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Happy birthday Hayden!

Happy birthday Hayden!

I remember it well.

I held out my hand, quivering with fear and anticipation.

And a little hand, no more than a minute old reached out and grabbed my index finger.

“G’day mate.”  I uttered.

And so, Hayden was born.

And I became a dad.

And my life changed forever.

Hayden turned 10 today.

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Sacrifice Decision11-time world champion cyclist Emma Meares recently told the story of when former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh was the mentor for the Australian Olympic team at the London Olympics.

He told them that athletes make decisions, not sacrifices to be successful.

In Emma’s words, “If you think that having a healthy diet is a sacrifice then you’re wrong, yes moving away from family and spending time on your own is hard, but it’s a decision and you can choose not to do it.”

It struck me that I use the word sacrifice too much.

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Are-you-giving-your-kidsI’m currently reading Kevin DeYoung’s Crazy Busy and he talked about how parents get so busy with our lives that we end up giving our kids leftovers.

They get our leftover time and our leftover energy, and I couldn’t help but be challenged myself that it’s time to change this.

I don’t want my kids to get whatever time I have leftover after all of my other activities.  It infers to them that they aren’t important enough to prioritise.

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If-my-kids-canI have three wonderful kids and Christmas is an awesome time to be a dad.

To witness their smiles and laughter on Christmas morning is a wonderful experience.

So what do I want for my kids this Christmas?

Not expensive presents, although we want to bless our kids with nice things.

Not an abundance of gifts, with too many to choose from.

Not the latest, coolest gadgets.

I just want them to have enough.

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The-most-important-thingIn the 1970’s, famous toy company Lego’s had this message for parents in their boxes of toys.

“The urge to create is equally strong in all children. Boys and girls. It’s imagination that counts.

A lot of boys like doll houses, they’re more human than spaceships.

A lot of girls prefer spaceships. They’re more exciting than doll houses.

The most important thing is to put the right material in their hands and let them create whatever appeals to them.”

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A few weeks ago, I saw a dad trying in vain to deal with his 3-year-old girl who was trying to look through the window of her big sister’s classroom.

“Matilda come away from there, Matilda come away from there, Matilda come away from there, Matilda come away from there,” the dad repeated from a distance.

After the Matilda (not her real name) ignored his pleas, he just gave up and took out his phone.

Similarly, I was at a kid’s party with one of my sons when another child from another party started to misbehave.

“If you do that again, we’re going home,” his mum warned.

The looked at her defiantly and did it again.

They didn’t go home.

I call this pointless parenting because in reality, they would have been better not to say anything at all.

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My special son Hayden all ready for a game of footy

Last week, at his usual bed-time, my oldest son came up to me.  He looked slightly upset and said, “I don’t feel very special at the moment.”

As a parent, I was surprised and perturbed, and quickly responded to reassure him that he was very special.  He seemed satisfied by my response and went to bed happy.

But when I went to bed later that night, his comment was still ringing in my ears, so I wrote this story so that he would always know that he is special.

When God created grass, the angels were amazed.  They gathered around and told the Creator how special the grass was.

“It’s OK,” said God, “but it’s not that special.”

Then God created snails and the angels were even more amazed.  They watched the snails eating the grass and thought that it was very special.

“We’re getting there, but there’s more to come.”

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This beautiful poem, written by Mary Rita Schilke Korzan, was a tribute to her mum and is a great reminder to all parents (including myself that our kids are always looking, even when we think that they aren’t:

When you thought I wasn’t looking

You hung my first painting on the refrigerator

And I wanted to paint another.

When you thought I wasn’t looking

You fed a stray cat

And I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn’t looking

You baked a birthday cake just for me Read the rest of this entry »

A couple of weeks ago, my oldest son, 9 year-old Hayden, came home from school and told me about his friend Katie’s blog.

“She’s had over 1000 views Dad,”  he said, very impressed.  “Can I start my own blog?”

Hayden knows all about this site, but it was the first time that he had talked about having his own.

“What would you want to write about?”  I asked him and we had a chat about a few options.

Eventually, Hayden decided on an animal blog, where he could describe 5 interesting facts about a particular species so that he could help school kids to learn about animals.

That Friday night, we set up a new WordPress blog for him and Hayden’s Animal Facts was born.

He has posted four times now and is off and running, but as we went through the process of starting his blog, I couldn’t help but think about some of the important issues of a child blogging, so here are a few of the considerations that I had: Read the rest of this entry »

This Christmas what are you going to give your kids?

Presents or presence?

Are you going to work extra hard so that you can afford that expensive toy or gadget that they want?

Do you feel so guilty about how little attention you give your little ones all year that you grant them whatever is on their list for Santa?

Do you buy more stuff for yourself to fill a void in your life and feel compelled to do the same for your children?

Or during this holiday season, will you give them the time and attention that they deserve?

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