Tuesday, December 27, 2011

An Open Letter to the Christmas in My Heart

So, it is Christmas in my heart.

It is four days of continuous celebration with the family and friends. It is thousands of pictures taken with my camera and iPad and other cameras owned by the other members of the family. It is lots of traditional Finnish Christmas food, loads of new games played on a game-player. It is Skyping and social networking to keep up with the friends and family who did not make it here. What a difference the Internet has made! Most importantly, it is wonderful conversations with the loved ones who are here. It is figuring out where everybody fits to sleep. It is catching up with everyone on everything that the gone year has bought their way.

The ingredients for the perfect Christmas celebration

The first ingredient is gathering the family from all over the world to one place; from Australia, UK and Finland. It is enduring the long flights through China and Amsterdam and then driving the hired cars for hours in the frozen roads to the destination. It is four generations of people speaking tree languages brought together by the ties of love and family. It is complete mayhem and a wonderful mix of personalities from the one year old to the great-grandma.

The second ingredient is building the Christmas tree. This one is a real Norway Spruce (Picea abies) with cones, brought in from the snow by the favorite broughter-in-law. It has the right kind of smell to it. It requires an engineer's touch with mounting the candles to make it safe. It needs everyone's input to become the perfect symbol for the celebration. And it asks for continuous adjustments and attention throughout it's existence until it is taken away in the new year.

The third ingredient is shopping for the right presents for everyone. It is the Secret Santa gone completely wayward as the presents pile up when 'Joulupukki' brings them and gives them away. It is the thought that counts and there are lots of love shared around. It is the little things from the healthy lifestyle to educational toys.

The fourth ingredient is the music and singing. It is a mix of Michael Buble, Karita Mattila, Gurrumul, HeviSaurus and the traditional Christmas songs, sang by the celebrating group in two languages, the goal being to sing every song in the book and succeeding. It is the sound of all the voices in harmony and joy.

The fifth ingredient is the visit from 'Joulupukki' on the Christmas Eve. Everybody knows that all the Scandinavian kids have intimate knowledge of what the Santa and the Elves look like. They do not have to relay on hearsay. It is Joulupukki himself answering those hard questions right then and there, like how did you get here even though there is no snow? The answer being that the rain-deer does fly, so there is no problem, there.

The sixth ingredient is the sauna and dressing up in celebration. It is those who are bros with it having experienced the Finnish sauna tradition from their birth and those who are being introduced to it. However, it is an important part. It is the experience of being clenched in mind and the spirit.

Mixing of the ingredients

In my experience the best way to mix the ingredients for a perfect Christmas is an appreciative attitude and unhurried space. Everyone is eqully responsble for creating the right kind of Christmas cheer which provides the best of everything for everyone.

What is fantastic in it, is that it is possible to take the best of all the Christmas traditions from each one participant and mix them creatively to form new traditions but with the same flavor that the old ones had. Forming new traditions is the exciting part in bringing together people from different cultures and celebrating the best of the best of everything.

In this new age of forming relationships and close connectedness of everybody, it is wonderful to see the young and the old feeling that nothing was lost but lots were gained by it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Inspiration Application; Marketing the Best of You!

Last week I was at the Westside Business Women's Breakfast meeting listening to a very interesting and thought provoking talk by Deborah Jackson about marketing the best of you.

Deborah is a client attraction specialist who has written a book called Easy Marketing for Women. It is Pink!

She has chosen to write her book for women because she feels that most of the books on marketing have been written with men in mind and mostly take their examples from their experience. Her book highlights the female experience of joggling many tasks at one go.

Of course, when listening to talks at breakfast meetings, they are always condensed to their shortest essentials and to get the full benefit, you must then read the books and follow their advise to know if it works. Like other times, this is my speciality. I like following advice, if it leads to something worthwhile.

So, that is what I did. I read the book and followed the leads where it took me. I created a folder on my iPad memos for pursuing the best of me, everything I get inspired about and everything I could do if I wasn't doing what I do now. This takes serious contemplation. My folder contains headings suggested by Deborah, such as Branding, Passion, Reasons, Customers and Ideas.

For a week now, I have been putting some of my efforts into building a make belief company on what I do best. I have had discussions with friends and workmates on what they think about what I do best. It has been a very interesting experience. I really recommend Deborah's book for those who are thinking about starting a business or are seriously concerned about marketing the best of themselves to the well thought target groups.

My Experinnce

Listening to Deborah and other motivational speakers in many seminars over the last few months has left me thinking about inspiration application as a concept.

Every now and then we do need inspiration. Sometimes the inspiration we hold leads to action. If it does not, then we have lost a very valuable opportunity. Sometimes, the action we take is shortsighted as we may think that we know what we want but in the end, what we wanted wasn't what we really needed or what was the best of us.

Deborah gives us good practical tools for considering our marketing strategy. It can be applied everywhere, even in marketing the best of you.

Thank you for taking time to read my blog. Here is a link to Deborah's Website:
Here is a link to Westside Business Women's Website

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Amongst the Childhood Memories; Christmas Characters Re-visited

Christmas is fast approaching. It is clearly evident that the shopping centers are starting to prepare earlier and at the same time people are too busy to notice and start thinking about it later and later. This is just the best time for the storybook characters to appear in their fancy best.

So, I found this Facebook page called 'Make your profile picture your favorite character until Christmas' and I 'liked' it. It was actually for the last year but who cares. This is cool, I thought and the next thing would be actually to do it. The picture attached to this posting shows where I have come to. My choice for this year will be the White Rabbit dressed as a Christmas character. I actually met him at the local shopping centre and was able to be photographed with him.

Steps to take when choosing your favorite profile character until this Christmas

1. Overall attitude

The first step is to decide if you like a traditional or recently created popular character as a favorite. Are you a traditionalist or a modernist? In the world of possible characters it makes a big difference.

Traditional characters for Christmas time would enhance the compassionate attitude of the season. Then you could also go for the quirky, or you could go for the elves. That would be enhancing the fun of the season. There is also the 'creepy' way.

My choice of the White Rabbit dressed as a Christmas character is somewhere between, a traditional storybook character with a quirky look about him. Mr Carroll could approve that, I think.

2. Following the times or maybe not

Step two is deciding do you what to follow the times or do you want to keep to the old look.

Sitting in a cafe at my local shopping centre observing this year's children's storybook parade I noticed that the characters walk much quicker than before.

The Loony Toons characters that marched past us were very agile. They are also taller and more streamlined and they have long skinny legs. No wonder that they can dance and sing and jump around the stage like anything. The other storybook characters were clearly influenced by Dr Zeuss characters or by the latest Christmas films.

The most alarming observation in my mind was that the Mother Santa and all her elves were so small and skinny. She wore high heals to boot. OMG, I say. They were cute, though. The tiny elves with skinny, skinny legs all dressed in green and red. On the positive side, the number of the little elves has grown. Instead of one round Santa and an elf, there are huddles of them all around the shopping place, including the Cat in the Hat and the Chrich.

Going with the flow is my choice. It allows for full enjoyment of all the new that has been created and lets you be inspired by the moment. If the old is reinvented, all the best for that, too.

3. Being charmed or not

The third step is to decide if you will be charmed or not by this new development.

So, I chose to be charmed by the crowds of tiny Helpers and Storybook Characters. For my favorite character I had three contestants, namely the Moomin Mother, Mad Hatter and the White  Rabbit.                                      

It was a tough choice until I met the White Rabbit in person. This is a point for direct marketing, I was immediately persuaded.

Merry Christmas Season to Everyone! Let's be compassionate in small things as well as the big ones this year!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Be Inspired by Everything

At this time of the year in Australia, I am really inspired by the colours of the spring. They are everywhere. Everything seems to bloom. And still, after so many years of living in Queensland and experiencing it, I get inspired by the idea that long time ago some forward thinking people planted flowering trees around the place in rows so that other people would be able to enjoy and be inspired by them in their unforeseen future. I also get inspired by the fact that everything that in my birth country is grown inside in pots here grows into trees and flowers as well.

I get inspired by little things. People who smile and say hello even though they do not know you. They are in the act of spreading goodwill and sharing their positivity. It is invigorating.

I get inspired by art, music and culture. Listening to inspirational music lifts your spirits spreading calmness and good feelings. it contributes to making your day better.
I get inspired by exhibitions and museums where people have collected inspiring things or ideas. Even after experiencing the Queensland Museum many times, I still think it is cool that the sex of a sea turtle is determined by the temperature of the eggs.

Most of all I get inspired by other people being inspired. The look of rapture, passion and enthusiasm when they talk about things that inspire them. It can be anything.

Recently, I was inspired by Yvette Adams at the Westside Business Women's breakfast. She inspired us by likening marketing to eating ice-cream. I can just see the visual image of a child enjoying the ice-cream and this inspires me further to try everything she suggested we try on the net.

Just couple days ago, I was inspired by a conversation about light bulbs. It is incredible how the technology and science of producing electricity has changed in the recent times. It is inspiring to understand that the little halogen light that previously did not light much has become so powerful as a light source that it can now light a whole stage.

Last night, I was inspired by the calming music at a friend's house. Listening to the clever piano player being inspired by a long passed composer made my day.

Today, I am looking forward to much more inspiration. My eyes will see things, my primary visual cortex will transport the images to 30 other processing centers of my brain. This process will create meaning for me. My limbic system will recognise the feelings that come to me and I'll be once again inspired by everything I see, do and think.

It is a viscous circle but someone has to be inspired, so why not you and me?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, October 7, 2011

Contemplation on Newly Learned Goal Setting Methods and Futuristic Thinking Processes

Recently I attended two very interesting small workshops about goal setting and futuristic thinking processes.

The first one was a lunch workshop at Jimboomba organised by the Logan Country Chamber of Commerce, the second was an inspirational breakfast talk organised by the Westside Business Women at Springfield Lakes. Both were concerned about the future, one with a personal focus and the other with a more of a global business focus. Both were about creating that little edge that makes us reach for more and allows us to dare to take a premeditated leap of faith towards the presently desired future possibilities.

From both seminars, I acquired a book. Paula McSporran gave me a link to her eBook The Smart Start; The Basics of Goal Setting and Craig Rispin let me download the eBook version of How to Think Like a Futurist; Know First, Be First & Profit First'.

My experience

For many, many years I have recorded goals for myself and my businesses. Every now and then I have picked up a new method on how to evaluate my existing situation and how to set new goals for the future. I have received lots of mentoring and advice on what would be the best way to take action.

Mostly, I have succeeded in determining what to do and how I wanted to go forward with my life. Mostly, I feel, it has been determination, positivity and good luck that has brought me there. I feel that I have gotten everything I ever really wanted and much more of what I never consciously knew I wanted. Does that sound familiar?

I have 30 years of records on my methods of personal goal setting and action taken from that. For the first 15 years, I followed a very simple advice from the collective of feminist mentors by traveling around the world in conferences, picking up trends and researching the accuracy of them in relation to the Scandinavian situation and taking social action for Human Rights, especially Women's Rights.

The last 15 years have been more structured. I have followed many leads and methods from doing all the exercises in the Experimental Guide to James Redfield's The Celestine Prophecy to experimenting with affirmations learned from Victor Boc's How to Solve All Your Money Problems Forever. I also have been inspired by many motivational speakers that have given advice on goal setting.

Paula's workshop

I was very intrigued by the simple and strait forward manner of the goal setting method Paula McSporran proposed in her workshop. It is to write a story of your 'best year yet' dated one year from the day you are writing it. The story will allow you to imagine what you really want to do in a short time-frame.

The next step is to write down what you need to start, maintain and finish in order to create your 'best year yet' in quarterly sequences. The most important step is to take action to realize your goals into reality.

This means that if you want to travel overseas for Christmas, you actually need to book your flights or if you are looking for a job, you have to write an application and send it. Wishful thinking is not productive for efficient and clear goal setting.

Re-program your brain

The most important reason why you need to be clear of your goals is that it will re-program your unconscious brain to work for the goal and attract situations that will aid in realizing your desired future.

One interesting recently released movie called 'Source Code' is based on the quantum hypotheses that there are many possible futures for us and that every decision we make will create a new pathway into the future. The goal setting processes rely on much the similar idea. Once you have programed your brain to focus on a goal, your unconsciousness starts drawing suitable circumstances your way to make it a reality.

What if you want conflicting things?

After the workshop, I went home and wrote a story about my best year yet based on what I felt and wanted on the day I wrote it. That was two weeks ago. I also took action on the most obvious things, the once I have control over. Now things have changed.

Since most of us look at life through our emotions rather than cold reasoning, it is about right that we would have conflicting feelings on a daily bases. So, now I need to write another story. The good thing is that, our brain is so plastic that it will re-program itself any time.

My conclusion from this experiment is to write a new story of the 'best year yet' every couple of months. That will enable me to determine what it is that I really want. After that exercise I probably will have some real goals for starting, maintaining and finishing.

A huge thanks goes to Paula for her practical advice. I think it is really important to start somewhere and keep on doing it.

What about the futuristic thinking?

Incidentally, a week from Paula's workshop I attended a breakfast talk by a professional futurist and a motivational speaker Craig Rispin. That allowed me to think of the future more in terms of the 'bigger picture'.

Craig is a very inspiring and enthusiastic speaker. It is impossible to get a still picture of him while he is talking. This probably is a good demonstration of the fact of how quickly the world is moving towards the future.

In 30 minutes, I learned a lot about how to think like a futurist. For example, we now have 468 million mobile net devices in the world. We are in the digital age and it has to be taken into consideration when determining business goals and strategic plans for the organisations we work for.

I also was reintroduced to many successful past futurist thinkers. According to Craig a futurist is a reverse historian. I can certainly relate to that. After reading his book, I am thoroughly convinced.

When applying what I learned to community capacity building and aged care, I can definitely see that there is lots to take in. Futuristic thinking applies to all areas from how and where to place your marketing strategy to how to strategize for finding opportunities in the growing new communities around us.

After these experiences I am re-ascertained that innovation is the key, both to personal growth and the business growth. Thinking outside the box is immensely important for the future of humanity in the global digital future with the aging population.


Boc, Victor (1997) How to Solve Your Money Problems Forever, Perigee Trade

Redfield, James & Adrienne, Carol (1995) The Celestine Prophecy; an Experimental Guide, Bantam Books

Link to Paula McSporran

Link to Craig Rispin

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Contemplating How to Build Strong Partnerships in the Community; Caddies and the James Homes Services organised the James Family Fun Day at Jimboomba Park

A few months ago two people representing the James Family Home Services came to my office. Their intention was to organise a Family Fun Day for the community and at the same time fundraise for our Community Care organisation. 
As a community organisation we would reap the benefits of this collaboration and together we could involve many members of our community in compassionate voluntary action in helping others.  This collaboration proved to be a real boost for building lasting relationships between local businesses and the Caddies Community Care Centre in Jimboomba. 
Organising the Fun Day itself was a huge challenge and the first attempt was cancelled due to weather. However, everyone was determined and the second planned day was a success.
Analysing the community partnership model
After taking part on many workshops on partnership building, attending relevant interagency meetings, local groups, committees and associations that enhance partnership building between the business community and the local nonprofit community organisations, I am left to thinking on what kind of community partnerships would be ideal in creating such a compassionate atmosphere that it would lead to businesses becoming active in voluntary engagement in the local community? 
My experience is that when I am attending meetings that bring together local businesses, such as The Chamber of Commerce or other associations enhancing business networking, everyone will mention their desire to be involved in the community.  The consensus is there. Everyone is interested and basically ready to get involved. How then can this desire be transformed into real action and support?
The Ideal components of local community action initiative
The first component is the human potential. Ideally the business owner is engaged in community participation. I find many women and men who have built a small business very willing to give back to the community in some easy and convenient way.
The second component is convenience. Community engagement must be inbuilt into the business structure. If a business owner is overworked and just involved in making ends meet, who has time for community involvement?  It is a fact that strategic involvement in the community brings in more business.  How, then, can we find a convenient form of partnering for the local community organisation and the local small businesses?
The third component is access to an agreeable community organisation as a partnering platform. This falls on the community organisations willingness to be accessible and involved in the local community social capacity building. Very often it is the struggle to grow and maintain the high quality service standards that prove to be the biggest challenge. Building partnerships with local businesses just is not in the agenda.
What about the image building
Ideally a local community organisation that is accessible to everyone and involved in helping those who are vulnerable in the community will attest to the values of humanity, impartiality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. This means the drive and willingness to include everybody in the community. It also means providing access to everybody without prejudice on the avenue. 
Still being involved with a particular business brand might be considered problematic. On the other hand, it is a normal practice of most of the large charities to partner with big companies to get more fundraising advantages. Just Google on the internet! Local community organisations can partner as well. The question is who would be an ideal partner?
The experience of partnering between JCCA and the James Family Services
In my experience JCCA’s collaboration with the members of the James Home Services proved to be an ideal partnering opportunity. As a nonprofit community care organisation we provide direct services to vulnerable people in the community. We provide aged care, youth and family support and emergency relief to those in need in our community. We also provide food services; food pantry and meals-on-wheels. 
James Home Services similarly provides direct services to clients in their homes, cleaning, lawn mowing and pet grooming. The small family franchises work their business in the community. While our aim is to involve everyone in voluntary service in helping others, they know everyone that could help.
Due to this our collaboration in organising the James Family Fun Day at Jimboomba Park was a success. The active, involved and compassionate people of the James Home Services were able to mobilise their group and other businesses in the day and at the same time fundraise for Caddies. We were able to use our organisational expertise in helping to organise the event, acquire licences and participation.
All in all this proved to be a wonderful start to successful partnering! I am looking forward to more in the future.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Notes from the 'Innovate Symposium', Brisbane, August 2011

It has taken me a while to absorb everything that was going on at the recent 'Innovate Symposium' organised through Volunteering QLD and held at the Griffith University EcoCentre in Brisbane last month (18-19/08/2011) However, finally I have had time to reflect and can present my thoughts on the Symposium.

My First Impressions

Coming in to the Innovate Symposium, I was not quite sure what to expect. I had been looking forward to attending for months, ever since my friend Ehon (http://ehonchan.com/) who was one of the presenters, had invited me to participate.

Walking through the rainy bush to the EcoCentre at the Griffith University, Nathan Campus was like walking to another space entirely.

It is a lovely building, set in the bush near the main university covered by trees and vegetation. I felt that it was a really nice touch to arrange the symposium there. It somehow illuminated to all the participants, what the organisers wanted us to experience, an un-conference, where all would be possible.

On our arrival, we had to choose two pegs from the tree besides the registration desk that would represent us. During the day we would use these pegs to get to know the fellow participants better. It was a fun way of enhancing networking amongst the symposium attendants.

What stroke me most of the symposium was it's attempt to reintroduce to the minds of the participants the different ways of artistic expression and creativity that can enhance the innovation process.

That in it's turn reminded me that the original word technology derives from Greek and Latin 'techne' meaning the 'art' in a much broader sense as 'skill' or the art that derives from the knowledge of how to do things. It also reminded me that it is only in the last 200 years that we have separated the knowledge as science from the technology, it's practical art (McQuire, 2006).

It was a really welcome effort from the organisers to make us feel, in a practical way, the possibilities the artistic expression can and should be allowed to freely contribute in the innovation process. The artistic expression is a vital part of human creativity and can be applied anywhere, even in business.

The First Day

The first day of the symposium combined listening and learning through Panel talks, World Cafe type discussions and workshops.

We were introduced to several interesting projects, including the Community Gardens in Newcastle, Stratbroke Island Men's Shed project and North Queensland (Ingham) Rainforest Rangers by enthusiastic project leaders. All the experiences mentioned were products of the creative and innovative processes that in a wonderful ways respond to the needs of the members in different communities around Australia.

I could relate to each and everyone of the presented projects and immediately apply the knowledge of their experiences in my own organisation which is currently in the process of developing similar projects. It is really important to build new relationships based on inventive mindset.

I was very intrigued by the talk on the Creative Engagement in Action by Tal Fitzpatrick and also by our house artist Tashka Urban. They had a very practical approach to creativity and showed some very inspiring pictures that demonstrated creative inventiveness in action.

Suddenly, a poem, that was recited woke the historian in me. It was read as a demonstration of a new kind of approach to life as such, namely that 'life is not fair'. As a historian I, immediately, placed the poem solidly in the tradition of the Lutheran work ethics and was struck by the fact that, here, once again, the human memory shows it's shortcomings in failing to remember.

I discussed this with the participant sitting next to me. The question arose, should we forget or remember our history? Is in fact remembering, a way to stop us from innovating as we are naming the known and placing new potentiality in an old framework?

I have recently sat in a seminar on aging where the presenter reminded the listeners that it is only due to the progressive aging of humanity since the last 10000 years, that our technological inventions have come about in the first place. It is only due to the accumulated human knowledge that innovation is possible. Is it only the historian in me that grows frustrated when we blatantly miss a cue or is it something we should carefully think about in the process of innovation?

I chose to participate in Ehon Chan's workshop about the New Media. It was a really fun experience. Especially I enjoyed observing Ehon's wonderful enthusiasm and his thoroughly idealistic way of approaching subjects and issues. We should not be limited by our possible reluctance to learn about the new media. We should just embrace it as human potential.

The Rest of It

The second day of the symposium was spent in workshops on barriers to innovation, personal practice in transforming the barriers and applying design principals to practice.

What I took away from the symposium was the great stories that were shared by both the presenters and the fellow participants. There is a lot of experience that can be shared to aid the innovative process. There also was talk about the concept of 'living on the edge'.

Many of the participants I talked with felt that this has been our lot. Being there, on the edge, just about to fall to the precipice of the new and the unknown. The Symposium really brought forward the fact that 'living on the edge' is a happy place to be instead of the frightening place that we think it is.

Now, after a month, I still think about the Symposium. Suddenly, during a busy day, I stop and visualise the picture that was shown there of a huge war tank artistically covered with a pink knitted quilt. I smile and go about my day ready to continue my 'life on the edge' of it.


McQuire (2006) Technology. Theory, Culture & Society, 23 (2-3)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How to Bake a Finnish Style Layered Party Cake?

Recently I was looking for some pictures to take with me to my holiday to Europe.

I am visiting family and engaging in some compassionate traveling by finding locations that inspire compassion in action.

In some old piles of pictures, I found several that were of the cakes we have made over the years. Most of them have been decorated by my daughter who has an excellent eye for tasteful looking decorations.

I came to think that finding the pictures should mean something. That I should share the art of the Finnish style party cake making with everyone.

In Australia, there is a great variety of styles for cake making. People like them sweet, dry and moist, fruit filled or just plain. One of the most popular cakes in Australia are Lemmingtons, small square sponge cakes covered with chocolate and coconut. They are eaten at every occasions. They are sold for fundraising, too. They are easy to make and do not cost much.

A sponge cake is the base of the Finnish or Scandinavian style layered party cake.

This is my simple recipe for the cake base.

One class full of eggs
One class full of white sugar
One class full of plain flour. I substitute approximately 1/3 of the class with potato flour to make the sponge fluffy.

Beat the eggs and the sugar until it is fluffy and white, add the flour and ster. Bake in a cake tin in 225 celsius temperature for 10-15 minutes

I cut the cake in three layers and moist it with pineapple juice from the crushed pineapple can. I also use the pineapple in the filling.

There is an ongoing discussion going on about the moistening of the cakes. Some people like to use rum, others use milk. I prefer the juice because it gives the cake an edge with it's taste which blends well with anything.

I blend bananas with raspberry jam for filling on top of the pineapple.

There is another ongoing debate about the filling. The most exotic of the Finnish jams is Claud-berry (lakka). Many people like it a lot and use it in their cakes. It is a matter of taste. So everybody should experience with their favorite fillings.

If you like chocolate filling then 'Nutella' and cream is a really tasty variation for a filling. Then I use milk to moisture cake layers.

The most important part of the cake is the decoration. The Finnish cakes are covered with whipped cream and decorated with whatever is available. In Australia we decorate them with exotic fruits.

The first cake pictured in this blog is the birthday cake that has been baked for my younger daughter's 21st birthday in Finland this month. The filling is of caramel and cream and it is decorated with caramel. The two other cakes are some of our Christmas cakes in Australia. They are decorated by my older daughter and add the huge selection of Australian fruits to our Finnish tradition.

Experiment and Enjoy!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Traveling With Compassion as a Criteria

Many people choose to travel the world in pursuit of great and famous sites and sights. I am much like that, also. But lately just traveling and sightseeing has not really been so attractive to me any more. What I want to do is to be challenged by what I see. I want to be immersed and fully participating in my travels. Otherwise, I feel the time is wasted.

I want to be able to tell a great compassion in action story. I want to be able to see something that really makes me think about what is special about the site where I visit. I also like to ponder about what it represents or how it relates to the transformation of human consciousness.

Many recommended famous places that are perused by visitors in thousands are great historical monuments dedicated to wars, fame and money. Generally, I am less interested in them.

I want to see the places and monuments that reflect compassionate actions. Something that has or is having a continuous effect in the changing human consciousness.

I am quite happy with small deeds. Lot's of small and less noticeable actions combined can contribute to the wellbeing of the humankind in a big way.

In the theory of apprehensive inquiry and strategic questioning it is determined that the questions have to be set up right to produce the desired results. It is better to start from the positive actions than try to fix the negative behavior. The positive strategic positioning will increase the positive result and outcomes.

My new blog at http://www.thecompassionateworldtraveler.blogspot.com/ is my answer to the quest. It records where I have been searching. In the beginning I will go backward in time to the places I have already visited but will also collect new interesting places or stories in preparation for visiting more places.

I hope this will prove to be an enjoyable journey that will enhance our understanding of compassion in action. Please, check it out and enjoy.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, June 17, 2011

Suomalaisuutta Australiassa monessa sukupolvessa

Artikkeli Toini Toivasesta ja hänen monessa sukupolvessa olevasta perheestään ilmestyi Australian Suomi-lehdessä perjantaina.

Meidänkin perheemme on ollut Toinin ystävä jo viidessä sukupolvessa. Hän oli yksi isoäitini parhaimpia ystäviä, vaikka heillä olikin ikäeroa melkein 20 vuotta. Äitini ja Toini ovat hyviä ystäviä.

Kun muutimme Australiaan 90-luvulla, asuimme Toinin alakerrassa ensimmäiset kuukaudet ja niinpä minunkin tyttärilläni on henkilökohtainen ystävyyssuhde Toinin kanssa. Se on niin vahva, että yksi vanhimman tyttäreni viimeisistä ja tärkeimmistä tehtävistä ennen Suomeen paluumuuttoa oli mennä Toinia tapaamaan ja tutustuttaa hänet uuteen vauvaan.

Suomalaisuus Australiassa on siis säilymässä vaikka se onkin muuttunut omaksi finnejen yhteisöksi, omine kulttuureineen ja käyttäytymissääntöineen. 'Suomalainen" suomalaisten itsensä määritelmänä australialaisten joukossa on tarkkaan rajattu tapa elää ja olla.

Monet niistä 20000 ihmisestä, jotka kuuluvat australian suomalaisten jälkeläisiin eivät ehkä identifoi itseään samalla tavalla, eivätkä siis kuulu joukkoon, ainakaan omasta mielestään. Monet tuntevat olevansa siinä välimaissa. suomalaisten joukossa vierata ja australialaisten joukossa suomalaisia. Toiset ovat 'unohtaneet' suomalaiset sukujuurensa ja mieltävät itsensä täysin australialaisiksi. Monet ehkä miettivät sitä, että missä se raja kulkee?

Kielen säilymiskysymys on tärkeä kriteria kun mietitään missä yhteisössä on mukavinta toimia. Toininkin viidestä sukupolvesta vain hän ja hänen tyttärensä, siis kaksi ensimmäistä sukupolvea puhuu suomea ja loput ovat vieraantuneita etnisestä yhteisöstään ja identifioivat itsensä australialaisiksi, joilla on suomalainen mummu.

Toini on kyllä ihanne suomalaisten mummojen joukossa Australiassa. Hänestä kannattaa ottaa oppia mummouden alalla muidenkin.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Yksinäisen päivän runo

Tänä päivänä olen yksin
tänä päivänä yksin oon.
Tänä päivänä yksinäisyys vaivaa
se kelju tunne on.

Tänä päivänä olen ilman seuraa
vaikka seuraa tarvitsisin.
Siitä huolta ja murhetta, vaivaa
tulee minulle tuon tuostakin.

Yksin kun olen niin mietin,
missä kaikki mun rakkaimat on.
Miksi yksin olen jäänyt ja turhaa
tänä päivänä tarpoa on.

Minun kaikki on rakkani menneet
tuonne toiselle puolelle maan
ja ystävät läheiset ovat
kaikki kotonaan yksin, hekin vaan.

Vaikka yksinäisyys nyt mua vaivaa,
Ihan sairaaksi tehnyt se on,
Silti täällä olen ja yksin
minun täytyy olla kun
sitä yksinäisyyttä suurta
nyt pääse en pakenemaan.

En minnenkkään, enkä kuinkaan
ennenkuin minäkin joudan lähtemään
Sinne toiselle puolelle maailmaa.

Mielenkiintoista luettavaa yksinäisyyden tilasta ja lyriikasta:
Taimela, Sari (2007) Yksinäisyyden avaruus. Yksinäisyyskokemuksen tilat "yksin"-kirjoituskilpailun aineistossa.Lisensiaatintutkimus. Nykykulttuurin tutkimuskeskus. Jyväskylän yliopisto

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Notes from Partnering - Above and Below the Line – Workshop

Last week, I and 20 others were lucky to spend two fascinating days in a workshop about partnering fascilitated by Ian Dixon (Dixon Partnerships Solutions) and Max Hardy (Twyfords). They are specialists in engaging people in partnerships.

About a year ago they formed a successful trainer partnership and have since trained Primary Health Partnership Council members and their prospective partners around Queensland on how to set up partnerships and engage in meaningful and strategic conversations with each other. Through these conversations the eventual partners gain skills in creating, developing and sustaining productive initiatives that contribute to the health and wellbeing of their communities.

I was astounded that there is so much to learn about this. I found that there actually is a structure to building strong partnerships. The workshop proved to be a very enlightening experience. Until now I have just gone from the assumption that to form relationships and engage in conversations is human nature. But now I know that some are far better at it than others. Not only that but engaging skills can be sharpened and used constructively.

I have always been good at networking and have understood that building and maintaining relationships is a natural part of my work in the community. However, as a skilled engineer, Ian has dissected the process of building relationships. He has made it to a structured process that can be used to form and build strong and healthy partnerships that are productive until it is time to ‘move on’. Ian’s way of structuring the partnering course of action is very useful and practical. I am looking forward to applying the acquired learning to my daily work practices.

Ian and Max work very well together. They have combined their skills in workshop practice and can really engage participants. Max is the social worker of the duo.

In the workshop he facilitated the exercises around the partnership building by introducing us to such very useful relationship creating and building tools as ‘Appreciative Inquiry’ and ‘Strategic Questioning’. “Research shows”, he explained, “that the way surveys and enquiries are laid out affect the results.”

Well, we knew that, but it was a surprise to get to know that the very process of the enquiry affects ‘how we are’. It is better to enquire into positives of experiences than fix the problems with negatives.

We were introduced to David L. Cooperrider (2003) and Fran Peavey (1994) and their thought processes in enquiring about the positive in human experience and putting their questions in such a forward thinking way that it contributes to the desired outcomes. We then practiced our newly acquired skill in groups. It was a well-organised learning curve for us all. In just two days we came out with a highly useful practical skill set. We also met new people and formed new relationships.

For me, this is always the best part of the workshops I participate in, getting to know everybody, sharing experiences and stories. I am looking forward to receiving newsletters and connecting with my new prospective partners through work and through social media.

COOPERRIDER, D. L. & WHITNEY, D. 2003. Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Revolution in Change, San Francisco, Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

PEAVEY, F. 1994. By Life's Grace: Musings on the Essence of Social Change, USA: New Society Publishers.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Notes from the ‘Communities in Control Conference' in Melbourne, Part 2

The Main Conference, May 29-30

In hindsight, the first thing I can say about the ‘Communities is Control’ Conference, 2011 is that I am really happy about being able to have taken part in it. ‘My Community’ has done a lot of work in providing the Australian Not-for-Profit (NFP) Sector and particularly the community organisations with a conference that as closely as possibly strives to meet our current needs for networking and updates us about the changing climate on where we work today. Without this conference I would have had to go to great lengths in trying to find out about the burning issues that many organisations are facing today while reviewing the sector or our changing relationship with the different layers of Government.

Sitting two days in a conference with about 1000 other people from all over Australia, often engaged in conversations was not such a hardship at all and I am considered a conference pro.

The second thing I noticed when coming to register was the people who had come to partake in the conference. They seemed to be from all walks of life. So many different kinds of communities were represented. It was easy to start a conversation with anybody and everybody. In fact, one didn’t need to know anybody beforehand to make friends.

For a Queenslander and a student at the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Not-for-Profit Studies at QUT, it is quite interesting that I had to come to Melbourne to listen to Linda Lavarch talking about the Government’s aims in straightening up the tangle of regulations and laws in relation to the Australian Not-for-Profit Sector. She currently is a research fellow at QUT and also is the Chair of the Australian Government Not-for-Profit Sector Reform Council.

According to Linda, this Government, instead of just talking is ready for action in harmonising regulations, striving to cut the red tape and straightening out the prevalent problems of the NFP Sector.

The good news is that the Government has already installed the Office for NFP Sector. It will engage with the Sector as a whole with four working groups and look into:

• National Compact
• Harmonising legislation
• Reducing red tape
• National regulations

There will also be an overview of the definition of charitable organisation.

The other highlights for me on the first day were the Joan Kirner Social Justice Speech delivered to us from Brussels by Sharon Burrow, who is there as the General Secretary of International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). She strongly advocated the international work the unions are doing in highlighting the blight of many nations in their treatment of the workforce, particularly women. The role of ITUC was also highlighted in its role of advancing social justice and equality to the world’s workforce. As a Finn, I was delighted to hear that President Halonen from Finland might have a future leadership role to play in this after she completes her time as President next year.

As a Queenslander it was also interesting to observe the role The Hon. Joan Kirner, the former Victorian Premier and the current Community Sector Ambassador to Australia, plays in the whole conference, not only through the social justice oration but through the warm atmosphere surrounding her and her ease in striking conversations with different members of My Community leading people as well as all the invited speakers.

As a newcomer to the community sector conferencing in Australia, it is interesting to observe that we have here a person who is highly respected and has a huge impact on the way the sector is conducting its business. As a historian, I can only remember similar kinds of conferences that I have participated in where one particular person has had such an impact in the women’s liberation movement during the 1980’s where the huge ‘feminist legends’ were still taking part in the conferences. It is clear from the conference that Joan Kirner is one of the big runner-ups for women’s advocacy in the Australian context.

I also enjoyed Hugh Mackay’s speech on his just published book What Makes Us Tick? It presented 10 social desires that we as human beings are subject to and that affect our community. It caused huge lines afterwards at the stand where his books were sold. It can be said to his credit that he signed every one of them, even though mine was the second last and he was already standing up as the next session was starting.

Miriam Lyons was a little bit fast in her speech pattern for me to catch everything she was saying about the book called More Than Luck but she was very witty and I was absolutely delighted to observe her smile and the first thing for me, when I get home is to download the book as a free eBook on the Website.

The last delight on the first day was the Choir of Hope and Inspiration [previously the Choir of Hard Knocks]. We heard the first ever performance of their first musical which will be performed in September.

The second day went from strength to strength.

Phil Ruthven presented us with a lot of statistics and forecasts for the future. Basically he said that we are now at the height of our lives in what comes to health, life longitude, wealth and wellbeing and it is only getting better. There will be more wealth, longer life expectancy and more health. That is the upside; the downside is that there will be a lot of change.

But we do thrive on change as human beings anyway, so the forecast is good, if we take it as such and apply a healthy ‘grain of salt’ to our expectations.

His speech very much made me to want to live longer in order to see for myself if he is right in his predictions. Living to 100 just might not do it. To succeed, that means that I now have to make sure to apply all the possible new inventions in health and wellbeing which he forecasts to be many.

The absolute highlight of the second day was the launching of Advancing Women: Women and the Order of Australia and the speech made thereafter by Elizabeth Broderick, Sex Discrimination Commissioner and Commissioner Responsible for Age Discrimination.

What has been the best part in the conference was meeting new friends. Even though we know that all the speeches will be online afterwards and that books can and will be bought the personal dimension of actually being there, participating in the discussions, meeting others, networking and starting to build those important relationships. There is nothing that can take away that.

It proves the point Hugh Mackay said about the desire to be connected. Through participating in this conference, we have strengthened our belief in grass roots communities and our conviction that people have power to influence change.

The conference organisers are very proud of the fact that with the help of Victorian Government funding and other sponsors, this conference has the lowest entrance fee of them all. That actually was reinforced time after time with conversations across the room as many told me that their boards did prefer to send them to Melbourne than pay an entrance fee in the nearer city, as counting together flights, accommodation and food with the entrance fee, the Communities in Control Conference still costs less than other competing conferences available during this month. Interestingly enough I was unable to find it on LinkedIn. Hopefully that will be amended next year.

Our new ties with the original ‘early bird’ group on Sunday held to the second day. It was nice to be able to say ‘good morning’ to people you know already and exchange experiences with them from time to time during the conference.

I also ran into friends from Queensland. There were many as a matter of fact. Observably, judging from the question times and counting the numbers, the Queensland participants to the conference were close to Victorian numbers.

All and all this was a very delightful conference experience, worthy of replay and recommending to others.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Notes from the Communities in Control Conference in Melbourne, May 29-30, 2011

Women Achieving and Flourishing

A Pre-Conference Seminar with Christine Nixon (Our Community & Women’s Leadership Institute Australia)

I am keeping my promise to report on my experiences at the ‘Communities in Control Conference’ in Melbourne. ‘Our Community’ has so far organised this conference for nine years but this year is my first time as a participant. It is really exciting.

My partaking was made possible with the kind support of Qld Health and Caddies Independent Minds, Drug and Alcohol prevention program for Youth-at-Risk which is funded with Qld Health CHIC funding. Already at the pre-conference seminar I was able to meet people who work with youth in other parts of the country.

From the start, it was a crash course in networking. As I was early to the seminar and did not know anybody, I needed to make friends and fast. Luckily for me all the other ‘early birds’ in our table were chatty and willing to share. Quickly we found that we all were keen users of the social media as a vehicle for networking. It gave a lively start to introductions all around.

By the time the official seminar started our table had found that we represented different States: Queensland, Victoria, Canberra, South and Western Australia and worked in a wide variety of services from fundraising and education to aged care and youth support services.

We established that we had all come to the seminar because we had been inspired by Christine Nixon’s work as a former Victorian Police Commissioner and as the Chief for the Victorian Bush Fire Recovery.

Previously, I had also been told by another participant that this particular seminar opened up a new area, namely leadership skills as a pre-conference seminar for ‘Our Community’. “Usually”, I was told, “the seminars have been about fundraising or grant writing.”

This one was particularly aimed for women and 120 of them turned up as duly invited to the seminar. It shows that there is a great call for this kind of seminar and that it was a good move on the part of the organisers. Each table had approximately eight places. They made a working group each.

At first we were introduced to ‘Chatham House Rules’ by our facilitator, Christine Nixon. They mean: ‘What is said in the room, stays in the room’. In her outline, she was adamant that the seminar would be a safe place for personal discussions and that respect would be shown to all participants.

First discussion:

Known achievers in female leadership.

We were asked who the female leaders we admired the most are and what qualities we think they could give us. Obviously Christine Nixon was high up there as an admired female leader.

I found it interesting that many people mentioned their local female council members and Mayors as most admirable. Obviously many also admired Joan Kirner. Not so many world leaders were mentioned apart from the Queen and Oprah Winfrey. Mostly, it is those near us like our own teachers and managers that make the deepest impact on us and so influence our future. Observably, I was the only one who counted in legendary feminist world leaders apart from Indira Gandhi, who was mentioned. No other historical leaders were mentioned.

Here is a summary of how an admired female leader looks like according to the seminar.


• Has lived the work and the family balance
• Has a belief system and a conviction
• Is authentic
• Is collaborative
• Is very respectful of others
• Uses a gentle form of influence
• Advocates
• Is compassionate
• Is resilient and determined but does not have to take on male traits to achieve it
• Translates ‘mothering’ as a leadership quality

Second discussion:

How to grow to become a good leader?

Christine outlined a woman’s possible pathway to a leadership role. In many cases she used herself as an example. It is why we went there, to learn from her experience as a for-runner for female leadership with heart in the tough male world of the Australian Police Force. In my observation she exhibited a quality of inspiring positivity which was recognised by the audience. We were hanging on her every word.

According to Christine, the early stages of leadership growth are shaped by the personal environment. The people around us influence us and show us the way. Often we just ‘go along'.

Very soon, though, an aspiring leader shows itself in the form of the development of direction and the show of resilience with the blending of values. ”A leader learns to lead” and soon has her own voice.

An ever growing leader blends her experience with reflection on her own and other’s behaviour. It is a tough thing to do, but the learning curve is worth the trouble. There is always a way to work through the tough parts. For Christine Nixon it is: “Layering the experience, having a go at it and learning from it.”

In the handout, we are recommended to read R. Kegan and L. Laslow’s (2009) book Immunity to Change (Harvard Business Press) as a practical source for good leadership strategy.

They say that a good leader:

• Reflects on their own and other’s behaviour
• Is able to handle contradictions
• Is flexible and can see both sides of the argument
• Leads to learn
• Makes sense of the situation at the time
• Selects, focuses and drives forward
• Is able to sort the ‘wheat from the chaff’
• Is openly ready to take on information and different points of view

Third discussion:

Managing people means ‘unlocking potential’

In this part we discussed the kind of managers we have encountered. On average it is found that each person has experienced two inspiring managers in her life. They are the ones we can ‘walk over hot coals’ for.


• Have strong rapport with us
• Have presented us with a safe environment
• Are worthy of our trust and respect
• Are empowered
• Care about our professional development
• Did what they say they do
• Show patience and humour
• Are inclusive

Mentoring is a way to enhance women’s leadership traits. It was highly recommended as a positive action. It ensures the continuity for female leadership. Emotional support is also recognised as important.

Christine highlights a survival strategy: “Don’t take yourself too seriously and focus on financial, physical and emotional wellbeing. Have a plan.”

Fourth discussion:

Focus on ourselves

We think about what barriers we face in achieving a leadership role. We find there are many:

• Being afraid
• Imagination
• Circumstances
• A limiting self-belief system
• Fear of success
• Lack of self-discipline

Christine asks us: “Has anyone ever told you that you are never going to amount to anything?” Many participants have experienced this. Many find it a constant struggle to overcome the barriers.

Christine tells us her favourite line on how to endure: “This is not a sprint, it is a marathon!” She has heard it from some wise person in her past as a comment. It pretty well reflects everyone’s idea about overcoming the huge barriers women in general still face in leadership roles is many work environments. I certainly see that as a long-time advocate for women’s and human rights.

Luckily this seminar has demonstrated that most of us can name an admired female leader more close to home. One we can learn from and mirror, if we are so inspired.

Concluding remarks

When Christine was asked about her management style, she said that she uses ‘the shared leadership model’. She also translates the ‘good parenting model’ of “I do not like that behaviour but I love you” in her leadership practice. She tells us she used ‘support and pressure’ model in order to get results as a Police Commissioner. As an example she tells us about working towards lowering the number of stolen cars in Victoria, or lowering the number of domestic violence cases. She tells us to think about “what is real” and to have ‘a sense of yourself.” It is really beneficial to think about who you are. It is also important to admit to mistakes.

About criticisms and those who want to put us down Christine advices: “Have a look at who your critics are.” There is a need to make a decision about the people criticising you, to decide if listening to them is beneficial for the direction of your future.

Lastly Christine quotes Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself because everybody else is taken.” This is good advice to us all.

To say the least, I enjoyed this seminar very much. It was a really inspiring experience and gave me a chance for reflection. Many fellow participants along with me liked the fact that we got the Certificate of Recognition at registration, right at the start. Only showing up was enough to be recognised.

I am really looking forward to reading Christine’s book. It is called Fair Cop and comes out in August.

Since this report is put on my blog a few days after the seminar, due to the Internet failure in my hotel, I can also report that I had many follow up conversations on this seminar. I had these conversations not only with the participants on my table but also with others, including men who the participants have talked enthusiastically to about the seminar. What did strike me the most was the accuracy of the proceedings that was recounted back to me.

It is very positive to know that the seminar had an effect beyond the day it was held.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Contemplating Motherhood

On Mother’s Day

I never was a great believe in the Mother’s Day. I always thought that celebrating Mother for one day, when 364 days a year the mothers of the world were treated badly really wasn’t a celebration. I preferred the International Women’s Day on March the 8th because it highlights the importance of our work for building equal relationships between the sexes in our society. My view of Mother’s Day has been impeded by my knowledge of the inbuilt violence against women in our society, but it has grown on me. I am clearly thawing. It is the grandmotherhood that is doing the job of making me see the more positive side of the Mother’s Day celebration.

Do not take me in the wrong way. I have enjoyed many Mother’s Days. In fact my first Mother’s Day as a young mother was when I came home with a new baby boy. I have also instigated a tradition of buying pyjamas to everybody to celebrate Mother’s Day. It has been fun. I have enjoyed sending cards to my own mother, grandmother and greatgrandmother. I was aware that they clearly felt that this day was an important achievement and I have always respected their views. But that time when my daughter gave a Mother’s Day Speech at the Finnish Society’s Mother’s Day celebration a few years back started the thawing process for me for real. And then of course she gave me my first grandchild and my son gave me my second one. That got me researching about this phenomenon called Motherhood.

Biological considerations on motherhood

By interpreting what the brain research during the last 20 years says, I can quite confidentially trace my grandmother’s urge for compensate emotional strain by retail therapy to her mother. My greatgrandmother had lost two babies before giving birth to grandmother. This experience of deep loss had left her emotionally incapable of connecting with the new baby, cuddling her or smiling with her. That caused grandmother a lasting trauma.

According to the brain research, it is the right side of our brain that has the primary capacity to understand and regulate emotions (McGilchrist, 2010). The left side interprets more mixed feelings. A baby stores the face of the primary carer to the right side of the brain. The more we, mother or carer, adore them, interact with them and cuddle them,the more their capability for empathy is developed (Szalavitz and Perry, 2010). According to the most confirmed research done with rats, the way we nurture our young will choose the DNA pathways that determine how we and the generations after us nurture our young.

But all is not lost to biology as according to research we choose the best of the best by mirroring the carer that has nurtured us most as babies. So, interpreting this research leads me to conclude that my grandmother chose to mirror my greatgrandfather, who at the time, instead of greatgrandmother had the capacity left to adore her, cuddle her and think that she was the best. Due to this emotional interpretation she then in her turn adored my mother who then adored me. This was enhanced by my father adoring me as well as he thought that I along with my sister was the best of the best. Following this lead, I of course loved my babies ‘to bits’ and my kids with the help of their spouses love theirs the same.

This according to grandparental investment theory leads to the best possible way for our survival as a family (Coall and Hertwig, 2010). So, why wouldn’t our brain, after a long generational left brain preferred functional interpretation of the pieces of information coming from the whole reality of the right brain knowledge come to the logical conclusion that a day called Mother’s Day would be the best representation of the culmination of this development. That is that on one particular day all primary carers called Mothers in different languages should be celebrated as tokens for this empathy development in our society. This decision of course mirrors the similar logical process by which Alexandra Kollontai and others determined that March the 8th would be the International Women’s Day in rejection of the Mother’s Day celebrations that did not feel politically correct for them. This is of course why we now have a Father’s Day, a Children’s Day and as many token days as we care to celebrate for any reason what-so-ever. They are not the reality but bring the thought into focus for a time, just like our left brain likes it.

Mother’s Day as a cultural statement of intention

To me Mother’s Day as such has not been real. It has lacked consistency in mirroring what really is the daily life of a mother. I can see it as a statement of intention in relation to what would be ideal. However, we are nowhere near there. But as with the idea of Santa Claus as a representation of goodwill in society, the idea of Mother’s Day as representing how we would like to treat all the mothers of the world, every day, is a valid ideal.

When looking at the history of Motherhood, it can only be said that there is a huge lack of sources and materials from where to look for the record of the concrete experience of motherhood in our culture. Across the cultures, through the history, women have been described as ‘made for motherhood’. They are essentially mothers by virtue. According to available sources all women were born to motherhood (Vanderberg-Daves, 2002). Much of these sources are religious statements on Virgin Mothers of various religions as a picture perfect ideal of womanhood. For a long time this distorted picture has determined motherhood as ideal womanhood.

The other reality for women comes from the statistics of domestic violence across the cultures. For me, as a researcher who has researched violence against women for decades and as a result has at times been totally disillusioned by the utter horror of it all, Mother’s Day celebrations seem a little bit too small as an effort to bring the inequality of the situation into focus. However, I am now warming to the idea. As a historian of ideas, I do recognise that it takes centuries to bring an idea to reality and 99-years of Mother’s Days and about the same amount of the Women’s Days is really a short time.

This year I will happily accept the flowers for the Mother’s Day. In fact I’ll buy the Tulips all on my own. I will also go and get myself a Whipper Snipper to ensure that these flowers will keep growing in my garden for the sake of motherhood and grandmotherhood as a cultural statement of genuine change in the world for more empathy in humanity.


COALL, D. & HERTWIG, R. 2010. Toward an integrative framework of grandparental investment. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33, 40.
MCGILCHRIST, I. 2010. The Master and His Emissary; The Divided Brain and the Making of the Modern World, New Haven and London, Yale University Press.
SZALAVITZ, M. & PERRY, B. D. 2010. Born For Love; Why Empathy is Essential - and Endangered, William Morrow, Harper Collins Publishers.
VANDERBERG-DAVES, J. 2002. Teaching Motherhood in History. Women's Studies Quarterly, 30, Fall, 3/4, 234-255.