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We outsource a range of tasks in our household.

We have a cleaner who comes in once a fortnight to clean up the mess that our three kids and two dogs make.

We outsource the education of our kids by paying for a school to give them a quality education that is aligned with our values.

We outsource coaches to teach our kids how to improve at football, basketball, netball, gymnastics, piano, athletics and cross-country running.

But we can’t outsource the important task of parenting.

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With the kids back at school this week and all of their after school activities starting as well, our household quickly becomes a blur of activity.

As a consequence, we try to make sure that we have breakfast together as a family so that we can start the day right.

As a part of this ritual, we read the bible, ask a question, go around the table so that everyone gets a chance to answer and then pray together.  It’s a simple process that helps us to get to know each other better, establish important principles and build positive and resilient mindsets for the day ahead.

If you’re looking for some sample questions, here are 10 to get you started: Read the rest of this entry »

I’m so proud of my 9 year old daughter, Madison.

She’s full of life, a real go-getter and has more energy than any 9 year old girl should have.

But I have a concern.

In a world that continually praises or criticises women purely on the basis of looks, I want her to be defined by more than her physical appearance.

So if you want to complement her, please don’t say that she is pretty or beautiful (although in her dad’s unbiased opinion, she is).

Complement her on her intelligence.

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Karen and I were just discussing this issue a couple of days ago, when I stumbled across this quote from South Carolina basketball coach, Frank Martin:

“You know what makes me sick to my stomach?  

When I hear grown people say that kids have changed.  

Kids haven’t changed.  Kids don’t know anything about anything.   Read the rest of this entry »

take-a-deep-breath-getResilience is one of the most important traits that successful people have.

But none of them were born with it and none of them obtained it by sitting on the bench.

They built it by falling over and getting back up again.

They built it by failing and realising that it wasn’t the end of the world.

They built it by not allowing the harsh words of their critics to seep into their souls.

They built it by doing the hard things that they didn’t want to do, because they knew that it would be easier the next time.

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Theres-nothing-quiteThere are few better experiences than sitting on the couch with one of my kids, with my arm around them as they read about Venus fly traps, sea otters, Captain Underpants or any one of a hundred random things.

To help them with the difficult words.

To hear the inflection in their voices.

To explain the concepts that don’t make sense to an 8-year-old.

To see them looking up for approval.

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We-cant-give-away-whatKaren and I have three wonderful kids who are growing older before our very eyes.

Hayden is 11 early next year and Madison and Logan turn 8 on Monday, yet it still seems as though it was yesterday when we were holding their tiny frames in our arms.

As we look ahead, there are certain things that I want our kids to inherit from us and they don’t include large houses, fancy cars or fat bank accounts.

So here are 10 things that I would like them to inherit from Karen and I: Read the rest of this entry »

I-want-my-kids-to-failI don’t want my kids to win every basketball, football or soccer game.

I want them to occasionally play against kids who are much bigger than them in an unfair match-up.

I want the referee to get it wrong with them sometimes.

I don’t want them to get 100% for every spelling or maths test.

I don’t want them to master every piano piece on the first attempt.

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There-was-a-lot-of-whatI recently read a fantastic interview with Richmond AFL footballer, Ivan Maric, who said of his upbringing, “There was a lot of what I call “invisible learning” through seeing my parents work really, really hard to pay our school fees and put food on the table.”

What a great phrase.  Invisible learning.

Every child does it.

You can tell your children about the value of hard work and discipline, but it’s how hard your kids see you work that matters.

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I-dont-know-what-my-kidsYesterday afternoon, my 10 year old son Hayden said that he didn’t think that he would be able to make it to the AFL (Australia’s highest league for Australian rules football).  He thought that maybe a lower league was more achievable.

I looked at him with pride and said, “Let’s not put a ceiling on that goal just yet, the sky is still the limit, so let’s keep training hard and see what happens.”

Maybe he won’t make it to the AFL.

Maybe he will get distracted and try something else.

Maybe he won’t put the work in or just doesn’t have the talent.

Maybe he will get injured and that will hold him back.

But I’m not going to put a cap on his (or my other kids’) aspirations.

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