On Becoming a Father and The Invasion of Ukraine

by bicyclemark 2 Comments
On Becoming a Father and The Invasion of Ukraine
Mark Fonseca Rendeiro
Rambling when he should be sleeping.

In a time of so much frustration, confusion and despair – a podcast is always appropriate. Especially when you couple that with the backdrop that this month I also became a father! So much joy on the one hand, so much struggle on the other, and then you have the incredibly unjust world taking another horrible turn. This monologue is the story of the rollercoaster month it has been and the mounting questions that obviously I am not equipped to answer but that doesn’t stop me from trying.

Future Co-Host

Don’t Praise the Kids

by bicyclemark

Arrived some hours ago from Brussels, after a very enjoyable weekend exploring neighborhoods I hadn’t gone to in years with my cousin and meeting up with my buddy Tim.

At some point the topic of child care came up, probably because of my imaginary children that you know, I’m always talking about and concerned about how I’m not raising them since they don’t exist.

But a great subject of discussion became praising, not praising, and over-praising one’s children. Though it was a theoretical discussion in our case, we each spoke a bit about how best to do it or not do it. Makes me remember alot of kids I knew that were praised for every little nothing that they did… and wonder where they are today.. did all that praise properly prepare them for life.. especially when things don’t go right even though others once told you about how great you are? I really wonder. Then again, if you were almost never praised, maybe you’re constantly unhappy with your actions; miserable in effect.

All this is the topic on a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED episode of On Point last week. Whether you have kids or not, I recommend listening. There are even some reasonable tips about what to do if AT THIS VERY MOMENT you realize you’ve been praising your kid too much… what to do now?

In closing I’d like to say to myself: “dam you did a good thing going to brussels this weekend, BUT, you should work on cleaning your room and fix your sleeping pattern.”

My Future Kids

by bicyclemark

If if never said it before.. I fully intend to have some children some day. Yup.. some youngins… and my dear Krizu predicts Ill have those youngins relatively sooner rather than later in my life.

Which brings me to today’s topic: Im pregnant!

(watching to see if my readership suddenly increases with Soap Opera like news)

OK no. BUT. I do wonder about what country is good for raising a child. And while I can hear my mothers voice as she reads this saying “it isnt about the country.. it is about the family and how the family raises the children”… I would still like to examine some other factors when it comes to good places to raise children. (besides a barn)

So who better to look to than UNICEF. If they know anything… its kids. And when they released a study entitled “Child Well Being in Rich Countries” I was impressed to see the Netherlands in first place, followed by Sweden and Denmark. I was also interested to see the UK in last, and the US in second to last. For anyone who cares, Portugal was around 17th, as you can see in the graph.

The study looks at factors that I admit I dont understand how theyre measured.. child well being, relationships with parents, material well being…

Still it goes well with my own surface research; whenever I see the huge number of parents waiting to take their kids to lunch, standing outside the schools with their bikes, on break from work. I think to myself — hey.. thats how it should be! In Newark we just went to the basement for lunch and were allowed to run around in a small square called the playground, and if a parent visited that would mean we were in big trouble. So while I don’t know exactly how great Unicef’s study is, and I haven’t lived the experience.. so far.. all the signs point to the fact that Im in the right city to raise me some youngins.

Explaining The World to my Nephew

by bicyclemark

Just got off the phone with my dear brother in New Jersey… asking about how things are going for his household, and of course, my dearest 2 year old nephew known as A-Ren. Throughout the latest events transpiring between Israel and Lebanon, I’ve been thinking about how people explain things to their children, or what lessons children learn by observing the behavior of nations. Although it’s not really something a 2 year old needs explaining, I can imagine at the more inquisitive ages, say 5 or 6, kids will have lots of questions about why things are happening this way or perhaps they will in some way be effected in the long run, in terms of their behavior in relation to conflict.

Photo Hosted at BuzznetThat said, the following is a brief letter from ME to A-ren… which I imagine him reading maybe when he is 6 years old or so. If you don’t like the letter, please keep in mind, it’s not for you.. it’s for my nephew, and the internets can read it if they want to.

Dear A-Ren,

Hi buddy. I write this email to you from the year 2006.. summertime actually. I’m over here in Amsterdam, and I know you’re over there in New Jersey, swimming alot and playing outside. What you probably don’t notice, but lot’s of people are watching – is the news. All over the world people are pretty concerned, as alot of people are in danger and really scared.. while other people are very angry and trying to hurt them.
I know when you read this, you’ll be in elementary school, and learning new things everyday. You’ll have lots of friends to play with, and sometimes maybe some children will not be nice to you. There might even be another little boy or girl who try to make you mad, take things from you, or hurt you in some way.
Other kids might tell you to do something bad to them.. to be mean to them back. You might even get really mad and feel like throwing something at them in the playground.. or pushing them. But I want to give you some really important advice:

When you get really mad like that… take a deep breath. If you feel like yelling… yell. If you feel like running.. run. But if you feel like hurting someone… do not do it. I know how it feels to be angry with other people… I had that too in school. I would get very angry and stamp my feet and yell alot. To tell you truth, I even used to bang my head against the wall when I got angry… pretty dumb huh?

The important thing to always remember, no matter how angry you are, is that hurting someone will not make it better. And if you do hurt someone, you are now just as bad they are, and they might want to one day hurt you back to get revenge.

Speaking up for yourself and standing up for yourself is very hard sometimes, and lots of people will tell you it is important to do it. But there are different ways to do it. Some friends might tell you that in order to stand up for yourself, you have to hurt others. The bad thing is, now you’re hurting someone, and maybe you’re behaving just as bad as the other boy or girl.

Anyway, I’m sure your dad told you all about this. But when you watch the news sometimes, you might see something different. Grownups have lots of disagreements, and lots of them think that hurting others in order to stop them from hurting you is the best answer to fix disagreements and stay safe. No matter what you see on TV or hear from other friends, this way of doing things is no good. The sad part is, they’ve been doing it this way for many years, and they still think one day it will work. The really really sad part is, they keep hurting each other, and many people get hurt.. and even die.. because many grownups don’t learn from the mistakes they made before… just like on the playground.

I hope this isn’t too much advice from your old far-away uncle. I just want to make sure you know that you’ve got lots of help whenever you have a problem, and with a family like ours, we can find the right way to solve it- together.

Uncle BM