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Parents Forum Newsletter | April 22, 2022 Cambridge MA, USA

  Inas Alawam

Inas Alawam
Parents Forum Advisor
Newton, Massachusetts USA
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To be able to communicate effectively is very important. When I came to the United States at the age of 20, an immigrant from Syria, I experienced a huge barrier in communicating with others. Where I was raised, I was an outspoken and active student and did public speaking. When I came to the US, both the language barrier and culture barrier I faced made me hesitant to speak up. I remember an instance in my English as a Second Language course when I spoke while the teacher was speaking and she told me to “shut up”, asserting her authority. She did this not knowing that where I come from everyone participates at the same time and often people speak over each other. In school settings here, of course that is not accepted. However, the way she handled the situation made me self-conscious and hesitant to open my mouth anytime and anywhere.

  Agile team members overcoming barriers to effective communication

The way we communicate is culturally conditioned. Fifteen years later, my daughter, now in 8th grade, had an incident in school. A beloved teacher was explaining a taboo word, talking about how it’s a bad word and that it is insensitive to say it aloud. Although his intentions were good, he kept repeating the taboo word and this made my daughter uncomfortable. She spoke up and left the class. The teacher later said to me students were okay with this conversation but he promised to change his behavior in future. Environments change, cultures change, even norms change within cultures, but as individuals we still need to find ways to communicate without making others uncomfortable or self-conscious.

Parents Forum offers us simple tools that can help us communicate effectively within the family, in school and in community settings.


Editor's notes . . .

Our last issue of Voices was in January, three months ago, so it seems that our publication schedule has shifted from monthly to quarterly. Few people anticipated the appalling and un-relenting attacks that Russian forces have inflicted on the peaceful Ukrainian nation or the devasting global consequences, both humanitarian and economic. It is clear that the Russian leader, whose name I do not mention as he gets enough publicity, did not anticipate the Ukrainian people’s strength, spirit and persistence nor the support their cause would receive from many countries.

I write that in the way of explanation for not writing sooner. I was and am troubled, as we all are, and distracted from putting together a new issue. I am grateful to our advisor Inas Alawam for her contribution above. Our organization anticipates some important organizational changes soon: a new board chair and new board member as well as several transitions in the roster of advisors. These will be noted on our website soon.

We held our annual fundraiser from February 14 th to March 17 th , Love ❤️and☘️ Luck, and very much appreciate the faithful supporters of our work who helped make it a success!

Most important, the best for last, are two upcoming events online, both free. I hope that you will want to join one or the other …or both!

= A Parents Forum workshop Saturday April 23 at 11amET / 10am CT, offered by our partners at The Confess Project: https://bit.ly/3vpwJ6C. 

= A panel discussion Tuesday April 26 at 8pmET / 7pm CT, “Where does parenting education belong?” hosted by our partners at National Parents Union, as part of USA Today’s National Week of Conversation, live on NPU’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nationalparentsunion.


Eve Sullivan, Founder, Parents Forum
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA 
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This newsletter was edited by Eve Sullivan, Cambridge MA USA,
and produced by Akmaljon ‘Jon’ Akhmedjonov, Vienna, Austria.
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