Melissa Nazareth explores the alternative summer holiday.

Remember the scene in the novel ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ where Jem Finch destroys Mrs. Dubose’s camellias after the old woman insults his father, Atticus? Atticus makes Jem apologise, and his punishment is to read to Mrs. Dubose every day after school. When I got to that part in the book, I thought, what an enriching experience for children to enjoy and not necessarily struggle through as punishment.

The summer vacations are here and as usual parents, especially working parents, are frantically searching for summer camps and activities that will keep their cubs busy for the next two months. While you’re at it, try thinking of alternative options this year. Bahrain has plenty for every child depending what he or she may be interested in. The animal shelter over in Sa’ar is a summer haven for kids who love animals. Tony the Dogfather and his lovely team are often on the lookout for volunteers who can help groom the many animals living there. You can spend a quality weekend there with your little ones.


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Feed the Need by Michelle Bailey is great local initiative for tots who love baking and cooking. Spice things up together in the kitchen; and drive over to one of the many fridges scattered across the island where your children can stock up their creations for the less fortunate.

The BSPCA has a thrift shop in Budaiya and often invites volunteers to sort out donations – books, clothes and other knick-knacks. Your children will enjoy the entire process of hunting for unused or slightly used items from their own belongings, and driving over to the thrift shop with you to donate them. While there, they will love getting together with you to curate the heaps of jewellery, music CDs, shoes and other things.

‘Any entrepreneurial venture must always have a social element to it,’ Chef Wolfgang Puck had said to me in an interview I did with him for Bahrain Confidential. What a beautiful thought! We can use this advice for anything we do in life. Our world has become increasingly competitive and obsessed with succeeding at any cost. We need to take a step back and realise that our planet doesn’t need more achievers rather more peace makers, healers, restorers, story tellers and lovers of all kinds; for this we must start working at grass root level; instead of encouraging (read pressurising) our children to pursue grades and marks, we me must equip them to develop a taste for insights, learning and experiences. This will fuel our children’s imaginations better and ultimately do us all much good.


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         Featured photo credit to Oscar Pletsch