Diaspora diaries: My children and their education-supporting exam time.

Webinar

God has called us into a *living* relationship with Him and those around us especially our families, children in particular.

By investing time, we are able to be effective in supporting their journey into their growth.

– Loving them despite and beyond the grades is key.

– Love propels us to invest time in prayer for them.

– Supporting them with their studies throughout the year is more important than exam day.

– Speak to their teachers, be involved at school.

– For most of us, the education system is a whole new experience. Seek to learn from others, ask questions, be open and willing to learn.

– Let’s be sensitive and empathetic towards other parents who may seem to be struggling at school.

God bless you

Brethren

Stumbled upon this verse and I have to admit, I was astounded!

Astounded maybe because of my inadequacies, my flawed inability to stand long enough together with fellow bethren to see their prayers answered. Yet the Lord commands us to ‘stand together UNTIL”.

When was the last time you stood in faith with someone for those things that He answered in your own life?

#purpose

#bethrenhood 🙏🏽❤

Flourish

This was our Word for the month of September 2019. Back then, I had received 3 indoor plants in one month. I began to sense that there was a deeper meaning to the random gifts friends gave me.

I am in no way, shape or form good with plants. One friend said ‘ the more reason why I am gifting you plants’. Talk of being stretched 😂

I struggled with a particular plant a bit and had to run back to the giver. She advised me to CAREFULLY trim the dead parts of the leaf, feed the plants organic home food and watch. The organic home fertiliser comprised of overnight soaked banana peels, egg shells and tea bag.

To my amazement, the plant started to thrive.

Rejoice

This was my latest gift, Rejoice and I loved her!

I felt the law of seeding and harvesting was at work in that season. Seeding, weeding, nurturing and tending to plants requires careful attention as well as commitment. The harvest is bountiful to those who will do the work right?

“Lord strengthen my hands in place of hard labour(parenting). Help me not to shrink back or give up. Allow my entrusted plants (children) to flourish through careful considerations.”

Isn’t it amazing that this plant analogy also translates to our role as parents! Many of us we are not confident in this area. We are not sure what fertiliser to apply, how much moisture and where to place the plant so it can thrive and blossom. All this guesswork and stress levels 🤣🤣.

What I have found to be useful is having that trustworthy and well informed friend. Remember that passionate green fingered friend of mine forever gifting plants? Yes, her! Each time I visit her house she has got this new plant, that other plant and they are ALL blossoming. Interestingly, she tells me that she reads a lot about these plants before she buys them. She is careful to follow instructions around watering, plant feed and placement. She chuckles every time I tell her the plant she gifted me has died..

While google is available to all of us, my understanding, patience and interests are clearly not strong in plants. Despite my desire and keenness to have an instagram inspired green house of a living room, it just isn’t happening!

This could be you! You find the whole positive parenting work a total nightmare. You were not raised like that! Your mama didn’t have to bend backwards for your children. You can’t figure out why your children won’t listen and do just as they are told. You are trying everything you know, it just isn’t cutting it! Most of us DO struggle, generally… however, they are some who find teen brain fascinating, others understands the whole child development theory better that they are able to translate it into practice.

My friend do not shy away from asking. Asking trusted friends to show, guide and lead you. Reach out to others who can help.

The upcoming intentional parenting MomBA, is a 6 weeks online crash course on being the effective parent leader that you want to be. More details following soon. There is tons of information available out there, sometimes too much and too overwhelming. Where does one even start to look and who are trusted and qualified people to help?

Intentional parenting stands as a TRUSTED friend who understands some of the complexities and challenges that come with raising children in diaspora. Our strategies are informed by research evidence as well as personal experiences.

We look forward to seeing you FLOURISH in your journey as a parent.

To find out more, get in touch here, via our contact page.

Remain in bloom 🌷

Fadzai x

Hey Fa,

Saturday musings

There are more messy entries which I shall share, once permission is granted 🤣😎

Loved this hence I am sharing with you🤣. Stumbled upon this journal entry whilst tidying the bedrooms. I have never been called Fadzai before so this a WHOLE new level for my cherub. This entire entry has been revelatory for me today 😍.

Can I let you in onto something? I have struggled with the whole parenting shindig. Intentional Parenting exists in my bid to share all my pitfalls and blind spots so YOU do not have to. Once in a while I come across evidence such as this 👆🏾, that reminds me that I do get some things RIGHT. Giving notebooks and stationery gifts to my children has been powerful over the years.

This is a journal entry in 2020 from one of my precious jewels. The global pandemic was in full swing and emotions were raging all over the place in the Nyirenda household. We had the exhausted parents from working in healthcare and then the young adults overwhelmed and literally STUCK at home. It was a mess.

In a bid to get some control, sanity and maintain a level of mental wellness, phones were confiscated and that’s how we ended up here.

To see this entry today 2.4.22, warms my heart to a certain extent. Many a times the decisions we make as parents can be painful as we are not 💯 sure wether we are doing the right thing. And to be honest, there will never be a time you are 💯 sure

Whatever decision you need to make for your family , your children especially, trust your GUT. Utilise the research evidence you have at hand about that particular decision. Ask God to help you and find out from His word what you need to do. Reach out to other TRUSTED parents in confidence.

“Effective, intentional parenting isn’t a two people band. Don’t let anyone lie to you. BUILD a community around you to help, you need it.”

Fadzai

Back to your decision making; What’s the worst that can happen?

That’s one of the questions I ask myself when I need to make an important decision and work my work back to mitigate that WORST thing that can happen.

Take for instance, confiscating the phone from your teen. What’s the worst that can happen?

-S/he may hate you

-She may get another dodgy phone from someone else.

-S/he may get social media withdrawal symptoms; depressed/ angry/ upset etc

-S/he may struggle to reach you in an emergency etc.

You explore all this and plan effectively.

The key and most important question is;

What am I trying to do in my parenting??

For me, I am raising the future . I want to honour God in my parenting. I want to raise independent, secure citizens. All this informs my parenting style, commitment and VISION.

Note books are good for putting your thoughts on paper. This is a very useful strategy to use especially with teens who sometimes may struggle to express themselves.

Do you use notebooks, do you write letters to your child/ren, partner or yourself?

If you haven’t tried it, give a go and let me know…

For those who practice this, how is this working? Let me know in comments below,…

Remain blessed and anchored 🌱

Every blessing.

Fadzai

Growth

Just realised that I have a lot of growing up to do 😂

What about you? Which areas are you currently strengthening? Which ones do you feel/ think you are doing well?

✨If you have young adult children, senior teens, use this as a conversation tool. Review those areas together and formulate an action plan. For example:

💹Financial life… there is lots of apps to use with young people around being financially savvy, eg Natwest money sense.

📌How is s/he managing social life, screen time? It’s good to measure this with evidence. Screen time usage is readily available on iphone and androids.

🍀Having a break from the phone/ screen makes room for creativity thereby tackling number 10.

🤸🏾‍♀️How about physical activity. How do you keep motivated? Do you use the apple/ smart watch to see how many steps you have taken? Do you have a gym/ exercise buddy?

Let us know if you find this useful or there is smelting you can add.

With blessings

Fadzai x

Facebook live

Thank you very much to all those who joined us at 3pm GMT. We were talking the challenges of parenting and Below is a short summary of some of the take-aways from the session.

✨Remember in our parenting journey, connection with our children is key. Be available mentally, emotionally and physically.

✨Prioritise your children. Let your diary and commitments reflect that. Remember with children love is spelt TIME.

✨It’s ok and totally acceptable as an african parent to apologise to your children when you get things wrong.

🌟Faith community leaders, please have a heart for families. Do not hide under political correctness. Remember ‘what would Jesus do?’ and do just that. Consider the single parent homes with the heart of our Lord Jesus.


We explored in depth the issue of supporting single parent homes and providing mentorship for vulnerable young men. There were issues around married men/pastors and leaders being fearful of supporting a single mother. I concluded that if were don’t, someone else will and many a times these are bad guys that we don’t want near our children/ community. If we look at the county lines model; the drug dealer simply befriends and entice our children with gifts and promise of a bright future. We can adopt the same model. If youth pastors/ leaders took the same interest in our children, understand what they like, their fears, vulnerability, I believe we will SOME of them over.

We encouraged faith communities to have properly, well structured programs with safeguarding processes in place to offer mentorship programs.

Jesus was very controversial in most of his relationships, driven by compassion and love for the marginalised as well as vulnerable. Remember the Samaritan woman at well? She had a thing with men yet Jesus risked all that.

For parents struggling with children, please seek help. Don’t stew at home. There is a lot of help available from local authorities to charities such as Migrant Family Support and Father 2 father

For more in-depth conversation, listen to link below:

Remember you are not alone 💕

Public speaking

Effective speaker note

So I have been public speaking for some time, formally in respectable circles for 5years. My career in public health formalised the role as I taught in postnatal groups. Prior to that, I had been teaching in Sunday school. These roles, helped me to horn my skills in communication. The NHS leadership program then helped me a lot in understanding the impact of being an impactful leader, public speaking being an important skill.

Below, I share my own PERSONAL strategies and techniques that I use in public speaking. I have to admit, the majority stem from what I saw other people do, which I felt I wanted to do it differently. There is nothing worse like being at an event you regret because there is no VALUE to it.

The tips I share below are the basics of being a guest speaker on the day. There is a lot more to be shared about posture, tone of voice, colours to wear etc. According to Business Insider, Tony Robins is the public speaking guru. Check him out for more inspirational ideas on how to nail this.❤️

Fadzai’s Tips

Understand WHY you have been invited to speak and DELIVER. This means, do your research and offer the attendees the value and respect they require. Yes, it may be a ‘free’ event in the sense that people aren’t paying cash at the door or via eventbrite, respect their priceless commodity TIME.

-Preparation is key, check venue details, content requirement and communicate with the rightful people ahead of time.

Plan your travel; clothes, traffic, venue. It is unprofessional to arrive late as a guest speaker unless there are situations outside of your control e.g traffic diversions. General traffic hiccup isn’t an excuse.

⁃ Arrive in PLENTY of time. Check out the layout of the building, locate the respite facilities i.e cloakroom, lavatory etc. At registration, say hello to a couple of people if you can. Create moments to network.

⁃ If possible sit in other guest/trainers sessions. Get a sense of your audience ( Know who asks difficult questions, quiet one, sleeping etc)

⁃ Check that your materials (powerpoint) and other bits are in order ahead of your session.

⁃ Figure out in time, at registration where the IT assistant is located so that you can solicit help if you need it.

⁃ Be charming and deliver with a smile. Remember to have water at hand to keep hydrated.

⁃ Deep breathing helps to calm the nerves thus relaxing the vocal cords.

⁃ Depending with the room layout, try to be centrally aligned and visible to your audience.

⁃ Make an effort to make an eye contact with audience right across the room.

⁃ If you are not sure of anything, admit, offer to go and find out. You can email answers when you find them.

⁃ Keep to time

⁃ Engage with other speakers and the host.

⁃ Get feedback where possible.

⁃ Continue networking, try not to leave as soon as your session finishes. Listen to other guest speakers, be encouraging. That’s how we grow and the same energy and encouragement will come back to you.

– Offer constructive feedback to your host.

⁃ Get two/three numbers to keep in touch.

⁃ Be sociable, and share on social media platforms about the event. Tweet.

Have fun, enjoy it. If the topic is something you love and are passionate about, it will show.

Remember, this may be a one off invite, you never know who is in the audience. Impress. You may get called again and if you have a message to share, you may want more people to hear it. 💕.

Good luck

Summer

What story do you want to write this summer. Is it one of having such great laugh and wonderful memories. The social media is already filled with summer dread. While it is ok to have a ‘dig’ at this, we also can choose to have a great summer.

“Whilst our challenges as a diaspora community may be greater than many other mommas, we can do something about it”.

The discussion on the parenting webinar this evening was about being solution focussed. As mothers, we acknowledged that lack of extended family support, cost of living, work commitment, residence status and lack of planning can cause a lot of stress during the 6 weeks summer break.

It was agreed that summer holiday is about resting and enjoying the children. The enjoying bit can be tricky when we are stepping on each other’s toes. Careful planning becomes the bedrock to our intentional loving, graceful-packed and impactful summer break. Keeping things in perspective is also key. Waking up and reminding ourselves and each other of what we are trying to achieve is important.

“Summer 2018 is going to be an awesome !!!”

Does that sounds like an epic goal? Why don’t you go ahead and have something like this, something that reflects your family unit, values and beliefs. You can get the children to be involved and breakdown the goals into daily, weekly activities of keeping EPICSOME. Hang your goals somewhere where you all can see and remind each other.

Here is a skeletal draft that I have just done to give you some ideas on how you can structure your week plans:

For me and the teens, being considerate of each other is key.  This translate to being mindful of what we are doing as a family and if someone needs/ wants to be somewhere or doing something different, to communicate effectively and timely.

When I complete my summer schedule, chore allocation is a priority so we know who is cooking the much needed lunch dinner, loading the washing machine etc. We have to remain functional without too much nagging. I function better with some structure and it helps me with accountability as well.

Summer holidays are about recharging, renewal and resting. Depending on the age groups of your children, again being deliberate about networking and meeting other moms is good as well. Well planned play dates, can easily give you a well-earned break, time to yourself.

Being on a budget is fundamental. Workout, have an idea of how much you are spending during this long school break. Involving the children in this financial planning can help to ease expectations as they know how much is in the holiday pot. Picnics are easy, affordable yet to memorable. Again depending on the age groups, picnic can be in the garden, at a National Trust https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ home is even greater. The manor houses and immaculate gardens add that awesome feel of summer.

On a large-scale we talked about organisations, communities, charity organisations that are already doing a lot of work with the youth and young people. Organisations such as Africa Youth Arise, http://africanyoutharise.org/ they do a lot of amazing workshops and retreats for 11-25yr olds. The lighthouse summer daily camp is very popular and for mothers of faith, it is a great resource to have hand.

How about asking our local churches to plan activities for the children during the summer break. Yes it does require lots of planning, DBS etc but how much are our children worth? We agreed that we need to invest in our children’s lives.

We hope you have a great summer. We hope you realise that you have in you the power, ability and resources to make it great, however you chose it.

Would love to hear your summer story planning. Thanks for stopping by x

The day before the new job

I am pretty excited about tomorrow. The day has arrived sooner! Change can be unsettling, however once you have done your research there is not much to be fearful. The timing could not never be so right. I am in the zone spiritually, mentally and emotionally. I am hoping that walking to the train and at work will add to the physical health benefits.

As a mom, I hope my children will be fine as dad takes the reins on the home front. Time will tell.

My prospective colleague Amy* has been amazing so far, she has kept in touch once a week for the last 4 weeks. Invited me last week to ‘pop over’ for lunch until I gave her my geographical location.  Today, she wanted to finalise details of where to meet how to access the workplace with ease, etc.

“Be attentive to your phone and I will do the same, so she said”.

This woman has been very encouraging, helpful and enthusiastic. I cannot wait to meet her. Her tone and pitch has been nothing but welcoming. Will soon find out if she is a health visitor by background 😆

On a serious note, I have decided to get myself a uniform of navy slacks, white t shirts and pumps. I chose comfort over all. There is so much I will need to grasp as soon as possible; policies, procedures and politics. Clothing need not to be one of them. 

The work bag is ready with a pack of almonds for snacking, deodorant, vaseline, gum, notebook and a book to read.

I have tons of enthusiasm. I am bold and courageous. If not now, when?❤

Things to do the night before

– set out comfortable outfit. Older ones the better as you know the fitting and comfort. Make sure the outfit sets the tone for who you are.

– Establish where you are meant to report. Ideally this should be done a week in advance or in plenty of time.

-Check travel arrangements, parking etc. Pack the work bag and have it handy.

– Be prepared to meet the team/ colleagues and introduce yourself. Ask and answer questions. Be clear and above all be You.

– Sleep well, at least 7-8hours. 

-Remember why you took the offer.

Hope ❤