Archive for October, 2013

October 18, 2013

What provokes you to write a column to girls……?

by Rod Smith
“What provokes you to write a column ‘to the girls I know and the billions I don’t’ as appeared in yesterday’s Mercury? Please tell me what prompts the exhortation.” (Heavily edited)

Hope provokes me. I write it in the belief that some young girl will read it and decide to take it to heart and see herself as beautiful, courageous, and strong, even if she doesn’t fit the stereotype propagated by glossy magazines.

I write with a particular girl in mind: the one who has been told “any man is better than no man,” the girl who’s been taught that it is her body and not her brain that will lead her to success. I write to the girl who thinks that life’s entire meaning pivots on marriage, childbearing, and obedience to a man.

Teaching children (as I do) I have noticed that at around 13 or 14 years of age, girls tend to second guess their opinions, raise their hands less and less, and begin to believe that it is really a boys’ world.

It’s these misconceptions I aim, with my very limited platform and power, to correct, and, if only one child, somewhere takes it to heart, sees herself and talented and powerful, even partially as a result of what I have written, then every column I have ever penned is worth the time and the effort – and if it comes to my attention, even I shall dance.

(When I’m excited I write long sentences).

October 18, 2013

To the girls I know, and the billions I don’t

by Rod Smith
Without exception every one of you is gifted, talented, uniquely curious.

You are to be treasured.

Believe your parents or care-givers or teachers when they express something similar.

It’s not just “adult talk.” It is not said just to get you motivated.

Talent, power, and bravery are divinely endowed. They are yours.

They are in your bones, your soul; in the very depths of your spirit and your being.

In the best of company your uniqueness, your talent, and the power within you will be encouraged, respected, and deeply valued.

But, some will try to exploit, ignore, or squelch you, and do so often in the “nicest” of ways, and even in the name of God.

Don’t cooperate. Not ever. Not for money, fame, recognition, or even to belong.

Stay out of control.

Arm yourself by chasing education (the only thing worth chasing), rejecting the foolish, pervasive belief that beauty is skin deep. Use your strong voice as early, quickly, and as loudly as possible. Stand up for yourself. Speak up. Express your views. Don’t hold back. Do it now so it becomes a way of life. Flee ALL who are more interested in your charm or your beauty than they are in your appreciating your brain and respecting your voice.

October 8, 2013

Times are tough……

by Rod Smith

“With regards to your article of 10/7/2013: Times are tough right now globally. We here in Durban have not been spared. Allowing someone into your home for a month is well within the spirit of Ubuntu.”

Allowing an adult woman and her mother into ones home for a month would indeed express the spirit of hospitality, generosity, and openness typically associated with the spirit of Ubuntu – if both the decision makers in the home were comfortable in seeking to offer such hospitality.

The husband’s spirit of Ubuntu surely loses its power and meaning, and is perhaps therefore not an expression of Ubuntu at all, when it is expressed at the cost of his wife’s well being.

Hospitality, like generosity, and charity, begins at home.

October 6, 2013

Should husband intervene between his wife and mother?

by Rod Smith

“What’s your opinion on this quotation by TV relationship expert: ‘If your wife has a problem with your mother, it is your job to intervene and try to fix it.'”

A husband could intervene and try to “fix” a problem between the two important women in his life but the results will be temporary and playing superman will get old. Intervening in others’ conflicts is the springboard to burnout.

And, he’ll be signing up to intervene in many more conflicts, which, except for the conflicts they mutually enjoy, will have nothing to do with him.

If a wife can’t negotiate with her mother-in-law she’s likely to fight with many.

Besides, trying to fix a relationship from the outside, encourages participants to think the issues stem from the outside.

Here’s an axiom: problems between two people are seldom about the “other” person. I’d suggest each woman deeply consider what it is about herself that conflict seems to be a worthwhile pursuit.

If a wife really wants to fix her relationship with her mother-in-law a good place to begin is with her own mother – go authentically deeper with mom, and she’d be amazed at how much else will begin to fall into place.

So, I think “TV relationship expert” is incorrect.