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Sibling Bond

This extraordinary time has brought siblings, friends and families together all 
over the world. Including my two children, who wouldn’t have this close a bond if it 
wasn’t for the lockdown, I can see this in their positive interactions. 

American psychologist Susan Doughty has extensively studied sibling 
relationships and concludes that one of the major factors at play is age 
difference. “If siblings are born more than about 6 or 7 years apart, in a lot of 
ways they are essentially two only-children,” Doughty says. “They are in such 
different developmental places that they don’t relate to one another the same 
way
.” 

In my observation I can see my daughter talk and sing to her little brother and 
in return he will watch and laugh. It’s a parent’s dream to see their children 
bond. One of the challenges I have found is activities which they can both 
enjoy due to their six-year age gap, but we’ve found that reading together either during 
the day or before bedtime is fast becoming a favourite activity.

Non-materialistic Value of Life.

The virus has taught us to live without things, and certainly having access to 
only a limited choice has meant that life has become clearer and much simpler
for some people, including me. The luxury of choice may have been stripped 
away but we are still fortunate to be able to carry on.

Yes, I do miss deliberating whether to have chai tea or an americano, or 
deciding to go all out and indulge in a hot chocolate from the posh coffee 
shop. And yes, I do miss going shoe shopping at House of Fraser at 
lunchtimes, however I’m also loving this new ‘take it or leave it’ mentality. I’ve 
found that the less choice I have the happier I am in my decision-making.

With this new mindset, I find I am channelling it to other avenues such as 
catching up with friends and family or streamlining the range of Podcasts I listen to and books I want to read. By narrowing down my communication and 
consumption, I’ve found I’m feeling much more fulfilled. Physical doors may be
closed for now, but the window of opportunity to learn in an efficient manner is always open.

Health is Wealth.

Sri Harkrishan Dhiyaiye Jis Dithe Sab Dukh Jaye – By meditating on Sri Guru 
Harkrishan Sahib Ji all pain and suffering is removed.

I’m a firm believer that your physical and mental wellbeing cannot be taken for
granted. The Pandemic has shown us how quickly this disease can spread, 
especially within our BAME communities. All I want in life are my loved ones
safe and healthy. Not being able to see family and being concerned for 
the health of family around you can be difficult to deal with but having a strong
family unit is like a security blanket.

These past months have certainly highlighted that we will never know what is planned for us in our lifetime. Time ticks by with a degree of uncertainty but all
I can do is to accept Waheguru’s Hukam (Divine Will) and know I will always 
have His support during these testing times.

The Importance of Faith.

Resilience is an area I’ve been working on within myself over the past year or 
so. The pandemic taught me that I am not at a level I am happy with despite 
all the work so far. My mental wellbeing did take a knock and there are times 
even now when I find myself vulnerable.

In Sikhi, the internal religious state of an individual is the most important 
thing. Whenever I’ve found myself vulnerable, I turn to the Almighty to ask for 
strength, support and guidance through meditation or through reciting Simran. 
YouTube is a great source for finding Shabads, a tip – subscribe to the World 
Gurdwara channel where you can read along and find the English 
translation. For meditation, the Apple Store has an array of Sikh Podcasts you
can listen to as you take some time out each day.

I would feel so lost without my Faith, without that ‘something’ to keep me 
focused and in the present. I’ve found that I’m turning more to the Divine to try
and make sense of what is happening externally.

Changes to the Working World.

I’ve always had a strong work ethic and have championed different ways of 
working. Whether that be in groups or remotely, or in the office or off-site, I 
feel that an individual should be able to decide how they are more productive. 
I’ve found it interesting to read how companies and organisations are having 
to adapt to new ways of working. It’s really highlighted the benefits of working 
from home and flexible working. For some employees this may feel like a 
breath of fresh air in not having to work the standard 9-5, go to the office and I
bet they’re glad they’re not doing the school run/commute too.
Add to this new way of working, home schooling children and you can 
understand how difficult and chaotic day to day can be, but workplaces have 

managed it and it will be hard to shake off once offices start to open back up. 
This has certainly ignited questions of whether people are needed in the office
all the time. Should all jobs be advertised as 9-5? Additionally, we need to 
look at the work/home balance and see how employers can support that. I’ll 
be watching to see how this plays out for a lot of organisations.

Finally, after taking away these five key learnings, I end with three words to 
describe my time in isolation: Reflective; Family; Grateful

Written by Kamal Kaur Reehal

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Diversity: Everyone’s Responsibility

It is important that we acknowledge how difficult this day can be for some. This day can be a reminder of suffering and loss. For those who find this day difficult, reach out and talk to someone. If you find it hard to talk to those around you we have a link to support lines below.

Events around the world recently have made us reflect on how important it is to teach children about diversity, how important our roles are in young people’s lives and how we need to take accountability for our actions and language. We can all take an active role in having these conversations. Often children start to mingle with others outside of their home from a young age so starting these conversations early is important.

Below we have highlighted some of the ways this can be done:

1. Read books that celebrate diversity.
Did you know that according to an Arts council report (2018) only 1% of children’s books had a BAME lead, and only 4% of books had a non white character in 2017 (https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/books/best-childrens-books-diversity-a3974701.html). Whilst the numbers are low, there are many independent authors who are trying to tackle this. To make this first step a little easier we have rounded up a couple of articles which have some great suggestions, southbank centre and Huffington Post.

For those of you on Instagram we have researched the following accounts to keep yourself up to date:
@raisegoodkids
@theconsciouskid
@booksfordiversity
@akidsbookabout

2. Visit cultural events to celebrate and learn with other communities
There are so many family friendly events that take place all over the UK celebrating Eid, Diwali, Christmas, Vaisakhi etc. These events can easily be a family fun day out for all.

3. Be a role model with the way you communicate and treat those around you.
Children look to the adults around them to help them navigate the world. Your behaviour and the way you speak about others can help children to be more open and tolerant. If we want to see a change in the world, it actively starts with you. Do your research, educate yourself and those around you.

4. Actively challenge stereotypical narratives in a way that opens conversations and compassionately educates those around you.

Challenging friends and family about their language and behaviour can be difficult. We may be fearful of their reactions or feel like we will offend. This step goes hand in hand with the previous. It is important when being a role model that we demonstrate how we can challenge in a way that feels safe for all involved. This in turn teaches our young people how to have these difficult conversations.

In saying this, we recognise how difficult it can be to know where and how to start. Educating yourself on how you can have these conversations safely will help you feel confident in talking about issues you want to challenge.

The SF team have researched some resources that can be helpful in having difficult conversations:

NSPCC parents guide for talking about difficult topics with children (article)
YoungMinds how to have difficult conversations with your child (youtube video)
How to talk to friends and family about sensitive subjects: the art of having difficult conversations (article)
Seekh Talks – Difficult Conversations (youtube video)

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Frazzled

It started with constantly checking the news, refresh…refresh…refresh…any, new, news? Anything more of this virus; I, once thought was so far away and now was on the doorstep. It started as a blanket ‘oh only 3% of the people who contract it, die, it’s not a big deal!’. Well it has become a big deal, as it was affecting those most vulnerable and it has scoured the Earth taking most countries hostage. Living in a family which has two vulnerable people in it, I wondered how long I would have to continue travelling on the tube and looking at faces of people who unknowingly carried this invisible disease. Bringing back to people who would be so severely affected by it.

However, once I was safely stowed away in my household the notion of refresh…refresh…refresh did not stop, and the heightened anxiety did not leave. Now, I was refreshing all things positive, the amount of time I now had to carry out all these tasks I had said I would do ‘when I had more time’. “Well there you go” said the Universe “Now you have no excuses. You complained your travel to work left you, with dead time and tiredness, when you returned home. Now there is no excuse is there?”

This excess time made me more paranoid about the fact that I had to now do things I had promised to myself I would do to better myself, but I hadn’t expected it to now come so quickly and with such force. With the 100’s of people on Instagram telling me how to fill this time and how they had managed to so easily slip into it. Everyone seems to be getting on with their goals and doing all these things. What was I doing with this precious time, I had prayed for? Scrolling and scrolling on every app that provided me with some feed. Anything to block out the fact that I had to now do all these things. The focus I had so carefully derived from the depths of my body, building block by building block all seemed to have run away, as soon as I had to put goals into action and steps into motion; as though they had been touched by an electric current.

I was so hard on myself for not even taking one step towards using my time wisely but seeing the average time spent counter on Instagram rise and rise. It was like I couldn’t get myself away from this distraction, which was stealing my time and making me number. For even though we have more time and I want to better myself. Outside the door is this virus lurking and a world we all once knew changing. For how long? That is something we still do not know and this one thought itself has become draining.

by @shelvedblog

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The COVID-19 Crowds aka COV-IDIOTS

COV-IDIOT [noun]                                                                                                        

cove/id/ee/uht

An inconsiderate person who goes out in crowds despite being told not to numerous times and risks the safety of themselves and others.

Since the Coronavirus aka COVID-19 pandemic took over the world, I feel like I’m living a surreal experience. I keep asking myself “is this real?” It’s as if the world is being held captive in their homes by a virus with new symptoms being uncovered each day. It doesn’t matter how powerful or rich a person is, no one has control over this virus. It just proves that no one has any say against God.

But more than anything, this pandemic is exposing people’s true colours. For example, the people who are walking around in crowds as if nothing serious is going on, just prove that they don’t care about others, or are ignorant. This includes people in all age groups and colours.

Maybe these people are confident that they won’t catch the virus, or think that if they do then nothing bad will happen to them. But they don’t consider that if they were to catch the virus then what about the people that they spread the virus onto? They could pass it on to a vulnerable person, or another carrier. This can lead to the passing away of numerous individuals.

Some of the world’s leaders are begging us to not leave our homes and not go out in crowds as if we were young children. But I don’t even blame them. For some people, their “entertainment” or “rights” are more important than a person’s life.

The other day, when I was watching The Daily Social Distancing show with Trevor Noah, he was saying that some people in the American government were aware of the consequences that this virus was going to have on the world before it turned into a huge deal. But instead of taking action, they decided to protect themselves and sold their stocks so that they wouldn’t lose money. For those people, money was more important than the lives of other human beings.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that is full of narcissistic, ignorant and stubborn individuals. But there are also some good people out there who are coming together and trying to help others.

For those of us who care about the wellbeing of others, let’s stay socially distanced, positive, and pray that this virus goes away soon.

If you can, then donate to a charity of your choice (instead of hoarding toilet paper) to help the less fortunate who are in need more than ever during this crisis.

                                                                                                                        – Desi Girl Thoughts                                                                                                                         @desigirlthoughts