Learning from African culture about the value of community

Kathy Eldon, Founder & CEO of Creative Visions Foundations, shares advice for parents on how learning from African culture can help to create a strong family unit
Learning From African Culture About The Value Of Community
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Learning from African culture about the value of community

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American families can learn from Africans in so many ways. I think one of the most important is a sense of community. Of people having a role in the community. Of the old people not being tossed aside. The old people who are looking after the small children. In many parts of Africa, they feel the old people are heading in to where God is and that the babies have just come out of where God is and that they need to be together so that they can sort of pass on the wisdom and understand where one is headed and where one has been. The sense that a lap is to put a baby on and it doesn't really matter whose baby it is, it's just to put a baby on, so you pass the babies from lap to lap. It's a sense that you are part of something that is not about nuclear families. I think one of the most tragic things in America is the sense that I live here, you live there. I think we need a lot more communes, so we need a lot more ways for people to come together and share responsibility. And single mothers to share responsibility and grannies and grandpas to be able to climb on board and help young mums. The sense that age is revered. That there is wisdom in age. There is annoyance sometimes. There is scattiness, but there is wisdom and to be able to tap into that wisdom. In Kenya, you are nobody until you have a gray hair, now we don't have gray hair, but you are nobody until you have a gray hair and then you are called 'musay' and then you are respected. We have so much to learn. So often we just see that which is "news," which is famine and war and whatever, but there is a such richness in culture and tradition and the ability for people to interact in ways that are rich with ritual and tradition. We have the ability to take from that, wear it, nurture it, be it, celebrate it.

Kathy Eldon, Founder & CEO of Creative Visions Foundations, shares advice for parents on how learning from African culture can help to create a strong family unit

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Kathy Eldon

Parent with a Purpose and Founder & CEO, Creative Visions Foundation

Kathy Eldon was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She graduated from Wellesley College and has since worked as an art teacher, television presenter, magazine editor, journalist, media consultant and a television and film producer in Kenya, England and the United States. She has written seventeen books on a variety of subjects including Angel Catcher, a Journal of Loss and Remembrance; Soul Catcher: a Journal to Help You Become Who You Really Are; and Love Catcher, a Journal to Invite more Love in Your Life, all published by Chronicle Books. The journals were co-authored with her daughter Amy, who is her partner in Creative Visions, a television and film production company.

Kathy was the Executive Producer of the 1999 Emmy nominated Turner Broadcasting two-hour documentary, Dying to tell the Story, about journalists who risk their lives to do their jobs, which was conceived of and presented by Amy Eldon. In l999 Kathy exec-produced a one-hour CNN documentary, Soldiers of Peace: A Children's Crusade, about the Colombian children's peace movement, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Both films were distributed internationally to over 220 countries. Kathy's company also produced Lost in Africa, a family feature film distributed by Columbia Pictures internationally.

Kathy is currently producing a feature film about her son, artist and Reuters photographer Dan Eldon, who was stoned to death at the age of 22 in Somalia. In May, 2011, Kathy and Amy exec-produced, together with Julia Roberts, "Extraordinary Moms," a tribute to the power of mothers to change the world around them. Hosted by Julia Roberts, the special featured Hillary Clinton, Rosie O'Donnell and Christiane Amanpour.

Kathy edited The Journey is the Destination, a collection of Dan's journal pages which was published by Chronicle Books. Kathy and Amy are co-founders of Creative Visions Foundation, which supports "creative activists" who use media and the arts to create positive change. Over the past 10 years the foundation has incubated more than 80 projects and productions on five continents, touching the lives of more than 10 million people.

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