Heart-to-Heart Connection

To inspire and be inspired!

Philanthropy: The Difference Between Enabling and Empowerment

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.  (Chinese Proverb) 

Over the years, billions of dollars in aid have poured from the developed to developing nations.  Yet 80 percent of our world’s population live on less than $10 per day.

Why?

Perhaps one answer to this complicated issue may lie in enabling — temporary relief — not empowerment.  

Temporary reliefs are handouts.  They’re necessary, especially in life or death situations.  Basic needs — shelter, food, and water — must be met before improving lives. Once immediate needs are met, however, should additional donations continue to simply feed and clothe its recipients?

Are such acts of “kindness” empowering the people or are handouts in the name of “donations” degrading creative minds and resilient spirits into beggars and dependents?

In The Power of Half: One Family’s Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back, the Salwens sold their house and gave away $800,000 to the Hunger Project in Ghana; to equip and empower its people to take back their lives and become self-sufficient:

(Click for video)

We go back into the villages of Ghana [where my family and I invested our funds], and this time the chief hands us a list of things they have accomplished.  ‘Look what we’ve done.’  They are proud of their own activities.  Oh, this is good.  [Empower, not enable].  We are making progress.

The Salwens asked five questions before committing to their work in Ghana:

  • Will our work empower or be a Band-Aid?
  • Do we respect the culture? Do we have enough humility to see our new partners/recipients as equals?
  • Are those partners fully engaged in designing the project?
  • Are we doing this work for the same reasons as our partners, the folks we’re trying to help? Do we have a different agenda?
  • Are we committed for the long haul?  Change does not happen overnight.

Steep learning curve, for me, anyway.  But each of us can make a small difference.  Lots of small differences will result in change!

If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.  (Anita Roddick)

To enable or to empower … THAT is the question.  🙂

 

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March 14, 2010 Posted by | America, Attitude, Book Review, Change, Christianity, Collaboration, Compassion, Dream, Education, Finance, Food, Freedom, God, Health and Wellness, International, Introspection, Leadership, Love, Mind, Money, Passion, Peace, Purpose, Self Help, Soul, Spirit, Success, War | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inspiration!

Which thoughts do you live by? 

Have a great day! 🙂

January 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Complicated!

Don’t know about you but the the longer I hang around the block, I find myself enjoying the company of complicated people — the so called “screw ups” — the ever so adorable human beings! 

Would you prefer to be around people who are always “doing great” and “so together?”  Not me.  I’m so imperfect; I’d suffocate amongst wanna-be-perfectionists. 

Wanna know my humble opinion? Folks who think and act like they’re so together are really more screwed up than you and me — at least we’re able to admit to and live with our humanity.  “Perfect people” are just in denial — too insecure to face their true selves.  To the goody two-shoes, “STOP JUDGING.  LIVE A LITTLE!”

If you were divorced, successful, stable career woman about to start a new relationship, and your charming, unreliable, two-timing ex-husband showed up saying “I really want to grow old with you”, would you take him back?

My head would say “NO WAY!”  But my heart?  “Maybe …?  Maybe … someday?”

LIFE — so hilarious, so complicated, so unbelievable! 

It’s Complicated — two thumbs WAY UP!  A must see this holiday season!  🙂

 

December 28, 2009 Posted by | Art, Attitude, Beauty, Body, Business, Change, Education, Freedom, Fun, Health and Wellness, Heart, Humor, Introspection, Love, Marriage, Mind, Movie, Passion, People, Self Help, Soul, Spirit, Spirituality, Stress, Success | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thirty Years Apart — Love or Lust?

A bit of both, initially.

Love … defies rules, social norms, “common sense.” 

Tumultuous, transforms, transcends!

Amore! 

October 10, 2009 Posted by | Art, Attitude, Body, Change, Compassion, Dream, Education, Health and Wellness, Heart, Introspection, Love, Mind, Movie, Passion, Purpose, Self Help, Soul, Spirit, Spirituality | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Perfect Education

Life:  Black + White = GRAY!  

LOVE IT!  LOVE IT!  LOVE IT!

Seriously, when it comes to education, I want nothing less than the best for my kids — my two sons and the students I am privileged to serve at my elementary school.

What do you want for your children?  What values are dear to you?

I try to model hard work, a kind heart, and community service.  I want all kids to excel — to achieve, to give back to society, to care for those who are less fortunate … to speak up for those unable to speak for themselves.

At the same time, WE are students of the world’s most prestigious school — the school of Life; rarely black and white — constantly challenging us to strike a balance between the heart and the mind.

Strive to achieve.  How easily and quickly we lose sight of relationships — life’s most precious gifts! 

Put relationship first.  How quickly we may, at times, lose sight of excellence — to better ourselves and our community.

Hard work, kind heart, community service — so clear, so simple — on paper.

Education — the ever so delicate balance between the heart and the mind.

Lifelong learner … that’s me, for sure.  🙂 

September 29, 2009 Posted by | America, Art, Asia, Attitude, Change, Christianity, Collaboration, Compassion, Dream, Education, Freedom, God, Gratitude, Health and Wellness, Heart, Introspection, Love, Mind, Passion, Peace, Purpose, Self Help, Soul, Spirit, Spirituality, Stress, Success | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Boundaries With Teens (1/10)

Perhaps there is such thing as being too open.  Perhaps it’s time I defined specific boundaries on what my preteen son can and cannot ask; after all, I am his parent, not his friend.

I wasn’t quite sure where to draw the line … until I picked up psychologist Dr. John Townsend’s Boundaries With Teens — When To Say Yes, How To Say No.

Dr. Townsend’s five key points are:

  1. Empathize and Identify — Let your teen know you were once a teen.  Share relevant experiences when asked.  Aim to listen, not lecture.  Ask questions, in the order of facts, thoughts, and emotions (from the safe to the personal)
  2. Be a Boundary — Define who you are, what you want, and what you value.  Parents are their teens’ external moral compass until teens themselves internalize these values.  Persist.  Be consistent.  Stick to reasonable consequences.  Teens need to butt heads with their parents as a way to learn how to negotiate with reality.
  3. Get Connected — Connect with mature, empathetic people who’ve been down your road (Yes, those without a judging bone inside their bodies).  Seek guidance.  Kudos to support groups!
  4. Face Your Guilt and Fear — We can only parent to our level of maturity.  Face your guilt and fears.  Your teen is still a child.  Teens should not become adult’s confidant. Seek understanding adults.
  5. Be United in Your Parenting — When parents consistently provide teens with warmth and structure, teens become less extreme, impulsive, and moody.  They are able to grow up inside, become integrated.

In other words, good parents empathize, define and implement consistent boundaries and values for their teens, seek support as needed, and continue to grow (acknowledging and facing their fears)! 

If this is not life-long journey, I don’t know what is. 

Tomorrow we’ll discuss parenting for single parents and blended families.

Thoughts? 🙂

September 8, 2009 Posted by | Attitude, Book Review, Change, Education, Health and Wellness, Introspection, Mind, Purpose, Self Help, Success | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Boundaries With Teens (And People In General) — Don’t Be A Pushover

The other day, my almost 11-year-old son asked me in the car, “When we (he and his brother) are at grandma’s, do you and dad have sex?  If you do, who’s on top and who’s at the bottom?”

Unlike my mother who believed children should be seen, not heard, I’ve tried to keep an open communication with my two boys.  But I was caught off guard — totally — I was NOT prepared for this!

After Erik’s unexpected question, I began wondering if it was time for firm boundaries — such as, “I’d gladly help you answer any questions you have on school work, friendships, relationships, sex, drugs, alcohol, etc., etc.  I’m here to guide and help you in any way I can, BUT my sex life is none of your business.”

Like it or not, my son is heading towards puberty and adolescence.  Might as well embrace reality and enjoy the ride (Do I have a choice?).

As always, “when the student is ready, the teacher appears.” (Confucius)

For the next nine days, I’ll share my findings and learnings from Dr. John Townsend’s Boundaries With Teens — When to Say Yes, How to Say No:

  1. Be a Parent with Boundaries
  2. Understand the Teenage World
  3. Set Boundaries with Your Teen
  4. Address (25) Common Problems

Don’t want to do this alone.  Thanks in advance for your input and insights! 🙂

September 7, 2009 Posted by | Attitude, Body, Book Review, Change, Christianity, Collaboration, Compassion, Education, Gratitude, Health and Wellness, Heart, Introspection, Peace, Self Help, Spirit | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Edible Education, Citizenship, and Stewardship

Where there’s food, there are people.  When two or more gather, there’s conversation — interaction and connection!  Food not only nourishes our bodies, but more importantly, our hearts and minds!

FOOD — what fun, effective way to educate, equip, and empower the next generation on the ideals of democracy, citizenship, and stewardship! (click here for video)

Edible Education — its real life, hands-on approach facilitates children and adults to get actively involved in learning and doing content and life skills — about health, nutrition, planning, organization, hard work, teamwork, caring, sharing, responsibility, and so much more! (see also All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten)

“Mom, watch me make an awesome omelet!”

Gotta go!  I’m heading to the kitchen!  Gonna cook with my son! 🙂

September 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Forgiveness Sets Us Free! (I just have to do it!)

What emotions are stirred when you hear the word, “Forgiveness”? 

If you’re like me, you’ll respond, “Again?!  WHY beat this ‘dead horse’?!  My head understands but my heart doesn’t want to.  I’ll forgive in my time, under my terms … when the offender changes, or better yet, when the evil creature is out of my life!”

Fortunately, life rarely works out my way. 

After a decade of blame, avoidance, people pleasing, pain, and cycles of disappointments, I HAD TO to come to my senses (not by choice … just sheer necessity).  I FINALLY realized, “Same issues will resurface until I learn life’s lessons.” 

I got SO TIRED of attracting domineering souls. 

My mother and I were thousands of miles away; my mother-in-law, less than five miles!  For better or for worse, my mother continues to take up residence in my head (Love you, mom … minus the dysfunctional traits I inherited). 

I HAD TO CHANGE. 

And though my journey is nowhere near complete, I’ve begun taking small baby steps — FINALLY learning to let go — one person, one layer at a time. 

William Marionson can tell you better than I can:

  • Our ego is about blame.  The ego wants to determine who’s innocent and who’s guilty.
  • We continue to invite similar souls into our lives until we learn our lessons.
  • Forgiveness helps us return to our most loving self.  We give love, and in return, get love.
  • When forgiveness occurs, the miracle of love takes place naturally.

“Forgiveness is not a difficult way.  It’s just a different way of thinking.  Forgivness sets us free.”  (Marionne Williamson)  🙂

August 24, 2009 Posted by | Attitude, Beauty, Change, Compassion, Education, Freedom, Health and Wellness, Heart, Introspection, Love, Peace, Purpose, Self Help, Soul, Spirit, Spirituality, Success | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dr. Medina’s “Brain Rules” (Summary)

Our minds create our realities.  Our minds’ abilities to process and execute complex, abstract information separate us from the rest of the species in the animal kingdom.

For readers joining us today, feel free to click on the link(s) of your choice:

  1. Exercise Boosts Brain Power
  2. Care
  3. Lifelong Learners Thrive
  4. We Cannot Multifocus
  5. Repeat to Remember
  6. Remember to Repeat
  7. Sleep Well.  Think Well. Kudos to Siesta!
  8. Get Stress On Your Side
  9. Sensory Integration Boosts Learning!
  10. Vision Trumps All Other Senses
  11. Male Brains and Female Brains Are Different
  12. We Are Natural Explorers

Thank you, Dr. Medina, for sharing your insights and research findings on the brain — one of our most important, yet chronically abused and underused organ!  🙂

August 21, 2009 Posted by | Art, Attitude, Body, Book Review, Business, Change, Collaboration, Compassion, Education, Health and Wellness, Heart, Introspection, Marketing, Mind, Peace, Politics, Purpose, Self Help, Soul, Spirit, Spirituality, Success | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment