The 2 Absolutes Necessary To Be The Best Parent You Can be . . .

What is it that our kids need from us the most? What is the prime factor in any parent-child connection? What paves the way for learning? I used to think that it was respect, patience, knowledge understanding, and your time. I have written in this space about those things and I still believe in their importance. But I have come to understand that these are building blocks for a much more important and complex reality. Parents need to be consistent when providing these , that is true, but they are not primary in and of themselves. They need to be present as component parts but they combine to create one reality. As the title suggests I believe there are only two things that parents need to be aware of if they are striving to be the absolute best parents they can be.

The first one is creating the best relationship they can between themselves and their children. This is first and foremost.  As many of us know this is not as easy to do as it sounds because so many things can get in the way. For instance our own past history and the relationships we had with our own parents. This can be especially problematic if the parent(s) still haven’t worked through their issues before having kids of their own. That ends up like building a house on a sand foundation. Perhaps we were forced to adhere to messages that were not appropriate or healthy. We may have been encouraged or taught how to hate someone for their differences. Our belief systems are easily manipulated when we are young because we desperately want to believe that our parents would never hurt us or lie to us or tell us stuff that isn’t true-would they? Then there are our experiences at the hands of others. That could involve abuse of some kind or what we were told over and over again by people we didn’t know or who didn’t like us. We can make our kids our best friends or worse we can become their best friends. The difference?? Best friends rely on each other for support. We listen to them and they listen to us and then we problem solve together. Our kids should never be asked to solve their parents’ problems. It is not healthy to ask for or expect our kids to provide our emotional support. Friends comfort each other-that’s why their friends. Parents are not supposed to be comforted by their children and supported through a traumatic time. Our kids are not equipped for that and boundaries can become a serious issue. That’s why we have to pay absolute attention to our kids every day and not just check in with them when they are hurting or in trouble of some kind.

They need to know from us, on a daily basis, that they are loved, valued, taken seriously when they are serious, and that we will listen to them without judgement or criticism. Ask them about their day-how did it go?-what did you learn that you didn’t know before? Show that you are interested in their lives and that you care. We need to encourage them and teach them how to think for themselves. Now this is not new news but the point is we cannot teach our children anything of value without them knowing in their hearts that they are in and are a part of a strong relationship with us. It does not matter the lessons we have to teach them or the importance of them sharing our experiences. It does not matter what we feel, as parents, or what we need to show them or demonstrate to them about life itself. As parents we need to understand what a healthy relationship looks like and what it can provide our children.

The primary desired outcome is that there is a genuine trust  that has been established and as long as that trust lasts your kids will want to learn all you have to teach them. They will watch you and learn about healthy relationships. They will learn about how to manage emotions and how to accept success. According to Parent Magazine children who are involved with healthy co-parented families are more likely to experience less mental health issues, less involvement with legal systems, have better and more healthy relationship with partners, and do better in affairs. Whether a parent physically lives at home or not that parent still needs to be involved in their children’s lives. He /she can still make a difference. It’s being involved and showing that you care that is most important.

The point here is that parents need to work much harder at establishing a healthy relationship with their kids first and worry about ‘life’s lessons after that’. It doesn’t work well if you are trying to do it the other way around. Parents need to LIVE the lessons they want their kids to learn. They believe what they see so if there is No trust there will be No learning.

Anyways, that’s how I see it.

All the best, Jim and thanks for stopping by.

Please sent this along to friends and family-with thanks.

Disclaimer: I have used this resource for education, criticism and research purposes. Thanks to monitor.co.ug. I derive no monetary benefit from the use of this photo.

What’s Been Goin’ On . . .

Photo by stuff.co.nz–This photo resource is used for education, research or criticism purposes only.

Commentary:

For the longest time most members of the other gender have made their thoughts known quite clearly that men are not good at multi-tasking. Of course I disagree with that statement. On the contrary men can be good at it when we put our minds to it. However, we don’t much see the need to multi task to the extent that our counter parts do. Are women good at multi tasking? I really don’t know. If you ask most females they will undoubtedly say they ALL are. I could agree that SOME are but only at certain things.

Look at the picture above and then ask the question again: ” Can men multi task and do it well?–YES! We can. Truth be known we often choose not to because we don’t understand the need to. We also understand that it really is not ‘good’ for people to continuously take on more than one job at a time.

Men are more likely to  take on a job–one job at a time thank you–see that job through to it’s end–step back and survey the finished product–correct any small imperfections and then move on to the next job or challenge. It is more satisfying for us this way. Most of the time we know that it is done as well as it could be given all the possibilities. We also know that the human mind, this includes the lassies as well, can only process one thought at a time. To try to do otherwise can promote stress and panic attacks. Why would anyone knowingly do this to themselves? This is not true, of course, for the autonomic responses such as breathing, blinking and heart beats. We don’t have to think about doing these.

Multitasking simply is not something that we see as beneficial so why do it?–All the best, Jim

Comments are welcome–jim.lifechoice@gmail.com  OR  jimcloughley.com

Please pass this long to family and friends–with thanks.

Truth Talkin’ Thursday:

Jane and I are back in the saddle this week discussing the value or downside of making New Years Eve resolutions. If you have any thoughts about them we’d love to hear them. To hear more about how we see things go to my web page at jimcloughley.com and click on the tab marked: Truth Talkin’ Thursday. The latest episode will pop up for ya.

Forward Thinking Program:

After taking some time off to re-energize I’m back to the work of creating and producing a new comprehensive educational model that will truly and totally revolutionize how we educate our children and how this approach will enable them to, not only compete successfully but to be leaders in the new global economies that will soon mark our way of life. We, as parents and guardians of the next generation of learners, must do all we can to prepare our children so they can utilize the best opportunities for success. More to come regarding this exciting news and what you can do to become more involved in the process.

Video For The Week:

This clip might pick up the old heart rate a bit. When Tom C was king–Enjoy

Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks

Old dogs can learn new tricks-if they are motivated. For the longest time I believed that if we just got back to the ‘old days’ where kids learned how to be good citizens meaning doing things the way WE were taught to do things today’s kids would be better off, parents would be happier and we could all live better more complete lives.

This old dog has seen a new day dawn. I don’t believe that we will ever get back to ‘the good old days’ where kids valued their elders and did as they were told. Those ideals don’t resonate with today’s ‘new kids’ and so parents, be they single or co-parents, grandparents or adoptive parents,  need to learn some ‘new approaches’ to parenting if they want their kids to have some semblance of responsibility in their lives.

Parents or care givers need to begin to understand that not all kids see the world the same way nor do they strive to have or share the same value systems that adults insist they demonstrate. All we need to do is look around at what is happening with our children-how they dress, talk and conduct themselves in public and the proof of this is quite evident. They are trying to tell us something important by much of their behaviour and we are not listening. When I think about how adults have conducted themselves in the last 2 generations we have no claim to the high ground-that’s for sure.

A good part of who I am as a man in the world centres, or at least used to centre, on the inherent good in people. I still believe that but the ‘new trick’ is that I have to change MY perspective and MY attitude toward our kids and not the other way around. They have been born into the mess that WE have created. They are only reacting to what we have taught them or shown them. Let’s consider some of what our kids are dealing with today:

1. They live with a definite need to feel they belong somewhere and that they have purpose but instead  we have taught them to believe in:  Money, power, deception, mistrust and a stubbornness to continue to do things that are just not good for us–making war on others comes to mind.

2. We do a poor job of helping our young men transition from boyhood to manhood. I wrote a book on this topic called: ‘A Man’s Work Is Never Done: A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons’. By all accounts most who read it liked it. Check it out on my web site at jimcloughley.com. If you want to learn more contact me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

3. Crushing peer pressure-goes along with bullying.

4. A conflicted and distorted view of their sexuality.

5. Despite what we are being told the alcohol/drug problems of our kids is growing and suicide rates are climbing. 4 out of 5 teen suicides are committed by young men. Rather disproportionate I’d say.

6. A growing feeling of not being connected anywhere. This adds to the growing teenage mental health issues such as depression and anger. (See number 5 above) Part of this feeling of being disconnected comes from both parents working.

7. One of the more serious issues for me is the role models that have taken over for parents. Just watch MTV or any of the video games out right now and you might see what I mean. Young women are hearing about the value of ‘looking good’ and what ‘looking good looks like’. The media supports the idea of freedom of expression and the fashion industry keeps pushing the idea of less is more. Then feminists go after men for subjugating women–really? Most of the models are women. Pretty confusing stuff for everyone. Tie this into behaviours that are now acceptable and we see very skewed morals and values that our kids need to try to make sense of. And what will they teach their kids?

What do/can we do? We, as the ‘old dogs’ must learn/create  a whole set of ‘new tricks’ so that we can become mentors and examples for our kids to emulate once again but on their terms and not ours. Yes we can if we are motivated to make it happen. In order to do that we have to make the effort to understand what motivates our kids today.

1. Fairness, acceptance, belief in the inherent good in people, help your neighbour and those in need. We need to explain the benefits of these old values but we need a new method of delivering the message. Who delivers this new message and how do they deliver it are the ‘new tricks’ of the day. Who will our kids learn it from?

2. Kids ask more questions now and the answers have to make sense to them-relevant in THEIR world and their reality.

3. Expect and accept different behaviours and efforts to find solutions to the issues of their day. We can no longer insist on our kids doing it as we did it.

4. Our kids live in the world of ‘quick’. Results need to be much quicker than they were for us.

5 We need to understand that they are not as likely to believe ‘it’ just because we say it is so. They don’t trust us as we tended to trust our parents. If it is on the web-it must be true now.

So. The above are 5 ‘new tricks’ that we must consider if we are to remain relevant to our kids. If we can’t do this we are in danger of losing any influence we have left. It doesn’t need to be that way but we must, as old dogs, be smarter and more innovative.

Anyways, that’s how I see it. All the best, Jim

Comments are always welcomed. Connect with me through: jimcloughley.com  OR  jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

Please pass this along to friends and family or anyone else who could use it–with thanks

Who Needs This More . . .The Kids Or The Parents?

I honestly don’t remember where I first heard these words but I certainly have seen the truth of it born out—‘They learn what they live; they say what they hear and they do what they see.’

These are such trying times, confusing times, very frustrating but more than anything they are times during which the true colours of parents is really put to the test. Unfortunately it is a test that parents across the board are failing and by a significant measure. Not so long ago parents knew their role and accepted the ‘job’ and ‘privilege’ of being a parent. This cannot be said of the vast majority of parents today. By all means there are many parents who are dedicated, loving, caring and ready to accept the responsibility of guiding a young life to adulthood. But there are many more who are not ready to do that, many who really have no interest in providing the guidance and the stewardship required, many who just walk away not wanting to be a parent at all and still others who want to be their child’s best friend instead. Obviously none of these choices is acceptable.

When we listen or watch the news all we seem to hear are stories about mass murders, people hurting or killing other people over a parking spot at the local department store, rapes and assaults, robberies, people disposing of other people by tossing them in an incinerator that is meant to dispose of animal carcasses and on and on goes the list. When we look at the perpetrators in these crimes more often than not we will hear about a young man who flipped out or just felt as though he was entitled somehow for some reason to do what he did. Where does this thinking come come from? How do they feel that it’s OK to walk into a club and murder 50 innocent people. Whether you agree with their life style is irrelevant. They have the right to love who they wish.

My feeling is that this thinking and behaviour comes from 30 years of parents getting away from or simply not understanding what is required of them as parents. They either don’t want to be ‘that’ parent or they don’t know how to be ‘that’ parent mostly because they, themselves, were never taught the relevance of the 7 basic life lessons which are critically important to any child’s development as a functioning human being. These 7 principles are paramount to living in a civilised, individual and self-actualised society which is demonstrated by its citizens living these principles on a day to day basis. We are light years from achieving this most important goal and without this learning necessity the rest of our education is window dressing. We have demonstrated that as well. I want to go with the ‘don’t know how to be ‘that’ parent’ option.  I buy into the axiom that says: “you can’t know what you don’t know”. For me it is: “You can’t teach what you don’t know” and if you have never been taught these 7 principles how would you know to teach them to your kids?

The title asks the question: “Who Needs This More . . . The Kids Or The Parent”? My answer to this question is both need it. Parents need to accept the fact that they don’t know this stuff and need to if they are going to be competent parents. The kids need to shut up and listen because they know little if any of these 7 ‘Life Lessons’ and need to if they are going to survive not to mention the importance of passing this knowledge along to their kids.

Here are the 7 basic life lessons they need to know: (From the poem by Dorothy Law Nolte)

1.  If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

2. If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive (fear stifles enthusiasm and positive risk taking therefor growth doesn’t happen or at least is much more stymied).

3. If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence (most kids crave encouragement-it’s like a drug to them-strong and powerful. However, be sure to use encouragement and not praise).

4. If children live with acceptance, they learn to love. (not just their own acceptance but also the acceptance of others for who they are in the world. Many less club shootings too).

5. If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.

6. If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.

7. If children live with fairness, they learn justice (they also gain trust in the system).

These are the top 7 Life Lessons parents need to be teaching and discussing with their kids. Do this and we will ALL have a much better quality of life with less fear and anger and more love and respect for each other. A great trade off if you ask me.

Anyways, that’s how I see it, Jim

Comments will find me if you connect with jim.lifechoice@gmail.com. You can also find out more about what I do by going to : jimcloughley.com

If you could pass this article on to family and friends that would be appreciated.

This Could Be Our Future . . . Take A Look

The image above is similar to the ‘Topaz Solar Farm’ which is located in California. Construction began in November 2011 and was completed in November 2014. It has 9,000,000 solar panels within it’s boundaries and came at a cost of 2.7 billion dollars. It is called a 550 Megawatt facility. During it’s construction it created approximately 400 direct jobs. It is an amazing place and if you are interested in knowing more about what we need to be doing or at least planning right now just type in Topaz Solar Farm. This particular facility is among the largest in the world, with many more of these projects planned or under way. The company that maintains and operates the Topaz site is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway which is run by Warren Buffet. This ‘farm’ produces enough energy to power 160,000 homes for a year, reduce the number of cars by 73,000 and would reduce the amount of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere by some 377,000 tons each year. This is just ONE farm. The really interesting part of this is that the cost of energy to homes is or would drop by 30-50%. The technology is developing so fast that in ten years time the size of panels would decrease markedly thereby lowering the cost of energy even further but also allowing room for more panels to power more homes and businesses–with NO pollution–clear air renewable energy. This is the future. The question is when will this become our reality.

Let’s imagine, for a moment, some contrasting information that is quite remarkable and not in a particularly good or positive way. Our provincial government has just spent over a billion dollars getting us out of a bad deal and got zero for our investment. That money could have built a farm, at the US rates, containing approximately 3,600,000 panels powering  approximately 61000 homes for a year. It also would have provided jobs for 150 folks for at least 2-2.5 years. Why aren’t we doing this-now? Why aren’t we using provincial lands for solar farms? There will be a place for wind power at some point to be sure but not now and not where they are presently being erected. Kathleen Wynne insists that windmills are still the way to go. I’d say the recent examples of how to create solar power south of us say otherwise. We continue to recirculate old ideas with a `fresh coat of paint on them`and think that we are really doing something. Much time poorly spent trying to re-invent the wheel is making us physically more ill and placing more and more burden on a health care system we are told is working to capacity.We are dying because of the money that is being made at our expense.

Let’s also consider that, in the US it costs the US people close to 9,000,000 $/day to wage war in the Iraq region. Apparently this is a conservative estimate and, as well, they have spent upwards of 3 trillion dollars (no one can say for sure how accurate that figure is or if it’s more) since it began. Three trillion would build a few of these solar farms and put many people to work able who could then purchase goods and services without government assistance. Approximately 40,000 world wide jobs are connected to the Topaz Solar Farm when considering manufacturing panels, installing, servicing, shipping and so on.

What would it be like if the great deserts of the world became giant solar farms creating no pollution and cheap power that is unlimited in terms of resources needed to produce the power–no coal, no uranium, no oil. Ah and there is the problem. All those businesses would take enormous losses because demand for their product would be greatly reduced. Imagine the shift in the global balance of power. Because the cost of energy would continue to drop more of the poorer nations could become producers of goods and would be able to compete in the world marketplace. They could grown their own food, feed their poor and enjoy more of the earths’ abundance. Health care would be more affordable around the world and the overall quality of life would increase dramatically. The only thing that stands in the way of this happening is the obscene amounts of money that are currently being taken in by those who crave it and have the means to take it but don’t share much of it with others who could use it.

If the production of solar power became our focus we could train some of our human resources such as those currently unemployed or youth who can’t find work to build and install the panels. Now the recipients would be receiving less social service dollars and still making a much greater wage as well as working in an industry that only has an upside. The money governments would save in benefits would pay for much of the cost of building the farms–win-win.We have the solutions to many of our problems staring us in the face. Why aren’t we moving toward creating something we can all benefit from.

I`m certainly not against capitlaism. It is the driving force of innovation and progress and all the good things that help the world to continue to spin on its axis. However, we need to make things like this our first priority and we need to do that NOW. It takes 7-10 years to plan and create a nuclear plant at a huge cost and we still have some pollution and waste to deal with. With things like the Topaz Solar Farm more countries would be able to share in the true human experience and could offer that to their constituents instead of the misery that currently exists for the bottom third of the worlds economies.

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

Send your comments along to me at: jimcloughley.com   OR   jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

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This Weeks News . . .

November 5–75 Degrees–Who would believe it. None the less enjoyed a great ride with friends. Back to work.

“There are so many great things going on around us and we don’t or can’t take the time to see them-to understand them and the impact that they could have on the quality of life we enjoy. I have learned that each happening no matter how big or small leaves an imprint of some kind and the world around us changes.”–JC

The APSGO  Conference:

Very excited about this weekend. I have been granted an opportunity to share my message with many parents and directors of programs designed to help and support parents and kids navigate the challenges they face with the hope of creating a better place for them to co-exist. If we can make a small change happen we can alter the course of many lives. It’s a privilege to be a part of that no matter the size of the contribution. It happens on November 7, 2015 at 10:00am to be held at the CUPE Center in New Market, ON–165 Pony Dr. Everyone is welcome to come and participate in what promises to be a great event.

 

A Podcast in Colorado

I was invited and agreed to participate in a podcast for Dr. Stephanie Stanfield from Colorado on November 12, 2015. It is a live show beginning at 10:00am MST (12:00 pm EST). We will be discussing my book: ‘A Man’s Work Is Never Done . . . A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons’ and the challenges that single parents face today. We will also respond to listeners who call-in with questions about parenting issues and how to manage them differently. The link to the podcast should be up on my web site at: jimcloughley.com next week sometime if you are interested in knowing more about this #1 Social Issue of Our time.

Dr. Stanfield is the president at ‘Making Shifts Happen’. She is the author of many programs but utilizes a very unique hollistic approach to healing. She has co-authored several programs including a preparation for surgery program, having treatment for cancer program, and a program designed to help people integrate mind and body. A phenomenal internet program for making and sustaining healthy changes, making your life pain free, stress free and more joyful than you thought possible. How does it get any better than this? For much more on other programs of Dr. Stanfield please check out her web site at  www.makingshiftshappen.com.

 

My Video Of The Week

This one was around quite a while ago–I was amazed by it 2 years ago–but it is still a beautiful and heart grabbing video. It is worth every minute of your viewing time and this young woman’s talent is unmistakable and unforgettable. See for yourself. Prepare to be awed.

If you have any questions or comments please connect with me at: jimcloughley.com OR jim.lifechoice@gmail.com Your feedback is always welcome–JIm

 

 

The Week That Was . . .

An interesting week as they most always are:

Some folks will tell you they are busier now that they have retired than they had been at any other time in their lives. Honestly I was a bit scepticle of that statement but I have found that it is mostly true.

Did the third of a series of four podcasts:

I connected once again with Dr.Anne Marie Evers to talk about the third in a series of four podcasts regardng my book “A Man’s Work Is Never Done: A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons.’ We have been discussing each of the 4 ‘cornerstones’ needed to create a healthy and fulfilling life. During previous discussions we talked about developing a positive sense of self-value/self-esteem; anger and how it can be seen and used as a positive motivating force in our lives and living in relationships with others as well as ourselves. Next week we will talk about the fourth and final cornerstone dealing with parenting and the importance of co-parenting our children.

The broadcasts can be heard on contacttalkradio.com. Just type it in on your browser and go to the Dr. Anne Marie Evers show. It will be on the air on Saturday October 17th between 3-4pm EST or if you miss that one the link will be on my web site by Wednesday, October 21st. Just go to jimcloughley.com then go to the media page and click on the link.

Still a few spots open for speaks:

I still have a few opportunities available to speak to groups, meetings or to do ‘lunch and learns’ for businesses. If you are looking for a speaker contact me at jimcloughley.com and go to my contact page or send me an email at jim.lifechoice@gmail.com and I will be pleased to return your call.

Write your book in 90 days:

We did a writers workshop back in August but we are still offering that program on line including one to one support. If you have a book you want to write and self publish please to contact me at the above email address or go to my web page for more information. We can save you a great deal of time and resources ($) and provide you with more information than you thought possible for a very reasonable fee. Don’t let the concern about how to publish your work or how to market your work keep you from getting back to us. You will be surprised how simple it is to get your book out there if you are willing to do the work. You bring your skill and talent and we’ll help you with the rest.

APSGO.ca Conference–coming up soon:

I have been asked to present a workshop based on my book at The APSGO conference which is scheduled for November 7th in Newmarket. APSGO is the Association of Parenting Support Groups in Ontario Inc. They provide great services to parents who are challenged with parenting their children. They offer strategies, support, skill development and much more to those parents who desire a more fulfilling and less stressful family life with their children. Go to APSGO.ca for more information regarding what they do and how they do it. Everyone is welcomed to attend–it should be a promising day for all.

Video pick for the week:

It seems to me that humanity could take a lesson from our 4 legged friend. How different would our lives be if we simply loved more and judged less. Amazing.

All the best, Jim

Are Your Kids Really Ready For This?

Kids In A Classroom

“Now this is a penis and this is a vagina”–do you think these little people really care?

I was going to stay away from this one–play it safe so to speak but I can’t do that it turns out. Like a moth to a flame I guess.

So I run the risk of upsetting some parents, teachers and some gay folks–sorry about that. It is not or was not my intention nor does this article confirm any particular bias. I have questions and need answers just like you do.

For instance:

1: Do they, the little ones, really care what their genitalia are called? How does this enhance the quality of their lives? They are just trying remember the characters on Sponge Bob and now this? I think that there is a great deal of cognitive growth between grades one and two. Grade two is early enough, in my mind, to begin to share this more detailed information. As for body parts I think they got it down that an arm is an arm and a leg is a leg and an eye is an eye.

2: At five or six years of age does a little girl/little boy have to know what her vagina/his penis is called in order to get the gist of being polite, respectful, tolerant, accepting, sharing and how to play well in the sand box of life. They need to understand why bigotry is not cool nor is laughing at some one else’s physical disabilities. To me it is much more important to learn and practice some simple social skills instead of learning what their intimate body parts are called. The little ones that I am aware of just don’t care about this stuff right now. If we pay attention to our kids and listen to what they are saying they will let us know by their behaviour when it is time for them to hear and learn more about their bodies and how they work. Let’s leave that for a time when our kids can actually develop some thoughts based not just on political correctness but also on family values. Whether we like it or not family values are just that–FAMILY values and not school/educational values. Teachers need to teach and find creative ways to make learning more fun and meaningful.

3. I suppose this one is the one that begins to raise the flags for me. I must admit my first response to this step was ‘seems like there may be an agenda of sorts at play here’. In 4 or 5 of the grade level outlines sexual orientation was mentioned–a common theme of sorts. For me it was more like the elephant in the room. I don’t have a problem with any topics being discussed as long as equal time for discussion and clarification is allotted to all the options and that this topic isn’t introduced into the program until later in the educational process.

When I looked up the words normal and preferred in Webster’s New World Dictionary I read:
Preferred–#3-to put before something or someone else in one’s liking, opinion, etc; like better.
Normal–conforming with or constituting an accepted standard, model, or pattern; esp.,corresponding to the median or average of a large group in type, appearance, achievement, function, development, etc.; natural; usual; standard; regular.

4. Premier Wynne clearly stated her credentials in the House the other day and they are impressive but does a Masters in Education prepare you to know and understand what others, including parents, are thinking, what they want, what they think is important, how they want to bring up their children, what values they want their children to exhibit to the world, what issues are more important than others and to whom? Why? and whether or not parents would like to have those conversations with their kids at a time of their choosing.

We would be better served by preparing our children to compete in the market place and to identify/develop the skills to compete to their maximum. I have no doubts that the system needs to be overhauled. It has become lax, boring and fearful of litigation to be of benefit when considering the financial backing they get from the taxpayers. I feel especially bad for those many teachers whose talent and creativity are stifled by an antiquated system. Clearly many kids who ‘graduate’ aren’t near being ready to decide on a career choice of THEIR OWN CHOOSING. Instead they are ‘directed’ through the system according to someone who thinks they know what’s best for each student. I believe there is a saying that goes something like this: ‘If you judge the intelligence of a fish by how well it climbs a tree then it will fail every time’. By graduation time the system has taught our children that winning is not important but rather how you play the game is most important. The school system needs to stick to teaching skills and identifying strengths and leave the social work to the social workers. How you play the game does not put food on a table and a roof overhead. How successful you are at the game does. The educational system needs to stay out of the morality business. Parents need to be parents.

They are the ones who need the help and not the kids at this point. Things seem to be reversed. We are wanting our children to grow up faster than they are capable of, at least emotionally and mentally, and parents–the adults–are trying to be more ‘youthful’-almost child like. If it is confusing for us as adults imagine what it must be like for our kids who look to their parents and adults in general for guidance and mentorship and wisdom. And while facing this challenge the best we can do is come up with the names for body parts and why it’s OK to be involved in an ‘alternate lifestyle’.

Where it gets really dicey for me is when I look at what is happening with our young men and women and the toll that the lack of role modelling is taking on our society as a whole. Check out the Canadian Childrens Rights Council site, The Changing Role Of The Modern Day Family, The Effects of Father Involvement: A Summary Of The Research, Why Are Dads So Important to name a few resources to learn more about why we need to be supporting the idea and importance of traditional family settings and concerning ourselves with ways of healing these broken relationships.

I agree that parents need to supervise their kids activities on the net and what they are watching. There is a place in the classroom for discussing sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. Having sex is no longer an adult activity. Kids around the age of 10-11 need to understand the consequences of decisions made-no question. We need to help our kids develop more self respect so that taking nude photos of themselves to be passed around on Facebook as a joke or as something to do to impress others is not a good idea and why. What we need to be doing is working WITH parents for a common goal instead of continuing with this adversarial social experiment that seems to be going on right now. We are stronger and smarter together than we are apart.

We can’t do it all at once so we need to pick our priorities. How and on what do we spend our human and financial resources? Schools need to teach and prepare our kids for the day when they have to compete for survival out there. Help our kids become the best they can be at what ever and wherever their skills and interests take them. And parents have to step up and do much more of the education around teaching how to be responsible, considerate, accepting human beings. We cannot allow some virtual stranger in a classroom tell our kids how they should live their lives. Their job should be to teach our children how to utilize their skills and strengths to their utmost advantage.

Anyways, that’s how I see it

Comments are always welcomed–pro or con. Connect with me at: jamescloughley.com OR jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

Were These Parents For Real Or Was I Just Hearing Things?

Having Kids . .. Quote

There are times when I just happen to overhear conversations between folks and I can’t resist wondering what are they talking about? Did I just hear what I thought I heard? I don’t mean to get all judgemental on people but I can’t understand the rationale of some parents when they are talking about their kids and some of the decisions they make regarding the use of alcohol and drugs. On one occasion a father and a mother were discussing a particular holiday function that their 16 year old son was hosting. The question was whether or not they should allow him to drink at the gathering since it was going to be at their home. The rationale was that they would rather have him drinking and celebrating in their own home than be out ‘there’ taking needless risks with the police and/or perhaps being in a car under the influence and running the risk of being in an accident. My inner voice was screaming “are you guys out of your freakin’ minds?

I couldn’t leave it alone and so I began to search around to see what other parents might do and, to my surprise, there were a few that saw it the same way albeit for a multitude of reasons. There were those who wanted to ‘teach’ him how to respect alcohol and not to let it get out of hand. Another person said that it would be fun to party with his son and bring him into the realm of manhood the right way. I remember this same argument a father put forth for having his son visit a prostitute at 18 in order to initiate him properly. Wow!! And then there was the mom, not too long ago, who had ordered a couple of exotic dancers to ‘crash’ her son’s party to provide a bit of ‘light’ entertainment. He was 16 I believe. We may need re-visit the whole argument around needing a licence to drive a car but how easy it is for anyone to create a human life.

So let’s look at the upside of this question. First of all there is ah-ah-gee I just can’t see an upside. My answer is quite simply NO. No it is not OK for anyone who is under age to be drinking at home or anywhere else for that matter. Especially when his/her parents are saying it’s OK.They are the adults-they should know better. What is it they want their kids to learn from this?

Why ‘NO’?

1. The obvious one is that it is illegal regardless of where it happens especially if ‘Junior’s friends’ are also drinking.
2. If anything should happen and someone gets hurt the parents would certainly be eligible for a giant lawsuit and criminal charges.
3. What kind of a message does it send the kids who attend the party? In this case 16 year olds about the reasoning and the respect for the law.
4. This relaxing of the rules of law also points out that it’s OK to defy the law as long as it happens behind closed doors and that it is OK to ignore the laws of the land if Dad says so.
5. It goes to show the parents inconsistency and hypocrisy. It says it is OK to make exceptions to the law if it suits our own needs. Dangerous for a kid to hear this message at any time.
6. How does a kid that old learn to trust his parents when the rules can be bent at any time and its OK.
7. If its OK to use alcohol prematurely then is it OK to gamble or use drugs or employ the services of a sex trade worker or be a bit more than forceful when encountering a young woman who is unsure about what she is doing or about to do? Does ‘No’ really mean ‘No’ in this case? It must be ‘OK’ if its happening behind closed doors. Right?

The part of this that I found hard to comprehend was the reasons parents came up with to allow ‘Junior’ to drink openly in the house. The one thing that most parents made clear was there could be no drug use. I guess they missed the discussion at Parents School about how alcohol is a drug as well. Parents, especially Dad, thought it would be cool to party with his son. He thought that it would be like a male bonding experience. NO it is not! What it is is a misguided attempt to stay close to ‘Junior’ and feel as though he is cool in his kids eyes and the eyes of ‘Junior’s’ friends. ‘Junior’ doesn’t need more friends. What he needs is a father who loves his kid enough to say ‘NO’ you cannot drink at the party. He needs to set some boundaries about what is acceptable and why. If ‘Junior’ threatens to go elsewhere and drink then help him understand the ramifications of that decision and that there are consequences to those decisions as well. Then Dad needs to be consistent should it come time to be so. The trick is not to make the consequences so unrealistic that a major crisis occurs but strong enough for ‘Junior’ to understand what is expected of him. He might be angry for awhile but he will come to understand there are rules for living that he needs to adhere to just like everyone else. The earlier this practice begins the easier it becomes and the more trust is likely built between sons and father/parents. Another reason I heard a great deal was the concern about being old enough to make those decisions for himself. The truth is more likely he is not mature enough to understand the nature of the situation and he likely doesn’t possess the maturity to handle the situation with anything other than self serving thoughts and feelings.

–‘Junior’ needs his parents to be his parents an not to be his friends.
–He needs consistency from his parents so that the same messages are being heard all the time–no exceptions and no ‘extraordinary’ circumstances.
–He needs to see his parents model appropriate behaviour when they are having a few.
–He needs to be encouraged to have some respect for the laws of the land. He doesn’t have to like them but he does have to learn to live with them.

Anyways, that’s how I see it–Jim

Please send me your comments whether you agree or not. I’m always interested in hearing from people who take the time to read my articles, give them some thought and then let me know how they feel about what they read. Pass this on to your friends as well–thanks

Contact me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com OR jamescloughley.com

Reasons For Why Dad Is So Important . . .

Father And Son Shaving

October 16, 2014

“A young man with an absent father faces a considerable and well-documented number of social, academic and emotional difficulties because of a lack of mentoring from his father guide.” A bold and troubling statement to be sure but, also, a very real one.

We read, hear and witness media reports daily concerning the unnerving, senseless and sometimes violent acts young men engage in primarily because they have not been taught much about the meaning of responsibility, duty, respect for property, for themselves, for others or authority. What is considered socially acceptable, now, often borders on what was, at one time, considered to be criminal and accountability is, almost, a thing of the past. Hedonism is fast becoming the new religion. An inflated sense of entitlement concerning most things has replaced the concept of working for your simple pleasures. Much of this, quite frankly, comes from not having been introduced to the ideas and concepts of what it means to live as a man in the world today. This is a message that can only be delivered to a young man from another man (preferably his father) who has been there and done that–he who has experienced the transition from boyhood to manhood.

Questions and confusion reign supreme and need to be answered and explained. Questions like: What does it mean to man-up? Where is my place as a man in society? What does manhood look like today? What can I expect? How am I supposed to treat others? What do I tell MY son when it’s his time? Is this generation of angry young men a consequence of our culture’s blurred gender roles? True. The world has changed and it will continue to change. Change is our only real constant. Indeed the focus and the state/sense of manhood is constantly under scrutiny and criticism but that just underscores the importance of having our sons, our young men, introduced to those messages from the get-go. Like it or not fathers are solely integral to the process of educating their sons in this regard and for fathers to NOT fulfil that role is, in my mind, socially criminal. If you look at the outcomes,the reality that is today, it is not difficult to see that by not having fathers involved in their sons lives and not leading them into a state of manhood there is some validity to my claim.

As parents, we can no longer just sit idly by and hope that things will change. This ‘phase’ will not, somehow, magically end. We must develop some new practical ideas about how to change what is happening. Perhaps getting back to a time when we actually took time out from our busy schedules to spend some regular quality time with our kids is a place to start. Getting involved in activities that are more community oriented; spending time and talking about how their lives are going; actually listening to them without comment or judgement; playing some pond hockey; perhaps a round of golf together–anything that is family oriented. These are things that we have stopped doing and these are the things that we will need to begin doing again if we are to create a different kind of relationship with our kids but we need to do it and do it now. If we want them to become good citizens in the world we have to lead the way and we cannot depend on the current educational system to address any of it.

My latest book, ‘A Man’s Work Is Never Done: A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons’, tells a story of a young man who is going through this vitally important part of his life and is doing so without the help of a male role model. I outline many different situations that mimic true life and, within the dialogue of the story, discuss solutions to what the young man is struggling with. It becomes a good resource for fathers who want to repair or rebuild a relationship that has turned cold and distant. It’s also a great resource for single moms who struggle to understand the day to day challenges that their sons are experiencing as they progress through the transition from boyhood to manhood. The post feminist world is new to many men both young and old. We all need to join together to help and support each other to understand how to live in harmony and equality without having to forfeit our true nature as human beings.

There is hope if we accept the inevitable changes in our culture and re-establish a clear and dedicated father-to-son relationship. As men, we need to take responsibility not just for being a parent to our children but also, specifically, to be mentors to our sons. It’s time for us to become the teachers and the life coaches we were not so long ago. We need to stop abdicating our responsibility for our sons social, mental and spiritual education. We need to begin to embrace what we are naturally driven to do. It must, again, be part of our reason for being here. As fathers we need to accept the opportunity to be a part of shaping another human life as the privilege it truly is.

That’s the way I see it anyways–Jim

If you are interested in purchasing this book please go to jamescloughley.com and then click on the title bar tab ‘Life Choice Books” and follow the cues.

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