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Posts Tagged ‘#children’

I have been travelling through Croatia for two weeks now, starting in Dubrovnik, on to Split, the Plitvice lakes and finally Zagreb where we arrived 4 days ago.

We have visited many museums all super interesting, and galleries, especially that of Ivan Mĕstrović, the most famed Croatian artist, set up in his summer house in Split and depicting his drawings and many of his sculptures. Entrance also gives you access to the Kaštelet, a small fortress that houses his works of religious theme on wood, they are set in the chapel that still celebrates mass every Sunday according to his wishes when he donated the property.

What I want to share today is a children’s exhibition set in the Grič tunnel, under the upper town of Zagreb, specifically the neighbourhood of Grič, also called Gradec or Gornji Grad. This tunnel was first built in 1943 for use as a WWII air-raid shelter and has not been used a lot since.

The central hall is connected by two passageways to Mesnička Street in the west and Stjepan Radić Street in the east, and four passageways extending to the south. In 1990 it was used again for hosting one of the first raves in Croatia, and also functioned as a shelter during the Croatian War of Independence. In 2016, the tunnel was opened to the public, serving as a tourist attraction and hosting cultural events. (ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gri%C4%8D_Tunnel_(Zagreb))

A few entrance ways:  

We were so lucky to find the entrance that is not easy to discover when you are walking and don’t have the specific address, and to find it was hosting the 22nd Children’s Garden of the City of Zagreb exhibition. Here are a few pictures of the event that finished on the day we visited.

I love the fact that this city puts emphasis on art at an early age. Back in the days, they made drawing classes compulsory for all. I don’t know if this is still the case, but you see children in museums and galleries a lot more than at home, and they are very interested in discovering art, asking questions and listening to answers, learning.

Art should get back into schools in a big way. It is an extremely important part of education and helps in developing a critical mind and an eye for beauty no matter its form. Creativity, improved motor skills and confidence, perseverance, focus, are a few of the benefits of learning and practicing art for children. It is an important part of their education that unfortunately is being increasingly ignored by our government here in Quebec and Canada.

I hope it changes one day and art finds its rightful place in our education system.

 

All photos and text ©Suzanne Bélair

 

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A few days after mothers day, add to this the excellent blog from Upwitscreek https://upwitscreek.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/swinging-the-bat/

and this morning the non-fiction prompt from “The Time is Now” ‏coming into my in-box with this statement:
In The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde remarks, “All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.”

 Noel 1978-2crop

It then goes on to ask us to think and write about some reminiscent traits (patterns of behaviour or little quirks reminding us of our parents or guardians) that still impact who we are today.

I have decided to write about my mother. I must say that as much as I never wanted to be like my mother while growing up, rejecting her lifestyle, her devotion to my father, her obsession with cleanliness and order, I changed my mind and tried to be exactly like her once my children came into my life. I always thought she was just perfect especially because of her happiness and acceptance of who she was ! Optimist, loving, always in a good mood! A super housekeeper with a perfect routine she was able to stick to, our house was always in perfect order and “spic and span”. Secretly, I envied the life she and my father had built, the way they seemed so in love even after 25-30 years of marriage.

Growing up, she was able to build a perfect nest of love and comfort, where you could always turn and feel safe, for my sister and I. I loved my mother with all my heart. At adolescence, I revolted against her agreeable disposition, of what I perceived as weakness, of the way she would shy away from any argument, preferring to keep peace with everyone. But it was hard to stay upset with someone that could give you everything and accept everything I did.

When I had children of my own, I tried to be perfect like I thought she had been with us. I loved, cared and fought for my children’s wellbeing fiercely, shielding them from the things I judged as bad in life for as long as possible, also creating a world, a nest of as perfect a love I could give them.

I admired my mother very much and no matter how hard I tried, I never felt I was quite as good as her. For one, I went back to work after my first child. Thirty years ago, this meant I wanted to be at home when I was at work and at work when I was at home, the guilty feelings slowly eating away at me.

I was not able to keep up the house like she used to, bake pies and cakes, nor did I want to really, but I thought I should and could not make my days longer than they were. I was not able to feel and stay joyous, to start singing while I cleaned, to smile all the time, more guilty feelings. I wanted to be perfect for my family. I was missing the crucial element of self-acceptance.

Is our happiness and our sense of accomplishment as mothers linked to our perception of how perfect or imperfect our mothers were? As a young mother, my aim was to become my mother in the eyes of my children and my failure to attain this goal left me feeling inadequate and depressed me. I totally refused to consider I was different and could not, really, become like her. This feeling stayed with me for many years, I am sure affecting how I treated my own children and influencing how they perceived me while growing up. I asked a psychologist one time if it was bad for my children that I was unable to be joyous and happy deep down inside, to be able to transmit optimism and love of life like I thought I should. She suggested I go into therapy which I didn’t do at the time.

My mother, as much as she listened to us and opened her arms to envelope us with love every time we needed it, did not share a lot of herself, her deeper self with us, at least I don’t remember it. It was always about others for her. She was a very giving person and when we started school she threw herself into volunteer work with the same enthusiasm she had displayed at keeping up her love nest, and still kept it up too.

Still today, more than 30 years after her death, I miss my mother, I miss her unconditional love, her wisdom, her optimism, her reliability, her voice.

http://www.suzannebelair.com

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