On Mother’s Day

One of the first things that children learn is to label the people (especially adults) in their lives.

Mum and Dad.

Aunt and Uncle.

And even as our world broadens and we meet more people, some related to us and some not, these four terms of address remain our most frequently used ones.

But do we ever learn what these terms really mean?

Do we ever teach our children more than simply which biological relative is entitled to which label?

Do we ever teach our children about the kind of roles and responsibilities each label entails? 

Continue reading “On Mother’s Day”

Short Story: A Different Imagination

For as long as I can remember, there have always been two frames of photographs in our living room. The large one contains many different photos of many different relatives at many different times. (My parents believed that I should know the names and faces of my relatives, even though it is unlikely that I will ever meet most of them; as a little girl, held in my mother’s arms so that I could see the photographs, I could name the relatives pictured, while my father recorded the scene on a rented video camera.) The smaller frame contains a photograph of my mother’s grandmother. It hangs below the larger frame, as Belarusian superstition dictates that photographs of deceased individuals should be placed lowest. The palm-sized square photograph has flown with us across the oceans and the deserts to Australia. Every morning when I walk into the living room, it is there on the mantle piece, reminding me that somewhere, in a land I can only imagine, there lived a woman, whom I would have liked to have met before she passed away. Continue reading “Short Story: A Different Imagination”

On The Importance of Cross-Generational Relationships

This quote explains precisely why reading is one of my favourite pastimes and I believe the reading of some works of literature at some point in one’s life to be essential. However, I would also like to argue that there is another component to developing this kind of understanding – cross-generational relationships. Continue reading “On The Importance of Cross-Generational Relationships”