It’s The “Little” Things That Matter: Technology and Children


By Rhonda Nemri

I am no parent, but do hope to be one someday. Therefore the statements I am about to say are in no shape or form based on personal parenting, but more so the observations of parents and children that I encounter from time to time. I’m not a child psychologist or pediatrician, but I have a fair amount of common sense. I grew up with four other siblings, and had opportunities to help my mother watch over my three younger sisters. I wasn’t even good at it, but I had to keep an “eye” on them. I have taken babysitting opportunities for some of my cousin’s children. The fact that I was even trusted with no children of my own, is an honor. The techniques and style of parenting has changed over the years. You have the hovering parents, and then you have the parents that are at ease with difficult situations. But what has been lingering in my brain for some time are the parents that are not using common sense. But what does it even mean today to have common sense? I believe that saying has changed a bit. I am taking into account the perspective of how I was raised and how other family members were raised. Also just things that are clearly obvious of what to do.

The most irritating thing happening right now is the carelessness of parenting. I do understand that some parents may not have the means to support their children and give them what they want. Possibly they never learned the simple things of what to do. However, I speak about the parents who utilize technology on a daily basis, causing them to disconnect from their child on an emotional and physical level. I have spent most of my undergraduate and graduate studies studying the way humans communicate and the effects of technology. So why not apply this to children as well? I am positive there are countless research studies on this problem, but I would like to take it in the perspective of observer, and share my thoughts. Adults are not the only ones communicating. We take a huge responsibility of teaching our children how to speak properly. Handing an infant a phone or an iPad should not, and I repeat should NOT be your last resort to get your child to listen to you. There is something called discipline and consequences. The amount of “educational” shows out there is infesting our children’s mind in this repetitive motion, and inadequately gives them the opportunity to really look at you and learn to speak to you. I must admit that Barney and friends was one of my favorites to watch, but I had limitations. Parenting has become boxed into the idea of carelessness and laziness. Food options have become chicken nuggets and fries. Bedtime is not in an actual bed. Play time is using a phone to play a game. I’m really scared for our future. This does not mean you don’t love your child, but it just means that you’re not paying attention. We have to be attentive as individuals and help our children grow into respectable and knowledgeable human beings. I give credit to the parents who work all day and still manage to make it home and spend time with their children. Being a parent has to be the most selfless thing. Your child comes first! Not you! You can still take care of yourself, but your child is YOUR priority. From the food they eat, to the shows they watch. No one is asking you to suffocate them, but you must be 10, even 20 steps ahead of them. Or else you’ll end up with the disobedient child, or the aggressive child that won’t sit down and just listen.

“Technology changes the way kids socialize and interact with others, which can have huge impacts on their mental and emotional well-being. It has now become common knowledge that high levels of social media use, in both kids and adults, can lower self-esteem and create negative moods. However, all types of technology can actually have negative effects on children when used in excess, because they lower children’s frequency of interacting with their peers. This makes it more difficult for them to pick up on social cues and develop meaningful relationships with others — something that can have serious negative consequences as they grow and develop. They also have a difficult time developing emotions the same way other kids would if they spend too much of their time with technology and not enough time being engaged while in the presence of others” (Dhruvin Patel, 2017).

As adults we are always on our phones, from checking Facebook posts and snap chat stories. We are constantly feeling we have to be connected with everyone. You can take a thousand great pictures a day, but that picture does not give the full story. If adults are constantly on their phones and not communicating, then why would a child want to do anything else but be on a phone? I see children with newer phones, and toys that are meaningless. What happened to the old school flash cards to learn ABC’s and 123’s. We do have to adapt to change, and change is apparent. However, not when it is brainwashing yours and your child’s mind. This is in no way discrediting parents who do what they are supposed to do, or utilize technology. But as I stated, there has to be limitations and rules. Parents should be a team, and have each other’s backs. If this is something that is lacking, then there will always be a dysfunction in the family. It is not about who is right, it is about what is right for your child.

So do yourself a favor, and as parents or future parents give your child what you would give yourself. If you don’t care for your child then you don’t care for yourself, and vice versa. Let’s not get sucked into technology and use it as a backup plan to get your child to focus. What’s making them lose focus is that phone that you carry in your hands all day long. So of course they want a piece of it too. I have a baby niece, and she means the world to me. I would absolutely hate if anything happened to her. Perhaps she is the reason why I have come to discuss such a topic, because for once in my life I have taken a role as “caretaker”, and helping out in ways I never thought I would. I am just an auntie right now, and I can give my niece back to her parents at any time. I don’t have the full-time experience of having children, but most of this is “Common Sense”. If you have spent most of your single and child-free life pampering yourself, you can do the same for that cute little bundle of joy that you call your own.  Get your children off Instagram and Snap Chat, and give them more than just a screen spewing things that are not always beneficial. If my mother did it without phones and technology, so can you!


Concerned Childless Auntie 



Resisting Fear, Loving More

love and fear

What have we learned from our horrible experiences? Has it made us stronger? Or has it completely taken over our lives? It can most certainly be both. Some experiences are easy to hide and you hardly ever go back to the memory of that experience. However, there are certain things that one goes through that feels impossible to get over. I am guilty of living in the past, and letting it get the best of me. However, I tend to find it very comforting to know there is one or two people that I can go to, to express my feelings. What I have learned is that even though you have those people to go to, they will not necessarily grasp the entirety of your feelings and emotions. So what do we do? From my experience, withholding your feelings is not the best thing. Therefore, seek help when help is needed. A good listener can take you a long way. My goal is to not predict outcomes in my head, and to just let it be.

I recently read a book “Love is Letting Go of Fear” by author Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D. This book was published in 1979, and I was pretty amazed by how relatable it was to me. Given the book is dated, it is still relevant to how we tend to behave during good or bad experiences. One of my most relatable parts of this book is the following.

We often believe that the fears of the past can successfully predict the fears of the future. The result of this type of thinking are that we spend most of our time worrying about both the past and future, creating a vicious cycle of fear, which leaves little room for Love and joy in the present (Jampolsky 20).”

One of the things I will keep asking myself after reading this quote is, am I going to go on with my day with peace of mind or conflict? I believe I deal with a lot of conflict, but tend to want the outcomes to be peaceful. We need to be more conscious about what we  choose to have as our conflicts, as not all conflicts are necessary to dwell on. When people lash out or hurt others, it is because they have fear.  Fear is the most nauseating thing to experience. You can wake up with it, and go to sleep with it. It will eat you alive. We react negatively due to fear. We fear of losing, we fear of loving, and/or we fear of failing. These are all legitimate things to fear, but should not consume our lives. Again, I am nowhere saying I have resolved all my conflict and fears, but I am getting there slowly but surely.

We need to be more open to helping those in need, and being there for the people that matter. One of the major key points I have learned over the years, and throughout the readings, is that forgiveness is a significant factor in how we proceed with our lives. Forgiveness is not to say the other person gets a free pass. It is allowing yourself to move forward, and not hold all the bitterness inside, allowing it to take over you. I have forgiven many people, but I am well aware that they have hurt me or disregarded me during that moment. But, I should not hold on to it forever, and live a bitter life. People make mistakes, and so do I. I am sure I have done something inconsiderate to someone, and they have forgiven me. I am no better than them. If they have not forgiven me, then I can’t make them. This is something they have to choose to do on their own. We can also choose to forgive people, and not have them in our lives. But if we continue to keep them in our lives we should not focus on what they have done to us, but rather how they have proceeded after the conflict or mishap. Most of all we need to forgive ourselves, and keep working on bettering ourselves.

Authored By: Rhonda N.

Humbled and Jumbled

I think the word humble is thrown around way too much, that it is losing its pure definition. People tend to think they are humble, and this is great. But what does it actually mean to be humble? Can humble people also have bad intentions with other people? Can humble people treat others with disrespect? Are humble people only humble in certain instances, where it benefits them?

I consider myself to be humble. However, I wasn’t always so humble. In my early teens and early 20’s, I actually didn’t embrace who I was as a person. I constantly compared my life with others. I didn’t like my upbringing. I didn’t even associate myself as a Middle Easterner. But as I started going to college, I began to meet people who were not me. I met different races and ethnicity. The more I was around people who weren’t me, I was beginning to embrace my culture a lot more. Then I started experiencing trauma with people in my family dying. It was to the point from 2005-2014 we have lost people close to us. One of them being my father. These experiences made me appreciate life just a little more. But this writing isn’t about death. It is more about being humble and genuine about it.

The reason I bring this up is because I consider myself to be a fairly decent person, especially to others. I am self-aware to the point that I know when I am crossing the line, and when I need to apologize. Some people don’t want to come to terms when they are wrong. They believe it shows a side of weakness. I even believe that I am this way because I tend to want peace in my life. Even when people don’t deserve to receive my goodness, I still give them it. I love making people feel good and bring their self-esteem up, but not when it’s getting in the way of my happiness.

People will live their lives being good in certain instances, but never really  a good person all around. I at times start thinking, “what if I start treating people the way they have treated me”. I am not talking about the ones that are good to me. I am speaking about the ones who are just there, and taking advantage of me.

I know some people know my personality enough to control my behavior towards them. It is like they know I will eventually crack down, and let them have their way. So they act outrageous, and feel they have no consequences, because I give them a free pass. But I am sure this will be changing soon. To the point where I will still be a good person, but not let people slide, and stomp all over me. This happens too much in the workplace, families, friends, and even random people.

There are people in this world that walk around angry about how certain people treat them, but they are the same. They get so upset when someone is rude to them, or doesn’t respect them. Yet they are the same. If people would just follow their own advice, or follow the certain life quotes that they tend to post on social media; they would be okay humans.

We all have the ability to have goodness in our lives. But we are too misguided or distracted by the things that have no importance. Maybe it does have some importance to you to some extent, but it is short term. We tend to want success, but not work hard for it. Money of all things has been the cause for our turmoil and sadness. We are NOT humble human beings if we can’t even for a split second share our wealth, even if it is just a little bit. We all define wealth in different ways, however being rich in life is not only through money. Be rich with love, respect, happiness, compassion, consideration, etc. The list can be as long as you want.

With strangers I don’t tend to take to heart how they treat me, so I look more at the people in my life that I care about. However, I do care how I treat strangers as well. We should not be so centered on just family and close friends. There are people out there in this world that actually need you. Even if you don’t see it. How many times have you met a stranger, and spoke to them for just a moment, and realized you have much more in common with them, than you do with the people you call blood or best friends? I have met people randomly, even in a grocery store line that have shown me more compassion, than the people who call me a friend.

Just remember when you die, you don’t take all those goodies you bought. That nice car, watch, or house doesn’t get buried with you. But what does get buried with you is you, and the person you were to people. If you have just a month to live, what would you do? How would you spend your last days?

No matter what, I know I can still remain to be a good person. We are not perfect human beings. We never will be. But we can be decent humans walking this earth, and paving the way for the generations to come after us. This sounds cliche, but so what!? Why is it becoming easier to be ungenerous, disrespectful, and greedy?

Don’t count all your good, and share with the world what you have given, but know your self-worth and do not let people walk all over you. Be humble!

Do They Know?



Do they know? Do they feel? Do they wonder? Do they see? Do they expect? Do they have hope? Do they still love? These questions all surround one explicit idea, and inevitable part of our lives. The dying.

How hard it must be to come to reality that you will not get better. How terrifying it must be to know there is a chance you will one day take your last breath unexpectedly. Just that small ounce of hope they have. That look they give you that they have given up.

The most petrifying look you can see in their eyes. Would they still be here if they would have tried a little harder, or was this it? It was that last look you gave that you may not return home. The sickness that made you weaker. The sickness that took your strength. The sickness that made you doubt. The sickness that made you cry. The sickness that made you lose yourself. The sickness that left your family within darkness. The sickness that took you away. The difficulties to look before your last days. The difficulties it has been to accept, but regardless move forward. You were smart, and you didn’t kid yourself. You knew. You felt. You accepted it, without us knowing you did. You tried to be stronger, but it took over you. The last days of your life were the most difficult, because it was supposed to be the road to your recovery. But instead it was to a dark, and unsettling road. It was your destiny. It was your story coming to an end, but your memory to an eternal life.

Your eyes had darkness, your heart of gold.
Your sounds of love, your feelings of old.
You whispered in my ear, you are strong.
I looked to your eyes, and hymned your song.
The song of strength. The song of your life.
Despite your end, we still stand.
Never forget you, as we still hold your hand.
Your memories are forever ours.
As each one of us were your stars.
A father we loved together with those days.
Together as a family we made our ways.
As we still remember in our lives.
We think of you still standing by our side.

In Loving Memory of My Father July 26, 1960-June 8th, 2013

Love, Hope, Strength, Faith: Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

By: Rhonda Nemri

It was last May of 2015, I signed up to do the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I decided to join because most of my coworkers/friends had joined, and I thought to myself it’s for a good cause. I didn’t know anyone with breast cancer, but I still felt connected to it because cancer had affected my family. My father was diagnosed with bladder cancer in November of 2012, and had lost his battle in June of 2013. So the connection was highly there, as I related this race to the loss of my father from cancer. It was my first 5k for a cancer event. Even though it was an unrelated cancer it still pushed me to participate, and feel the pain those felt fighting breast cancer, and losing to it. 

This year as the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure approached it was different for me. I wanted to join not only because it was for cancer, but because my mother was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in January of 2016, and is currently seeking treatment for it. I don’t share this with many people, but this event has prompted me to share my thoughts.

Signing up for this race I thought to myself I’m going to participate in this and experience it in a different light. I was supposed to meet my coworkers/friends for a pre race photo at our company office the morning of the race, which is only a few blocks away. I was running late, and thought I will just walk to this event alone and wait for them there since I was running a bit behind for the photo.

When I actually got to the event, I noticed so many people there dressed in full support for the cause. Women and even men all dressed in pink, children running around with supportive gear, and different booths set up for free items for supporting.

When I got closer to the main stage, they began their announcements, and upbeat music to get us in preparation for the race/walk. They announced that they would have a survivors parade, which entailed breast cancer survivors walking and cheering with signs that stated Faith, Hope, Strength, and Love. At that moment I felt very connected and tears rushing down my face. I wanted the tears to stop to avoid people staring, but it didn’t work. It was an overwhelming feeling I couldn’t control. After a few minutes I felt this positive vibe, and  then realized how many women and even men suffer with breast cancer. These survivors allowed me to see the strength in these women who have fought with it, but also those who have lost their battle. It did however give me hope and faith.

I’ve connected with these women and they didn’t even know it. I thought about my mother through this all, and remembered how strong she is. She doesn’t have an easy life, but she manages to wake up and get through her day fighting. Something I believe I may not be able to do if I were in her shoes.

I was alone for the most part of the beginning, and wondered if my coworkers/friends should be with me so I wouldn’t cry or break down. But I am glad I had that moment to myself. 

I was doing the 5k run, and most of them signed up for the 10k so I even ran alone. I kept thinking I don’t care about what time I would finish this race, I just wanted to finish it regardless of time. 

The race started at 8 am and run start time began at 8:03 am. As I was running I noticed all the different types of runners. The ones that were survivors, the ones that were running for the cause, and the ones that were running on behalf of those who lost their battle. I was the runner that was running on behalf of my mother who is currently living with this cancer and fighting it each day. It inspired me to keep running.
I passed my first mile, and felt I’m not going to stop. I did eventually stop for a moment to walk, but I kept going. As I was approaching the finish line I noticed those cheering me and the others near me to finish. I sprinted to the finish line and the tears came down. I was again alone and just noticed all those around me celebrating their finish. I was happy and proud for them, even though I didn’t know them. I grabbed my banana and water and sat on the cool grass watching those finishing the race.

When I finally met with my coworkers/friends I was happy to see them and high fived them for finishing the 10k. We took plenty of picture and danced a little. It was beautiful and an experience I won’t forget. I have done plenty of 5k races for different diseases, but this one in particular will always be one I won’t forget. 

Participating in these races allows you to give to the cause, as well as running for those who have fought and/or lost their battle. It actually pushes you to keep going. 

Ever since losing my father to cancer, and watching my mother fighting breast cancer, life has been seen in a different perspective. Cancer is a scary word, and we automatically think of loss. But we must continue to be there and fight with those battling it. Your world may be turned upside down, but eventually you will learn to see the beauty of life and how fragile it is. 

It’s a cliché thing to say “you never know when it is your last day”, but this is a true statement. I never knew I would lose my father at such a young age, and I never thought my mother would get breast cancer. But it has helped me to want to help those who may have experienced a loss, and going through grief. It isn’t easy to live with so much grief, but it shapes you to be a stronger and better person in such an unfortunate way. 

I’m thankful to know I am not in this alone, and there are many supportive people. I thank them for their existence in my life, they know who they are 😊

Check out the few pics from the event!






The Fools Will Chatter


By: Rhonda Nemri
Photograph painted and photo edited By: Rhonda Nemri

I mustn’t show my tears. Or else the fools will chatter.

I mustn’t show my smile. Or else the fools will chatter.

I mustn’t grief out loud. Or else the fools will chatter.

I must show my tears. Or else the fools will chatter.

I must show my smile. Or else the fools will chatter.

I must grief out loud. Or else the fools will chatter.

Yes the fools will always chatter. With chatter they speak as fools, and fool you to believe they stand beside you as if you’re a fool. But indeed the fool will always be a fool, full of ignorance.



By: Rhonda Nemri
Photograph taken by Rhonda Nemri

Lying there with your eyes closed and your cold delicate skin, I see you but can’t feel your touch. Throwing myself at you with tears rushing down my face, dripping to the cold ground.

Catching the last moment of your presence as I press my warm face against yours and sing you a song that once was heard.

Revealing my story to you in the last moment before the doors shut. Staring in the eyes of the lost souls, feeling their pain, but nothing can be done.

Consoling one as I feel the wind knocking me down. Creating visionaries in ones mind as we lose the branch off the tree of life.

Whispering voices, crying eyes.
Look around, touch the ground. Fall in hurt, reach for support. Crazy scenes, loud full screams. Stop the ride, feeling to confide.

Moved away quick as they give one last look. Running back to just hold you in that split moment I’m shook.

Soil is moved for your rest. Feeling this urge to fall apart, as the dirt shall fall, and the grass will sprout.

Digging with my bare hands, as I visit your long stay. Feeling this pain that won’t go away. Dig, dig ,dig, but I don’t go far. As I stop the dreaming and walk to my car.

I look one last moment before I leave, and pass through the gates as I weep.

Your memory is in my mind throughout the day. As I place my hand to my broken heart, and hum this way.

As the sun shines I feel your smile. I hope this feeling will stay for a while. I rest my eyes through the night. As I wake things don’t feel right.

The final thoughts are of this life, without a moment of you things don’t feel right.