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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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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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