I spend several hours each week helping my young neighbors improve their English. Last week one of the girls brought a library book that she had chosen for a book report.
She chose the book because it was short – not because of the content. It was a book about an all black baseball team in the 1940’s in America. (A land and a time she can’t relate to.) …So as she read the book I had a lot of explaining to do.
And that opened the door to talk about how racism and perceptions impact individuals and our world.
My husband and I just returned from his biggest bucket list vacation, EGYPT! ..And the last remaining wonder of the ancient world!
In spite of wonders like the Pyramids, the Temples, and the Nile ~ Egypt has experienced significant declines in tourism because of the continued reports about the conflicts in their country…
- Our first day of the vacation we visited places that were surrounded by armored vehicles, armed guard stations, and lots of men with rifles.
- On our second day, an armed guard accompanied us as we drove and walked. (It was quite an adventure to have a guard follow 5 of us through the city!)
- On the fourth day we met an fully armed group at 3:30 in the morning and caravanned to our destination.
Although we experienced no threats, it was hard to miss that safety was not something to take for granted!
Later that day we began to see things from another perspective…
I live in a place that looks like this:
I crave places that look like this:
Our current environment sometimes feels like this:
I crave environments that make me feel like this:
A few years ago my husband and I vacationed in Paris. We went for adventure, for love, for history… It was my first trip “across the pond” and although I was anticipating romance, joy, and the wonder of the old buildings, old streets and art.
I was NOT anticipating a leadership lesson…
Everyone recommended touring the Gardens at The Palace of Versailles. However, before we went, I did no research so I was completely unprepared for what I saw.
- Are on 800 hectares, which is the equivalent of 1,976 acres of land in the United States.
- Have over 200,000 trees and over 210,000 flowers.
- Maze-like hedges are lined with marble statues.
- Each path leads to one of 50 gorgeous water fountains.
- In the middle of the gardens lies a cross-shaped Grand Canal for boating and fishing.
- And situated on these spectacular grounds are the Palace, the Grand Trianon and Marie-Antoinette’s Estate.
Last week my husband and I vacationed in Amsterdam. During our visit there we had the opportunity to visit the Anne Frank House. I’ve seen the movie, read books about this horrible time in history and visited Holocaust Museums, but I’d never actually read her diary.
‘En route to Amsterdam I opened her diary and read details that I’ve missed before…
- “Jews must wear a yellow star.
- Jews must hand in their bicycles.
- Jews are banned from trains and are forbidden to drive.
- Jews are only allowed to do their shopping between three and five o’clock and then only in shops which bear the placard “Jewish shop.”
- Jews must be indoors by eight o’clock
- and cannot even sit in their own gardens after that hour.
- Jews are forbidden to visit theaters, cinemas, and other places of entertainment.
- Jews may not take part in public sports.
- Swimming baths, tennis courts, hockey fields and other sports grounds are all prohibited to them.
- Jews may not visit Christians.
- Jews must go to Jewish schools, and many more restrictions of a similar kind.”
As I tried to imagine Anne’s life at age 13, I immediately thought of my 13-year-old niece and my 13-year-old neighbor. And I felt my throat tighten, my eyes mist and my mind quickly trying to seal off those thoughts.