As mulheres choram por causa dos homens e os homens normalmente choram por causa de mulheres

Second article published in the “Visão magazine blog”

Bureh is a very special place.

Not only because it survived the Ebola, “never entered here” or the civil war “warriors were afraid to be trapped” but also because it is one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. The irreverent swell, the sand ravaged by the river and the huge green mountains on the back contributes to its amazing natural glamor.

The people who live here are also unusual. Bongue for having finally begun to pay the installments of his first solar system in the wooden house; Kiki who worked hard to accomplish her dream and today she is the first surfer woman in the country; The French lady of the homestay, who came as a tourist for over 10 years and never managed to leave; And Powerman, who beggin to learn yoga with tourists and finally finished his official training. Now he strongly believes that “many of  the social problems of new generations, like my son, could end up if they would do yoga”.

Surfing and fishing are main activities. And so, apart from the translator, bikinis and sea dives seem to me to be essential to fulfill my purpose (Is it important to have a cultural integration, or not?). Bureh has the first and only community surf camp in the country. Today it is energized by a dozen young Sierra Leoneses, like John or Kiki, who try to inspire the young community by surfing.

I suspected that talking about emotions in a place like this without mention waves, wasnt likely to happen. And it was confirmed when the younger brother of the Maray family (age 5) answered me assertively “Adults cry when there are no waves!” This is one of the questions I ask throughout the four corners of the world. “Why do adults cry?” And automatically refers to empathy. It seems simple, but asking ourselves what will other people feel in different situations, allows us to gain perspective on ourselves, others and the world. To practice empathy.

In Lisbon, 5-year-old Rafael answered me by asking “Do they cry ?! i didnt know…” “Maybe it’s because they’re sad … and then the best thing to do is cry,” added the oldest of the Maray brothers (aged 8).   Mia told me after a few moments of reflection that “it´s because they are human … they also suffer”. Diogo, Pedro (Lisboetas, 8 years old) and Tendza (de Bureh, 7 years old) were certain that it was because they had problems in love, sometimes “women cry because of men and men usually cry because Of women. ” But Tendza was divided and added “it can also be because of friends … that’s it. When they do something bad to them. ” Maria Mackabala, also surprised me with her 8-year-old. She stated that adults cry “because when they grow up, people stop having other people to encourage them, to support them and to accompany them in difficult times.” To this Mackabala told me that it was fundamental “to approach those who are sad and to be together. Encourage that person until it passes. “

 Empathy is the competence that underlies relationships.
It is the ability to put myself in someones shoes, to understand what others may feel in a given situation. It is therefore an essential competence for healthy, more harmonious and, above all, more humane relationships.
It is at the basis of altruism, generosity and socially responsible decision-making. A society without empathy is an inhuman society, as it happens with terrorism, socially anemic and emotionally anemic.
I do not believe that Portugal is included in this definition, but according to the OCD (Organization for Cooperation and Development) report we are the third country in the world with the higest consumption of antidepressants. My worry is that these figures reveal that the great majority of adults in charge of the education of the future generations in Portugal suffers or have already suffered from a deep and prolonged sadness  or depression. What characterizes someone who goes through such a phase, beyond sadness, is their difficulty in having perspective “This will never change” dangerous prespective of the world as “a dangerous place”  or towards the others “they are a threat”. This combination challenges the practice of empathy, of altruism or generosity.
A child who grows up with this depressed adult, will probably lack to receive the foundations of empathy, may become the selfish leader, the cold or emotionally unstable woman, the unimpressive or conflicted person in their relationships, or the selfish husband who makes decisions without never consider the impact it will have in his family.
The good news is that it is a competence, with or without depression, with or without waves, we can practice it in us adults or in the education of our children.
So here are some ideas.
Tip to be a more empathic caregiver when your child does something wrong: Before punishing him, follow the rule of 3 questions:
1. Why did my son do this?
This question allows you to put yourself in his place, and react acording to what he is living. You will also practice your empathy and will make it easier for the child to learn from his example.
2. What lesson do you want to convey? This question helps to define the goal we want. Sometimes it is common to hear “he did wrong, he is punished” without giving a moral of the story.
3. How best can i achieve this?
Helps to identify the best actions / punishments / methods …
Here it goes a recipe to practice empathy: Say (or make cards with) the following situations (you can change as you feel more creative or even adjust the situations to the reality there at home):
“He dropped the Ice Cream,” “Her birthday party is today,” “she has to stay in bed for a few days,” “fell off the bike and broke it,” “She’s been in the car for 3 hours”; “The teacher once warned him to stop the game”, “The cousin gave him a new toy, but the best is always for the brother”, “He really wanted to go, but now he cant”, ” The dog will have to be operated again “,” His dog died “,” he will have na exame tomorrow “,” he will have to ask for help from a stranger “,” Waiting for someone to come and get him, “” he never gets the presents he wants, “” she made a beautiful picture. “
Say (or make) a list of emotions. For example:
Disappointed, excited, happy, sad, jealous, angry, ashamed, confused, proud, worried, grateful, frustrated, afraid
The idea is to tell the situation to the child and to each situation he/she should say what he thinks the character in that situation is feeling.
You can change situations or adjust them to the reality of your child. If they like plastic arts at home, they can also choose pictures from magazines to illustrate situations as they think about it.






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