About the Photo:
I watched from across the dimly-lit room as my two-year old village host brother independently cored and sliced an apple with a small paring knife, and then proceeded to pour himself a glass of steaming hot mint tea without spilling a drop. My attention shifted from this toddler's striking adeptness to his mother, who all the while sat motionlessly beside him, simply monitoring. This mother calmly observed as her young son learned through experience, rather than by example. She did not flinch, as I did, while her son used his own palm as a cutting board for his apple, or when he sent the already-peeled apple rolling down the entirety of the visibly dirty sloped room prior to eating it. A few hours later I witnessed a distinct look of adoration and protection in the eyes of this same mother as she gazed at her two-year old son and placed gentle kisses on his nose while he fell asleep on her lap. I recognized that her earlier permissive actions towards her son were not rooted in irresponsibility, neglect, or bad parenting, but rather that our different reactions to the apple cutting and pouring of hot tea reflected the vast cross-cultural differences that exist among child-rearing practices in contemporary society.
This image was taken during my one-week home-stay in a rural village, called Feryat, in central Morocco. To me, this picture captured only one special moment of my precious time in this village, in this home, and with this beautiful family of nine. Three of the seven children are shown in this image, peering through a window in their home, which was filled to the brim with love and energy, despite the fact that it lacked electricity, plumbing, and insulation. — Nina Connors '10