If Only Some Dads Could Read This Before They Leave . . .

Friday, April 25, 2014

As I have mentioned before there are some things-some messages that only another male can deliver to a son.

Lately, I have read more and chatted more about this than in all my years working in the field of Social Work. The ‘this’ is the importance of fathers being in their son’s lives. The ramifications of not being there are simply too incredible to comprehend and yet fathers are opting out of the responsibility in record numbers. I wonder if they only understood what is happening because they are not taking an active role in their son’s lives if that would make a difference in their decision to not be present either physically or emotionally? Would they choose to do anything different? Then the question begs the answer to “why father a child if you are not going to stick around to be the parent the child most definitely will need?”

So I thought that, instead of rambling on I would post a couple of web sites and a really great video (a short one) that outline the importance in a far better way than I could using fewer words than I would and perhaps they will get it and step up. However, I will say this before I go. If fathers don’t get involved or stay involved in some way right from the start of this child’s life then they will be directly responsible for what many of these young men and women will do that society will likely have to clean up because they didn’t do the right thing when they had the chance. That’s not meant to be a guilt thing. That’s just the plain clear truth of it.

Anyway, that’s how I see it.



(This is a great video of a young father doing what he has to to help calm his baby to sleep. If you have seen it before it is worth another watch. This is what it is about-being a father)

This is NOT the time for fathers to be doing this but rather the time to step and do the right thing.

Labels: mentoring our sons, social indifference, parenting, relationships, being a dad,

I Would Have Asked Him This Question. . .

“You can’t let the fear of dying interfere with the excitement of living”–JC

I didn’t know the man. I had never seen him or talked to him or met him and yet I respected him. Of course I’m not alone here but I suspect my respect for him is based on something quite different than many.

Jim Flaherty was 5’3″ tall but cast a huge shadow as a human being and as a man. And he was an Irishman. On another day I would have something smart to say about that but today I think it’s enough to say that his heritage had something to do with why people enjoyed being around him and admired him. Many found him stubborn (in a positive way), intelligent, well spoken and when he talked apparently it was difficult not to listen. Most of those who did know him well have said that he was thoughtful to those around him, always had a good word for those he met, was straight forward without being aggressive, knew what he wanted and dedicated himself to getting it. He was a man of conviction in that he believed that he was always acting in the best interests of this country–a country, I might add, that he loved almost as much as he loved his family. He sacrificed much to serve and when it came time to put it all on the line for his country during the recession he did so with little reservation. As the man who controlled the purse strings history will recognize his great clarity of reason and thought when others wanted to procrastinate or go with which way the political winds were blowing.

I did not care for his political views much of the time but he was, in my mind, a great politician. He demonstrated to us what we have a right to expect from our elected officials. Among those attributes would be class and integrity. Again in short supply right across the board and from the very top to the bottom in my view. Unfortunately few paid much attention to how Mr. Flaherty carried himself. Many were too busy getting caught with their hands submerged in the public purse to learn the basics of what political life should be about.

Having said all that my question to Mr. Flaherty would have been this: “Sheamus–When you look at your life and celebrate what you managed to contribute to making this a better place for all of us, are you content–are you indeed pleased with what you are leaving behind. In other words are you pleased to take stock and accept that you are leaving Canada and your family in a better place than when you first entered it?”

By all accounts ‘Sheamus’ James Flaherty was a great politician and a good man. It’s the ‘good man’ part that interests me the most because that is an assessment that we really don’t have any say in. We do what we do because of who we are. Most men that I know would say that their main goal in this life would be to leave it a better place and to be remembered by their peers and their families as being a good man–one who will be missed and one who will be valued not by his possessions but rather by who he was and what he did–his legacy–his mark. I believe that he was successful.

My hope is that Mr. Flaherty had a chance to understand this before he left us.

May the Good Lord bless him on his journey–Jim

That’s how I see it, anyway

Jim Flaherty

This Is Too Important To Trust The Government To Do the Right Thing . . .

Homer And A Joint

“Society has gotten to the point where every body has a right but nobody has a responsibility”—Unknown

Of course I’m going to weigh in on this discussion. I am of Irish heritage and we have an opinion on everything. Just ask us.

To begin I can say that I have had an extensive and in depth relationship with cannabis and related products beginning in the late 60’s and continuing until the late 80’s at which time I straightened up long enough to realize what I was NOT doing and so changed my lifestyle to one of providing service to those others who wanted to salvage some meaning to their lives. I went back to school and trained as a Social Service Worker specializing in alcohol and drug treatment. I have spent over 23 years in service to others including families. That should qualify me.

If you are a parent, single mom, single dad, a grandparent, someone who works in the legal field, social services, if you work for a school board, FACS, Big Brothers, are a counsellor-private or public (I know I’ve left out a few areas) you really need to read this article and watch or investigate the two links that I have included at the bottom of this page. I’m referring to the ongoing debate and the governments’ on again off again position regarding the decision to legalize pot. No big deal say some. On the contrary it is a huge deal. The following information is just the tip of the proverbial ice berg that passively lies in wait for our ‘titanic’ to sail by oblivious to the perils that lie before us.

I need to state clearly that I am all for anyone using cannabis as a legitimate medical aid. That should have happened years ago. Again our decision makers let their electoral success outweigh the obvious benefits to their constituents and now it has become yet another vote getting gimmick made with little common sense and minimal solid information. Two things come to mind here for me: Governments have finally realized that they cannot win the so called war on drugs, as it is being waged, no matter how many billions of dollars they throw at the problem. Dah! By legalizing cannabis they will save boat loads of money. They will also harvest a great deal of money from the sale and taxation of the product to the public. I believe the phrase is it is a real ‘cash cow’. The timing is suspect as well. Just before the coming election the government of the day will give us back some of our own money and then tell us what great managers of the public purse they are. All this will assist short term planning without a hint of any thought going into what the long term ramifications could well be from legalizing pot. That includes the increasee stress on the ailing health care system. It is simply a decision of convenience and expedience.

Lets look at just a few of the negatives of legalizing cannabis here:

1. We would be introducing yet another mood/mind altering substance into our daily lives which adds exactly zero to the quality of family and community life.
2. The legalization of pot is often suggested as a way for us to get in line with what other countries are doing or have done. Well, personally, I don’t care about what other countries are doing. We have our own culture and belief systems here. Our civility is built on a different foundation. Other countries allow euthanasia, for instance, as an option for dying with dignity and yet we won’t even consider a proper discussion to take place. All of a sudden we want to be different from other countries. I’m already confused.
3. According to Dr. Bernard Le Foll, Chief Addiction Researcher at the University of Toronto and a prominent Research and Treatment official at CAMH in Toronto, there is much that is not clear about the long term affects of frequent, consistent cannabis use and until that research and science provides more definite results we should not be moving forward with this idea of making cannabis more accessible. We need to develop definitive, specific treatment programs like we have with alcohol, tobacco and opiate use before we go any further. There needs to be clear regulations around the distribution of this drug. For years it was an illegal substance and now all of a sudden it’s OK to make it legal?? What gives with that? What has changed?
4. There is enough evidence to indicate a possible relationship between consistent cannabis use and the onset of psychosis, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, a reduced ability to retain/maintain focus (great if your driving a car), diminished reaction time and response time in crisis situations, more difficulty correlating facts and information (don’t folks have enough trouble with this now?), also believed to negatively effect rational thought process (decision making). Then there are some of the health problems like the connection of consistent cannabis use to possible increases in certain types of cancer–head, neck and lung cancer (increased health care costs), lack of motivation/decreased energy levels, apathy, reduced immune system functioning, may lead to the development of cardiovascular and respiratory systems problems and, believe me, the list goes on. (For more on this check out those two links I enclosed)
5. Many folks want to compare cannabis with tobacco or alcohol–really? How many people die each year of alcohol related deaths? More than the deaths from most other drugs combined. As for tobacco–it kills nearly 50% of those who use it regularly. Not a glowing recommendation.

We don’t know near as much as we need to in order to make an informed decision. I have worked in this field long enough to know that this drug has the potential to destroy lives and not just those who use it but those who have to live around it like families and children. I’ve witnessed so much of the agony and misery that surrounds the addiction to this particular drug.

Your FIRST line of defence here is to become better informed. Check out these two articles (links below).


At the very least this issue should be on the ballot during the next election–a referendum needs to be called. This is a monumental decision that will have adverse effects on folks that live coast to coast and one best not left to politicians. A true majority needs to decide–one separate from party politics.

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

Is marijuana dangerous? Should it be legal?



Male Smoking A Joint

Are All Dead Beat Dads The Same? I’d Say . . .

Parents and gun

Would you say that the guy in the picture is a ‘dead beat’ dad? I would and I bet you he actually lives with this child.

I wrote this article to encourage folks to think a bit differently about the labels we put on people. In this case it would be the moms or dads who may or may not have the financial means to contribute to the care of their kids as we think they should. My views have stayed the same over the years: If you have participated in creating a life or bringing a life into this world then you had better assume that that life is as important if not more so than your own. Step up and do what is necessary for that little human being to make sure that he/she has the best possible chance to thrive and succeed. If it can’t be with money it can be with your time, interest, your love and energy. It can be by demonstrating a desire to be an integral part of your child’s life and to help them feel valued whether you live in the family home or elsewhere.

Here’s where it gets to be more tricky unfortunately. Often times the law gets involved and sends the egregious parent to jail or levies some kind of sanction on him making it more difficult to earn money to pay what he can’t pay. This logic escapes me. If he can pay and just chooses not to certainly that is a different circumstance which requires a different response.

Having said that I, for one, am tired of hearing about all the ‘dead beat dads’ out there as if there aren’t any ‘dead beat moms’. How about dead beat parents?

What is a dead beat dad anyway?
What does a dead beat dad look like?
Are all dads dead beat dads if they stop paying or can’t pay support?

I’m not suggesting that dads can just run off when the going gets tough, hook up with another partner and forget about what they left behind. Similarly, there are those instances where single moms get involved with other partners, often move them into the home expecting ‘junior’ to get along with the new guy. The new guy has all the rights and privileges of a permanent fixture. He may contribute to the fridge and the cable bill-maybe-and ‘dad'(the real one) is stuck supporting a life style that he can’t afford for himself. Should he continue to pay? Or lets say mom gets married again and finds true happiness. Does the ‘real dad’ still need to pay as much? Perhaps the ex and her new man get to go to Florida in the winter for a ‘break’ and the ‘old’ man gets to live in a three room walk up with rattling pipes because that’s all he can afford after paying alimony and child support. What if all he can do is see his kids once a week for an ice cream cone and a walk in the park. Is that enough if that’s all he’s got to give or does he still qualify as a dead beat dad?

Emotions, often raw ones, can get involved in the decision making process especially around how the kids will be treated.Yes you can see them or no you can’t–screw you can be a common refrain. How this goes often depends on how the relationship ends between mom and dad and who was responsible for the break up. In either case those emotions need to be put aside for the betterment of the children left behind instead of “I’m going to clean him/her out of every red cent they have”. Acrimony is a poor substitute for responsibility.

What about single mom’s who become dead beat moms–(taken from a site called: Canadian Children’s Rights Council a few years back). Apparently dead beat moms exist as well. Using just a percentage figure there are more dead beat moms out there then there are dead beat dads (don’t shoot the messenger). According to this study 57% of moms out there who are required to pay child support actually do pay some or all of what they are responsible for. That compares to 68% of dads who are required to do the same.

The point is there is enough bad news to go around for the children who are most affected. Dead beat parents are just that. They are those who, for whatever their reasons, choose not to support their kids financially. But for me, money is just one way. There are other ways of providing for our children besides dollars and cents.

We know what is NOT working well and we need to understand that we cannot legislate morality. We cannot force people to do what they don’t want to do or at least not without spending a great deal of our dwindling resources.

When considering certainties we know that as long as we are content to vent our anger and our self-righteousness, or to judge and label others with this or that instead of encouraging those ‘bad moms or dads’ who may not be able to pay but are willing to be a part of their children’s lives in some way, the kids will continue to suffer big time. That, for me, is the real tragedy here.

That’s how I see it anyways, Jim

Pass this along to friends, clients, family or anyone else you think may benefit from considering this.

I Asked The Wee People And They Said . . .

Mother Nature At Her Best

Having some Irish blood running through me, this week was significant in a few ways. Most significant, though, was a conversation that I had, at least I think I had, with Seamus and Fergus. Let me explain.

This past Monday(17th), after putting in a rather busy but productive day, I sought some relaxation time. I sat down, put my feet up and just let my mind wonder where it would. The next thing I knew was I was strolling down this beautiful lane that stretched off into the distance with shrubs and hedges down each side and a canopy of flowering branches over top. The smell of the blooms was almost overpowering. Light streamed through the leaves and warmth enveloped me. It was perfect.

As I strolled along I noticed a little Inn. Being inquisitive I ventured in to see what was what. The place featured an old wooden bar with a wooden planked floor and held about 15 folks. All the tables were full with the exception of one table in the corner that offered one unclaimed chair. As I started to move toward the chair I noticed that the two fellas sitting there were engrossed in a conversation so I wondered if I should make my way over to ask if I could join them or not. I didn’t want to interrupt but I was hungry and tired so I took a chance. “Would it be OK to join you fellas”, I said. “I’d just like to sit for a bit and enjoy the atmosphere. I’m new around here and I can’t stay long so I’ll try not to bother you any.” “No problem”, they said. A few seconds went by and the man on my left introduced himself and his companion. His name was Fergus and the other fellow was Seamus. Seamus went on to say that he and Fergus were just discussing the state of things as they saw them and would I care to chirp in with my thoughts. I asked what they were chatting about and Fergus went on to explain. They were talking about this little town not too far away called ‘E-Nuff’. Apparently once a year this little place has a town meeting where everyone gets together to talk about what they have had ‘enough’ of over the past year. They go on to say what they will try to do to change things a bit. Then they create a list and post it in the town square to remind each other what they had talked about. The towns people spend the rest of the year trying to change as much as they can to eliminate things from the list. The following is a list of the things that came up during the town meeting in E-Nuff. Some of the things on the list came from the conversation that went on between Fergus, Seamus and I.

1. Greed–Fergus pointed out that the sandbox was big enough for ALL to play in. The rich could keep their wealth but they needed to be sure that those who went hungry and struggled to put food in the bellies of their families had more opportunities to earn money to do that. Not charity–opportunity.

2. Anger, racism, bias and resentments. Seamus pointed out that every moment spent hosting any one of these emotions was a minute where joy and peace could not be experienced. Fergus and I both tipped our glasses. (poi–I don’t drink alcohol so mine was ice tea)

3. Lying and selfish self centered politicians. It’s seems they are everywhere now. There was a time when politicians were appreciated and looked up to. People trusted them. Now they are a great source for late night TV comedians. My how the mighty have fallen.

4. Seamus brought up Rob Ford and A-Rod. It seems as though they have created a world wide reputation and not one to be proud of. “These dog and pony shows are really getting old.” Seamus and I tipped our glasses.

5. Sense of entitlement–“you owe me” is a common refrain. The world owes you nothin’. Go earn it and stop whining.

6. Exploiting those who have no power. They need a voice not a kick in the teeth.

7. Political correctness. What can any one say about this one? IT IS KILLING US.

8. Vampire movies. It’s time for something else–anything else.

9. Reality shows. Really? Are we that starved and bankrupt for ‘entertainment’?

10. Stupid, insulting and inane commercials especially on TV.

11. Political attack ads and the Parliament Hill Bully. You know the one with the pasted on, phony, insincere smile. Fergus and Seamus knew who I meant somehow.

12. Video games that show the senseless slaughter of people. These are the ones that supposedly pass for computer and brain skill development resources. Have we become that gullible or have we become that sick?

13. People who use their cell phones while driving. TAKE THEIR FRIGGIN’ LICENCE AWAY–What’s a life worth these days anyway?

14. Governments that dig far too deep into our pockets expecting them to be bottomless. Surprise!

15. CEO’s who are constantly rewarded for mediocre performances when the workers are told there is no money for them and their families. A bonus should be tied to profits and performance. If your company losses money the CEO bonus is less to match the % of the loss.

16. Men walking away from their families.

17. 2 tier court systems. There are laws for the rich and then there are laws for the rest of us.

18. Those who literally get away with murder–especially when the victims are children.

19. War. How about folks take care of their own mess if they don`t like what is happening.

20. The obscene amount of money dedicated to developing better ways of killing more people quicker and easier with less effort and less resources needed.

21. Arrogance. Do we really know more than the other guy? Our system may work for us but it may not suit them.

22. 2 tier medical system. Is my child’s life less important because I may not be able to afford the best treatment?

23. Blaming teachers for what the parents refuse to do or fail to do. Either way take some responsibility for what your kids are doing. They represent you out there in the public eye so what do you want the public to see?

24. Hypocrisy.

25. Poverty/hunger. There are far too many going to bed with swollen bellies while we toss out a weeks worth of food because we are gluttons but can’t eat any more?

I glanced at the clock that hung along side of a shillelagh only to see that three hours had passed in the blink of an eye. So I bid my farewell to Seamus and Fergus and picked up the list I had made. I tucked it in my shirt pocket and went out the door into the cool evening. Before I knew it a warm hand was gently nudging me and I opened my eyes to see my wife smiling down at me. She mentioned something about me saying goodbye to someone but didn’t recognize the names–Seamus and Fergus.

I grinned at her and said I would explain it later. As I walked away I happened to touch my shirt pocket and lo and behold I found a piece of folded paper. I pulled it out and started to read what was written there. It appeared to be a list of things starting with the word ‘greed’.

That’s’ the way I see things anyway

All the best, Jim



Is The Pen Really Mightier Than The Sword? I Still Think . . .

Blue Eye Perspective

If you believe in the adage ‘there is certainly strength in numbers’ you might be persuaded to believe that the pen is mightier than the sword. But it is said (somewhere) that a soldier with a sub machine gun could kill a hundred people before he himself becomes vulnerable. That sure is a lot of folks when you stop to contemplate the numbers. So I guess the above question would depend on the context it was a part of. If we could think about it in everyday goings on with no special circumstances attached that would do.

In another life I was involved with training dogs until I found out what some do to ‘train’ their dogs or their clients dogs. What I did learn,though, was that you can ‘train’ a dog to do most anything if you have the patience and the skill. But in this age of ‘now’ many trainers were content to coerce desired behaviour rather than instil desired behaviour. Beat an animal long enough and he/she will do whatever you want it to. It will also go for your throat at the first opportunity. Are human beings that different? If, for instance, the desired outcome was to have a child act or respond in a certain way many parents would threaten, bribe, beat, use negative reinforcement and generally intimidate their offspring until the desired outcome was attained. I guess the thinking is ‘might is right’.

We are reminded of this way of doing things all the time–one country invades another or one country threatens military options if the other guy won’t do as he is told and so on. The fine art of negotiation has been all but forgotten. Blood letting is still the preferred option for too many people unfortunately.

We do see the ‘pen’ used, albeit negatively, in our political system. No one is better at it than the Harper election machine. They use it to spread doubt and fear in people as opposed to telling folks why they are better off voting for them. I guess they have no faith in their own people and this is the only way they can hope to win.

I believe that words–aka the pen, are much more powerful than the sword. If you strike a child , for instance, what you are likely to get back is anger, resentment and a ‘screw you’ attitude. He/she may give you what you want immediately but rest assured you are in for a long haul if you think you have won anything. To make a point trying to get your child (children) to do what you want them to can’t be about power and control or winning. It needs to be about teaching them and encouraging them to learn things that are important for them to know–things that will enrichen their lives, help them be better citizens and things that they can pass on to others. Verbal encouragement is so powerful because it builds a sense of utility in our kids and that is a prime ingredient in their quest for a positive sense of self.

So we need to be so careful what we say and how we say it to our children, to our friends and families and to the folks out there that we don’t know yet. Lets not go to the place where we think that shaming and blaming will somehow spur people on to greater things or the ridiculous notion that reverse psychology will somehow win the day. These efforts don’t do anything for anyone except destroy their desire to do what it is you hoped they would do in the first place. That certainly includes our kids. Folks, generally, do not do well trying to live down to lower expectations.

The pen, in my mind, is truly more powerful than the sword. The skill involved in wielding a sword is much more demanding and what ever is taken by the sword must be kept by the sword. Speaking to others with respect, integrity and honesty is much easier and longer lasting because it helps people to feel good about what they have heard and how they were treated. And it doesn’t cost anything either–bonus.

Please click on the link that I have provided here. This 2 minute video has been around before but I’m not sure that we could see it too often. It’s a couple of minutes long but it’s message could last a life time. As it ends it says “Change Your Words–Change Your World”.


If you want to know more about spreading a positive attitude and doing great things check out a site called ‘Me to We’. Just google it and then go to the wikipedia site and it’s all there.

That’s how I see it anyway, Jim


If You’re Asked If You Are A Racist What Would You Say?

“Never assess the many by the few”–Jim

What would you say if your son walked up to you and asked you point blank, “Hey Dad are you a racist”? I’m imagining most people would say ‘no’ and be rather uncomfortable even thinking about it and yet it really is an honest question. But as a parent you are duty bound to give him an honest response. Until we figure out how to treat each other with dignity and respect and at the same time honour each others way of life, this issue will remain with us. The underbelly of this beast is all about ‘being treated with fairness’. What is happening in our country, and many others it seems, is not fair. If I were a finger pointing person that finger would be directed at those who were elected to make sure such unfairness doesn’t happen. Political agendas should not play a part in this but unfortunately they do.

When I think about it I don’t consider myself a racist. I love people for who they are and the wealth of knowledge and experience they contribute to our society be they non-Canadians, First Nation Canadians or those who been here for awhile. I accept the idea that we are all brothers somehow and that we share certain identities and heritage. I’m good with that until the demands, expectations and ideals of someone or some group threatens MY very way of life and does not honor the history, heritage, sacrifice, customs and values of the people who founded this country. My country. The only country and way of life that I have ever known. Now it is my natural cultural identity that is being threatened by those who have no stake or claim in the struggle, sacrifice and pain it took to build and protect this country from those who would do her harm. So, as anyone would, I would fight to keep what is rightfully mine. It is not so much the demands to discard or negate our customs and values but rather the willingness of our own government to grant those demands with little or no concern for those of us who live here. This esteemed group has granted customs and values that have little to do with our founding fathers visions for our country. Sadly this golden opportunity to learn about all the other groups of people that inhabit the planet with us has been perverted into something other than what multiculturalism was meant to be. It has become political and hateful based almost completely on unfairness and simple-mindedness. If these thoughts and words make me a racist then perhaps I need to rethink what that word really means.

The colour of people’s skin seems to be a problem unfortunately. If I call a black man-a black man-I’m a racist and yet I am called a white man and that’s OK?? I meant no disrespect and I’d like to believe that the person who called me a ‘white man’ didn’t mean any disrespect either. If we celebrated a White History Month we would be branded as racist but Black History Month is applauded. Why can’t we each celebrate our race if it is important to celebrate it? There are clubs, groups, special days, organizations, beauty pageants, scholarships, colleges, universities and banks to name a few that have been dedicated to specific racial groups only. People with white skin are not welcomed to join, participate or be a member of any of these. If white folks did that we would be called racists in every instance. Why is it that only white people can be racists? If I question ‘why’ certain things happen the way they do does that mean I’m a racist? How very confusing it all is and how unnecessary.

If people who have difficulty assimilating into our way of life don’t like being here because it is uncomfortable for them perhaps they need to re-think their decision to stay here. Perhaps there are other places to live with customs and values that are more suited to what they are looking for. I’m assuming people come to this great country because of the freedoms and opportunities that are offered them. Perhaps these are not available to them in their native country. Fair enough–welcome–come and enjoy all that we have to offer. We are a generous and sharing people. But if it is not what they hoped it would be then they have the right to change their minds. They are free to come or go. It is not OK for our elected officials to give away that which is not theirs to give away in order to entice people to stay. I speak of my ways of living–my cultural identity–my values and my beliefs and my freedoms and my customs. I don’t see that as being racist but I do see it as me fighting back to retain my cultural identity because once we lose that–we have lost it all.

So when your son asks you if you are a racist sit him down and talk to him about what it means to be a man in this world today. Help him understand what is expected of him and how important his values, customs and beliefs are. He also needs to understand that they may need to be fought for and protected and honoured in order to maintain them. That said we need to make sure that we aren’t taking away someone else’s right to celebrate their culture as well.

That’s the way I see it anyways, Jim

Father & Son Golfing


Am I The Only One To See It This Way?? Let Me Know


I have thought about this long and hard. It plaques my sleep and occupies my head, often unwanted, but it won’t go away. I’m speaking of the hypocrisy of some politicians, news reporters, editors, sports reporters and talk show hosts primarily. Their responses and behaviours shouldn’t surprise me but I can frankly and honestly say that I’m getting rather tired of it all. Actually, I’m still rather confused about the positions that some have taken both pro and con. I guess it would be helpful to identify what my ‘issue’ is all about.

Recently, an athlete whose name is Michael Sam, announced to the world that he is a gay athlete and in ensuing conversations said that he just wanted to be known as an athlete and a football player and not a gay athlete. OK. Fair enough. As a football player his sexuality should not come into play. Either he can play at a certain level or he can’t.

Before I continue I’d like to clarify my position right now on the whole gay conversation. I am a heterosexual male. I enjoy being a heterosexual male. It is a lifestyle and a choice that I accept, understand and am quite comfortable with. I say that with no criticism or judgement in my heart for views and opinions and choices that differ from mine especially when they relate to this topic. As I said–provided that no one is adversely affected or hurt or coerced in some way to be other than who they are comfortable being and for how they may see the world they live in. That stands for a gay relationship or a straight relationship. Otherwise I plainly don’t care. If some folks could get their heads out of the backsides long enough to see that gay folks are not dangerous–they are not pedophiles–they are not an abomination but are, simply, folks with a different preference, which is their right, just like the rest of us. So get over yourselves people!! We don’t get to choose nor should we try to influence what or how other people make their choices just to coincide with our own. Their lives don’t belong to us. I accept, understand, and agree that we all need to find someone we can love and share our lives with. Who that person is is none of my business. Besides, I have more important things to concern myself with like the fate of fatherless young men in our society, the fact that you don’t have to go to a foreign land to see starving children, the growing disparity of wealth in our country or the growing imbalance and unfairness shown our elderly. These are the really important issues of the day.

People need to be able to feel free to pursue any relationship they desire and with whomever they desire whether straight or gay. I truly and honestly believe that we are all human beings with the same wants and needs and we need to respect that idea at all times and considering all people.

The issue that sticks in my craw is about how fast some politicians, sports reporters, media reporters, editors and celebrities jump on the ‘politically correct’ band wagon. I understand their need to be on the ‘right’ side of the discussion. For politicians its votes. For the media it is about viewers and market share. For the celebrities it’s box office and keeping their names in the headlines. Don’t want to come down on the short end of that stick that’s for sure. But the thing that disturbs me the most about all of this is that a good number of the people and professionals I just mentioned are vilifying and criticizing and ostracizing those who would risk voicing their opinions on the subject and how THEY feel regarding what is happening. They are not being ‘allowed’, essentially, to say anything negative about what is going on. Where is the freedom in that? That is wrong. It is wrong on so many levels not to mention the concept of freedom of speech. So what if they disagree. They also have rights that need to be protected and the right to disagree is right up there as far as I’m concerned. Someone once said, “I may not like what you have to say but I will defend your right to say it”. Anything else is called censorship.

However, this is the part that confuses me. Why is it important for someone to declare or discuss something so personal and beautiful to the world. It should be a very a private matter between two people who love one another–straight or gay. It doesn’t concern other people. I understand, as best I can, that it seems like a secret that eats away at some. I’m not sure that a public catharsis is the answer any more than I agree with the benefit of gay parades. Heterosexuals don’t have ‘straight parades’–at least none I’m aware of. By doing this it actually polarizes the whole issue and makes it more difficult for gays to be seen as they should be seen and treated as they should be treated. This is difficult to do if on one hand you are saying one thing and on the other demonstrating that you really are quite different. To paraphrase Ghandi–“be the change you want to see”. As for the reporters and politicians etc. check your crap and your personal stuff at the door and just do your job. It is to report the news not create the news. That’s how I see it anyway–Jim

Please pass this article along to your friends with thanks–Jim

Spend More Time ‘Loving’ Than Fighting. Check Out These Suggestions . . .

Last week I put out 5 good suggestions that hopefully were discussed and possibly tried out. It does get right down to this: would you rather spend all of your time arguing or trying to ‘drive home a point’ or would you rather spend more time enjoying your partners company and spending quality time with your family with less tension in the air all the time? With both parents working, as is often the case nowadays, do you really want to put your energy resources into remaining angry or upset. This is the one where you walk around with an edge on or worse yet putting out the silent treatment just because he won’t do this or say that? That’s hard work and it is draining trying to maintain that negative mindset. Wouldn’t you rather relax knowing that your partner looks forward to returning home at the end of the day to be with his/her family. The choice is yours or can be yours if that’s what you want.

Here are the next five items from the collection of tried and true suggestions for getting along with each other and understanding each other better.

6. This one, and I truly don’t understand why-I really don’t, still causes grown people to get upset with the other when ‘he’ doesn’t put the seat down when he is done. I guess that doesn’t always happen for the same reasons you don’t put it UP when YOU are done. This is sort of like the goose an gander thing to me.

7. If we see that you are not feeling right about something or that it seems you have a concern about something and we ask ‘what’s wrong’ and you respond by saying ‘nothing’ then that’s good enough for us. We are not likely going to push it. You had your chance to state your piece and you said ‘nothing’. Don’t come back at us later accusing us of not caring. We are not mind readers and you don’t have a crystal ball for a head.

8. We think of hair rollers, fuzzy slippers, old terry cloth housecoats, crap all over your face and knee highs as natural birth control devices. Remember. Men are creatures of fantasy and this get-up will kill that moment in a heartbeat. (And gents. Don’t walk around with three days worth of growth on your face (unless you are trying to be trendy) with dirt under your finger nails, yellow stained teeth, bad breath, old pants with holes in the ass held together or up with an old belt that should have seen the bone yard eons ago and wonder why she doesn’t want to have anything to do with you in the bedroom–or anywhere else for that matter).

9. At the very least try treating us as well as you would treat your friends. Surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, men are often treated as a fifth wheel while a friend often gets the best of what you have to give at any time. You tend to laugh with them and treat them with respect and manners going by all the normal social rules of interaction. Husbands often get what is left over when you are tired or just plain don’t feel like being nice to anyone. Why? I don’t know but I know it happens more than it should. Perhaps it is because we, men, are supposed to ‘understand’ and that makes it all OK somehow. I can only say–it doesn’t.

10. We don’t have ‘toys’–we have ‘hobbies’. The old saying ‘boys and their toys’ isn’t a very accurate explanation for what keeps us engaged in stuff other than work. These activities are almost always designed to bring out the competitiveness in us and we love a challenge. Take golf for instance. It is not only set up to play against your friends, those friendly games, but also the course itself. We are competitive by nature so the equipment we purchase–the lessons we take–are all necessary for us to get as good as we can be –that is our ‘hobby’ and our challenge. It’s important to us to satisfy that need to be good at things we take on. The argument could be made that it really is in our DNA–not the golf game but the competitiveness.

Hopefully you will make the time and create the opportunity to talk about some of these suggestions with your partners. You may be surprised by some of the insights you gain with little effort. Men often treat those around them as they are treated. That’s just who we are and how we do our business.

Emily & Opa

If you find this useful or perhaps helpful for a friend please send it along.


I Don’t Usually Do This But . . .

Greetings to all–Trust me when I say that I don’t normally do this but I made an exception in this case. I’m asking you to go to:
​ http://victoriamae.webs.com/

and spend a few minutes checking out this womans web site. That’s all I’m asking you to do. The rest you can decide on when you see her site. I have known this woman for over 25 years. How we met is another story but she was, and remains, a great gift found in the most unlikely place. She is one of the most miraculous, courageous, warmest, selfless giving and truly gifted and talented people I’ve had the privilege of knowing and I am honored to call her friend. ​

​This is no hoax–there is no gimmick–there is no scam involved here. She gives so much to the world around her and now she is in need of a bit of help herself.

If you can help her out that is great. If you can’t that’s OK too but please look at her work and then make a decision as to how you may be able to reach out to her.

As I said I don’t normally do this. We all are bombarded with stories that tug at our hearts all the time. This is an exception for me in that she has worked so hard to get to where she is in her journey. She has taken huge risks that many would not attempt let alone face and overcome. She is truly a survivor of the worst the world could throw at her and she has managed to find ways to continue on when it would have been much easier to have given up and given in.

You be the judge of who she is by what you see and read. Thanks for reading this and I promise to not make a habit of doing this again.

Live in Peace–Jim


Author Jim Cloughley's 
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