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:
For further information on mentoring fatherless sons, parenting suggestions, being good parents go to my wordpress account and check out articles in the archives:

Check out my web site at 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

Who Pays–Us Or Them? I Think It Should Be . . .

Wine, Liquor Bottles

As I grow older and time moves more quickly by I recognize I am becoming less tolerant and understanding of some of the choices people make that have nothing to do with me directly but could influence my pending quality of life. I am speaking specifically about available health care and the cost that lifestyle choices may have on that care.

After a career of substance use and an even longer period of time (clean/sober) working as a residential counsellor in a local rehab/treatment program I feel I can offer, with some degree of honesty and accuracy, the following observations and thoughts about using alcohol, tobacco and drugs to extreme or at least to excess. I do understand that we have choices about what we put into our bodies, how much and how often. There is an abundance of quality information out there to clarify the long term effects of substance abuse with a strong degree of accuracy.

As of 1992 (I hope that we’ve conducted more recent studies) the estimated total cost of substance use to the Canadian Government exceeded 20 Billion dollars. It is likely closer to twice that by now and even that figure may be conservative. When I think about that number I think about how that fact has affected the quality of living not just for seniors but for most of us when it concerns health care and home care. I was watching the news recently and a story came on about a little girl. She was 6 years old and diagnosed with cancer. At approximately $29K a month her family is unable to cover the cost of the medication that could change the course of her life. Unfortunately there is no public coverage.

The public does pay, however, for people who access the medical health system over and over and over again for illnesses and necessary medical treatments (broken bones, car accidents, domestics involving the police) that are connected to their lifestyle choices. I’m not talking about diseases or illnesses associated with past work conditions etc. or having been exposed to contaminants in their neighbourhoods. I’m talking about developing cancer because someone will not stop smoking or the person who continues to drink excessively after being told repeatedly to stop or face the health related consequences. Then he/she goes on to develop liver problems, kidney problems, heart disease, a variety of cancers not to mention how often they access other services such as home care, mental health services, social services, public services like the fire department. Much of this because they felt it is/was their right to do whatever they please and screw anyone who thinks otherwise. Remember I am only talking about those repeated visits to medical and mental health care facilities or public services that could have been avoided had the client heeded advice from professionals who explained specifically the likely outcomes of their continued abuse of alcohol and drugs. Then consider all the misery and deaths attributed to impaired driving. Still the public picks up the tab for decisions that could have been different. I know better than to believe that alcoholism and drug addiction are diseases and the poor soul who ‘has it or them’ is doomed for life. Please. The only thing that person is plagued by is poor decision making and a soft backbone. Otherwise how would you explain all those folks who manage to clean up and live completely drug free and substance free lives with little or no help whatsoever. They do it because it needs to be done. This doesn’t include those who get clean and sober by using some of the usual approaches–A/A, N/A, C/A, S/A, O/A, S/A and there’s some others. The point is there are a variety of ways and means to manage these lifestyle issues that many folks just refuse to use.

I think that the paying public needs to be helpful to and supportive of anyone who needs help to turn their lives around and to get back to where they can be happy, healthy and productive human beings in their homes and their communities. I also agree that everyone should have the right to live their lives according to what they want as long as those choices don’t interfere with someone else’s right to do the same. It’s their life to do with as they see fit and if they want to drink themselves to death or smoke themselves into oblivion or do drugs so be it. I (we) have no right to tell them otherwise. However, when these same folks keep coming back again and again with their hands out looking for the public system to assist them having made little or no effort to consider other lifestyle choices we need to re-think just how much help we need offer them. Perhaps they need to pay for their own health care. We, meaning the public, provide the expertise–they provide the money to pay for that expertise. I guess it’s a like a users fee.

I think of that unfortunate little girl whose life is just starting but because of a lack of dollars and shrinking budgets, this little girl may not have a chance at any kind of life. Perhaps a few of those 40 billion dollars that go to those with lifestyle disorders of their own choosing could find their way into the coffers so that people who have had no say in their troubles can have a chance to live their lives with dignity and promise.

That’s how I see it anyways, Jim

Comments are always welcome.

You Can’t Give It To Them But You Can Take It From Them . . . Part 2

We All Need To Fly On Our Own . . . Sometime

Last week I spoke about the 6 things that most parents need to stop doing so that their kids can get on with developing their own sense who they are and where they fit into the world.

Before I get to 6 things that parents CAN do to add to this process and help their children I’d like to, briefly, respond to some of the comments I received last week. So just to clarify:
Kids are no different than adults in that they will determine for themselves what feels right for them and what doesn’t. Our job as parents is to monitor the process and if we see that our child is struggling with certain things then we ask them things like ‘I noticed . . . what’s happening?” or “How did that. . . turn out for you?” or “How did you feel when that happened?” We pay attention but we don’t own their problem. It’s hard because we have that natural protective thing going on and we don’t want to see our kids hurting or unhappy in any way. I get that. However, we can’t dictate what they should do to fix something or how they should feel. When we do this they don’t learn to think for themselves nor do they get to assess their successes and what, if anything, they might do differently next time.

Next: Our children’s sense of self has little to do with other people. If we have encouraged them and helped them develop the skills to deal with adversity, indifference and disappointment they will be just fine. They are the only ones who see the world through their own filters. We parents are their teachers. Our job is to model the behaviour we would like to see in them. To paraphrase Gandi–‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world’. We cannot go around being aggressive and demanding and expect our kids to be kind and nurturing. Enough said.

So what can we do as parents: (I’ll use the example of ‘little Johnny’)

Let’s consider the difference between ‘encouragement’ and ‘praise’. When we praise our kids our words are often heard, by the child, as something he/she has done that has made us feel good about him/her and the effort they made to accomplish something. This makes the outcome about ‘you’ and how ‘you’ feel about how/what they did. However, our response needs to be about the effort they put into what they accomplished and that you recognize their hard work. So it’s not “I feel great about seeing you up there receiving that award” but rather “It seems all of that hard work and effort you put into getting ready for the competition really paid off–good for you.” This is encouragement. This approach forges a stronger belief of self in their abilities to do for themselves.

1. You mention that it looked as though he was having fun just being out there playing. You could ask him if he would like to play again next year. Let him tell you what the experience was like for him.

2. If he was disappointed about not winning a trophy then this becomes a teachable moment and you can encourage him to work harder for next year. He needs to understand that if he wants to win a trophy (or succeed at anything he wants) then he may have to work harder. There are no ‘free-bees’in the real world. Maybe he could ask his dad to help him with his skating or his stick handling–anything like that. Leave it up to him to figure out what he needs to do.

3. If he is upset by not winning a trophy help him understand that being unsuccessful at something is not failure but a message that says ‘if you want this then you have to do what it takes to get it.’Let him know that you will support him with whichever decision he makes as long as it is doable and not because he is angry or disappointed.

4. As parents we need to encourage our kids to do the things that are ‘age appropriate’ for them. In other words encourage him/her to do things to rectify their problems or to come to their decisions based on their knowledge and experience levels. We might ask them ‘what have you done before that worked out for you when this happened?’ The solution becomes theirs and with it comes a sense that they are capable of dealing with things themselves.

5. Exchange shame and guilt (poor motivators for change) for love and encouragement. Much better results and longer lasting too.

6. As parents we need to begin seeing our children as strong, durable and worthy of a good life and not fragile, broken or in need of our protection. As soon as we step in to take the problem over we rob them of the opportunity to learn, thrive and succeed. When we do that we take away their opportunity to become more independent, competent and capable therefore taking from them the opportunity that was presented to deepen their own self value and self esteem.

I chose to use the picture of the birds because it demonstrates that, at sometime, our kids will want to leave the nest and try it on their own. Let’s help them get ready while we can.

That’s how I see it anyways–all the best–Jim

As always I welcome comments pro/con. if it’s a con then include what you think should happen so that I have the opportunity to learn from you.

Please pass this along to friends and others who might benefit.

You Can’t Give It To Them But You Can Take It From Them . . . Part 1

We All Need To Fly On Our Own . . . Sometime

We All Need To Fly On Our Own . . . Sometime

“There are 6 things that parents need to stop doing so that their kids can develop their own sense of self-esteem.”

As parents we all want our children to do well. We want them to live a well-adjusted life and to be ‘strong’ and capable and highly functioning and live happy lives. At the same time we do all we can to protect our kids and to shelter them from all that is bad in the outside world. We want them to see the world as a fair place.

I overheard a conversation awhile back about how one woman’s son had finally finished his hockey season and the league had put on a banquet for all the players and teams. Came time for the ‘awards’ portion of the festivities and all the players on the all the teams received a ribbon for participating but the trophies were presented to only those players who were the MVP, scoring leader and so on. Her son didn’t receive any of these awards and she was very upset that all the kids didn’t get a trophy as well. Had I felt like getting into the debate I would have asked why she thought he deserved a trophy and why she could not be satisfied with the ribbon to show that he participated. It seemed that he was just a kid who played the game every week and got what he wanted from the experience. It also seemed that mom was concerned that the players who did not receive any greater recognition would somehow be damaged or have their ‘self-esteem’ dented. After all it should be about having fun not winning. They all tried hard–didn’t they? Here-in lies the problem-at least for me.

If we consider the definition of ‘self-esteem’ Webster’s Dictionary states it’s about how highly one values him or herself and how much respect he or she has for themselves. Respect and value have to do with how much confidence one has regarding their ability to deal with what comes their way and how competent they feel with their skills or ability to adequately and successfully deal with finding solutions to the problems they face daily. The better they feel about their chances of handling their stuff the greater their sense of self-esteem.

So what do parents need to stop doing so that their kids can get on with developing that all important positive sense of who they are in the world.
1. Stop interfering with how their children see the world they live in. Obviously parents need to intervene when there is an element of danger that is eminent. But if little ‘Johnny’ isn’t upset about not getting a ribbon don’t act like or tell him he should be. ‘Johnny’ will make up his own mind about what he needs to feel and he will move on.
2. We cannot ‘give’ little Johnny self-esteem. It is up to him to build that within himself. If he wants a trophy, for instance, then he needs to work harder at developing his skills to be a better player. It’s that simple. There are no ‘free-bees’ in the real world. The kid who won the trophy may be a natural more highly skilled player or a kid who works real hard at being a better player.
3. He will learn nothing if, as parents, we are constantly fighting his battles for him. In other words if we try to do his thinking all the time so that he wont feel the harshness of not succeeding he will never learn how to think for himself. Poor decision making makes for poor choices and that comes from not being prepared to deal with issues as they come. Having said that obviously the bigger the issue the more we can listen to what he is thinking and question some of his thinking so that he might be encouraged to re-consider his solution or approach but in the end it is his decision to make.
4. As parents we need to stop thinking that we have all the answers to all the problems our kids will ever face. It is a vastly different world now and we are not in touch with all the changes that have occurred especially in a child’s world.
5. We need to stop thinking that our children are fragile emotionally and mentally. They are not either and we need to build on the strengths we recognize and stop treating them as though they can’t survive without us running point for them. We do need to monitor them closely and discuss any sudden changes in their demeanor.
6. We also need to stop trying to ‘fix’ our kids using an adult perspective and start trying to see the world through the eyes of our children. They don’t have an adult perspective–yet. They see the world and all it’s machinations through the eyes of human beings with much less awareness and experience. They don’t know what we know. It is up to us to help them learn what we know. Stop dictating and start teaching.

Next week I will go over the things that we CAN do for and with our kids that will help them develop an age appropriate sense of self-esteem and at their own speed. (Think about the differences between to encourage and to praise.)

That’s the way I see it anyways,

All the best, Jim

Are we financing our eventual demise by . . . ?

Better To Walk Alone Than . . .

(CAVEAT: I wrote this article with the hope that we wouldn’t get angry with any one or any particular group nor would we be mean spirited to others who are not like us. I simply want to inform and energize folks so that they can voice their concerns to their government leaders and hope they have the ‘stones’ to do what is right. What is happening, at this time, is NOT right.)

The short answer to the question in the topic bar is–yes, I believe we are. We are helping those who would see us defeated and destroyed move ever closer to that day. How? By purchasing their oil. Our petro-dollars filter down to those organizations that would see us annihilated or eradicated whichever word you choose. Granted it’s a day that is still, relatively speaking, too far away to worry about. But why do we wait to deal with an issue that most can see coming? Lets look at a couple of basic facts and then I will ask you to click on the link I have included and you can spend the 4+ minutes watching and listening to a woman speaking about her concerns and then be your own judge about what you have heard and how you feel about it. She can do a much better job of describing it than I and, I confess, I do get a bit emotional around this topic especially when it comes to the continuing existence and freedoms of my grand children and their children.

I am not an alarmist. I am not a bigot. I am not an extremist. I am not biased and I am not a religious zealot. What I am is a Canadian. I am a man who loves his country and the way we choose to do our business not only here but within the global community. Is our way of doing things better than others? I don’t know the answer to that question. I do know that Canadians, for the most part, are respected out there and that says a great deal about how we do business. We do not hesitate to share our inherent freedoms and a desire to be part of a true global village. I love our country and its Christian roots. We don’t get up in the morning and look for ways to kill others. We are giving, forgiving and generous. We are polite, sometimes to a fault, but that’s who we are and what we do. Those who receive our money are using it to finance violence against us. They come here and immediately begin to use our freedoms, beliefs and our system against us. Political correctness will be our downfall if we don’t table it and do it now. Even the mere discussion of Shariah Law, for instance, here is in this country, is so antithetical to who we are. Perhaps we should be doing business with those who are not openly dedicated to destroying us and our way of life. Perhaps we should pay closer attention to what Australia is doing. What do they know that we don’t?

My fear is that we will trade our long term interests for short term gain. I mentioned the other day to a colleague that the 4th World War started when we decided to sell out to the immigrants that were coming here who were demanding that we accommodate their need for changes regarding OUR customs and their comfort zone. And we did it. Poof–there goes Merry Christmas. There goes prayer in schools and a change in the Mounties uniform–a strong tradition to name a few notables. The ‘requests’ may be varied but the outcomes are the same, for us anyway, which is a continuing erosion of our identity as a nation. It’s a classic move to destroy from within. These, seemingly, are not all that important in the scheme of things but are part of a time plan that will last many years well financed by our willingness to use their oil and in return for our help and our resources they finance our eventual demise. What a plan–brilliant really. It’s like the lobster who enjoys the warm water in the pot until it realizes, too late I might add, that he is being boiled to death and can’t do anything about it–oops. This war won’t be won with guns and ammo. It could be lost, however, by our lack of foresight. Once we have committed ourselves to this willingness to appease those who would see us defeated we step closer to the day when we will be asking ‘them’ for approval to do what we always felt we had a right to do to live our lives in peace and harmony according to what WE believed right for us.

Happy Birthday Canada–the best country in the world to live in. At least for now.

That’s how I see it, anyway–Jim.

Please take the time to watch this-it’s that important a message.

Please pass this along to others if you agree or care-just delete otherwise.

At Last: A Woman Who Was Brave Enough To Say . . .

Enemies Are Friends

If They Can Get Along Why Can’t We?

Recently,just after I returned from a book tour/signing in Vancouver I was reading some other blogs I follow from time to time and came across one that was really quite different from many others I had read. It was from a young woman, a mother, who was talking about how she had embraced the title of ‘a stay at home mom’ and was enjoying the freedom it provided her. She also said that she felt good about being able to determine her own day to day living experience with her baby. Having mentioned that to a family member she was dealt a hurtful response about how she had ‘sold out’ and how she was being taken advantage of in so many ways. She also talked about how dismaying this was for her and how she felt like she had let people down. She had risked talking about how much she enjoyed her life at the moment and had been criticized for her trouble. My question is at what point should other people shut their ‘cake hole’ and let people decide for themselves what type of life they would like to live?

Lets face facts. There are a growing number of folks, mostly women, who are beginning to look at their lives from a different perspective and deciding that they would like to live their lives as home makers–that there is something very important and satisfying to them about creating a learning environment that is specifically made for their children; that they can create an environment that is safe and secure for their kids and one where she and her husband can be sure of the life lessons that their children are more likely to be exposed to. Some mothers have gotten into home schooling and really enjoy that experience. Unfortunately, to some, having children is a burden to be survived rather than a privilege with which comes an opportunity to direct or be an integral part of a process that will guide the development of another human life.

Perhaps if more fathers took a more active role in the parenting process or better yet stuck around to be a necessary part of their children’s lives, especially their sons life, that the male perspective concerning women and the respect that many women do not get from some men would be far less an issue. Perhaps women would be seen differently in the work place and the issues around opportunity and equal pay, for instance, would not be as big a deal as they remain.

So how about this: Why don’t both feminists and masculists stop trying to recruit, influence and generally kick up dust whenever and wherever they can. How about allowing people to make up their own minds as to how they would like to live their lives according to what they believe is in their best interests and those of their children and their families. It seems a simple concept. If we work with the premise that ‘this life is my life’ then we need to respect that and allow folks to direct their lives in a manner that suits them instead of being berated, belittled or have their commitment to the ’cause’called into question because they don’t seem to understand the ‘party line’. How many women and men would find less conflict in their relationships and have fewer regrets with their life choices if they took the time and the initiative to have the important conversations before commitments were made. These questions really need not have anything to do with feminism or anything else. One thing that is good for women and for men, for that matter, is the freedom to make their own decisions free of guilt or ridicule or coercion of any kind by or from anyone. Both the feminists and the masculists need to find other things to discuss besides other peoples life choices.

So what are some of the questions that need to be asked? (perhaps both partners need to answer these):

1. Do you want a family? How many children are you thinking about?
2. How soon?
3. Do you want a career? How important is that to you?
4. Is there anything that I can do to help you achieve your goal(s)?
5. How do you feel about being a stay at home partner?
6. Do you want to travel before we have a family?
7. What are your goals for us? What do you want for you?
8. How do you like to spend your down time?
9. Got any hobbies?

These are the basic ones. Cover these off before anything else happens. If you don’t feel good after you hear the responses you should figure that this isn’t going anywhere that you want it to go and if the thought is that you can change the other person into someone you want them to be once the ‘wedding bells ring’ the courts are full of these cases.

So let’s stop trying to run other peoples lives and concentrate on doing a better job of running our own. Let’s recognize and accept that, although we may not like the choices or decisions others make, they are free to make them.

Most importantly let’s continue to encourage women and men to stand up and tell their truth whether it is popular or not.

That’s how I see it anyway, Jim

What Are You Thinking About When You . . .

Timing Is Everything
Timing Is Everything

I had the wonderful opportunity to watch a Moody Blues Concert the other night on PBS–great band–great show. They played one tune in particular that always stands out for me. It’s called “Tuesday Afternoon”. The lyrics suggest, at least to me, that life is made up of the the following: a day begins-birth and then morning, lunch, afternoon, evening, twilight and night. Each time frame represents an age. I see myself in the evening of my life and evening represents a time when I see my approaching senior years–those times in and around my 60’s.

I now spend more of my precious time considering how life has changed and how the meaning of things has or is changing as well. Things that used to have some importance, or so I thought, are no longer as relevant for me as they once were. Simple issues are much more black and white for instance and I seem to have less patience and tolerance for ignorance, greed and people whose focus is more about them than it is for the betterment of others. I become upset, more quickly, when someone says something or wants me to believe something when my experience tells me point blank that what he or she is selling is a crock. They know it, I know it and they know I know it but they keep trying anyway. The point here is that while watching, listening and being fully engaged in the world and its offerings, especially when I was a younger man, I now realize that much has changed. I guess I was too busy living life to pay any attention to how to live it better. So many people, and not just our youth, have become, generally speaking of course, so much more self absorbed and ego-centric. Time has rushed by and I didn’t keep track, until recently, how much or how little of it I may have left.

I use this space to write and discuss and complain about many things but there are some things that plague my thoughts. I can’t seem to reconcile where I was and where I am now when thinking about the impact these ‘things’ have had and continue to have on the course and quality of my life. So–I need your help to provide me with other opinions, insights and experiences so that I have a larger pool of information to draw from when settling those ‘inner conflicts’ that follow me wherever I go. I encourage young folks, middle aged folks and older folks to contribute to this request.

I have created a list of thoughts, situations and conundrums that I would appreciate hearing about (Please comment on as many as you wish):

-why is it we forgive people for their transgressions more easily when they die than when they are alive?
-is love and intimacy the same thing? When does it take on new meaning?
-when/how did we decide to value our ‘things’ more than our children/family/friends?
-is it better to be ‘happy’ or to be ‘right’?
-is it important to believe there is a God?
-is it important to believe that there isn’t a God?
-why does it seem easier to be angry with others rather than to be nicer to others? (Random acts of kindness=warm fuzzies for both.)
-why do people become so serious about being serious?
-how will I be remembered after I die?
-will I leave the planet a better place than when I came to it?
-what are the really important things I needed to spend more time doing?
-did I risk enough?
-did I play enough?
-what will dying be like? (Most scary one for most I would bet)
-why is it that the closer we come to death the more alive we feel?
-did I focus more on my ‘responsibilities’ than I did on my ‘rights’ as a person and a citizen?
-did I value all life forces or just those who could help me at some time in the future?
-how come I feel worse about losing my hair than I do about some person in another country who may go to bed at night with an empty belly?
-if we treated more people with the respect they deserve would we need to be crippled by ‘political correctness’?
-should society continue to take care of those who refuse to care for themselves?
-why are ‘older people’ often shelved in homes when they should be encouraged to share the knowledge that took a lifetime to accrue?

These are a few that come to mind right now. Please jump in and let me hear from you–I’m truly interested in how you see the world you live in and why–What are you thinking about when you . . . ?

If you have any friends who might be interested in this article, please pass it along to them

Anyways, that’s how I see it–all the best–Jim

I Could Save The Province Billions And Not Cut A Thing–Guaranteed. . . How?

Having Kids . .. Quote

The most disturbing thing to me about the election just passed is that during the campaign and the run up to the election nothing was mentioned–not even a murmur–about the most costly and devastating social issue of our time. Everyone was too busy slinging dirt at the ‘other guy’ trying to discredit them or to scare folks into voting for them because they aren’t near as bad as ‘she is’ or ‘he is’. What a waste of time and a colossal waste of money. Of course the main focus was the gas plant mess and the Ornge mess and the other messes but when the yearly totals are calculated with regards to the amount of money that fatherlessness rings up and the costs connected to absent fathers like mental health care, legal issues, judicial issues, increased violence and property damages, fire prevention services, police services and social services the money spent on the ‘messes’ is chump change. I’m not saying that we should not be concerned about what happened there–certainly we should but let’s put it into perspective here and stop whining about spilled milk. We can do something about a much larger and more costly situation and we can begin to affect changes any time we decide to by simply accepting the things we can’t change or get back. It’s done. We don’t have to like it but that’s it.
The other point to be made is that the political screw ups were a one time thing where the fatherlessness issues occur and re-occur every year. It is not just a few billion dollars once but rather a few billion every year until we get smart and do something about the most serious issue we face today. If we could create real and lasting changes regarding the issues that lead to fatherlessness, those that keep fathers from being involved with their homes and families or providing programs and assistance that would encourage fathers to remain in regular contact with their families–their sons in particular–we could cut the amount of money we spend on the social services mentioned to half of what we currently spend and still be dramatically ahead of the dollars spent on the ‘messes’. We could do it without eliminating a thing–not one program and not one increase in taxes–nada. As a matter of fact we could probably afford to add programs of quality and value instead of what passes for what we are doing now. Remember our society is getting older faster than it is getting younger. What services would you like to see that aren’t there now? The stumbling block(s), as I have come to see and understand it, is that politicians only think in terms of what can happen now and how they can look good to the public in four year intervals. That’s about the normal length of time between elections. Prevention is a concept that does not ferment in a politicians mind because it takes longer to produce dividends but, certainly, prevention is the best way to go and shows the best return on money spent–no doubt.
The research has been done. It is there by the boatload for those who are truly interested in making a change happen. Google ‘fatherless children in Canada’ and you will get a load of research–creditable research that explains the importance of having a father in the home or at least one who is in constant contact with his family especially his son(s). (I’ll put a couple of sites at the bottom of this article to help you get started.) It seems that sons who are fatherless are many times more likely to be involved with the services mentioned above so that is why I refer to ‘sons’ more often than daughters. I’ve had the privilege of being a parent to both a son and a daughter as a single parent so it is not because I like one more than the other.

Believe me when I say the sooner we get our priorities straight the faster those terrible ‘messes’ will be lost in our collective rear view mirror. If money is the issue we’ll save a ton of it by not utilizing the social services currently in place near as often.

Here is some of the research I spoke about:–human–cost-fatherless-society.html

The sooner we taxpayers start telling our government what we want the sooner we will be able to get back in the black. Let’s tell each representative we think that fatherlessness and strengthening family connections is the most important issue to deal with. It isn’t sexy and it isn’t something that will command a great deal of attention but it will translate into the largest single cash back program that we will ever see. So. We need to quit our whining and start demanding a change in program direction and priority.

That’s how I see it, anyways

All the best and if you know of someone who might like this article please send it along to them–Jim


Author Jim Cloughley's 
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