Personal observations on life

How patriarchy harms the next generation

Patriarchy | What is it, etymology, history, characteristics, examples

Patriarchy is a term h used to identify social organizations in which the authority is invested in the head of the family, the man, who owns wealth, children, wife and property. In other words, the woman, children, and the money in the family are all the possessions of the man in the family. Patriarchy and its typical social conventions are deep-rooted in our society, affecting all facets and strata of life. Nowhere is the weight of patriarchal mindsets more felt than the family, and for that reason, the younger generation grows up with an unhealthy dose of it fed to them everyday. There are a number of ways in which it harms them.

1. Skewed perspectives on gender

In families where the father is dominant, and where the father takes decisions without consulting anyone, the role model of the son is set. He most probably grows up to be like his father. However, unlike his father, he has to live in a world where women have education, learned opinions and views. He will be a misfit in such a world where women also work earn, and expect men to put in an equal share of work in household chores and bringing up children. He grows up thinking that man is more important than woman.

2. Lack of open communication

In a patriarchal family, there are things that are not discussed by the father with the rest of the family, such as the family finances and problems the father faces in his workplace. In many patriarchal families, the father and other male adults do not talk much at all, except with their own male adult friends. This gives rise to communication patterns that are very superficial, and the children in such families may grow up incapable of in-depth conversations.

3. Underdevelopment of personality

A child’s personality is molded by the family environment to a very large extent, In patriarchal families, girls and daughters grow up in close alignment with the traditional stereotypical definitions and roles of males and females. This leaves them deficient in a lot of areas of their personality which could be more like the opposite gender. For example, a girl may have the potential to be a public speaker, but since she has not seen her own mother speak confidently in front of a group, she may not even realize that she has this potential. Similarly, a boy may have the capacity to be an empathetic nurturer, but in the absence of a nurturing father role model, he might never fulfill this potential.

4. Promotes dependence

Ironically, patriarchy promotes dependence. Many of the patriarchal men do not know how to make food, or wash and iron clothes. They depend on women for all these ‘feminine’ activities. In patriarchal families, sons are not expected to learn cooking or washing clothes, just like the daughters are not expected to learn driving. Thus, neither the male child nor the female child grows up to be an independent adult.

Personal observations on life

When you say something that you should not have said…

This is me today. I said something that should not have been said. It should not have been said, because it caused anguish and anxiety for some people.

I was upset too. I could not take back what I said, and I agonized over the hurt I caused. It was entirely unnecessary for me to say it, but still I did.

All of us sometimes say things that we should not have said. But, having said it, what can we do?

1. Forgive

You are human. Humans are fallible. Forgive yourself even if the other party has not yet forgiven you. Treat yourself with kindness.

2. Apologise to the other party

A lot of lost ground can be gained back by just apologising. You could just say ‘ I am sorry, I didn’t mean it’ or ‘I don’t really know why I said that’.

3. Resolve to do better next time.

It is a lesson learnt. Resolve to be more mindful of your words and use appropriate filters. Resolve to have control over what you say at all times.

4. Be alert to triggers

If you observe your own behaviour and communication patterns, you will see that you tend to slip up at certain specific situations. For some people it could be after a drink, and for some others the trigger could be tiredness or being overworked. Some people lose their cool when they are hungry and some others when they feel too warm. Learn to recognise these triggers and be extra alert at those times.

5. Get back to normalcy as soon as possible

Re’establish relationships as soon as possible after your brief embarrassing episode. People tend to forget the hurt if treated genuinely nicely soon after. So, don’t wallow in guilt or self-pity. Get back on your feet, and get on with life.

English language teaching

Ideas for story writing


Have you found yourself faced with the writer’s block as you sat down to write a story? You are not alone. Here are some ideas for stories that could help you write your very own story.

Sample topic 1: Write about a time when a photograph or video was used as evidence.

Plan for the story

Introduction: student – studying in year 9 – midyear exam coming – not very serious in studies

Problem – exam is next day – has not studied anything – decides to copy – writes answers on a piece of paper hides under the desk

Climax – the supervising teacher sees the copying – scolds – takes away the answer paper – will get zero marks – student says did not copy , teacher lying-

Resolution – issue goes to the principal – principal orders investigation – watches the cctv footage – in the video it is clear that the student copies

Conclusion – student apologizes to the teacher and Principal for cheating and for lying. Punishment is zero marks for this exam.


  • Give names to the characters – the student, the teacher, the school, the place, and the Principal.
  • Add details of feelings and emotions felt. Add dialogues too.
  •  Write in simple past tense.

Sample topic 2: Write a story about a fire that went out of control.


1. Who are the characters?

Myself, my father, my mother, my sister

2. Where does the story take place?

My  house

3. When does the story take place?

During the December holidays last year

4. What is the problem in the story?

My house caught fire. The fire started in the kitchen where my mother was cooking.

5. How is the problem solved?

My father called the fire force (Bomba). They came and put out the fire.

6. How does the story end?

My father repaired the house.

7. What is the tense used for the verbs?

Past tense.

Different ways to start the story

1. With a description

Example: It was a hot Sunday afternoon during the Hari Raya holidays last year. My sister Sarah and I were watching a movie in the living room. My father was helping my mother in the kitchen, to make some special dishes because we had invited some guests for dinner.

2. With a dialogue

“Do you smell smoke? Or is it just me?” I asked my sister Sarah. We were both sitting in the living room watching an English movie. It was a hot afternoon on a Sunday during the Hari Raya holidays last year.

“Oh Yes. I do,” my sister said, her eyes widening in fear.

Sample topic 3: Write a story in which a map is important

Characters: Damit, Iman and Myself

Place: My house and neighbourhood

Time – last December holidays

Problem – Damit found a diary that belonged to his great grandfather. In the diary it is written that he has buried a treasure in the neighborhood. A map was attached.

Solution – Damit and Iman and myself find the treasure

Ending – We shared the money among ourselves.

Tense – past tense

Ways of beginning

1. With a description

It was a hot afternoon during the December holidays. Damit did not have anything to do, and did not feel sleepy. He went upstairs to the attic to explore it, just to pass the time.

2. With a dialogue

“Mum, look what I found,” Damit exclaimed happily.

“A diary?” Asked his mother.

“Yes, I found it in the attic.”

Expand the story line below and make it into a story of minimum 350 words.

Write a story about someone who misunderstood an instruction and committed a mistake


Allen was walking down the road for coffee and saw a poster. The poster was advertising a show at 7 pm on Thursday. Allen took the poster and showed it to his friends. They discussed whether to go for the show or not. Finally they decided to watch the show. When they arrived at the theatre on Thursday at 7 pm, the theatre was deserted. They were surprised. They looked again at the poster that they had brought with them. The time on the poster was actually 7 am. They were disappointed and went back home.

Personal observations on life

How to grow flowers in deserts aka survive in tough times?

Be the Flower that Blooms in the Desert —

There are times in life when you feel you just cannot go on. All the negativity, all the lovelessness around gets to you, and you feel all alone in a vast, uncaring world. Getting up each morning becomes a dreadful chore and you wonder why at all you need to prolong this awful agony.

At such times, how do you go on? How do you not quit? Is it possible for some good to come out of you even at these times?

1. Take only one step at a time.

Often, what makes it so dreadful in the morning is the prospect of the whole joyless day stretching ahead of you, with nothing to offer. So, forget about the whole joyless day. Take only one step at a time. Think of only the next one thing to do. It could be as trivial as brushing your teeth, or a little more rewarding as making a cup of coffee for yourself. Once you accomplish that, think of the next thing to do.

2. Go outside

Sunlight brings energy not only to plants, but also to human beings. Go out and breathe in the fresh air. Pick some weeds from your garden if you are lucky to have one. Walk around for about ten minutes or more, without wearing slippers or shoes. Let your skin get in touch with the elements.

3. Reach out to people

You may feel like no one really cares for you, but you are likely to have some contacts who will respond to you if you send a simple ‘hi, how are you’ message. Send to as many people as you can. At least some of them will respond. You will be amazed at how positively people will respond to a random ‘how are you’ message, even if you are not that close to them.

4. Do some self-care

Apply a face mask. Go for a manicure and pedicure or a spa. Full bodies massage works wonders when you are feeling low. If you do not feel up to going to the parlor, see if there is a masseuse who can come to your house. Indulge yourself.

5. Leave some things undone

No need to wash the dishes if you don’t feel like it. No need to do the laundry or fold the clothes. Let the house be dirty for a while. All that can wait for a time when you feel really up to it. Do only those things that take up minimum energy and maximum satisfaction.

6. Say ‘no’

Very often we do not have the luxury of doing the things we want to do, or not doing things we do not want to do. That is when the power of ‘no’ comes to play. When you feel very low, you should say ‘no’ to demands from people for your time or energy, even if it is your own children or partner. And you do not have to feel guilty about it. Remember that you are in recharge mode.

7. Create something

Creating something gives a sense of accomplishment. You could write a blog post, cook some dish for the family, or create a beautiful space by tidying up your table. It could also be as simple as making your bed. If you have flowers in your garden, cut up a few and put them in a vase in your living room.

7. Do not eat for comfort

Finally, whatever you do, do not eat to fill the emptiness inside you. Do not eat when you feel low.  If you have to eat, let it be just fruits or nuts. Eating carbohydrates or nuts will make you feel worse afterwards. Do not seek comfort in food.

Personal observations on life

Ten Commandments for mothers of teen daughters

A Mom's Practical Dating Advice For Teenage Girls

Mothers of teen girls are a species apart; they are dealing with a mine field of raging hormones, and often are more resilient than they think they are. If you are one, here are ten commandments to help you through it all:

1. Thou shalt support her at all times

Even though your teen girl will never ever acknowledge it most probably, she desperately needs your support, your listening ear, and your loving, non-judgmental presence. In practical terms, this means just sitting by her holding hands when she is going through a breakup with a friend, for example. It also means that you need to help her take decisions when she seems at a loss, but is too proud to ask for help.

2. Thou shalt be a mother, not a friend

You are a mother first, and friend second. As a mother, you are the responsible to set boundaries for your daughter, and even if she is annoyed with rules, the fact is that teens need rules. They need boundaries to exist, as long as those boundaries are reasonable. If you have a rule that there should not be any mobile phone use at night, because it interferes with healthy sleep, your teen should be made to obey that rule. Boundaries create the sense of security that teens desperately need.

3. Thou shalt not force conversations

As all mothers of teens know that it is just impossible to force conversations between themselves and their daughters. A teen will share only what she wants to share about her life. All a mother can do is to create the kind of closeness with her daughter so that she would want to share what goes on in her life. Even so, it is very unrealistic to expect her to share with you all about her day or what is going on between her friends and herself.

4. Thou shalt validate her feelings

What is important to your daughter may not be important to you. Nonetheless, it is important to her. She may be upset because of some trivial cause, but if it upsets her, it should be taken seriously. Nothing puts off a teen girl than dismissing her feelings as being not important. More than anything, teens need respect, and the conviction that they are valued for what they are.

5. Thou shalt ignore the eye roll

There may be very few teenagers who have not mastered the art of the eye roll. And it never fails to trigger the parent. However difficult it is, a wise mother would ignore it. At a later time you can bring it up with her, saying that it is not an appropriate response. Annoying as it is, eye rolling is a developmental stage that teen girls will grow out of.

6. Thou shalt tolerate their choice in clothing to some extent

All mothers of teen girls agonize over the length of their daughter’s skirts, and the tightness of their t-shirts. Most of the agony stems from the worldly wisdom of mothers; the awareness that it is not wise to attract attention to one’s body by dressing skimpily. However, it is best to let your teen girl choose her clothes by herself, unless of course, a particular item of clothing transcends all norms of decency.

7. Thou shalt be open and matter of fact about periods, bodily changes and sex

There should be open discussion about period pains, hygiene during periods, bodily changes, and sex, although sex is a topic hardly ever brought up by teen girls with their mothers. However, if one of these topics need to be addressed, be factual and authentic. There is no need to couch your words in polite-speak with your girl.

8. Thou shalt tolerate their self-absorption

Teens put themselves first, and it is developmentally normal. They might want you to cook for them right now, seemingly not noticing how tired you are. If they seem to be egomaniacs, that is because a lot of teens are. They are the centre of their universe right now, but it is a temporary phase. When the selfishness crosses boundaries, you can try to instill empathy in them, without being too forceful.

9. Thou shalt not criticize their friends

Teen girls have a tribe of friends with whom they have pacts of secrecy and companionship. It is a sacred tribe and is placed on a pedestal. Even if you feel that some of her friends are a negative influence, go easy. It is a good sign if she talks to you regarding her friends, and the possibly naughty things they are up to. What mothers can do is to instill a sense of right and wrong in kids so that they will know it when a friend tries to influence them negatively.

10. Thou shalt not tolerate bad and insulting behaviour

Teen girls can be very hurtful and mean with their words. Do not ever allow them to insult you with words or deeds. At the same time, do not get into arguments with them. Be calm in the face of the raging storm. Keep your peace and say ‘I do not wish to be talked to this way. Let us discuss this some other time’ and then leave the room. Don’t resort to hysteria or scare tactics. Your teenage daughter will respect you if you know where to draw the line.