Image: Everyone is being held by someone.
When we’re little we think our parents and grandparents are like superheroes. They’re always strong.  They always know what to do.  They’re never scared. 
 
But they are not superheroes. They're not always strong. They don’t always know what to do. Like the poor Cambodian man in the photo, they're sometimes worried—a lot probably.
 
When I was little, I remember how good it felt to be carried by my mom or dad, like I was held by a superhero. Maybe today remind your mom and dad that they too are being carried—by God, a real superhero.
 
     -The Godmother
Migration's effects on children in Cambodia: The man in this photo is clearly not the father of the child he is carrying. He is the child's grandfather. More and more Cambodian grandparents are raising their grandchildren alone as parents are leaving the village for work. Parents migrate internally or abroad to countries like Thailand and Vietnam and even as far as Korea for higher pay and consequently better financial security for their families. Though perhaps more economically secure, children's lives are not necessarily better. In fact, studies show that the truth is quite the opposite--children are growing up less healthy, less educated, and less ready for the world outside the village. Yes, many Cambodian grandparents are heroic. Let's hope parents recognize heroism is about presence, about holding in all its forms.
Did you miss a previous Godmother's Advice email? 
  • #001: Khmer boxing & solving problems
  • #002: Workers' commute & "making room"
  • #003: Bright balloons & dangerous attractions
  • #004: Bats and others' ways
  • #005: Playing in the mud
  • #006: Tattoos and bad habits
  • #007: Make-believe
 
  • #008: Dental and other care
  • #009: Boat races and collaboration
  • #010: Loads carried
  • #011: Nothing beyond repair
  • #012: Solid bricks
  • #013: Toilet left standing
  • #014: Flying a kite
Background about this email: Several years ago, I was feeling like an inadequate Godmother due to my absence in the US and, consequently, my absence in my Godsons' lives. I decided to send what little advice I have as someone who has been in the world for 30 years longer than they. Thus was born my Godmother's emails--a tidbit of advice each week. I decided to share these emails with friends and others because I feel that  folks need some good, helpful or happy things in their Inbox these days. I hope these are; otherwise, unsubscribe below.
This email and my work in Cambodia is made possible by the Maryknoll Lay Missioners program through which I work. To support me, use this secure online form. If you are outside the US, you can donate through PayPal.com (specify "maria_montello@yahoo.com" as the recipient).
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