Monthly Archives: January 2009

LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER: A MODERN DAY STORY

 

 

Dear Sara,

 

As your mother, I have many regrets.  If only I could have taught you a few more things before you headed out in the world on your own.  (I guess I had to learn them first myself before I could teach them to you!) Despite these many untaught lessons, you have done quite well for yourself: successful careers, financial responsibility, loved by all, great husband, wonderful new baby boy, and now your first house.

 

In fact, you have done so well that you were the one who gave me my first lessons on office protocol, the ways of the business world, internet dating, and the value of Craigslist.  Although it felt strange at the time, I accepted your help and trusted your judgment, always, which has proven to be good. 

 

What an inverse era we finds ourselves in, when children teach their parents the nuances of resumes, job searches, and career choices.  I know I am not alone in this experience.  Millions of mature adults such as myself are forced to enter and re-enter the work force after years in a singular field. We are up against masses of youthful competition and our children often have a window into how to compete with their peers, providing us with the updated knowledge we need to succeed.  It’s like we’ve raised our own little resource directories that give us free regular updates.

 

Now, years have passed and the winds of usefulness have shifted, once again in my direction.  Most recently with your first pregnancy, childbirth, as a new nursing mother, and now as a new homemaker, you have found new value in what I can offer you.  The things I always wanted to share with you, the wisdom I knew I had to offer you, has finally found its day.  In my pride as I witness you as a new and wonderful mother, it feels like you see me with new eyes with every question or favor you ask. Your motherhood has transformed our relationship.

 

 

The nurturing experiences from our mothers will always transcend the value of fast pace, technical toys, and current school of thought in any given era. In our new era, I am here to offer you time tested remedies, sagacious secrets, resplendent recipes, and common sense practices that will outlast every parenting trend, marketing miracle, or latest medical advancement. 

 

My experience as your mother has evolved from that stressful and fumbly first bath while I tried to gently wash all of the folds in your chubby little neck, to the fears of the many responsibilities in the world I found myself in one day—on my own—with you and your two sisters.  Today, as you give me my seventh grandchild, I sense that all of the maternal encounters of my past will serve you well and overshadow any lack of business savvy I may still suffer from. 

 

As your own motherhood evolves, remember that whatever question you ask, or favor you need, that for me, it is a blessing to again be able to give you an answer, a suggestion, a helping hand, a hug, or just a shoulder to cry on. 

 

Not so long ago, I used to be zipping up your coat and tucking your cherub cheeks into your hat before you headed out of the house into the biting Colorado weather. Today, as your mother, I find so much joy in tucking your son’s sweet cheeks into the cozy hat I made for him so he too, can feel the warmth of my love for you both. 

 

I may not have all of the answers; I may not make the best choices in every aspect of my life; I may not respond perfectly in every situation; but one thing is a constant: my love and commitment to my children, grandchildren, husband, and other loved ones.  In this, I hope to never let you down Sara.

 

With cherished anticipation of all we have yet to share and give to each other in our many future moments, I Bless you Sara with goodness and wish you the most Awesome Birthday and Best Year Yet in your new home!   

 

Love, Mom

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Filed under Barack Obama, Breastfeeding, Craigslist, Grandchildren, Internet Dating, La Leche League, mother, nutrition, Parenting

The Power of Words to Inspire A Call To Action

That passionate artery of mine was flowing freely as I received my invite along with thousands of others this week. I became part of yet another Obama inspired online movement: The Citizen’s Briefing Book.

Actually, intending just to sit down and edit my manuscript, I committed the cardinal crime: I checked my email first. There it was, an invitation from Valerie Jarrett asking us to contribute ideas for President-elect Obama. Much like going to the grocery store hungry, this invitation fed me unlike past ones sent to Obama supporters since the election.  Without hesitating, I jumped in with the others that evening, voting on ideas for the president elect like filling my grocery basket, hoping each of my choices would make it into the book of ideas from us, his loyal supporters because this Citizen’s Briefing Book will be given to him to read.

How could I also make a statement that would encourage votes for my idea so it would make it into this book that that our future President Obama would read? With ravenous furvor, I typed a proposal that has been at the forefront of my thoughts for years as well as the main inspiration for the book I am writing.  In fulfilled haste, I proofread my idea for our next president and sent it off into cyberspace with the thousands of other worthy ideas, watching with baited breath to see what happened.

To my surprise, negative votes and posted comments started rolling in. Flush with concern, I realized instantly the error was in my word choice.  In the end, there was a (negative)-320 points with 14 posted comments.  I had used the word ‘mandate’, where I should have used ‘campaign’. This error contorted my message and inspired a call to action in the form of  inflammatory comments and negative votes. 

Curious as to what would happen if the wording was changed ever so slightly, I clarifyied my proposal by replacing the word ‘mandate’ with ‘campaign’, and shifted the title’s wording somewhat.

Without the word ‘mandate’, this revised idea gained positive votes slowly but surely, yet prompted no comments. In the end, it had a (positive)+490 points with only 1 comment.

What does this prove? Yes, anger does inspire action more than just a great idea.  A vote was easier than a vote with another step to write a comment, but if you were angry about the possibility of something you didn’t like becoming a reality, you jumped into action. In the end, the reception of my idea was positive and helped me find the pulse on how to communicate ideas more effectively.

As a postscript, I might just entertain the idea to inflame when I want to inspire a call to action; negative publicity really does work. (Kidding, I think.) Perhaps this is why so many of us came out in full force when John McCain picked Sarah Palin for his VP. 

What was my idea?

“Prevent Diabetes Where it Starts!” 

Beginning with a massive ‘campaign’ to encourage and support all mothers to breastfeed their babies exclusively for at least six months, thereby reducing the propensity towards obesity with infant formulas made with high fructose corn syrup, etc. 

To read the entire idea, go to: http://citizensbriefingbook.change.gov/ideas/viewIdea.apexp?id=087800000004wI6&srPos=0&srKp=087   

Let’s see if it makes it into the Citizen’s Briefing Book to President Obama.  For the sake of our country, our health care system, and our children, I hope so!

Christina Ivazes

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Filed under Barack Obama