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for our Global Pen Pal, Year 2009, we will go in yet another direction in our global letter writing. This year we will try to engage an intergenerational discussion across cultures, generations with 2 people who have never met before. I have been kindly introduced to Hella Kramer in Bonn, Germany. Hella is a retired physician, mother and grandmother living in Europe. I am an active working mother of 2 boys, age 4 and 6, with aging parents. I am the founder and managing editor of IF mag (my name is Cat Wayland) and I teach as a substitute teacher. I should like us to write to one another when the time is available and find out one another's perspective. I hope to learn much and make a new friend.

Dear Cat,

For the March issue of IF Magazine, I want to answer your letter about
youth and their problems, and how this issue appears in Germany. We also have problems of discipline at school and at home.  Our children watch too much television and some go shopping instead of going to school. They refuse to take piano or other music lessons. Every week we read in newspapers articles about this problem: school discipline, school quality and so on. School, teachers and parents have to work together.

Most women are working now in Europe. This is a New Generation.
Mothers don’t stay at home if they can organize their day. I was also working as a physician even with my young children. But, I had help at home. Our children grew up in Bonn, the former Capital of Germany and went to an International High School and had friends from different countries, mostly children of diplomats.

The teachers of this school had to be and were strong authorities and at the same time, openhearted. The school had a good social mixture of children from different social levels and was not snobbish. Our children had friends from many parts of the world.  We as parents participated regularly in conferences with teachers about school problems, like discipline at school, homework and drugs.

The school itself offered a wonderful exchange of different cultures from Italy to France, Greece, Sweden, England, and the US, North Africa. So our children had the opportunity to visit other countries during their holidays with their friends and we took their friends to our personal vacation such as South of France or Switzerland.

Last week, here in Bonn at the ticket counter of the underground, I had a special experience with ten or twelve French pupils. I spoke shortly in French with them to give them some information. At the end they answered in a very friendly way:”Tschuess Madame Tschuess Madame”  This little example shows that cultural exchange is part of our education and very fruitful.

Our children stayed during their long summer vacations with French, American, English and Italian families and we had children of these countries in our home. We had to be well organized.  So children of these countries on both sides learned a different lifestyle.

I myself was also raised like that and stayed with different families in France and England or at a summer camp with tennis and swimming in a French Monastery. To conclude my discussion on this issue: we should work on an exchange program for children internationally with the help of the IF Mag.

And we should start as soon as possible.

Thanks, Hella

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