International Day of the Girl Child

While there has long been an International Women’s Day and an International Day of the Child, neither of these days recognize the unique position of girls. International Day of the Girl Child is an international observance day declared by the United Nations; it is also called the Day of the Girl and the International Day of the Girl. October 11, 2012, was the first Day of the Girl.

According to the UNICEF, There are 1.1 billion girls in the world today. Unfortunately, in much of the world, they are often faced with discrimination, violence, and lack of equal opportunities. Too often, particularly in developing countries, girls are married very young. Once that happens, they lose access to education, and are vulnerable to sexual and other abuse. Part of the UN’s goal is to gather data on these girls. On the assumption that “what gets counted gets done,” they have called for action for “increased investment in collecting and analyzing girl-focused, girl-relevant and sex-disaggregated data.”

The most important thing that can be done is to give girls access to education. Educated girls stand a better chance of understanding their culture and being able to think for themselves and make choices for their own lives, rather than being sold to a man in a forced marriage.

One way to get involved is Because I am a Girl, a global movement driven by Plan International to ensure girls everywhere can learn, lead, decide and thrive. They declare:

  • All girls have a right to an education
  • All girls have the right to take part in the life of their community and country
  • All girls have the right to decide if and when to marry and/or start a family
  • All girls have the right to live free from violence and have equal economic opportunities.

Women’s equality starts in childhood. Girls deserve a chance.

Quotes about girl power

Why can’t a girl be smart without it being explained away as a rare supernatural phenomenon?–Cat Winters

Girls should be strong together. Strong like steel, merry like the tinkling of chimes dancing in the wind.–Kristin Halbrook

Being a girl doesn’t make you weak, Parker. It makes you special.–Ali Novak

Girl power is about loving yourself and having confidence and strength from within…–Nicole Scherzinger

Astonishingly, not all girls get dressed just to please men. –Jojo Moyes

I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels.–Maya Angelou

We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back. We call upon our sisters around the world to be brave – to embrace the strength within themselves and realize their full potential.–Malala Yousafzai

Girl power in my mind is to let girls be exactly what they are. Let them be angry. Let them be resentful. And rebellious. Let them be hard and soft and loving and sad and silly. Let them be wrong. Let them be right. Let them be everything. because, they are everything.–Amy Sherman-Palladino

If you want to change a whole people, then you start with the girls. It stands to reason: they learn faster, and they pass on what they learn to their children.–Terry Pratchett

The only power any man has over you is the power you give him.–Renee Ahdieh

What’s “suitable for kids” defines what sort of kids we as a society want. And right now, the girls society wants are the ones who can fit on a short list—while the list for boys is without borders or end.–Jason Porath

Gender equality is not a belief, it is not an idea – it is a key element of the society that will define whether we the humans shall march ahead towards glory and advancement, or sink into the abyss of an existential doom.–Abhijit Naskar

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World Post Day

World Post Day is celebrated each year on October 9th. The event was declared by the 1969 Universal Postal Congress in Tokyo as a means to mark the anniversary of the Universal Postal Union’s (UPU) creation in 1874.

Approximately 150 countries take part in celebrating the World Post Day every year. Some of the countries promote their new postal services or products at this special day and reward their employees for good services. Most of the countries organize philatelic exhibitions and issue new stamps. Displaying posters on World Post Day in post offices as well as public places, conferences, seminars and workshops including cultural, sport, recreational activities are other activities. Speech is given by the high rank officers at this day about the history and achievements of the postal services.

Although many, if not most of us use email or texting for our everyday messages, the post office is still an important organization. Businesses rely on it, and so do regular people for delivering parcels. Where I am living now in rural Ireland, An Post is the only reliable means of getting packages to my house, because the local mail people understand how addresses work in these villages. Amazon UK sent me a package via another service, and it never came at all. They resent it through the post and it came in two days.

There are three purposes for this special day.

  1. The World Post Day aims increase the awareness of people about the postal sector role for people and businesses every day.
  2. It is celebrated to let the people about its contribution towards the social and economic development of the countries.
  3. It is celebrated to encourage the countries to carry out various activities to generate the big awareness among people and media about its role and activities on a national level.

So appreciate your post office today!

Quotes about the (mainly U.S.) Postal Service

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. [The Motto Of The U.S. Postal Service]–Herodotus

The Postal Service delivers mail six days a week to nearly 140 million addresses. Every year this number increases by 2 million.–Joe Baca

But the fact is, Mr. Chairman, for all the challenges the Postal Service of the 21st century faces, it still retains its traditional place as a key cog in how American businesses conduct their affairs and how Americans all across this land communicate.–John M. McHugh

The Postal Service’s unmatched ability to reach every household and business in America six days a week is a vital part of the nation’s infrastructure.–Joe Baca

A federal court has ruled that the U.S. Postal Service must reduce its stamp prices. The change in stamp prices is expected to affect as many as seven Americans.–Conan O’Brien

I don’t buy a lot when I travel, but when I do, I like to send gifts from wherever I am. It’s fun to find the local post office.–Juliana Hatfield

All the new technology seems redundant to me. I was quite happy with the United States mail service. And, I don’t even have an answering machine, for God’s sake.–Kurt Vonnegut

That’s my dream job, to be able to mail songs out to people who want to hear them. Paste my face on them and not travel all over the world trying to sell them.–Kristin Hersh

I’ve worked in a factory. I was a garbage man. I worked in a post office. It’s not that long ago. I like to think that I’m just a regular guy.–Denzel Washington

Give me the old familiar world, post-office and all, with this ever new self, with this infinite expectation and faith, which does not know when it is beaten.00Henry David Thoreau

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Nobel Peace Prize

At this time of year, the Nobel prizes are announced. One of the most interesting, and the most controversial, is the Peace Prize. It has been awarded mostly annually to those who have “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”

What makes this interesting to me is that the Norwegian inventor, Alfred Nobel developed dynamite, and owned an arms factory. Granted, the original purpose of dynamite was to produce a safer explosive for industrial use but to have someone who manufactured arms create a peace prize is odd, to say the least. Many believe it was his friendship with the prominent Austrian pacifist Bertha von Suttner inspired him to establish the prize for peace, but no one knows for sure.

As a Quaker, I am proud that the American Friends Service Committee received the award for their work in rebuilding Europe after World War II. Other well deserved winners have been those like the Red Cross, Amnesty International, Nelson Mandela Jimmy Carter, Malala Yousafzai, and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, who received the award in 2017.

However, the Peace Prize has also been controversial, both for the people who have received it, and those who have not. For instance, Gandhi never received the prize, though Martin Luther King Jr. did, as one who followed his ways. Many feel Eleanor Roosevelt should have received the prize, but she did not.

Some who seem odd choices to me are Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Kissinger, and Mikhail Gorbachev. It has not been disclosed how the committee decides on who gets the prize.

Controversial or not, it is good to celebrate peace. May we always work towards that in our world.

Quotes by Nobel and others about peace

My dynamite will sooner lead to peace than a thousand world conventions. As soon as men will find that in one instant, whole armies can be utterly destroyed, they surely will abide by golden peace.–Alfred Nobel

I intend to leave after my death a large fund for the promotion of the peace idea, but I am skeptical as to its results.–Alfred Nobel

Good wishes alone will not ensure peace.–Alfred Nobel

For my part, I wish all guns with their belongings and everything could be sent to hell, which is the proper place for their exhibition and use.–Alfred Nobel

The arms race can kill, though the weapons themselves may never be used…by their cost alone, armaments kill the poor by causing them to starve.–Vatican statement to the U.N., 1976

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children… This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.–Dwight David Eisenhower

For it isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.–Eleanor Roosevelt

If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.–Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind… War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.–John F. Kennedy

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World Teacher Day

World Teacher Day is an official United Nations holiday. The UNESCO Website explains, “Held annually on 5 October since 1994, World Teachers’ Day commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the 1966 UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers… The 1966 Recommendation constitutes the main reference framework for addressing teachers’ rights and responsibilities on a global scale.”

This event celebrates teachers at all levels of education from preschool through university. UNESCO describes it as “an opportunity to commemorate teacher’s organizations worldwide and also aims to activate support for teachers.”

I shared an apartment with a teacher for some time, and I can testify that she did not begin to be paid enough for the time she put in outside of class, the money she spent to make her classroom an attractive and useful place of learning, and the caring, and skill she lavished on the children. I’m glad we have a day to honor teachers, but they truly deserve more than one.

This also a day to show support for teachers, even if it is as simple as a note of appreciation, or the proverbial apple. But it is also a time to make sure that teachers are being supported by the school board and local government in the form of class sizes small enough for each student to get the attention he or she needs, for adequate resources for the classroom, for adequate pay for the important job they do, and for continuing education opportunities,

Teachers mold the next generation and deserve our gratitude and our support. So if you still have children in school, why not make it a family project to show your appreciation in some way. If not, you probably know a teacher who would appreciate thanks and support. Teachers, we salute you on your special day!

Quotes about teachers

The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself.–Edward Bulwer-Lytton

The best teachers are the best storytellers.–Frank Smith

The educator must believe in the potential power of his pupil, and he must employ all his art in seeking to bring his pupil to experience this power.–Alfred Adler

A good teacher is never done … always trying to reinvent, improve and inspire.–David Carlson

The good teacher makes the poor student good and the good student superior.–Marva Collins

A good teacher must be able to put himself in the place of those who find learning hard.–Eliphas Levi

Good teachers empathize with kids, respect them, and believe that each one has something special that can be built upon.–Ann Lieberman

The greatest sign of success for a teacher … is to be able to say, “The children are now working as if I did not exist.”–Maria Montessori

I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit…–John Steinbeck

I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.–Albert Einstein

In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something else.–Lee Iaccoca

The job of a teacher is to excite in the young a boundless sense of curiosity about life, so that the growing child shall come to apprehend it with an excitement tempered by awe and wonder.–John Garrett

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary new material, but the warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.–Carl Jung

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National Butterfly and Hummingbird Day

Two small, but beautiful and colorful flying creatures share the spotlight on October 3. It may seem odd to celebrate them together in the same holiday, but besides being attractive, they are pollinators of flowers as they visit them and drink the nectar.

Hummingbirds are birds from the Americas that constitute the family Trochilidae. They are among the smallest of birds, most species measuring 7.5–13 cm (3–5 in) in length. Indeed, the smallest extant bird species is a hummingbird, the 5 cm (2.0 in) bee hummingbird weighing less than 2.0 g (0.07 oz). For nutrition, hummingbirds eat a variety of insects, including mosquitoes, fruit flies, and gnats in flight or aphids on leaves and spiders in their webs. They drink the nectar from flowers, but can be enticed by sugar water in a feeder, so their beauty can be enjoyed up close.

Habitat loss and destruction are the hummingbird’s main threats. As hummingbirds are often specially adapted to each unique habitat, each species of hummingbird currently listed as vulnerable or endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list.

Here are a few interesting facts about butterflies from the San Diego Zoo.

  • Butterflies taste with their feet.
  • A group of butterflies is sometimes called a flutter.
  • There are 165,000 known species of butterflies found on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Butterflies vary in size – the largest species may reach 12 inches across, while the smallest may only be half an inch.
  • Scientists thought butterflies were deaf until the first butterfly ears were identified in 1912.

Butterfly populations are constantly in danger of disappearing. Habitat loss is one of the leading causes of species decline. Butterflies are essentially cold-blooded, and global warming is hurting them.

Today let us appreciate these beautiful but vulnerable creatures as they try to survive in this changing world.

Quotes about hummingbirds and about butterflies

A flash of harmless lightning,
A mist of rainbow dyes,
The burnished sunbeams brightening
From flower to flower he flies.
John B. Tabb

I always loved those little creatures [hummingbird], always feel blessed when they appear nearby. There’s a magical quality to them. I finally put one in a song.–Leonard Cohen

As long as the hummingbird had not abandoned the land, somewhere there were still flowers, and they could all go on.–Leslie Marmon Silko

Gentle day’s flower –
The hummingbird competes
With the stillness of the air.
Chogyam Trungpa

Across the downs a hummingbird
Came dipping through the bowers,
He pivoted on emptiness
To scrutinize the flowers.
Nathalia Crane

A day so happy. Fog lifted early. I worked in the garden. Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers. There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess. I know no one worth my envying him.–Czeslaw Milosz

Coming eyeball to eyeball with a hummingbird on my terrace is as exciting to me as any celebrity Ive met as a result of Downton Abbey.–Lesley Nicol

Farewell,’ she said. ‘I hope you hear many more songs’ – which was the best way she could think of to say good-bye to a butterfly.–Peter S. Beagle

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.–Maya Angelou

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.–Richard Bach

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.–Nathaniel Hawthorne

If nothing ever changed, there would be no such things as butterflies.–Wendy Mass

I only ask to be free. The butterflies are free.–Charles Dickens

Not quite birds, as they were not quite flowers, mysterious and fascinating as are all indeterminate creatures.–Elizabeth Goudge

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International Coffee Day

International Coffee Day is a time to celebrate that caffeinated beverage, with events occurring across the world. The first official time this was observed was October 1, 2015, as agreed by the International Coffee Organization and was launched in Milan.

Coffee is made from the seeds or berries of the coffee plant. As a beverage, it has been enjoyed by people around the world for many centuries. Historians believe that coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia. The National Coffee Association relates the legend about coffee’s origin: “The story goes that that Kaldi discovered coffee after he noticed that after eating the berries from a certain tree, his goats became so energetic that they did not want to sleep at night. Kaldi reported his findings to the abbot of the local monastery, who made a drink with the berries and found that it kept him alert through the long hours of evening prayer.”

From there, coffee spread to the Middle East. European travelers brought the beverage back with them, and by the 17th century, it was popular in Europe. It moved to the New World with European settlers. Besides bringing energy and alertness, coffee brought people together, and many an idea was hatched over a cup of coffee.

According to MarketWatch, Americans drink more coffee than soda, tea and juice combined. They say, “the market for coffee hit 88.8 gallons per capita in 2016, nearly three times more than bottled water.” Worldwide, the numbers are also robust. The International Coffee Organization estimates that during the year October 2015 to September 2016, over 151 million 60 kg. (130 lb.) bags were consumed.

Now, of course, you can get all kinds of coffee from specialized shops. So be sure to have a cup today – I’ll be wishing you well with my cup of tea in hand.

Quotes about coffee

Even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all.–David Lynch

I never laugh until I’ve had my coffee–Clark Gable

It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who genuinely have a medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.–Dave Barry

Coffee: the favorite drink of the civilized world.–Thomas Jefferson

The powers of a man’s mind are directly proportioned to the quantity of coffee he drinks.–James Mackintosh

The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce–Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

No one can understand the truth until he drinks of coffee’s frothy goodness.–Sheik Abd-al-Kadir

I believe humans get a lot done, not because we’re smart, but because we have thumbs so we can make coffee.–Flash Rosenberg

Coffee is the best thing to douse the sunrise with.–Terri Guillemets

There’s nothing sweeter than a cup of bitter coffee.–Rian Aditia

Way too much coffee. But if it weren’t for the coffee, I’d have no identifiable personality whatsoever.–David Letterman

We want to do a lot of stuff; we’re not in great shape. We didn’t get a good night’s sleep. We’re a little depressed. Coffee solves all these problems in one delightful little cup. –Jerry Seinfeld

I like coffee because it gives me the illusion that I might be awake.–Lewis Black

As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move…similes arise, the paper is covered. Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle.–Honore de Balzac

Among the numerous luxuries of the table…coffee may be considered as one of the most valuable. It excites cheerfulness without intoxication; and the pleasing flow of spirits which it occasions…is never followed by sadness, languor or debility.–Benjamin Franklin

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