is about a slave who escapes from his master and makes his way, with the help of the underground railway, to a free state. Even though he reaches a free state, his master can still get a posse together and recapture him. If you want your kids to read suspense books about what being a conductor on the underground railway was like, read these. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading them as well. I loved the extra little bits of history eg seeing Abraham Lincoln outside the barber shop taking his hat off to get his legal papers out from where he carried them in his top hat.

I must confess that I had no idea that there are over 27 million people still trapped in slavery today. I personally find this horrific but what can we, as a family living in Australia, do about this?

slaveryOn Friday, whilst we were in the city, we went into St. Paul’s Cathedral where there was an exhibition from the organisation called ‘Slavery Links’ (www.slaverylinks.org). Talking with Roscoe Howell, he shared that the first thing we can all do is to make sure we always buy ‘Fair Trade’. He said, “Fair Trade’s not perfect but it is still some sort of assurance of justice back through the supply chain.” Thus, talk about slavery as a family and make a commitment to buy ‘Fair Trade. Secondly, become more aware & better informed. Help educate your kids on child labour, child soldiers, debt bondage, forced labour, and slavery today (age appropriate). Encourage action and take action yourself by joining causes to stop slavery, donating, contributing in some way. Roscoe has written a book called “Australians and Modern Slavery” (available from Slavery Links Aust Inc.).

Our kids are Princess aged 10 & Matey aged 7 years. We talk about stuff like slavery, child labour, child marriage, prisoners, addictions etc. They know that in the next fortnight I am speaking into the lives of some ex prisoners and also another group of people who are struggling with addictions. They have been with me when I visited a lady who had recently been released from prison to help her with some child raising issues. They know I went into brothels 18 months ago to befriend the women working there and offer friendship to them. I don’t go into detail, but they know that there is a side to life that most people don’t have much to do with. They realise that there are consequences for some people who don’t make good choices. How much you tell your children and at what age depends on you, realising you can’t shelter them for ever. I believe that they need to be aware that they have a safe and good life compared to a lot of other kids. I believe that we also have a responsibility to ensure justice for people throughout the world.

I was horrified this week to read about the 6 year old girl in Yemen who died from internal injuries on her wedding night. This is wrong and why I believe we need to look at how we can make a difference to stop things like this happening. When we were in Mozambique in 2011 for 3 months, Princess was 8 years old but was tall for her age so was presumed to be older. She was often groped by local village guys and we had to be constantly alert and walking so as to protect her from unwanted advances. Whilst there, we met a lady in the village who had married at 8 years old. I want our family to support organisations who help prevent child marriages.

Day in the City

We went into the city on Friday to see a performance of “Bang, Crash, Tap”. World class tap dancers, beat boxer & drummer. My kids do tap dance & I thought it would inspire them. Wow – what an amazing performance. Very creative, the 2 male tap dancers also tap danced in flippers. I love exposing my kids to experts in various fields so that they can have something to aspire to, dream about, work hard for.

Whilst in the city, we also explored Federation Square and read about the Federation Story of Australia and spent some time in the ‘Story of Film, Television & Digital Culture’ exhibition. The kids loved watching the early Australian film of the story of the Ned Kelly Gang set in 1906. We then went to Shaun Tan’s exhibition of turning his book, “The Lost Thing”, into a short film. Inspiring. The History Teachers of Victoria also had video clips showing on various historical places and families in Victoria. We also saw an amazing exhibition on Australian actor Geoffrey Rush at the Arts Centre. All this for free. When was the last time you explored your city?

On the hour drive into the city, two things occurred. Listening to the local radio, Princess (10) rang up and entered a competition for World Chocolate Day. She won 22 blocks of chocolate. She was very excited as she simply loves chocolate. When she was younger, she was anaphylactic to a number of foods and allergic to an ingredient in chocolate so couldn’t eat it. She has now been dramatically healed but I can still remember driving along the road asking her how she felt about her allergies and not being able to eat a lot of foods. She was 5 years old at the time & she responded with, “I just want to know what chocolate tastes like.” Since her healing, she has become a chocolate connoisseur.

The other that occurred was that I gave the kids $5 each to give away and bless someone in the city. I joined in as well. We all had 3 hours in which to do it. It could be anything that would help one or more people and they could choose how they wanted to do their random act of kindness. It was fantastic to see the way they both thought about it and the outcome. Worth trying with your kids to help them become more “others” focussed.

Other highlights from this week include:

1. Princess doing extremely well in the Australian Mathematics Competition and achieving the highest score in Victoria for grade 4.

image2. Matey compiling various science experiments himself such as boiling up different leaves to see what happened and how they changed. He was doing all these experiments on a really busy day and the last thing I wanted to do was have him in the kitchen experimenting. This was important to him & I realised that I needed to be a permission giver on that day and let him experiment. He then went on & measured rainwater over various days, collecting it and doing experiments with that. It is part of the way he learns and I need to enable him in his learning.

3. Matey’s bike riding has improved dramatically from all the riding lately and hubby and him have had a number of fun evenings where they have played ‘follow the leader’ on their  bikes around the streets. It is good for Matey to have a go at being a leader.

4. Our 37,000 books for Cambodia is slowly getting underway. We have sorted and packed over 250 books this week from friends and helpful people who have started dropping off books.

5. Realised that we need to help Princess help shy people feel welcome. There have been a number of occasions lately where Princess has been at an event and another girl will be present. If Princess has tried to say hello & the other girl has been paralysed with fear and hasn’t spoken, Princess won’t make any more attempts to communicate with that girl. As a 3 year old, Princess herself used to be extremely shy but now makes a real effort to speak to people. However, we need to still address the matter of her helping all people feel welcome.

6. Matey dropped his calculator on the floor and it fell apart. Princess enjoyed spending time putting it back together. I am a great believer in allowing them to see how things work and to try and have a go at fixing things. The calculator was only bought for $2 but it was great that Princess spent the time working out how to put it all back together. Do you have an old computer or another electrical item around your home that needs to be thrown out? Before you do, I encourage you to let your children spend time looking at the “insides” of them and fiddling with them to see how the item works. A great learning opportunity.

If you are interested in the Freedom Series by Lois Walfrid Johnson, feel free to click onto either www.bookdepository.com or this image from amazon to get more information.