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Happy Mothers' Day!
Happy Mothers' Day!
Rosely Sayão

-Essay-

On Mothers' Day, mothers are recognized and receive praise from their families and society at large. It's a special day that nobody should forget to celebrate, right? My homage will consist of a few requests and some words of gratitude.

Cultivating patience is the first thing I would ask mothers to do. They would need patience to deal with the nights of bad sleep because their babies were crying, to survive the whining and stubbornness of small children, to navigate the pointless arguments with teenagers and, even, to endure the apparent lack of gratitude shown by aloof adult sons and daughters.

I know how difficult it is because it's not just one whine, one sleepless night, one dispute with your teenage son, one wound from the contempt expressed by your adult child. It's many of these things, and more. But this is what raising children is all about: it's an "unrecoverable investment", as a colleague of mine puts it. This is why I pay homage to, and thank, mothers for their love, generosity and sacrifice, all done in silence, without anybody noticing the times they desperately sought the best solutions for the seemingly unsolvable problems their children faced. I want to thank them for not giving up, regardless of how bad the situation might have been.

The second thing I ask of mothers is not to feel guilty for the mistakes their sons and daughters might make, for the decisions their children take and which, in retrospect, appear to have been the wrong ones due to the frustration those decisions led to.

Mothers, just like anybody else, have flaws and these don't miraculously disappear with maternity. Mothers have their limits, their blind spots, and they try to bring out the best in themselves even though they don't always succeed.

For that reason, I want to thank mothers who forgive themselves, who try to understand themselves better and who, for the most part, accept their children when they start acting differently from the way they had hoped.

The third and last thing I would like is for mothers to let their kids have the school life they want, depending on their children's results at the time. We've been giving far too much importance to grades, and, with it, burdening our children with undeserved criticism and disappointment.

Children don't need to like going to school, they don't need to get good grades. What children need is to learn, to be curious and eager to know more, and there are more ways to get there than with schools. We just need schools to keep going ahead, as Natalia Ginzburg wrote in her book The Little Virtues.

For that, I am thankful to mothers who don't give in to the temptation of following their children's every step at school, and, especially, to those who consider the teaching of virtues, honesty, morals and ethics as more important than anything else.

Finally, I want to pay tribute to the mothers who reflect on their jobs, the most important of all jobs, and who lose minutes, or even hours, of sleep reorganizing their motherly duties.

A very happy and loving Mothers' Day to all!

*Rosely Sayão is a psychologist and educational consultant.

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Russia

No Putin, No Russia? Why Losing The War Wouldn't Destroy The Russian Federation

Predictions about the collapse of Russia are as old as the country itself. Yet a consistent centralization of power has gone on for decades, weakening Russia's territories and republics. The war in Ukraine changes everything and nothing.

Photo of a Russian flag during Unity Day celebrations

Russian unity day celebrations

Aleksandr Kynev

-Analysis-

The prediction “Russia is about to fall apart” has been a mainstay of the political science-futurist genre for the 30 years since the end of the USSR and establishment of the Russian Federation.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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Now, the war with Ukraine has drastically reduced the time-frame for such apocalyptic forecasts to come true. First, because it turns out that Russia can very well lose the war; and secondly, a defeat would weaken Vladimir Putin’s regime — and who knows if he will retain power at all?

“No Putin, no Russia” is a more recent refrain.

This line of thinking says that the weakening of the central government will push the regions to act independently. Yet noted political scientist Alexander Kynev explained in an interview with Vazhnyye Istorii why he doesn't believe anything like this will happen. The collapse of Russia is unlikely even if Putin loses.

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