Hold on to Home this Christmas

The word “home” conjures up all sorts of emotions. For me, it means: safety, support, belonging, family and that wonderful emotion, love. The word “home” symbolises so much in your life. It is as if someone has lifted a huge load off your shoulders, you have come home to cooked food, warm beds, a cup of tea – to relax!

At some stage in your life though, all this has little meaning when you can’t share it, whether it’s with your partner or your children. It’s what most people work so hard towards – A family who love each other, support and comfort one another. You have a sense of belonging which is one of the most wonderful experiences to have, whether it’s belonging to family, a Church group, tennis club, book club, and golf four balls. You feel good when someone notices you’re around.

My sons, Canaan and James, love it when my husband, Sean, and I have one big family hug with them. Canaan screams in delight saying, “We a happy family!” When I sit back and think of that small action and those special words, my heart swells and I think to myself – In that small moment of our lives, that is what we all work so hard for – You belong, you love, you are safe, you have support and most importantly, no matter where you are – You are Home!

Thank God for these special Blessings, may you and your family have a Blessed Christmas.

Olivia Brice (daughter, sister, wife, mother)

Involved Fathers: the way forward

By Konrad van Staden M.A. Clin.Psych (Pretoria)

We live in a world where parenting is receiving so much focus. It seems to be the topic of many talk shows and magazine articles. We even have entire magazines focused solely on parenting. But most of the issues of parenting are focused on the mother-child relationship with little emphasis on the role of the father. Our society puts so little worth on the role of the father, sometimes seeming blind at the expense our children are suffering for absent fathers. The consequence of absent and non-involved fathers carries weighted consequences.

A child born to a family where the father is absent is more likely to be exposed to neglect, physical illness, emotional neglect and abuse. Fathers who are more involved with their children are conversely more likely to be non-violent towards their children and partner.

A recent analysis of child abuse cases in a nationally representative sample of 42 counties found that children from single-parent families are more likely to be victims of physical and sexual abuse than children who live with both biological parents. Compared to their peers living with both parents, children in single parent homes had:

  • a 77% greater risk of being physically abused;
  • an 87% greater risk of being harmed by physical neglect;
  • a 165% greater risk of experiencing notable physical neglect;
  • a 74% greater risk of suffering from emotional neglect;
  • an 80% greater risk of suffering serious injury as a result of abuse;
  • overall, a 120% greater risk of being endangered by some type of child abuse.

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What distinguishes Toddlers Workshop from other mother and child groups?

  1. Toddlers Workshop began in 1982 in Green Point as the experiment of Otto and Celia Kossar who wanted to provide their own children with superior educational experiences. As two educational experts they were determined to find the most meaningful way of enhancing the interaction between mother and child. The success of their programme was based on the educational value and content thereof, and not primarily on successful marketing techniques.
  2. Toddlers Workshop operates according to strict business procedures. It is a business venture in every sense of the word. However, the founder couple, Otto and Celia Kossar, are committed to the upliftment of the poor and choose to live in simplicity next to an impoverished area. The next educational model that they hope to develop, will be for an economically depressed community. The hidden agenda of Toddlers Workshop is “a ministry to the poor.”
  3. Whereas mother and child groups usually focus exclusively on the actual programme, Toddlers Workshop seeks to improve the quality of family life and parental know-how through a lending library, counselling expertise of workshop leaders and presentations to parents in the evenings.
  4. Toddlers Workshop upholds values for childhood education which stand in contrast to the exaltation of “beauty, brains and money” of our consumer society. Parents are exposed to an alternative set of values, i.e.
    • the beauty of inner attributes
    • using whatever skills you have to the best of your ability
    • happiness depends more on inner attitudes than on the things which money can buy.
  5. Toddlers Workshop is a national organization which draws from a rich heritage. A system which began in 1982 has emerged through many trial and error experiences. Workshop leaders benefit not only from these accomplishments, but also from regular current sharing of ideas.
  6. Toddlers Workshop leaders undergo a standard of training which far exceeds any existing tertiary educational qualification for this age group.