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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?

Read the rest of this entry »

Since the middle of the year, our 6 year-olds, Logan and Madison, have been going to gymnastics.   They absolutely love it and can’t wait for their weekly lessons.

Last week, they were being assessed on their progress on certain apparatus and with certain exercises.

One of the challenges was to see how many sit ups they could do.  I asked their coach what the expectation was and she replied that anything between 2 and 40 would be fine.

With that in mind, I sat down with Logan and he began his sit ups.

He started out OK and when he got to 15-18 started to struggle a bit, so I thought that he was about to finish.

Read the rest of this entry »

I know I’m biased, but I think that my daughter, Madison, is beautiful.

I tell her all of the time and we are very close.

However, I’m also conscious that I don’t want her self-esteem to be solely attached to how she looks.

I’m also very aware that like all girls and women, there is much more to her than how she appears on the outside and I have a responsibility as a father to ensure that she doesn’t just fall for guys who compliment her on her appearance, but who appreciate every aspect of her.

So, here are 10 alternatives for fathers if they want to praise and encourage their daughters: Read the rest of this entry »

Anyone who knows me well, will tell you that I am very proud of my children.

Before I had kids, I always said that I wouldn’t be one of those parents who prattled on about his kids, but alas, that’s what I’ve become and my three awesome children, Hayden, Madison and Logan are my favourite conversation topic.

I love them each unconditionally, but there are some moments that stand out more than others.

This week, my oldest son, 8 year-old Hayden had an extraordinary game of soccer.

He’s a reasonable soccer player, but is certainly not as technically proficient or natural at the sport as some other children.  He has scored a hat-trick in the past, but in this particular game everything seemed to go right for him and he ended up scoring 9 goals!

It was one of those games and you couldn’t wipe the smile off his face afterwards.

Read the rest of this entry »

Do you want your children to cry when you deny them sugar-laden snacks, cake and cola?

Or when they struggle with childhood obesity, juvenile diabetes or issues with their body shape?

Do you want your children to cry when you make them do their homework and reading (even during school holidays)?

Or do you want them to cry when they don’t know the answers in class, are embarrassed that they haven’t handed in their project or can’t find a reasonable job in the future?

Do you want your children to cry when you follow through on consequences for their poor behaviour?

Read the rest of this entry »

Logan, Hayden and Madison

Logan, Hayden and Madison

Frederick Douglass once said, “It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

Being a dad is one of the biggest challenges of my life.

I have three awesome kids, Hayden (aged 8), Madison and Logan (both aged 5) and raising them to become adults who are able to confidently make a positive contribution to society isn’t always easy.

They didn’t come with a manual and whilst I want to be the best dad I can be, I know that I fall short of my own expectations far too often.

One statement that I used when the kids were very young was that “we’re not raising children, we’re raising 25 year olds.”

The idea is that when I focus on the short-term, I can become reactive and make decisions that suit me at the time.  But when I think about the long-term consequences, I discipline them better, give them more attention and help them to become better people.

As I said earlier, I don’t always get it right, but there are 10 things I want my kids to know when they’re older.  If Karen and I get these right, we’ve done OK: Read the rest of this entry »

Hayden and his cello

Hayden and his cello

My oldest son, Hayden, has started to learn the cello.

Every night, he carefully gets his cello out of its case and begins strumming the strings.

I won’t lie, it’s not pretty.

Whilst he’s getting better every day, he’s a long way from becoming the next Yo-Yo Ma.

This led me to wonder what Yo-Yo Ma was like the first time he played the cello.

Of course, we now know him as one of the most extraordinary artists in the world, but I’m sure that when he first tried, he wasn’t much better than our Hayden.

I’m not suggesting that Hayden is going to one day take the classical music world by storm, that takes great talent and years of diligent training. But he’s got to start somewhere. Read the rest of this entry »

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