#5SmartReads - January 27, 2023
Diksha on mass migrants, not teaching fear to children, and the secret to happiness
Diksha works in international development by day tackling some of the most pressing public health issues confronting children. Her IG covers life with her 2 tweens, recent reads, eats, skincare finds and current events. A native of Nepal (by way of Italy and Thailand), she currently resides in New York.
The Crisis Of Missing Migrants (The New Yorker)
This is a wholly unsettling read. While we often see distressing reports of the treatment of migrants, thinking about what happens in the after math to those who lose their lives trying to migrate isn't one I've seen covered before.
This article explores the sad reality of the missing migrants who fled from Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East via the Mediterranean to the shores of Italy, Malta, Greece etc. Only 13% of the bodies of migrants who died on journeys between 2014-2019 have been recovered. Italy itself has some 2000 unmarked graves. Finding missing people and investigating their identity is a state responsibility, regardless of citizenship, and yet it is one where nationality, racial and ethnic background play an outsize role. The indignity of this is upsetting, but the lingering impact on the lives of those they leave behind continues.
The lack of a death certificate means widows unable to remarry to children unable to do many things because of lack of legal paternal approval. A sad but important read.
How Dinner Parties Became The Fuzzy Blanket Of Adulthood (Bon Appétit)
A few years ago we left NYC (land of dinners with friends at restaurants), and in the suburbs discovered the joys of hosting and being welcomed for dinner parties at friends' homes.
Post pandemic, we find ourselves wanting to socialize more and it's been fun to get to know each other over prepared meals without a waiter hovering and keeping a mindful eye on not hogging the table for too long.
Dining in someone's home is wonderfully intimate, I've learned of a friend's secret talents for particular cuisines, or the story of a family heirloom at a set table.
"As we tentatively begin to venture out again, seeking comfort and belonging, there may be no better salve than a dinner party—a real one, this time. Something simple, filled with purpose and context, and structured around low-key formalities that create freedom and relief for the attendees."
This read made me think about the dinners I host, and the "purpose" behind them. My mom is an extraordinary host, adept at hosting large gatherings where the focus was always on making sure everyone was comfortable and well-fed. While I am still working on my skills, I realize I have co-opted some of these gatherings- we do family style, and my husband is in charge of a special cocktail and mocktail, and ensuring there's a full bar.
Don’t Teach Your Kids To Fear The World (The Atlantic)
Parenting is hard. All of it.
As they get older and more mobile, the balance between ensuring they know enough to keep themselves safe, and yet ensuring they are still open to all the goodness in the world is such a fine one.
Per the experts in this article:
"…in fact, teaching them that the world is dangerous is bad for their health, happiness, and success"
and instead raise children that are less open to difference and tolerance. As a highly anxious person now parenting a tween who is wanting to do more and more on her own, I found their concrete tips to be really helpful: heal yourself of your own fears; keep your advice specific and proportional; and counteracting the negativity they/we hear about every day.
The reality is being a kid in America has never been safer- something I will be repeating to myself.
This read is a peek at what her morning looks like, to what she's reading (a recommendation from her mentor Hillary Clinton!) and how she refuses to give in to imposter syndrome.
"I don't question myself when I walk into rooms now and ask whether I belong.
I know I belong."
This is something I've been working on since turning 40- to unapologetically take up space. So much of this read resonates - give it a read.
A research study that has been running for decades finds that the number one thing data says people can change in their lives to be happier is.... invest in their relationships with other people.
"His study has shown that the strongest predictors for people to maintain their happiness and health throughout the course of their lives were people who described their relationships as having satisfying levels of quality and warmth. And that applies to a wide breadth of interactions in your daily life, from spouses, close friends and colleagues to the barista who makes your morning coffee or the person delivering your mail."
The reason is because relationships serve as stress regulators in our lives and offset the negative impact of chronic stress. The other positive thing the study revealed is that it's never too late to start cultivating these relationships. As someone who moved a lot throughout my childhood and even adult life, thankfully due to my peripatetic life I love forging connections and making friends so I wholly embrace these findings.