The Week That Was . . .

My thoughts and prayers go out to the folks that live or used to live in Fort McMurray. What a terrible tragedy for the people there. It does go to show how fragile life is or can be and how we need to be sure what we are spending our energy on really matters.


The headlines read: “Conference Board gives Canada a failing grade when it comes to managing the environment”. I understand that it is easy to bash a former government no matter who was in power. In this case it happens to have been the Conservatives. It is no secret that they had a hard time balancing the good of the economy and the good of the people who live here. Unfortunately they chose the economy. As a result Canada ranks (14th) near the bottom of the pack of 16 peer countries when all are tested regarding fresh water management, air pollution and climate change as part of the research done to determine if we are getting better or worse at being responsible stewards regarding Mother Earth. We have reached a place where time is now a serious factor when considerng the health of our citizens and our children. I must say that I am not comforted by the fact that we rank just ahead of the United states and Australia.

Surprisingly enough Ontario fares pretty well in the scheme of things when it comes to environmental factors–in some categories–about the middle of the pack or a ‘B’ grade. For a more complete report on how our provinces and our country fare compared to others in the world click on the highlighted text (above). As you will see we have a great deal of work to do if we are going to grant our children and grandchildren a healthy and safe environment in which to live.

This Weeks Parenting Tip:

From my perspective the goal of parents should be simple. I’m not saying that the practice of being parents is easy or simple. I’m saying that the goal of parenting is simple. We need to teach them and model for them the basics of how to be self-sufficient, self-confident, honest, responsible and respectful. They will get the rest on their own as they grow up. Many parents try much too hard to protect their kids from the world and from themselves. By doing so they take away their childrens’ right to learn by their own mistakes. This is not to say that we allow them to participate in high risk activities or try to handle situations that they are clearly unable to master as yet. But to learn some of these basic lessons they are going to have to scrape some skin off their knees and come home with a bloody nose sometimes.

However, ‘hovering’ parents need to buy into the idea that the more they micromanage their kids daily lives, try to protect them against every threat, limit their high risk activities and steer them from potential risk the more they hinder their chances of growing up to be well adjusted, adventuresome and independent teens and eventually adults.

Here are some suggestions for parents to consider in order to stop being helicopter parents:

1. Stay out of sight more often. If your child can’t see you he/she is more apt to feel they are on their own and therefore more able to decide for themselves what happens next. You can still monitor high risk activities but don’t be seen ‘spying ‘ on your child to make sure he/she is OK or doing ‘it’ right

2. Ask others who care for your child-teachers or care givers what your child does for himself/herself when you are not around. Does he get himself/herself ready to go outside to play or does he/she organize their own recreational activities without whining or trying to get someone else to do things they should be able to manage on their own. Then be sure that they do the same things at home when you are around.

3. Play with them and teach them basic skills like throwing a ball or playing on recreational or sporting equipment and how to be safe when playing with other kids. Encourage them to use safety equipment and explain why.

4. Set aside some time during the day when you are not available to them. If your child is at home and he/she yells for you to come, unless there is a crisis of some kind, say that you are busy and can’t come there right now. It forces the kids to sort out for themselves what you would have done for them.

5. Take the time to teach your kids how to dress themselves, tie shoes, fix their own breakfast cereal, make a sandwich or comb their hair and brush their teeth.  You are teaching them how to be strong and independent human beings and if you do this right you won’t have to worry about what they are doing when you are not looking.

These are a few of the things that helicopter parents need to begin to do as soon as the child is age ready. It will be a great deal less stressful for the parents and the kids won’t be near as ‘needy’, dependent and helpless therefore being more self sufficient and self confident.

Video Of The Week:

When I watched this video I was just amazed at how fast we have moved into the world of electronics and how much faster we will go in the next year. Where does it end? Doesn’t there have to be an end to it? Apparently not. It is one of the reasons that I continue to say that it is so vitally important that we change the way we educate our children and why the current style of teaching just isn’t efficient anymore. But you judge for yourself.

Anyways, that’s how I see it. Please pass this newsletter on to friends and family. To connect with me please email me at  OR


Author Jim Cloughley's 
Brand New Blueprint For Learning