Have you ever been to Kenya? If you have, then you would probably have noticed that Kenya has a variety of colors and designs in their choice of clothing as well as well as their distinctive culture. If you haven’t been there, then this is all about tradition in Kenya.
Traditionally, clothing in Kenya is as varied as there are a number of tribes and each of these tribes is unique in the sense that they have their own dress and clothing which distinguishes them from another tribe. This makes it difficult to ascribe a particular dress to the people of Kenya. The clothing pattern in Kenya is one that covers almost the entire body and is usually wrapped around the wearer.
The tribe you can easily come across in Kenya are the Maasai people. Their own clothing called Shuka is red in color representing their love for mother earth. Then there is another traditional dress called Kitenge which resembles a sarong and is worn traditionally in several occasions by the Kenyan people. These are the dresses most popular throughout Kenya. It is also common for the Maasai people to pierce their ear and stretch the earlobes in which metal hoops are worn by both the females and the males.
Apart from dresses dancing is a vital aspect of Kenya’s unique culture. The traditional music and dance is associated with the varied number of tribes and their dance culture. Maasai people have a dance tradition which is a lot different from the other tribes you can come across in Kenya. Again, the Maasai tribe have an impressive dance which is often performed after a hunting expenditure. It is almost like a ritualized ceremony to demonstrate valor after a lion hunt. Other common musical instruments used among the tribes include drums, whistles, long horns, bells, flutes etc. Among the popular dances in the western part of Kenya particularly Luhya is a peculiar type of dance called Sikuti and is based absolutely on the use of drums.
Kenya song has been regarded as an inevitable part of the community life. There are several special instances which warrant singing of songs such as childbirth, naming ceremonies, marriage, circumcision funereal ceremonies, harvests etc..
Up till now, these traditions have been preserved as well as improved upon. So next time you are visiting Kenya make sure you look out for the various souvenirs and gift items to package for you loved ones.
I’m sure you will like more of African styles, check out African Tourist Encyclopedia for uniquely packaged information on fifteen African countries. Click here to download African Tourist Encyclopedia.
5 Practical Ways to Reduce Stress in Children
Would you have thought today that stress could assault children just as seriously as it does adults? We would often wonder what happened to the magical, innocent, halcyon days of youth. We should have seen this coming of course. More than ever today, experts are employed helping distressed children i.e. children who have trouble eating and sleeping, do poorly in school, get sick frequently, and are moody, irritable, belligerent and withdrawn. Also more and more young people are abusing drugs and alcohol, becoming involved in crime and even committing suicide.
Source of Stress in Children
Certain sources of stress have always confronted children; the death of a parent or close family member, problems at school, difficulties in making friends, fear of changes and the unfamiliar and so many other things. But the root cause of extra pressures and challenges affecting young people today can be traced to:
- Family Breakdown. This probably causes children more emotional stress than any other factor. It robs them of stability, trust, love and security.
- Poor nutrition. Diets laden with sugar, salt, caffeine, fats and chemical additives incapacitate the development of healthy bodies and brains.
- Child abuse and violent crimes against children. This includes developmental or emotional harm as well as physical abuse.
- Too much freedom. This causes stress in that kids who have freedom are more likely to experiment with drugs, sex and alcoholism for instance. Many are left to their own devices daily since they come home to empty houses as parents are busy at work. Negative peer pressure then becomes their guide on how to behave.
- Economic pressures. This makes the generation of youths today to have to face the possibility that they might not be as successful in financial terms as their parents. There are simply not enough resources to provide the children of the world’s exploding population with the life-style they are taught to desire. The inability to achieve unrealistic material expectations produces stress.
- Overprotective Parents. Parents create stress for their children by overprotecting them, by being overcritical and demanding, by not keeping promises or by simply not being available to them.
What Can Parents Do?
Parents cannot remove or protect children from all kinds of stress. The degree to which children suffer from stress depends only partly on events and partly on how they respond to those events. Parents can help children cope with stress by teaching them to respond effectively to stressful situations.
Here are six practical techniques to help improve stress conditions in children:
1. Take your children’s concerns seriously. Problems such as fear of the dark, difficulty with a mathematical assignment or a scuffle with another child at school may seem trivial to you as an adult, but may be overwhelming to a child. Treat your child’s concern respectfully and show him or her how to respond maturely rather than laughing it off or trivializing your child’s feelings.
2. Communicate with your children. Let them talk about whatever is on their minds. Knowing you care will strengthen your children. Become a better listener and be positive in your communication. You can praise their successes while not being overly critical of failures.
3. Help your children with their state of health. Proper diet and exercise are important parts of your children’s well-being. Many of the stressful situations unique to childhood are best relieved by various physical activities.
4. Give your children realistic expectations. Yes, help them aspire and you’ll see that they’ll achieve more that way. Helping them accept limitations and the limitations of the opportunities around them is part of the road to success. Nothing fosters frustration and stress like expending increasing amounts of efforts in pursuit of unrealistic goals.
5. Help your children develop discipline. This is to enable them to become what they are capable of becoming. Success in any endeavor is dependent on the ability of the individual to practice self-restraint. Children need structure, predictability and stability in their lives.
6. Build strong family bonds. Let your children know you love and want them. Make time to be with them daily. If the demands on your time and energy prevent you from putting your family first, you need to reconsider your standard of living and all other priorities.
Children nowadays have more trouble coping with modern crisis probably because they don’t have as many adults- grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. they can count on. Stripped of loving family bonds and denied the security and encouragement the family traditionally provided, many children today struggle to cope with a world more uncertain and more frightening than ever before.
When one comes to realize the power of the impact of negative influences such as hard drugs, alcohol, liberal sex values perpetuated through music, movies, television, internet, and magazines readily available in our society today, one is almost tempted to disappear into seclusion. But that is neither possible, practical not frankly the answer to the problem. Even if you took your family to a remote mountain or desert hide way, you probably would not totally escape the influence of this world.
The natural question all parents ask is: How can we prevent or counteract all the temptations and influences upon our children? There has not been a period in history when young people especially in the modern world today have had so many struggles and temptations as in our time today. Lyrics of countless popular songs extol drugs and illicit sex and most parents don’t watch the TV programmes or for that matter see the movies that young people do. They are totally unaware of the messages to approve of or accept out of all the themes of several currently popular movies. But, again how can parents prevent influences from creeping into the lives of children? You might forbid magazines, internet, television or even radio. But what kind of child would be produced in a reclusive environment? Would children be better off if they never watched television? If they never saw a movie; they never heard a popular music track? Some people think so. However in that environment it seems children would become introverted, reclusive and probably unable to function in the society as adult. This is definitely is not the answer. On the other hand, if parents simply let their children go, they may be influenced by the immoral and godless messages overtly and subliminally being broadcast. The chances are, through movies and television, or internet; your children have already seen enough blood, gore, violence, sex, perversion and drug usage to last a lifetime. A child innocently seeking information on a website to conclude an assignment given at school could easily come across dangerous pop-ups luring them to inappropriate websites; so again, what do parents do? Forbid all movies? Throw out the TV set, forbid computers or access to the internet?
If parents are going to succeed in rearing successful and moral children in today’s society, it is absolutely essential that parents SELL true values to their children. Not just teach them SELL them! Children have to be convinced there is a better way than that which is depicted in the song, displayed in the computer or television screen. They must be shown there is a better way than the examples of so-called successes that surround the movie and TV stars, the sports personalities and business magnates some who openly live in and advocate an immoral life-style. They have to have the ability to think things through to a reasonable conclusion. What is the result of using hard drugs? What is the result of excessive alcohol? Of promiscuous sexual activity? The words of songs and the life shown in the movie may extol such life-styles. If parents simply answer bugging questions with ridicule and forbid, they are not convincing the children. There has to be much greater depth than that. First TEACH and then repeat over and over again the values you hold. If parents fail to positively teach values and laws, children will grow up following the whims of a society that more and more has turned from the basic values.
However teaching alone is not enough. What you teach your children will be only one of the many things they will be taught in their developing years. They will be taught by their teachers at school, by the movies they see, by the television programmes they watch, by the books and magazines they read, by the music they hear. They will be literarily surrounded by pulls and influences that will tempt them from the way you hope they will walk.
Living by examples
But how then can you sell them true values? Live by your examples. If your children observe abusive language, yelling, hitting, sulking, complaining from you parents, there is little value in you telling them to be respectful, polite and patient. If they see alcohol abuse and live with the smoke of hundreds of packs of cigarettes, it is to follow that they will not respond to parental teaching not to drink, smoke or use drugs. If parents brag about cheating on their taxes to the government, they should not be shocked when teachers catch the child cheating on a test at school. If a child sees a working parent pretend to be sick and stay at home from work, it should come as no surprise when school officials call about excessive absence and truancy from school. If apparent drives down the high- way with disregard for speeding regulations, he or she should not be surprised when the police call that the 17-year old in the family has been arrested for reckless driving and speeding. In order words the first person to sell on a true value system is you. If you believe in and live by the best possible standards, your children will see the result.
If there is warmth, happiness, forgiveness, love and encouragement in your day-to-day family life your children will not forget it the hours they are away at school. That only means that they won’t be tempted to or that they won’t make a few mistakes. But the basic way of life they have been taught and have absorbed will not be wasted.
In this world, your children are going to be exposed to many evils and wrongs in spite of all your efforts to keep them from them. In the long run your success as a parent and teacher will be manifested by how you have sold those right and true values to your children. Part of your teaching will include what you permit your children to view and read, with how they spend their time; or whom they choose as friends. As parents we may not always agree on just which books, television programs, movies or websites should be avoided or forbidden. That is the responsibility of each family. But maybe we can all agree that teaching, living by and selling your values to your children is your best assurance they will fight the good fight and walk the straight and narrow way that will lead them to happy and successful adult lives.
Few jewels are as precious as a diamond. Few are as beautiful. Diamonds like Christians are precious for many reasons. They are the most durable substance known. They also reflect light with greater brilliance than any other gem and are also the rarest of all precious stones.
When a diamond is first mined from the earth, it is often a dull, rough edged and milky-looking stone. I am sure many would probably consider an uncut diamond worthless. Only through the expert skill of a master gem cutter does a rough stone gradually take shape into a precious gem. In creating a finished gem, diamond cutter will cut and shape the stone to eliminate the imperfections, spots and colors. The light from a diamond reflects outwards and as precious gems, people who ask for and allow God’s Spirit to flow through them will become a shining light to others. Their daily actions will reflect the sparkling brilliance of God’s unselfish and unconditional love.
We can no more duplicate God’s love by our own strength than we can create a perfect diamond. It is impossible. All man-made gems crack under pressure. That is the reason behind Jesus’s saying in John 15:5 “……….for without me you can do nothing”
There are many similarities between the development of a Christian and the cutting of a diamond. Each diamond is different in character and crystal structure and must be individually shaped to reflect the most light. The master gem cutter’s skill unlocks the brilliance and sparkle of the diamond.
Life is not a dead-end road. It leads somewhere. We are definitely on this earth for a purpose and the trials, disappointments, problems we all encounter are not meant to be roadblocks but are designed to be hurdles whose purpose is to strengthen us and not to defeat us. The realization of this monumental truth can change a person’s perspective and enable him or her to deal with adversity. Many people have experienced betrayals from trusted acquaintances or unjustly thrown in prison, but today have come out with a triumphant spirit. The fact is that they have discovered something. What was their secret? They could handle all these problems and more because their perspective was right. We can start by looking at the disappointment from another point of view – a consolation, though some people may call it, but often works better than throwing a tantrum.
In every element of trials, there may be a blessing hidden somewhere. Come to think of it, could have been worse. It may be a diversion from an untimely death. The job you couldn’t get could have landed you in prison if you had been appointed; the man who jilted you could have ultimately infected you a deadly disease, the car you wanted to buy and could not afford may be an accident waiting to happen. The list is simply endless. There is actually no answer to the birth of a deformed child or to the silent tears of a barren woman or an honest and dedicated man who couldn’t just find the right job, but I have since come to understand that there is not always a meaningful “why” to frustrations and disappointments in this world. It is really the wrong question to ask. “Why” looks back to something that we probably cannot change but which have their own purpose for existing. We must look forward to a future of faith and hope and gradually things can begin to take a new form in which case it may not look as terrifying as it first seems.
Opening your children up to varieties of choices in career will help abate the confusion that plagues young people’s decisions about their future today. To help your child know where their skills and talents best fit, you need to provide them with opportunities to learn about as many careers as possible. To achieve this, you need to:
By exploring careers that generally fit your children’s skills and interests, they can discover the fields they are most interested in. Have them narrow their search down to two or three career fields and perhaps five to ten specific careers. Then they can work to develop an educational program that will qualify them for several of the careers highest on the list. Some careers often change over a lifetime, it’s probably better not to narrow down to just one profession at this stage.
Your Role as a Parent
In many cultures today, children’s career decisions will be theirs to make. They have to live with the results, but you can encourage and help them along the way.
They will respond to encouragement because it is a daunting task before them. But they can balk if careers they aren’t interested in are pushed by parents. Parents who “need” their children to achieve in order for them to feel adequate as parents place their children in a hurried child syndrome. They have expectations that their children will become doctors or lawyer or accountants, architects or whatever they may be in order to fulfill their own needs, rather to let the child’s natural abilities unfold and find a career for herself or himself that is appropriate. The problem isn’t high parental expectations. It is parental pressure directed towards unsuitable goals. Belief in your children’s success – in the fields they are interested in, helps them develop confidence. The parents’ role is indeed a big one. Together with inherited skills, the instilled love of learning and the teaching of ethics, your support and encouragement will launch your child toward success and satisfaction.
Our children’s future happiness depends in large part on making wise choices. But to help them find their talents and discover the careers they are best suited for in today’s rapidly changing world can seem overwhelming.
This article is not about making a career choice for your child, but a parent’s interest and support can help keep the process from becoming stressful to a young person. The goal is to help prepare your child not just a living, but satisfaction from work. This doesn’t necessarily mean coming up with the perfect job as soon as possible and expecting your child to work at it throughout life. Career planning is an ongoing process. This means the skills of career exploration you teach your children now will be useful throughout life. By carrying out the following unique steps however, you can serve as a guide to your children in choosing their career.
1. Inspire the love of learning.
The first step is to encourage the love of learning as early as possible. Though this may not immediately seem like a career skill at the moment, but it is more important than ever. A love of learning will help your child in school, opening up greater opportunities. Since in a way, school is child’s work, this early positive experience goes a long way towards making later job experiences satisfying. How then can you teach a love of learning?
- Let your children see you reading, asking questions.
- Encourage their curiosity and provide books and trips or other educational experiences.
- Get to know their teachers and work together to help your children develop. Children must believe that the hours they spend studying and the effort they put into it make the difference between success and failure.
2. Cultivate right attitudes toward work
Here, your example speaks loudest. Your attitude and encouragement can make the difference. Instead of regularly airing negative things about your job, discuss the parts of the job you enjoy. See if you can take your child to work, to see the working environment, the people, the products and what you do- the skills you use. The most important skills and attitudes you can teach are good work habits. Emphasize communication, teamwork, honesty, decision-making skills, dependability and the ability to get along with others. Lack of these virtues costs many workers their jobs.
3. Discover their talents
To make a wise career choice, your child should find out his or her aptitudes, skills, interests and values. As someone once said; “A career is play, not work. It’s something that you like to do, the kind of thing you migrate towards in your free time”. How then can you help your children find out about themselves?
Career guidance counselors often use tests to measure aptitudes and abilities. Along with those tests, many experts suggest taking stock of the person’s interest. At this stage, don’t focus on skills you feel will bring the best salary or prestige. From a young age, encourage your children to try a wide variety of activities if they haven’t been involved in any activity that uses a particular talent or skill. It may be difficult to see their abilities in that area.
Now, some of the steps listed above are sure to help your children as you practically carry them out with utmost dedication. However there are still some aspects you need to tidy up. In another write-up on this blog, we shall be looking at how you can find out about careers and your role as a parent in making career decisions for your children and how this affects them.
Have you ever noticed that if you do a regular job at work every day for a month, no one says a word? You work hard, you are never late and you perform above and beyond the call of duty. You are always the person called upon to help when something is wrong. Yet your boss, far from showing his appreciation of your diligence and loyalty, treats you as someone whose feelings do not matter, someone who can be inconvenienced at any time if he or she wants something done and as long as everything goes according to plan, there seems to be no reason to comment.
Although the Bible believes that we should not expect anything in return for good deeds (Luke 6:35), yet we can feel that all our efforts are wasted when no one notices. This may be quite discouraging.
We may ask ourselves, why bother? This thoughtlessness to your good efforts can easily sour your attitude, making it difficult to maintain proper Christian approach to your employer and other workers.
The stress built up in anger and resentment at a supervisor can affect other aspects of life. Yet there is something you can do.
All actions either good or bad is setting examples for others. When a mother yells at and threatens her children who misbehave, she sets an example. So does an impatient driver who drives recklessly, screeches past other drivers, glaring angrily, hurling insults or making obscene gestures.
On the other hand, when someone takes the time to listen to a lonely widow, that individual sets an example as well. So does a person who donates food, time or money to a worthy cause. Sometimes the examples we set are not so obvious.
How many times however have you been inspired or motivated by someone’s positive example? People do notice the good examples you set and you might never know who might be watching you. Your good example may even change the lives of others without you been aware of it.
The Bible also says in I Timothy 5:25: “Good deeds are obvious and even those that are not cannot be hidden”. We must do the work we are given to do as unto Christ. The apostle Paul wrote in the book of Ephesians 6:5: “Servants, be obedient to those who are your masters…….. in sincerity of heart as to Christ. It is to Jesus Christ we should look and not to men.
How often do we remember the command of Christ to pray for those who spitefully use us? This prayer does not just benefit those for whom you pray but in fact you may be the main beneficiary.
You are much less likely to have a negative mind-set toward someone for whom you sincerely pray. Such prayers relieve stress and gives you strength to continue living God’s way of life. Who knows, because of your prayers, God may even help the other person’s attitude towards you to change.
So whenever you feel pressurized into resigning your appointment or you feel used in the sense that your good works remain unnoticed, there is still something you can be assured of and that is the fact that you are setting pleasant examples for others to follow and secondly, you can pray to change the situation. Believe that Christ is your employer and will eventually reward you in due season.