Who Did You Say The Bad Guys Were Again?

Jet Fighter Breaking Sound Barrier

“War doesn’t determine who is right, it determines who is left”–author unknown to me

I’m as Canadian as the next guy and there is no way that I want anyone-ANYONE-to threaten the stability, safety, cultural heritage or the freedoms of my country,children,friends or my neighbours. I don’t question the decision to stand up and say enough is enough. If folks can’t sort this crap amongst themselves then the rest of the world, who seems to want a more peaceful co-existence, will do it for them. But is dropping bombs the only way to validate this statement? To listen to our PM stand up in the House and try to sell us a rancid bill so goods about how we must join the fray and do our part makes me retch. If he were the first one to jump into the cock pit of the first Canadian war plane to travel to enemy territory and hit the trigger that unleashes the first bombs/missiles of the next part of the same war I might feel differently. Perhaps if the decision makers had to send in their kids first there might be a different ‘will’ to waging war. Isn’t this the same war we declared having won-the same war that just keeps coming back to haunt us-the same war that costs us billions of dollars that we are told don’t exist or we don’t have and yet there always seems to be enough to wage war? We have demonstrated that we, the allied forces, can’t win using the strategy we have adopted but we keep trying anyway. Isn’t that the definition of insanity–to keep doing the same things over and over again expecting a different result each time? Here we have a government who can’t fall over itself fast enough to please our U.S. neighbours. I wonder if they have even thought about ‘collateral’ damage and what that means. How much or how many are acceptable?

So who is/are the enemy? Can anyone explain this to me so I can grasp what is happening? In some cases we are supporting those who are our enemies but who are also the enemies of our enemies. But then we are supporting our allies who are enemies of those we are supporting who are our enemies. Are you more clear now? And now we have agreed to fly over there and start dropping bombs–on who? Will that be our enemies or our allies who are supporting our enemies? In the end we are going to kill innocent people who just want to live in harmony and enjoy a full belly each day. But then we’ll hear that war does produce ‘collateral’damage and casualties. It can’t be helped. It’s part of the sacrifice that must be made. Really? It’s a much easier decision to make when you don’t have to worry about whose going first.

We have some of the best thinkers, planners and visionaries in the free world at our disposal and yet we can’t come up with a plan that brings us some peace and stability outside of blowing other people to smitherines. How well has that worked so far? We are fighting people on their own turf–a no-no apparently but we march ahead anyway. Fear of dying usually brings acquiescence but in this case it doesn’t seem to count for much in the Middle East.

So why don’t we ‘starve’ them out. Them/they being the ‘enemy’. Where does their money come from? Well-much of it comes from us. They use our petro dollars to finance attacks against us and we continue to do business with them. What would happen to the warring tribes and factions if the money dried up? What would happen if they woke up one day and there were trillions upon trillions of barrels of oil sitting on the docks or in pipelines going nowhere? Likely our enemies would up their purchase of oil but if THEIR supply of petro dollars was dramatically reduced how would they finance those who want us dead? What if we stopped doing business with our enemies or those who support our enemies? Where would the money come from then? I understand that big business in the free world would never abide this. Patriotism is a fickle commodity that comes with a price it seems. Multinationals are not prepared to make this sacrifice. They are familiar with making money from war not having money go the other way.

Have a look at the following photo and read the messages on the placards and then ask yourself-Are these our allies or our enemies? We need to come up with a long term solution instead of trying to bomb them into the next century. We can, however, agree on this: this group needs to be stopped before we no longer have the domestic strength to defend ourselves.

Islamic Supporters in London
Photographer Unknown-photo taken in London, England.

Like any good revolution or uprising it takes passion and fervor to be successful but it also takes truckloads of money and without money I doubt the fervor and passion would continue to manifest itself as it does currently. A bigger concern to me is what are we teaching our children–the next generation of thinkers and citizens–about how to co-exist with those who have other ideas regarding how the world should be run. The current message is ‘might is right–the bigger the problem the bigger the bomb’. We need to be teaching them about developing long term global solutions. We have a better chance to affect change if this becomes a war of money. At least we would be going to our strength. At best the current plan is a short term solution and a good number of innocent human beings are about to be slaughtered only because they have the misfortune of living in a different part of the world.

That’s how I see it anyways, Jim

Imagine you are the leader of the allied forces. What would you do to win this war? Please send your ideas to jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

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Feminism. What Does It Really Mean Today ?

If They Can Get Along Then Why Can’t We?

Recently I began reading a collection of blogs on a site I follow hoping to gain a greater understanding of what feminism means. I don’t claim to know more than anyone else and I will openly cop to that but it seems that the topic has become an ‘ideological football’ with teams claiming to know better than the other guys. What started out as spirited dialogue plummeted into name calling and character assassination and the points trying to be made got lost.

Feminists are on about the treatment of women in foreign countries and how awful it is. To be clear as a male in the world I, too, am horrified-really horrified-that the rest of the world accepts the brutality and the logic of beating someone who has been raped or a young girl who is held down and, against her will, is circumcised with a broken bottle or a knife. The so-called civilized nations of the world and I include the toothless tiger referred to as the United Nations in this criticism, turns a blind eye because the behaviour is said to be cultural in origin and therefore somehow is OK. Sadly, these practices and others appear to be beyond the reach of world condemnation or judgement or sanction. It is not OK. It is nothing short of barbaric and needs to be condemned in the strongest way possible by the rest of the civilized world. But the bickering, and the negative emotional energy that is being spent by feminists defending who said what about what is self defeating and polarizing. And to even hint that men don’t have any idea about what this is like is simply absurd.  While we are scrapping amongst ourselves we are not paying attention to the real issues. The feminists and those supporting feminism need to clearly define what ‘feminism’ means today because I suspect that the definition would be quite different from what it used to mean.

One strong voice speaking for all those who want to see this brutality stopped is needed but those who favour a unified voice are finding it difficult because they are not quite sure what they are fighting for any more. Can we not take ‘feminism’ and ‘masculinism’ out of the glossary of terms and just say those who care are speaking as one. There are a great number of males out here who really do support gender equality as a global concept.That concept, however, needs to include children and other men as well.

There are those women who want to rule the world and there are men who wish to do the same. Theirs is a different struggle. They are not going to be much help to any of us who hope to see the world become a more accepting, caring, encouraging and tolerant world.

Trying to affect a change in a foreign country concerning their traditions and their cultural obsessions is, in my view, beginning with a non-starter. Expending a great deal of emotional energy and valuable resources trying to do that (change the unchangeable) allows us an opportunity to vent and threaten and not much else. We have no voice ‘over there’ and we have no power or control over what does or does not happen next. But we do have some control over the people we elect to represent us and perhaps if we were to:
1. energize and organize those who support the idea of a single voice speaking for all those who value equality for everyone (it is not just a ‘feminist’ ideal) then we could work to ending global barbarism.
2. encourage them to begin voting for representatives who have proven or pledge to support efforts to end the unjust, horrid and brutal tenents of Sharia Law.
3. just plain stop doing business with those countries who don’t support our view of equality where it concerns the rights and freedoms of women AND men AND children. Perhaps the celebs could contribute to that effort with their wealth and their public statements and support for such an approach. I’m not sure how many would get on THAT bandwagon but it would go a long ways in terms of touching people in other countries because of their international face and notoriety. People around the world may not know who Steven Harper is but they know who Wayne Gretzky is. Celebs carry weight–use it wisely.

MOST importantly we cannot take our eyes off the ball here at home by allowing any discussion to gain a foot hold regarding Sharia Law and how it should be applied to members of the Muslim faith who reside on our home turf. If we aren’t careful the ‘wolf’ could and would sneak in the back door while we are guarding the front door. Don’t be naive enough to believe that that could never happen–not here. 911 could never happen either we were told.

Let’s make sure that our own house is in order and safe before we begin running off trying, with the best of intentions, to be trail blazers in other countries where we have no power. Let’s try to control what is within our power to do so. Once we do that we can encourage other ‘free world people’ to follow our lead and build a world force armed with resources and world political support. Then we would have a better chance of effecting some basic changes regarding world accepted standards for living in freedom. I would imagine that the countries who live by Sharia Law would have to pay attention to the call of the ‘free’ world if the ‘free’ world stopped doing business with them.

?????? Ever wonder how many of our commercial dollars currently go to groups who are dedicated to wiping us off the surface of the planet? Are we not financing our own destruction?

I often wonder why Muslims who live a free and prosperous life in the west or other parts of the world don’t do more to end the horrors in their own country? Why they don’t fight their own battles?

That’s how I see it anyways–Jim

Please pass this article along to friends and have them do the same.

Comments, pro/con are welcome. Connect with me at jim.lifechoice@gmail.com or go to jamescloughley.com (web page)

When Did The Feminists Start Running The NFL?

Lightning In The Desert

Picture Credit: Metro.co.uk (Picture Editor: Pejman Faratin)

Well it seems that lightning has struck again. I am referring to the Ray Rice scandal that started out as a domestic assault case and has developed into the next inquisition. When I look at ALL the things that went on here it seems to me what Ray Rice did was but a part of a larger fiasco that all parties need to be ashamed of. Please don’t read me wrong here. I DO NOT CONDONE WHAT RAY RICE DID IN ANY WAY-UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES-EXCEPT SELF PRESERVATION. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HAS BEEN, IS, AND ALWAYS WILL BE UNACCEPTABLE. But if we are going to be fair about this and learn something from it we need to consider all the things that went on here:

1. Roger Goodell is as complicit in this train wreck as anyone else. Perhaps more so because the ‘buck’ is supposed to stop at his desk and it did not. It just blew right through the station and honked on the way by. He didn’t even get a chance to wave at it. He reacted in every terrible way possible. If anyone should lose his job here it is he. He misrepresented himself, his office and the situation to appease owners and to protect the already tarnished reputation of the NFL. He turned a lapse of judgement and self control by a player into a center stage circus.

2. Ray Rice and his wife are really the only two who know exactly what happened. However, he not only displayed a lack of class and integrity but he punched is girl friend hard enough to render her unconscious. He didn’t have any concerns for her safety or health and could have seriously harmed her permanently. You just can’t go around punching people when ever you feel justified. That goes whether they are male or female. It is not right and the sanctions need to be adequate enough to send the message that it will not be tolerated. What is not clear is if they had been drinking-how much-for how long-and would they have done and said the things they did if they were stone cold sober. This is not to excuse his behaviour or hers. No-I am not trying to put the victim on trial here. The facts remain as they are and they need to be seen and treated as such if we are to move toward any kind of equality among us. If both jump in a pool of water is one more wet than the other when they come out?

3. Has anyone thought about charging Janay Palmer for assault? Apparently she spit in his face–twice. That, supposedly, does constitute assault. Am I to accept that her behaviour was OK but his was not? Again his treatment of her was most disturbing and the sanction for his behaviour needs to reflect that. But if we are to move together toward equality then the same rules need apply to all of us and need to be equally applied. Perhaps Janay Palmer needs to pay more attention to her own behaviour and act with a bit more class and integrity.

4. If there are those who need to be hit hard it’s the owners who tried to have this buried. They placed the well being of their business above the laws of the land. They were playing CYA above all else. What sanctions are appropriate for them? Will there be any at all? At the very least they need to be suspended from all team activities for the reminder of the season. It is only because they were caught that they are all clamoring to ‘do the right thing now’. This is/was no act of conscience.

The last two points are more about what stands in the way of resolving this issue fairly and without bias.

5. Last but certainly not least: The feminists need to disappear. They add nothing to the process except acrimony. They need to acknowledge that their efforts were, at one time, noteworthy but now it’s time to stand aside and let the culture grow its egalitarian roots. My hope is that they would take political correctness with them. PC is killing us. It has outgrown its usefulness. It thwarts free speech and open discussion of ideas and counter ideas. Healthy debate is becoming more difficult. It penalizes those pioneers who risk standing up and being heard. If we look around at what is happening in our homes, schools, play grounds, arenas, stadiums and legal institutions we become aware of the rights and freedoms lost as a result of not feeling safe enough to say “I don’t like that and I won’t support it”. When we can’t risk being different or not agreeing without being called a terrorist, a malcontent or anti-something then we have become victims of political correctness.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said:”Not to speak is to speak; not to act is to act”. Quite true.

In the spirit of risk-taking I don’t think that Ray Rice should have been stripped of the opportunity to earn his living because he was not able to control himself. He lives in a culture of violence where each week he is expected to physically dominate other people, to do it well and if he doesn’t he’ll be replaced until he can. I think Ray Rice should miss the remainder of the season–no pay. While sitting out he completes a residential program that is actually designed to teach clients to control their anger and moderate their behaviour to the satisfaction of professionals who are qualified to say he’s ready to return to society.

I concern myself more with what our children are learning by listening and watching how the ‘adults’ handle this mess. The message being sent is:”It’s OK to lie and cheat as long as you have enough money and power to pull it off. Just don’t get caught”.

Anyways that’s how I see it, Jim

10 Things We Need To Think About More Often–Such As . . .

The Thinker2

There are nights when I lay awake for hours just thinking about what is going on around us. So–what is really going on and am I one of a few who sees things that apparently others don’t see or don’t care about?

In the interests of sharing these things, here are 10 observations I have made over the last few weeks. Let me know how many of them you have concerns about as well.

1. The closer we get to being a true multi-cultural nation the less we get to enjoy our own traditions and national identity.

2. The more money we earn–the harder we work–the less we can afford.

3. The more rights other groups enjoy the less freedom we seem to have.

4. The longer we live the more sick we become.

5. The more Mr. Harper (The Teflon Man) denies any involvement in some of the ongoing scandals the more those around him seem to end up in shackles. (But never him–nothing sticks.)
6. The older we get the faster time goes by us.

7. The older children get the smarter their parents become.

8. The more we depend on technology the less safe and secure we become.

9. The more we share our country with others the closer we get to being a minority.

10.The more we accept other spiritual beliefs the less we see evidence of our own.

Actually there are 15–I lied.

11.The longer we endure political correctness the closer we come to our own demise.

12.The more we continue to place our trust in those who have proven to be untrustworthy the greater the risk of losing the hopes and dreams we held for our children and their children.

13.By trying to enforce the unenforceable the weaker and more hopeless we become.

14.The more we allow entitlement to flourish unchecked the more restricted we become.

15.The more we leave things to be done for us the more they will get done to us.

A quote by Jay Leno:
“With hurricanes, tornadoes, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?”

There will be those who agree with none of these. There will be those who agree with some of these and there will be those who may agree with all of these. In any case please let me know what you are thinking and include your comments.

Anyways, that’s the way I see it.

Thanks for your time, Jim

We Have To Stop Doing This To Our Kids And Others.

A Lost Child

‘Our kids will live what they see and hear’–Jim

Recently I had an epiphany–a sudden flash of insight that struck me right in the heart. I immediately knew that this was one of those life changing events that come only so often. I also realized that I do this and I have to stop. I don’t do it consciously and I don’t do it to be mean or to hurt anyone. However, the outcomes certainly can, and often are, the same.

What I am referring to is the act of ‘labelling’. We label music, literature, other people, our own kids, our partners, medical assessments and diagnosis, movies, fashion, personal appearances, different preferences, odd behaviour and the list goes on. We have an almost insatiable need to label things so that we can then place them in a slot so that we can then deal with them as we have for so often. In this case it is by using labels such as as silly, stupid, ugly, awful, useless, dumb, freakish, terrible, disgusting, poor, not up to standards, lazy and again the list could continue on for a bit. As parents or citizens or neighbours we need to keep in mind that once something or someone has been labelled that label sticks for a long time-sometimes for ever.

Adults, if we don’t like current clothing styles will often find a derogatory comment to make about them like they are ‘slutty’ looking; make reference to a hair style that makes you look like a moron or stupid; to music that sounds like two cats wailing at each other; to movies which aren’t like they used to be. In my time that’s when movies were really good and not like this crap; to literature that has no soul and is all the same; to what’s with all the tattoos or the body piercings. You look like a walking junk yard. These and similar responses are likely about the parents/adults comfort zone and their inability to accept or understand that things have changed. Parents most often see their kids as an extension of themselves when in public. If the kids are messing up that falls on the parents. However, and perhaps with good intentions, their remarks are mostly damaging, demeaning not very constructive. They end up creating a real sense of doubt and acceptance in our kids regarding their attempt to be accepted into the world they live in. With no sense of acceptance or connectedness a growing sense of detachment, loneliness and isolation develops. With no place to belong a deepening sense of depression often follows. Some times this can lead to suicide, erratic behaviour, sexually acting out, destructive behaviour, violence, gang membership and a great deal of the time the kid becomes a bully. He has a need to inflict his will and his anger and confusion on others. He/she may also want to feel in control over others to show they have power too.

I encourage you to think about some of the following:
–Most labels serve to marginalize, limit or disparage someone or something. It may not be your goal but it is often the outcome of labelling?
–Any type of mental health label is like a life sentence that follows you around. It shows up on doctors reports, school records and insurance forms for example. To say,”He has mental health issues” can mark him/her as unemployable and in many cases makes it difficult to enjoy a ‘normal’ educational experience. Let behaviour be the guide to determine the level someone can function at. It’s like water seeking it’s own level. If you are labelled as exceptional or gifted the expectations made of you are often times unfair and disproportionate and extremely difficult to live up to.
–Why do we feel the need to label ourselves or others according to religious beliefs? It’s really no ones business. Personally I don’t need or want to be known as an Atheist, a Catholic, a Muslim, a Protestant, or a Republican, a Democrat, a Liberal or a Conservative for that matter. Unfortunately, when these labels are exposed, we make them into a ‘my dad can beat up your dad’ thing. How childish is that. Friendships and relationships often succeed or fail based on these labels. I’d rather be seen as a decent human being who tried to make this a better place to live. Label me that if you must label me at all. We are supposed to be the adults. We run into trouble when we try to force others to see things as we see them and they don’t agree with us. Can’t we simply agree to disagree and move on.

So when we become frustrated and emotionally charged when dealing with our kids and the changes that they make, sometimes daily, think about the comments and the labels we attach to our response(s) to them and to their behaviour. When we call him/her a ‘dumb-ass’ or a ‘punk’; when we make reference to them being lazy, stupid or ridiculous looking; when we get critical of some of the choices they make around music, that their drawers are actually hanging where their socks are meant to be, the fact that they can’t figure out which is the front or the back of a hat they just put on think about the damage you might just be doing by not taking another tact. There is a difference between inviting them into your world to present an alternative life view and demanding or insisting on accepting yours as the only alternative. Your motivation may not be at fault but the use of ‘labels’ will stick to them for the rest of their lives.

Anyways, that’s how I see it–Jim

As always comments are welcomed and please pass this along to others–thanks



So Help Me Understand: What Is It They Are Teaching Our Kids?

Albert Einstein About Technology

I remember when I was going to school and how I felt about the teachers that I had. Although it was a while ago I can still remember the respect I had for most of them. As I got older and moved into high school I still felt the same but not for as many. It seemed there were more teachers who didn’t quite present the same sense of urgency and desire to share the knowledge that I believed they were there to impart–their hearts didn’t seem to be in it. I have come to understand that they were but casualties of the system. They were expected to put out what they were told was relevant and that change was a good thing. I once read that the only thing for sure is change will happen. However, the changes that have been made that involve school curricula have taken us down a path that has been nothing but a failure. The scheduled changes, I fear, will not fare much better. Part of being responsible educators, it seems to me, is about recognizing mistakes, admitting them, correcting them and then moving on. I am not looking for perfection but rather honesty and leadership.

There was a time when our educational system and our world ranking kept us ahead of the pack. Those very standards have slipped more than dramatically and still the brilliant minds that shape our learning experiences continue to defend thinking that has proven to be more than defective and without vision. When we look at what has happened we see that the testing standards and outcome expectations have decreased substantially. We are more worried about a students self esteem then we are his/her capability to learn and to compete. You can’t spend self esteem and it, alone, will not get you a job or prepare it’s owner for the future.

Not so many years ago students could not bring any electronic devices into a classroom and certainly not during a test or exam. Now they are encouraged to do so because the process of finding the answer is not as important as being able to come up with the right answer. I was taught that if you understood the process then you could apply that process to find the answer to almost every similar problem you face. Teach someone how to hunt and he will always be able to feed his family. Give him dinner and he only learns how to eat.

What would happen to us if suddenly there was no power to drive our computers and our electronic gadgets?? The educational system and the wizards that direct it don’t encourage the simplest of math skills–addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills and the theory behind them. Some kids find it difficult to read at more than a ‘Dick and Jane’ level, to write at basic levels let alone create complex sentences, articles or passages one might find at the university level. Spelling is a joke–spell check is quicker. And now they have turned their attention to writing skills and have decided not to continue to teach our kids how to perform the most basic writing tasks by limiting the time spent on cursive skill development. It’s surprising how many kids can’t even fill out a cheque or manage a cheque book. Now they are also considering eliminating the need for homework and lessening the possibility of rote learning. How do we help our children understand that success takes some work and that it will not always be given to them. It wont be from a system that was once a leader in education and our pride in the world. Other nations are more likely to look at what we are doing regarding education and do the opposite. We worry more about how many students we can claim graduate and not the standard that is shrinking to attain those numbers.

So where will our ‘graduates’ find work in the future? Will they be able to work in a foreign country? Will they be able to compete right here at home with foreign students who are likely to be more competitive and better prepared for the workplace? What will they be able to teach their kids? What skills will they bring to the table? It has been our high standards and our doggedness to detail that have created and brought forth the thinkers, the writers, the poets and the dreamers–the creators that have separated us from many other countries.

I don’t blame anyone for this mess and certainly not our teachers. This is a systemic problem. Currently the system is showcasing a group of tired thinkers too stubborn to reach out to fresh ideas. Perhaps it’s time to include a broader based influence group to help the tired. We need to hear from the captains of industry, labour leaders, ceo’s, international players, legal and social representatives. Not only do we need to hear them but they need to have some power and influence in the development of curricula. They are the ones who really understand what the world looks like, where it is going and how we need to function to get back to the top of the list of first world nations who lead the way to success with passion and compassion. The system needs a new vision.

Take a good look at the photo at the top of this page and read again the quote by one of the greatest minds of our time and then think about where your kids are going and how prepared they will be to be a world citizen and to contribute on, at least, a basic level playing field with kids from other nations.

That’s how I see it, anyways–Jim

Always enjoy feedback pro/con

Contact me at:
jim.lifechoice@gmail.com e-mail

More about my book ‘A Man’s Work Is Never Done: A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons’ at:

What Were They Thinking When. . . ? (2nd Edition)

Parents and gun

Please take a second or two to look at the picture above and then ask yourself “What was he thinking?”

When I started writing these articles my goal was to bring another view point to the table and if I knew something that I thought might be important or might move someone to consider another point of view I would share it. I want to pass onto the next generation a world where our children can be safe, can flourish and thrive, can become all they were meant to be and a place where we, all, could feel safe walking down the street day or night or leave our homes knowing that when we return we will find them as we left them. Sounds idyllic I grant you. How many other folks have wanted to do the same thing. However,that path is fraught with danger and best intentions. I understand all of that. But I want to try anyway. I get that we can’t limit other’s life choices to satisfy our own beliefs around what is best for everyone. But when does common sense make an entrance? Always the question isn’t it.

So this week we find ourselves in a familiar place when we talk about guns and gun control. A young girl was being taught how to shoot an Uzi by a qualified gun instructor in Nevada when she lost control of the weapon and shot and killed the instructor. Tragic. Absolutely. Necessary? Absolutely NOT. What were these guys thinking when they decided she should learn how to shoot an Uzi? Obviously NOT much.

If we try to look at guns dispassionately, which is difficult to do these days, guns can be seen this way:

1. Hand guns are used for close quarter use only. Folks don’t hunt with a hand gun unless the quarry is human. So basically that means the other use would be for self-protection. Who or what does a 9 year old need that kind of protection from? Perhaps her father’s ego. She should be playing with her friends and doing what 9 year old kids used to do not all that many years ago. That would not include learning how to use a killing machine.

2. Rifles and long guns can be used for longer range human hunting but mostly for putting food on the family table or sport which is becoming more difficult to accept since scopes and stuff take the element of skill out of real hunting. You want to hunt then use a bow and arrow set-up. Give the animal a chance to outsmart your sorry a–.

3. Then there is the favoured semi-automatic and full mag types where mega shots can be fired off in a few seconds. What these weapons are used for, outside of military applications, is beyond me. In urban settings they are used to instill fear and intimidation. The idea being that if I can shoot off more shots than the other guy then I stand a better chance of killing him before he kills me. Brilliant. If you’re a gang banger or a wanabe try doing it the old fashioned way–use your fists and a metal bar of some kind. The point is there really aren’t any good reasons why a 9 year old girl would need to know how to use anything outside of a pea shooter. Really not a great decision on the parent(s) part and I would have said that before this tragedy took place. What were they thinking? The instructor is dead and the little girl is messed up for life. For what?

The supposed civilized world is addicted to guns and violence. We seem to enjoy the power and control that comes with killing. Some might say it is euphoric. What is troubling to me is that our young men and women are participating in stabbings and shootings more often with less concern about the outcomes. Human life seems to be losing its value and its importance. And please lets not go waving the 2nd amendment around in everyone’s face. This whole thing is strictly about money and the enormous amounts to be made. I didn’t know until recently that some manufacturers of weapons (guns) have designed rifles that are smaller than the normal ones so that kids can handle them better. What are they thinking? Proponents of owning a gun point to the number of child related accidents involving guns having decreased. Wow! Are we supposed to be happy with this ground breaking news? There shouldn’t be ANY reported incidents or accidents involving kids and guns. Even the name of the place in Nevada where this killing took place-‘Bullets and Burgers’-smacks of the effort to ‘normalize guns and their use. It’s a blatant effort to proselytize-to gather the next generation of gun owners and nothing more. It’s like let’s all go to the Dairy Queen for a cone and pop off a few rounds while were at it. There is such a concerted effort to ‘normalize’ gun ownership. What are they thinking?

So it gets back to providing responsible parental guidance. As their mentors we need to be sending the right messages concerning individual freedoms that are tempered with self control and positive regard for others. I’d hope to see parents teaching their children how to be leaders and the importance of respecting other people for who they are. Let’s teach our kids about valuing human life. Our children become who we train them to be for the most part. They will exhibit the values, morals and behaviours that we demonstrate to them and that we emphasize as important and necessary. We do that by showing them how we choose to live our lives on a daily basis. It takes us to be less greedy and self centered and more cognizant of the others we share the planet with-that’s all.

What will we be thinking?

Anyway, that’s how I see it–Jim

Please share this article with others if you agree.

TO comment please connect with me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com or visit my web site at: jamescloughley.com

The Three C’s To Being A Good Parent Are . . .

The Best gift Yet
The Best Gift Yet–Perfect Trust

Without being aware of and understanding the three things I eluded to in the title of this article and without practicing them nothing you do will influence your level of success as a parent more than getting these right.

So what are the three ‘C’s:
1. Commitment–Right from the time you know that a little heart is now beating, and you are partly responsible for that, your life and the lives of numerous people around you will have changed forever. This is the time when you need to make a decision about how committed you will be to the child you have helped to create. You are either in or out. Remember that your child did not choose to be conceived but does deserve the very best you have to give him/her. If you cannot, for any reason, dedicate yourself to being a parent then say so and get out of the way. But before you do please understand that you are walking away from one of the most amazing experiences and opportunities that will ever come your way. All the money and all the partying in the world can’t give you what being a parent can and that is to be a primary force in determining the direction and quality of another human beings life.

This is one of the big reasons young folks today are not ready to be parents. They just don’t know enough and they are not experienced enough. Many are not mature enough. Toss in a sense of entitlement and you have a train wreck in the making. For us to expect anything different is unrealistic. So the question is: Are you really ready to do this?

2. Capable–are you capable? Do you know enough to really understand what it means to be a parent? Are you capable of sharing yourself to the level that will be required? What are the lessons you need to teach your baby as he/she grows up? How can you teach them what you don’t know about living life and surviving in it? Are you ready to listen and learn from those who have been there before you? Most importantly have you got your own work done meaning have you dealt successfully with all the stuff that is/was going on in your own life? Have you dealt with that mistake you made back then or that alcohol or drug problem you have or had or that anger problem or the disappointment at finding out something painful about your own life journey? Have you done what you needed to do to put these issues away and say I’m good with that now? Are you capable of doing what you need to do to be an effective parent?

3. Change–are you willing to change how you not only see life as it unfolds in front of you but are you willing to change some of the dreams that were once important to you? Are you willing to change how you spend your time, with whom doing what? Are you willing to change your lifestyle and do so without being resentful?

No relationship can last for long without a deep seated feeling of trust. Being able to say yes to each of the three ‘Cs’ is a great way to start that process from the very beginning. If you can’t say ‘yes’ to all three then you might consider thinking with other anatomical parts of your body so that you wont have to face these questions until you are truly ready.

As parents we need to adapt ourselves to a new way of living our lives and we cannot expect that our children will have to adapt their needs to suit our needs. I don’t mean to be critical especially of all those parents who are doing a great job of raising their children and are working hard to do all the right things. But we need more parents to join the action. More need to do more. As it is we are not reducing the trends that have become inherent in our society. 

These three ‘C’s’ are the true building blocks of any relationship. If enjoying a trusting relationship with your child is a goal then here is where it starts but two out of three wont get the job done. We need to be involved in all three at the same time. There are many great resources available to help folks be good parents. I have included many of them in other articles I have written. You could check them out by going through those articles which are located in the archives attached to my wordpress site. There is a great article in the June/July copy of Esquire magazine on Fatherhood that is well worth the time spent to read it.(Has Mark Wahlberg on the cover)

Anyway, that’s how I see it–Jim

Comments are always welcome-just send them to me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com
For further information on mentoring fatherless sons, parenting suggestions, being good parents go to my wordpress account and check out articles in the archives: jimlifechoice.wordpress.com

Check out my web site at jamescloughley.com for more about my book called:
‘A Man’s Work Is Never Done: A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons’

Please send this along to your friends as well–thanks

One Important Thing Most Parents Don’t Encourage Their Children To Do Is . . .

Someone Holding The Sun

“Nothing happens unless first a dream”–Carl Sandburg (American Historian,Poet and Novelist-1878-1967)

I remember growing up and having people say that I was a dreamer. As a young man and even to this day people will comment about how I was always dreaming about doing this or going there. But an odd thing happened to me along my way–several of my ‘bucket list items–my dreams’ got checked off and I’m so much better for it.

I also remember how disappointing it was that I never got to talk to my father about my dreams. He just didn’t seem very interested in what I was thinking or what I valued. That not only hurt but it stifled any kind of closeness between us. I have come to understand he couldn’t give what he didn’t know. I don’t believe that he was ever told by his parents how vitally important it was for parents to encourage their children to dream and then to be able to share those dreams with those who care to know. It is so healthy and self affirming for our children to be able to express themselves and what they dream about with their parents. Maybe it’s about hitting a home run to win the ball game and be a hero and dad is their to see it happen just for a while. Perhaps it’s learning how to fly an airplane and then flying it around the world. Who cares if it’s been done before. It hasn’t been done by you. Maybe it’s about building the tallest skyscraper in the world. The likelihood of doing some of these things isn’t important. It’s being free to dream and not be judged or ridiculed for your thoughts that is important. It allows us to develop our imaginations, our determination and our creativity. As parents we need to help channel that energy into productive things that are possible and to do it without killing the freedom to dream. Currently it seems as though that freedom to dream is being sucked out of many of our children by either parents who can’t be bothered tuning into them, parents who are too busy accumulating stuff or by a world that is too pre-occupied by war, killing, greed and gaining power to realize what is happening so close to home.

My heart ached when I recently heard the news about a 12-year-old boy who has been charged with the stabbing death of a nine-year old boy the other day. Instead people are talking about how the price of a litre of gas has dropped–finally. My question is why weren’t these kids out playing in a pile of dirt making cities or towns out of popsicle sticks and playing with toy cars and trucks in the land of make-believe? Why do parents feel that a new x-box says ‘I love you’ better than the words so easily spoken? Our children need to hear those words and often. They need to feel they are valued and that they have importance in your world. Just as importantly we need to start asking ourselves why now? What is happened–what has changed to allow and in some cases encourage the violence and the insecurity amongst our kids? Something has changed because when I was a kid I never heard about little kids stabbing each other to death. As parents we need to wake up and take some responsibility for what is happening. We need to re-evaluate our priorities and our role as the true teachers of our children. All the signs and the evidence is available that says we are losing the battle to hold on to our kids. It is no longer OK to excuse what’s happening by saying ‘Oh, it’s just a stage they are going through.’ No–it’s not.

Joining our children in and with their dreams is one way of building a different relationship that shows we care about who they are and what they want–about how they see the world they live in.

If, as a parent, you are struggling to connect with your kids or specifically with your son try spending some time with him–consistently. Ask him what he is thinking. Ask him what he wants to be when he grows up. Ask him why that is important to him and what would be the first thing he would do if he could make his dream come true. Talk to him about a dream that you had when you were a kid. Make him laugh and tell him a funny story. Be with him. That’s all he wants from you right now. To deny him that is destructive and counters any trust building that may have been established. These conversations offer us, as parents, a golden opportunity to learn how our kids see the world they live in and to use them as teachable moments. Not judgements or criticisms but teachable moments. That’s what we are supposed to do–teach them. One of the things that we parents need to understand about our children is that they have needs too. One of those near the top of the list is to be free to dream. We need to give them permission to do that and we do that by participating in their dreams with them.

I’ve listed a link for an outstanding web site called ‘The Search Institute’. It is one of the best resources available to help parents develop good parenting skills.

Anyways, that’s how I see it–Jim


Next week an article on the 3 C’s needed to be a good parent. Guess and see how they match up with my suggestions.

Prostitution: 3 Reasons To Legitimize The Oldest Profession. 1st . . .

Castle Through The Clouds

A New Day Is Coming . . . Are we ready?

The Supreme Court of Canada has struck down the current laws basically legalizing prostitution as of December, 2014. I’m sure that some will disagree but it’s time has come. It is certainly your right to disagree as it is mine to agree. To answer those who are thinking the question “would I want my daughter, my son, my wife or my partner to be involved with the sex trade? No I would not. I would hope, however, that I, as a parent, would be able to instill a healthy sense of self in my children whereby they would, hopefully, choose a different career path. As for my partner working in the business I guess that would be up to me to decide if that is something I could handle or not. She would have to do the same regarding me as her partner. I’ve always maintained that most who get married have no idea who they are marrying. They don’t ask the important questions and seek the knowledge they need to make an informed decision about who and what they are involving themselves in before they marry. They fall in love with a fantasy and see only what they want to see. Love is often blind.

If we are willing to legalize a powerful mood altering drug such as cannabis which could be used even in the workplace and if we are willing to provide heroin for those who are addicted, supposedly trying to learn how to control their use, then why would legalizing prostitution and allowing it to become a legitimate revenue stream for those who choose willingly and freely to participate in it as a ‘career choice’ be such a world shaker. Who are we to say ‘oh no you can’t do THAT’. There are those who believe that women should have complete control over their bodies. Then doesn’t that also mean that they can use their bodies for anything they choose? For me, truthfully, this topic has always been about morality and the difficulty some people have with that. We need to understand that we cannot legislate morality no matter the issue. Besides, there are too many other concerns to put our energy into like trying to stop people from killing each other over religious issues or working to ensure that every belly big and small has enough in it each night so that little innocents can live to see another day. How about cleaning up our food supply and our air and water–really doing something about it instead of accepting the lip service we get from those charged with our welfare and our well being. So, for me, if someone, male or female, wants to go out and get lucky on a Saturday night and someone picks up some money for providing that service-have a nice day. I believe that sorting out some solutions to ensure our survival as a species trumps this whole issue about legalizing prostitution. I’m not saying that it doesn’t have it’s serious concerns but lets determine some priorities here.

For those who are interested in how other countries deal with this issue click on the link below.

Three Reasons to legitimize prostitution:

1. It’s called the worlds oldest profession for a reason. You can’t stop it so lets, at least, try to make it as safe as possible for all those involved. Service providers, both male and female, need to be medically fit to ‘work’. That means regular check ups and health care cards to show that’s happening. Before business happens the card is presented. No card-no business. The people involved need to become familiar with ‘universal precautions’. Lets put our precious resources to use in other areas like keeping pedophiles off our streets, permanently. Perhaps we could restore our health care system to it’s former level of excellence or actually insist on reducing, immediately, the pollution that continues to threaten our long term existence on the planet. Would legalizing prostitution lower the incidence/spread of AIDS? Would it alter the development of particular mental health disorders–stress, anger or rage? What about devising a new paradigm regarding our children who deserve a much better deal concerning their education and doing more to help families that are falling apart in record numbers to stay connected if not together as a unit. There’s the real threat to our stability as a community and one that we are not nearly concerned enough about.

Who is having sex with whom and why–provided it is completely consensual and no one-NO ONE-is being hurt or coerced in any way should not be our concern right now.

2. The service providers could register themselves as a business with all the expectations of taxation and deductions as the rest of the business world gets. The taxes collected are said to be in the Billions of dollars. Ear mark some of those funds for assisting our seniors, for instance, to create better standards of care for them in their twilight years. Cover more of their meds so they don’t have to choose between meds and dog food for dinner. Oh yes–it does happen.

3. Just as bricklayers, mechanics, doctors, dentists, electricians, even lawyers use their hands and other body parts to earn their living, so does a sex trade worker. The main difference is that they use different parts of their anatomy. So is that the hang up? A body part is a body part. Folks need to be able to use any of their body parts to earn their living if that is what they choose to do. Who are we to decide or determine who uses which parts to do what? We may not like the choices they make but they have the right to make those choices just the same.

It’s not a perfect world. The question is how can we make it better for all concerned?

Anyway, that’s how I see it–Jim


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