Monday, 30 June 2014

Do Unto Others: The Golden or Outdated Rule?

“Do unto others have you would have them do unto you,” was riveted in my head from an early age. Funny enough, however, as I looked around me, hardly anyone was living by it.  

Strange how that works, is it not? Adults teach one thing but practice another. Being the rebel that I was, more a quiet storm until later in life when roaring became my mode of speech, I would constantly question this maxim. Granted, I did try as long as possible to conform. 

In my effort to live by The Golden Rule, I became a doormat. Thinking that kindness would be return if I bent over backwards and stood on my head for others, my younger years were spent doing some serious mental and psychological aerobics to be “good.”

Please do not get me wrong. While I do not call myself a Christian, not anymore, I am very much a follower of Jesus’ teachings – well for the most part. Never the fundamentalist, however, I question everything and everyone, including Jesus and he was not the originator of this ethical code.
“According to Simon Blackburn, although the Golden Rule ‘can be found in some form in almost every ethical tradition’, the rule is ‘sometimes claimed by Christianity as its own.’ The "Golden Rule" has been attributed to Jesus of Nazareth, though he himself uses it to summarize the Old Testament: "Do to others what you want them to do to you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets" (Matthew 7:12 NCV. (Source: Wikipedia)
A Priceless Principle would be my name for the lesson that was taught to me after years of trying to “do unto others…" and falling flat on my face:

“You teach people how to treat you by what you allow.”

My experience has taught me that others will do unto me what I allow them to do, not necessarily what I have done unto to them. Over my 40+ years, many times I have gone without money to pay my own bills as my salary paid off someone else’s debt. Sardines, Spam (which I quite enjoy) and other canned fish or meat have been my supper, breakfast AND lunch many a weeks while my grocery funds bought essential vegetables, protein and medication for another. In more recent times, my experience has been that I walked away from lucrative and prestigious situations (let us say) in order to stand up for others.

What was my ‘reward’? Financial loss, infidelity and even bankruptcy as the “others” did not find it necessary to “do back to me” in kind.

From these situations I also learned a couple others things:
  1.  Never do for others with the expectation of a return.
  2.  If I cannot give freely and unconditionally, then do not
  3. Check my intention and motivation before doing anything. If it is self-serving, forget it.
To me those are the “Golden Nuggets” that were not taught to me and probably you. It is indeed true that people will treat you how you have taught them. So be careful of the classes you are holding!

Share your thoughts with me on this or any other of our topics. Browse our archives and let us know what you think. Follow us on Twitter and do *Like* our Facebook page.

Have a great rest of the day and Happy Canada Day tomorrow to my fellow Canadians!

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Gender-Based Violence & Keeping Families Together - DOS Weekly Headlines

Happy Canada Day to our readers in my beauty-filled second country! 

This is our 23rd edition of DOS Weekly and families and their health is our focus

DOS Foundation and this weekly is dedicated to empowering every woman and  her family. Our carefully selected stories for you this week cover career, the need for more employment opportunities as a safeguard to familys' well being, women's health and gender-based violence.

Do enjoy reading these and we thank you for your continued support. Consider subscribing to DOS Weekly and get notification once the paper is hot off the keyboard!

For the rest of the weekend, connect with us through our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Should I Die Tonight...

If my belief system was other than it is, the turn of events today would have me spooked.

What gets written as our daily topic is more often than not decided in the early morning hours when my eyes open. I check in with my inner self, figuratively feel my pulse and ask for guidance.

This morning around 4:30, the response was bucket list.

Do you have a one?

About 20 years ago I wrote mine. There were about 70+ activities, things to get, places to see, etc on my first writing. Over the years, up to about six or so years ago, I would pull it out and cross out what was accomplished or note the progress on a particular activity.

My bucket list has not seen the light of day in years. Written in one of those multi-subject notebooks, my list has been in a box that has now been in storage for about three years. I actually do not recall now more than half of what is left on my list. And I do not care!

Life is not about lists.

When I first thought of this topic today and did the first few posts on our Facebook page, I imagined that this piece would be focussed on some of the things left to do on my list before I kick the bucket.

Then I went to work with every intention to write on those my outstanding listed items over my supper break. As always the case with me, Life happened and my bucket list will remain closeted.

A member of my team passed away in his sleep last night. He was about eight years older than me. Only yesterday evening he and I exchanged pleasantries, chit chatted and said goodbye as I left the office. That was to be our last conversation but neither of us knew.

His wife called today to share the news of his passing. She noted that they spent a lovely day together earlier yesterday for which she was most grateful.

Death is not something I fear anymore but I was stunned this afternoon when my boss asked me into her office, closed the door and gave me the news.

My team was given the news when they arrived to start their shift this evening. I quickly slipped into my chaplain persona and hugged a couple as their tears flowed copiously on my shoulder. The team was given the evening off with full pay, in honour of our colleague's memory. (I do work for one of the most generous and caring organizations anyone could dream of!)

Before leaving the office myself (my boss texted me "You are to go home as well Missy"), I texted a friend to hang out but then changed my mind.

Instead, I searched online for a movie then called my daughter and invited her out on a date.

No more meaningless 'hang outs', conversations or relationships (not that I have any) for me.

Should I die in my sleep tonight or any night for that matter, I want the last person with me to be like my late staff member's wife and say, "Claudette and I had such a lovely time yesterday, then she returned to Source."

That is my revised bucket list. What is on yours?

Rest In Peace Don.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Button Pushing You!

Wednesday and so as always we have an audio blog. Do listen here.


I used to sport those “button down” outfits but found that as maturity sets in, I have little taste for them anymore. Why? Well I really do not like having them pushed, pulled or even noticed!

My tummy tends to be on the puffy side…even when I was much younger. It is simply the shape of my body and no matter if I were inclined to do the requisite abdominal presses or whatever it is that one does to get a washboard ab, it just would not happen for me. So, wearing those button down dresses really does not work for me as my tummy and somewhat of a “high chest” would put a strain on them – drawing more attention to my “weak” spots than anything else.

The same is true of my emotional make up. For years, my emotional buttons were very much on display and person after person simply could not resist pushing them!

Or was it I who was inviting them to?

That is the thing with emotional wounds. Unless they are known, accepted and the healing process begun or well advanced, they stick out like the buttons on my tummy!

Observers of these colourful buttons – envy, judgmental, jealousy, greed, low self-esteem, etc – seem drawn to poke and pull at them. Like attract like, so the person most wiling to push your buttons are persons who are wearing the same buttons although they might have a zippered jacket over theirs!

One book that really helped me with this – and getting me out of those buttoned down dresses was Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements: The Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. Reading these Agreements helped me with my "fashion sense." No longer was I willing to buttons on display for everyone to push. I learned key tools to help me clean up my own act and in turn how I responded to other people's behaviour.

The Agreements:

  1. Be impeccable with your word. I learned that “we act on what we tell ourselves is real, so I must screen my self-talk for negative, irrational chatter. To be impeccable with your word is to be truthful and to say things that have a positive influence on others and me.
  2.  Don't take anything personally. This second agreement gave me a way of dealing with potentially hurtful treatment from others. To not take anything personally is to acknowledge the unique identities of other people. While respecting their realities, I realized that their views do not necessarily describe me.
  3. Don't make assumptions. Assuming that I know what others are thinking or feeling about me limits me and I engage in mind reading, which is often wrong. The antidote to mind reading is to ask for evidence before jumping to conclusions.
  4. Always do your best. Doing my best means I will be my best me – not anyone else’. Therefore, I quiet my internal judge and the judgemental button pushers.
Button pushing works both ways. You get your buttons pushed but you also push other people’s. It does not necessarily mean you are projecting but more that they have something to sort within themselves that your presence brings to the fore. Do you know anyone who just seems to get angry when you enter the room? Well, you are a button pusher.

I found that these Four Agreements helped me to lessen the seeming irrational response to me. Would love to hear what works for you both ways – pusher and pushed. So share with us here on our blog as well on our Facebook page.

Have a great rest of the evening!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

How Do You Cope With The Death of A Spouse?

Claudette Esterine
The ‘closest’ person to me to have died was my father. However, ‘close’ is a relative word as, up to his death in the early 1980’s, I had seen the man fewer times than the number of fingers on my hand.

Harry Mac, as we affectionately called him, was my ex’s father and was more of a Dad to me than my own. He made his transition in the 1990’s. Publicly, I was stoic and the backbone of the family, alongside my ex, as we planned and hosted the celebration of his life memorial. Privately, I mourned with a passion so deep it was unspeakable. 

The death of a spouse I have never experienced.

As Mrs. Mac mourned the loss of her husband for a very long time, I became somewhat impatient with her demands. Not yet trained in chaplaincy, having not witnessed and stood in the gap with persons mourning the passing of their loved ones, my thought was “Enough already!

She was reaching out to fill a void – 30 years of togetherness with one man – but it was one that truly no other person can step into, not completely. Although they could not, she tried to get her children, particularly the younger one – my ex – to try. That was what made me impatient and even angry.

My relationship with death has changed very much over the years. I have moved from fear, bordering on major panic attack should a hearse drive by, to impatience for those needing ‘a long’ time to mourn. Today, thankfully, I have learned the lessons of grief and comfort. My training in inter-faith chaplaincy, particularly my experience observing a multiple heart bypass surgery and not seeing ‘the soul’, preparing bodies in the morgue of the hospital for family viewing and private farewells, along with my very personal spiritual journey has taught me compassion and patience with others’ experience of grieving.

Death is no longer something that I am afraid of yet I understand the meaning of loss of a loved one, albeit not a spouse. Yet I continue to struggle with the word “loss” and much prefer “transition” as death to me is not a loss but a movement.

This is all “simple” for me to say, having not had a spouse transition. So I turn the question over to you, our readers, who have had this intimate experience of the “movement” of a spouse into the other realm – might we say? How did you cope? What is the most important suggestion you would give to someone having this experience right now?

Share you journey with us here or on our Facebook page. I really do look forward to hearing from you.


Monday, 23 June 2014

You're Beautiful!

Claudette Esterine
Every morning I get a couple of texts. Sometimes it is three but they all basically say the same thing and they are from different people.

"Good of the morning to you, Putus," says one person.

"Good morning beautiful," says the other with a kissing emoticon.

The third is more recent and from someone new to my life; as well as to openly displaying emotions, "Hi!"

A warm fuzzy feeling creeps up from my toes to my heart as these message come in. For most of my life, hearing that I am beautiful was a very rare occurrence. In all fairness to him, it was my estranged husband who was the first to constantly say those words.

It really is ironic that it took "so long" to hear those words, over 35 years. According to her story, although officially she named me Claudette, my mother's nickname for me was "Cutie."

I never felt cute.

Not with the beatings and other names that she plastered on me as her economic situation spiraled. The names were just as bad as the ones she labelled my absent "good for nothing" father.

Little wonder that very often when people called me "Cutie," they might just as well have said "Dirty," "Useless," "Would-Turn-Out-To-Nothing" or even "Whore." That is what I heard.

They say 'name it and claim it' and an angel must have guided me away from the label "whore," which was my mother's favourite for me. No, I was not a wild teenager but my mother was a conflicted, contradictory woman. In the same breath that she was calling me "Cutie," she was beating the crap out of me and proclaiming my future as a Madam. Yes, she knew I had brains so I would not settle for being a streetwalker but would run the joint.

Occasionally my partner of 16 years would say, "You look good." That is as far as the compliments went. The love between us was strong and ran deep but those words simply were not uttered.

Maybe I was not beautiful?

Slim or even skinny was never my body type. By the time I turned 16, my body was fully developed and curves were accentuating all the "right" places. Only in my 40's did I began sporting blonde hair but it was not on the stereotypical head that goes with that colour. My hair was either sheared off or in dreadlocks (as it is now).

I am not a big fan of being out in the sun, so my caramel skin has always been only slightly darker than it is now. My lips are very much representative of a person of African-descent and my mouth and somewhat crooked teeth were shaped by my thumbsucking well into late life.

That, my everlasting sucking of my thumb, was what spoiled my beauty. Well that is what my mother said. It seemed to me back then that my Father's siblings agreed on at least that with her as the one and only time I stayed at the "Esterine" house, I was constantly being threatened with having my thumb stuck in the dog's butt! I kid you not!

Suffice it to say, my self-esteem barely had a pulse well into my late 30's.

Ironically, it took being out of my homeland and among strangers, particularly Caucasian ones, for me to start hearing that I was really "Cute" or beautiful. The years spent in Europe opened my eyes to my own physical beauty. My decade plus residency in Canada has seen me fully blossom into it.

It took an opening up to Life for me to know that I am beauty-filled and that my physical features have nothing to do with it.
"Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Buck teeth, thick lips, nappy hair, stretch marks and all, I never miss an opportunity to look in any mirror to see the beauty that is pouring from me.

Yes, beauty like happy is an inside job; and they are also best friends!

Go now, look in the mirror and tell that beauty-filled person smiling at you how gorgeous they are!

Have a radiant day!

Visit our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

Claudette Esterine is the Founder of DOS Foundation, Editor of our blog, a trained Chaplain, spiritual counsellor, communications professional and Nature's Pearl Independent Distributor. In her spare time she manages the call center of an Edmonton-based not-for-profit organization

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Women: Still Without Equal Pay - DOS Weekly

Read here
The 22nd edition of DOS Weekly and centuries since they have been talking about gender-pay equity!

Women work just as long and just as hard as men but in some places in our world, they earn $0.70 or less on every dollar a man gets. Some United Kingdom business leaders are talking about it again and we share highlights in our featured story

DOS Foundation and this weekly is dedicated to empowering every woman and our stories this week reminds us of the continuing plight of 200+ Nigerian girls who remain captive. Also in Africa, we feature the latest news on the dreaded Ebola disease; and turn attention to several stories making news in the rest of our world.

Other carefully selected stories for you our readers cover career, women's health and general interest articles.

Do enjoy reading these and we thank you for your continued support. Consider subscribing to DOS Weekly and get notification once the paper is hot off the keyboard!

For the rest of the weekend, connect with us through our Facebook page

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Gossip Girl: Are You One?

Claudette Esterine
Once upon a time there was a gossip. Me.

There are few things I do well, actually very well. Gossiping is not one of them.

To be a success at gossiping, you have to not care - about anyone, the truth or if you get broken bones.

That was and remains my problem. I care and in some instances a bit too much! What people think about me hardly matters to me, except when they can knowingly say that I gossiped and demeaned them. Getting hurt or being the cause of someone's pain is the last thing I want to do. Hence it is my style to be totally honest with others - to their faces.

It was not always like that and, in all honesty, there are times now that I catch myself midstream or about to lift off on Runway Gossip!

Gossiping sort of sneaks up on you.

Mindfulness is the best curative act or state of being for this insidious behaviour.

As recently as last week, I had to call an urgent team meeting as Gossip had gotten loose in our midst. Not liking my approach, which is focussed and professional, to meeting our targets and helping our organization adept to the new technological environment, an older member of staff decided to set her tongue a wagging!

One of her colleagues, God bless her soul, inadvertently joined in the chatter about me. I say inadvertently as this woman is the kindest person ever if not a bit - let us say easily distracted. Hoping to have allies in her battle to get me fired, the Gossip, came in one day to go to war with me.

Little did she know that I am not the proverbial "angry black woman," so refused to engage her. Totally dissatisfied with my lackluster performance (thank heavens we were not having sex) she headed to my boss to share all the gossip she had gathered.

My openness is not restricted to my personal life but in my professional one as well. So as the Gossip caught my boss, ready to pour the juice, she was met with "Hmmm, that's odd as Claudette and I discussed these new procedures and I gave her the nod!"

One thing that I have learnt over my 'career' as a gossip is that it never ends well. In the end, the Gossip drinks 'the juice'. Having drunken gallons of said juice, overindulging on other's seeming shortcomings, failures and, yes pain, I learnt my lesson years ago.

Should someone tell you that Claudette said this or that about you, do two things: 1. Check the source of the information and 2. Advise them that she told you already as I would have.

"How would your life be different if…You walked away from gossip and verbal defamation? Let today be the day…You speak only the good you know of other people and encourage others to do the same." Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Speaking behind a person's back is not my style. Is it yours? Share your gossiping history with us here or on Facebook page.

Have an awesome rest of the day!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Back to Basics: Four Tips For The Journey

Claudette Esterine
Wednesday is our audio blog day so do listen here!


Today we are going back to basics. No, not asking or suggesting that you give up the washing machine, microwave or any of your modern day amenities and take to the hills.

The basics that I am on about today are some fundamental principles that you pick up as you walk this journey called Life.

I want to share four such principles with you. These are things people told me and I either did not listen initially or I bumped into them on my way up from falling flat on my face.

Spitting dust out of my mouth I learnt:

  1. What is, is alright
  2. Wipe the sweat and keep going
  3. Stop touching the hot stove 
  4. It is really all about You

In short, what is staring you in the face is here and you cannot change that again. So deal with it. Do not throw in the towel. Wipe the sweat (or the tears) with it and keep going - in a new direction, a more intentional one.

There was one principle that was very hard for me to get and that was to keep my hands off the proverbial stove. For the life of me, I kept putting it back; checking I guess whether it was really hot! Whether it was the men I chose to be in relationship with, the way I allowed some people to treat me or the financial decisions that I made - I kept getting burned!

Only now, 40+ years later I got it! If it burns me once there is no value in putting my hand back on that stove. If he slaps me once, why wait around for him to knock my teeth out? If my so-called girlfriend is always too busy when I call to do anything, why call again?

Finally, I got it that the trajectory of my life, my happiness with it and my sense of ownership of it begins and ends with me!

Tracy Chapman has a song that I listen to quite frequently.  "At This Point In My Life" speaks to me in a very profound way. Life, as she sings, is for living as if only Love matters. I would add self-love first and foremost as these four principles are grounded in an understanding that you love You!

Wherever you are emotionally right now, whether single or hitched, spend some time going over these Four Life Basics and share with me how you are living them.

Drop me a line, leave a comment here or on our Facebook page. I look forward to it.

Enjoy the rest of the journey today!


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Wanted: Friends With Benefits - Dating Part 3

“Hey, long time no see! How have you been?”

You are standing by while your date hails a buddy.

“So how’s the job? You’re still at the same place?”

The conversation goes on for a few minutes with both of them catching up on work, World Cup and the latest repairs they had done on their cars.

“Give me a call, the number’s the same!” says your date as he fist bumps his mate.

And still, you were not introduced.

Why should you have been? You are not his wife, his girlfriend or anything really. You are the FWB.

Friend With Benefits (FWB) – that is your raison d’etre for being by this man's side which means you do not necessarily have to be:
  • Introduced to his pals
  • Be taken home for dinner with his family
  • Have the car door open for you
  • Called the next day after having a night of passionate sex

Yup, FWB’s are not extended those courtesies – or are they?

Claudette Esterine
Do not ask me as for all my experience being a Friend With Benefit is not one – yet. Or have I been? Have you?

The Urban Dictionary describes the FWB ‘set-up’ as:
“Two friends who have a sexual relationship without being emotionally involved. Typically two good friends who have casual sex without a monogamous relationship or any kind of commitment.”
Is that even possible – having a “sexual relationship without being emotionally involved?” A prostitute (male or female) with a John maybe but in my experience anyone who I ascribe the label “friend” to our connection, I am most certainly emotionally involved on some level with him/her!

A fellow invited me to have such a ‘situation’ with him – actually two.

In the first instance, the individual tried to be coy about it. He used other words, code words for basically for the same thing. My response to him was that I have no desire to be anyone’s booty call, at least not knowingly. I say “not knowingly” as I know of a fact many women (maybe men as well) who are indeed “booty stops” but do not know that they are! That is my giving them credit on the naivety scale as what else can you be when the call to “hang out” comes late Friday night when even the funeral homes are long closed and their clients put back on ice?

There are women who are FWB’s without either agreeing to be in the ‘situation’ or knowing that they are. They actually think they are “the one,” when buddy has “Wifey” or at least a candidate elsewhere – maybe even across distant shores. That was the case with the one who wanted an “uncomplicated” arrangement with me. He was dispatched post haste as this honey plays second fiddle to no one.

Fast forward a few weeks and I was rethinking my understanding and position on this FWB ‘situation’. Questioning my own outlook on relationships right now, I had to wonder whether I was too hasty. I have no desire to:
  1. Marry
  2. Co-habit
  3. Agree to anything longer than a daily renewal

Was I not then looking for an FWB?

The difference may be in the semantics. Anyone in my bed must be a friend. So that takes care of the “F” part.  My propensity to care deeply for people challenges the other part of the equation – I am emotionally involved with my friends and will give them just about any “B” – benefit – that would enhance their and my life!

My question therefore is simple. Is FWB situation a ‘crime’ prevention measure, with the offense being “falling in love?”

I really do not have the answer to my own question – so would appreciate hearing back from you, our readers. Have you ever been in an FWB ‘situation’? Would you get in one, if you have never been in? What about it appeals to or displeases you?

Read Part 2 in this our series on dating in a new age and leave a comment here or on our Facebook page. Please follow us on Twitter as well at least unravel this puzzle.

Have a great rest of the day!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Know Better? Then Do Better Now!

Claudette Esterine
Have you ever been in a situation where the moment you did or said something, it occurred to you “I’m better than that?”

It might have been on the job, in a relationship or simply driving along the highway after work in the heights of traffic and you gave someone the finger.

Been there, done that.

I am a very confident woman. Life lessons wrapped up in challenges, falls, heartbreaks, short-lived periods of joy that crashed into the 6’ high wall of failure have taught me how to be stronger. Yet, there are still times, even as recently as a few days ago when I thought to myself, “You are better than that, Claudette!”

My mother-in-law it was who actually inspired the question of this post.  She is a very active member of the DOS Facebook Group and a very candid one at that. Late last week, I waved my pink flag, my very girlie symbol of “I need help!” My Sistahs know me well and even though they all saw the flag and rallied to my side to offer their usual large portion of support, guidance and generally to hear what was bothering me, my mother-in-law made a statement that kept ringing in my head.

I could hear her Ontarian accent clearly in my head saying, “Isn’t there a saying ‘those who know better do better?”

End of.

Although my final decision and course of action were contrary to what most thought I would do (yes, I am a bag of surprise – LOL), Karen’s question challenged me to take the high road. Not much of an athlete, the incline of that road was daunting but I did what co-author, Clara Brown, loves to advise us all in DOS: I put my big girl panties on and did what I needed to do.

Is that not what Life calls us all to do – step up? Asking for help is not weakness. In my estimation, weakness lies in not knowing you need help. Once received, however, it is time to step up, shut up and do better.

It seems that I have inadvertently launched a campaign to “Love Mondays!” I recently learned from a might-have-been date/fling that the day of one’s birth is of significance in his culture. I was born on a Monday 40+ years ago and maybe that accounts for my love of the day. Monday is the day that I stepped into the world to claim my space and right to be here. More important for me, however, is that Monday is the beginning of the working week for most of us. We set the tone for the week with our attitudes when we open our eyes on a Monday morning.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will either be productive or pain-filled based on how we step up to Monday.

Today, Monday, I started my day just after 4:00 a.m. Coffee, posts to our Facebook page, tweets, responses to questions from would be clients of my independent distributorship, followed by a breakfast and time with a par amour, I stepped into my week. Karen challenged me to “do better,” and not being one to back down from most challenges to dig deeper, be more and love wastefully, I am doing just that right now.

What about you? Tuesday might have been the day you were born. Are you willing to “do better” tomorrow? Well if you are, now is the time to start. Stop any complaining you might have been engaged in today – about how awful Mondays are, how your life is progressing or about your co-worker, ex or boss.

Do better now and wake up to a Terrific Tuesday!

Share your experience with this here on our blog, on our Facebook page or tweet us!


Saturday, 14 June 2014

We Don't Value Fathers Enough - DOS Weekly

Read here

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Discipline Vs. Punishment: Why Spanking May Not Work

Clara Brown
"Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him." Proverb 13:24 (ESV)

Most of us over 40 years old grew up in an era where 'spoiling the child' was never an option. In my neck of the woods, Gibraltar in the parish St. Ann, Jamaica, as long as you were an adult in our small community, you were mandated to discipline any child who may have done 'wrong'. This was the expectation of all persons in authority, particularly teachers.

It was commonplace to hear a parent/guardian telling the teacher to spank a child, "Just save the eyes."  Corporal punishment was the norm in the educational system; an integral part of the disciplinary programme in all schools.  In fact, the canes used for this purpose were sold in the book stores.

In addition to distributing the chalk/crayons and books, each teacher received a cane with their standard supplies.  I vividly recall there was a particular male teacher who would utilize at least two to three canes in any given school year.

Today, that teacher would be charged with child abuse or some other offence.

Spanking and in the more extreme cases, beating of children extends to the home. Sometimes, parents spank their children out of desperation. When the kids frequently misbehave, parents may feel they are at the end of their ropes and are not sure what else to do. Often you will hear the cry, "Nothing else seems to work." Parents also resort to spanking when exasperation sets in and it becomes the first line of defense, with the parent reacting out of anger or fear. This serves neither the child nor the parent.

As a parent, I seldom discipline my child by spanking him. I try other methods and so far they been effective. However, on the rare occasion when I am forced to spank my son, I never do so out of anger.  It is a running joke in my household that when I make a 'promise to spank/smack, more often than not, it never happens or I forget why I contemplated it in the first place!

Researchers have found that children who are spanked show higher rates of aggression and delinquency in childhood than those who were not. As adults, they are more prone to depression, feelings of alienation, use of violence toward a spouse and lower economic and professional achievement.  Surely, none of this is what we want for our children.
"If we are ever to turn toward a kindlier society and a safe worlda revulsion against the physical punishment of children would be a good place to start." Dr.Benjamin Spock

Caning or spanking in schools is outlawed in most jurisdictions, as I know it. What led to this I am not sure but it was necessary move.  I believe that school is a place to learn not to be hit. Spanking chidren will not cause better behaviour and greater respect for teachers.  In my view, the opposite is true. Caning in schools only causes fear and disencourage full participation, possibly encouraging absenteeism.

My aim is not to promote indiscipline in schools or even in homes. It is important, however,  to make a distinction between punishment and discipline.  The goal of discipline ought to be teaching children skills geared towards proper socialization. Spanking does not provide the child with any such social skills and is merely punitive.

The next time you are faced with a challenging, even difficult, child, pause to consider what intervention best serves your purpose. Are you disciplining or punishing? What is the pay off of your choice? Would your child have gained any better social skills from your intervention?

Do drop us a line or leave a comment on this topic or any other of our articles that you found interesting and/or would like to share your views.

Visit our Facebook page and enjoy the rest of this beautiful day!

Clara is a member of DOS, a regular Co-Author of our blog and an Insurance Executive who lives in Kingston, Jamaica with her spouse and 11 year old son.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Peddler Of Poison Or Power?

Claudette Esterine
Another Wednesday that means we have an audio blog and today our talk is about "talk. " Listen here.


Is it just me or have you noticed that people scatter when they hear the words, "let's talk?"

Why is that so? Is it because they think the conversation is going to be painful, boring and possibly repetitive?

Are you in the habit of causing harm with your words or talking about the same thing over and over again?

I know I once was but with time, training and a true desire to have meaningful interactions, I have learned to watch not only my words but my bodily cues.

Another thing that has become a very important thing for me to do is to take care of my inner space. There is real truth and value in the biblical instructions to "guard your heart" as truly the issues of our lives do flow from it.

Our "talk" with others is also directly influenced by our heart, frame of mind and feeling of well being. People will enjoy speaking with you, even those you supervise/manage and to whom you have to offer not so great feedback, if your tongue is not poisoned.

What do I mean by that?

When our heart space is cluttered, darkened and/or riddled with despair, hatred, envy or any feeling other than good, it is near impossible for us to offer conversations to others that will leave them doing the happy dance.

Yes, it is possible to "fake it" for a while and offer "nice" sounding but our body language oftentimes tells a different story - the truth. This is why I have become somewhat of an expert on the cues people's bodies give me - a language that they quite often are unaware that they're speaking.

Words are creative and especially so when fuelled or energized with emotions. The acceptance rate of our invitation to "talk" or the number of persons seeking to have conversations with you is indicative whether your tongue is poisonous or power-filled.

Check your heart to see what is going on in your life. Are you happy or at least on the road to it? Is gratitude a resident there?

Evict greed, jealousy and discontent (and their friends) from the rooms of your heart and see how many more conversations start to taking place in your life.

Be sure to "talk" with us should you need support sending those eviction notices out! Visit our Facebook page and leave a comment!


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Everyone Woman's Dream: A Long And Lasting Love?

Claudette Esterine
It could be described as a shotgun wedding but in actuality there was neither an irate father nor an bible- thumping mother holding one to our heads.

He already had a child out of wedlock; in order for us to have private accommodations in the then socialist republic we need "papers" and we were in heat. Those were the reasons we got married. Very clinical and practical.

I was 22 and he was a year older as we stood before the marriage officer and friends, rushynk draped over our hands and exchanged vows.

This, however, was no everlasting love??

Married for not so "holy" reasons, our much coveted marital home (really a large studio apartment in a students' hostel) began unravelling rapidly. Our love was hot and passionate. We could hardly keep our hands off each other during the summer of our coming together. In fact, we were rabid enemies prior to those fateful months of June to August when neither of us had the resources to escape the vicious Kiev sun.

By the end of the Ukrainian summer, we were the much-talked about couple of the student community. The winter of 1986 did nothing to freeze our passion and by Spring 1987 we were married and expecting our first child.

Looking back, our missteps are more clear to me. We, like so many others continue to do, thought:

  • Being in love was enough to make a marriage work
  • Having a baby, in or out of wedlock, would bind us tighter
  • Great sex equals great love
  • Being married would cause the other person to change into the perfect husband or wife

Despite the beautiful song we opened the dance floor with at our wedding reception, we did not cherish our love or each other. Frustration, too much responsibility at too early an age and unhealed wounds in us both eventually led to deceit, infidelity and domestic violence.

Twenty plus years later, our relationship cannot be described as a friendship but a mutual understanding, I venture to say, that we were too young, too wounded and ill prepared to be hitched.

“It is possible to love your friends, your competitors, and even your enemies. It is hard, bitterly hard, but there is a long distance between hard and impossible.” ~ Herbert Welch 

As I watch my daughter over the years, see her transform from child to woman, growing through her bumps in the road, I harbour no resentment and have no regrets.

Maybe that is what everlasting love is? 

Loving not the person but the act of coming together, growing through your emotional challenges and seeing the fruit of the seed you planted thrive?

Awaiting the arrival of Kitten, my daughter's first child, that is my perspective and I now, indeed, "cherish" the love her grandfather and I shared.

Do you believe in everlasting love? If yes, with whom do you share such a love? Do share your story with us here or on our Facebook page.

Continue to have a love-filled day and month!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Forget Fear! Just Do It Anyway!

Claudette Esterine
Six months after turning 18 years old I was boarding an airplane for the first time in my life.

Terror or at least fear should have been coursing through my body. Looking around at the others, their fear was palpable. They were older than me, some by a few years and at least one who was a decade my senior.

We were boarding an afternoon flight from Kingston, Jamaica that 22 hours later would touch down in Moscow, the then capital of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R).

That was how the next seven years of my life would be spent - fearlessly.

I had no choice. It was sink or swim and Claudette had been doing dry land breast and backstrokes for a very long time. This was an opportunity of a lifetime, getting a scholarship for higher education and one that I was not going to punk out on.

Tears would flow copiously as my Jamaican behind froze in subzero temperatures in Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine where I was assigned to pursue my first Master's degree. The floodgates would open when an African boyfriend smack me around because I ended our relationship. I thought I would die when my Jamaican husband beat me to a pulp in my sixth year.

Only once I thought to throw in the towel.

It was after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and I had lost my first child, a son, and was pregnant again. The painful memory of seeing only the back of my stillborn son's head was almost enough to make me want to runaway to protect my new unborn child. Her father had a different idea about the pregnancy and it coming to fruition.

I pursued neither options and today she is pregnant with her own daughter, my Kitten.

Fear has a way of closing us off to many experiences that, while in the moment might seem terrifying, hold the gem of the most valuable gifts. In my own journey, fear has raised its head over and over again. Fear of poverty, losing 'the best' relationship, a dream job or fear of being alone are some that I have faced off.

Through the 'bucking' of my fears I have had a very interesting, exhilarating sometimes and exciting life so far. Have there been moments of despair, depression and desperation? Of course!

My greatest times of devastation were usually related to relationships with others. Whether it was my abusive mother, my father and his family who abandoned me or lovers who said it was forever but left - I have been brought to my knees, no rather crawling like an injured lizard.

Thoughts of giving up and attempts to so do were engaged and employed. Thankfully, Life was not done with me being here on Earth. My purpose has not yet been fulfilled.

Even after having my heart broken so many times, and having it reduced to a chunk, it still pulsates with red hot love. 

Very little phases me - then and now. The dishonesty of others still surprises me and yes, I am hesitant about giving my (intimate) love to anyone. The bonus, however, is that the experiences of heartbreak has taught me to love more generously, without conditions and wastefully.

I just do it, whatever, anyway, eyes wide open now, and enjoy the roller coaster of a ride we know as Life!

What about you? Are you too scared to be all of you? Share your story with us here or on our Facebook page.

Continue to have a fear-free a day as possible!

Claudette is the Founder of DOS Foundation and the Editor of our blog. She is a Jamaican-Canadian who lives in both countries. Single and a free spirit, Claudette is a communications and management professional as well as a Nature's Pearl Independent Distributor.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Keep Gender Stereotyping Out Of Raising Kids! DOS Weekly

Read Now
This is the 20th edition of DOS Weekly and we mark this milestone with a story about gender stereotyping.  DOS Foundation and this weekly is dedicated to empowering and uplifting women and our feature story speaks to the effects of "boxing" the human spirit.

"Keep Gender Stereotypes Out Of Raising Kids," the success of women's films at the box office and stories on important women's health issues were carefully selected for you our readers around the world.

Do follow us on Twitter as well as *Like* our Facebook page.  Have a blessed weekend and join us on Monday for more interestint, informative and inspiring articles!


Thursday, 5 June 2014

Step Out Of The Box And Imagine!

Clara Brown
"Thinking outside of the box" is a phrase that was made popular largely by management professionals. According to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, this catchphrase was widely used throughout the 1970's and into the 1980's in the business environment, especially by the highly-paid management consultants.

Admittedly, I have this 'signage' as the screen-saver on my laptop.  However, having listened to the term being bandied about recently, I am taking a little time out to really examine its meaning and accuracy. 

My early conclusion is that there is nothing 'novel' about  "thinking outside of the box." - not in the 70's, 80's or now.

Our history books teaches us that the Spaniard, Christopher Columbus, 'discovered' parts of the New World in 1492.  He used limited and very unconventional, to his time, navigational ideas and skills to chart his course.  Columbus obviously was employing what management consultants centuries later tout as "out of the box thinking" to set sail. Despite the ridicule of many, he did not allow that to limit his capabilities or define his destiny.

As far as we know, Columbus knew of no "box."

Today, those subscribing to a box concept feel they require superb leadership, be extremely innovative and have excellent problem-solving skills to succeed. While these things are important, my thoughts on this led me to Deepak Chopra's provocative quote:

"Instead of thinking outside of the box, get rid of the box."
We meet situations in our daily lives that call for use of adjustments to conventional rules and norms. Sometimes, when you are losing at a game, you have to stop playing by those conventional rules and switch things up to change the outcome. In other words, get out of the box!

The thing about thinking out of the box is you have to first know that there is a box.  One my talents lies in finding and defining it, then jumping out of it to the solutions.  To my mind, the 'box' is a composite of all the rules and structures we are given to work with or live by.

Those who do not see a box, like Columbus, behave very differently. What we are called to do, as he did, is to use what we were born with in the first place - our imagination!

Christopher Columbus, my pick for the original "Thinking Out of the Box" practitioner, used his imagination and engaged his creativity to make history.
"Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you anywhere." Albert Einstein

In hindsight, I now wonder why someone needed to ask me to think outside of the box? Was my imaging faculty asleep?

Imagination is the most powerful tool that all humans possess. We do not need to be told to think outside of the box.  Yes, at times we will need a little nudge here and a kick there to get our creativity in motion.  We are not always at the top of the creativity mountain as our minds do not have the capacity to necessarily come up with great ideas one after the other. Sometimes, it requires stepping away from the situation and the idea will come to us when least expected.

Our imagination is never lost. Contained or boxed maybe but always retrievable.  If there were no limitations or constraints in the first place and we had the freedom to think creatively, then there would have been no need for millionaire management consultants!

If our children are encouraged to use their imagination rather than our suffocating their creativity, we can look fowars to more thinking citizens around the world, greater tolerance among diverse communities and more vibrant industries and eco-friendly economies.

It seems that what is needed more than ever then is a return to Imagining! Would you agree?

Share your thoughts with us here or on our Facebook page. You can also follow us on Twitter.

Do imagine and set sail today!