A Small Holiday Sacrifice


Well it is that time of year again, trees are decorated, houses are covered in lights, and children everywhere are struggling to contain their excitement.  Of course I am talking about the holiday season and the eventual visit from everyone’s favorite man in red.  This is probably one of my favorite times of the year and this year will be no different.  Friends that I haven’t seen in a long time will be around, drinks will be had (responsibly of course), there will be plenty of visitors and visiting, and of course there will be gifts!!

 

Over the years one thing that I have noticed and have been guilty of myself is going overboard on the Christmas shopping and over the years I have noticed something.  I have a lot of toys that may have been used for a couple of days (maybe weeks) and then never used again.  Both us parents and Santa give our kids so much stuff that in a lot of cases it isn’t even used, and all the while there are families out there that don’t have the ability to do this.  The saddest part of all is that there are some children out there that may not have anything under the tree.  I have thought about this a lot recently and as I have been preparing to get my shopping done (those who know me know full well I haven’t started yet) an idea came to me.  This year I am not going to buy as many presents as I have done before, both for myself and for my kids, yes the kids are going to get plenty of toys, clothes, etc, but I am not going to go overboard with it.  This year I am just going to buy them the key things that they want and a few odds and ends and that will be it.

 

Am I the worst dad in the world for doing this?  I prefer to think I am not, I like to think that I am giving the kids what they want and no matter what they are going to have the same excitement opening their presents this year and if there are a few less they won’t even notice.  What I am going to do this year is what I encourage everyone to do, go and buy an unwrapped gift or two and donate it.  Toy Mountain is a great cause and they are going to make sure that as many children as possible are going to wake up on Christmas morning and see a gift under the tree for them.  I have heard so much about this cause lately and some friends of mine have been heavily involved with it and I think that my little sacrifice in my own house is well worth it if it can put a smile on another child’s face.  As my children get older and we continue this tradition I think they won’t mind a little sacrifice as well.

 

So this holiday season when you are out in the madness that is your local Toys r Us or Walmart trying to get your shopping done.  Why not take one of those toys that  you are going to bring home only to see it packed away in your basement sometime in January and give it to the fine people at Toy Mountain.  Something tells me the feeling that you will get doing that will feel just as good.

 

Happy Holidays!!

 

All the best

What is the World Coming To?


So like most people today I learned about the story of Amanda Todd.  As I read through the various news reports and watched the video that this girl had put together I couldn’t help but feel such a deep sadness.  That sadness has slowly turned to anger towards the people that put this child in this situation in the first place and then fear for my own children.  Is this what the future has in store for my son or daughter?  Will things ever get better or is the worst yet to come?

 

Over the past few years it seems that bullying and cyber bullying has come to the forefront and is well documented and known to the world.  We hear about these sad stories both in the US and Canada, and we have some great campaigns such as the nomorebullies which started here in Ottawa.  The Ontario Government has passed legislation aimed at fighting this epidemic that has already caused so much damage and taken too many young lives too soon.  The problem with all of this is that the more attention this topic gets the worse the stories seem to become.  What are we supposed to do to make this issue go away?

 

Every one of us growing up probably had to deal with a bully, so many people have the attitude that it is part of life and you just have to suck it up and get through it.  Back when the worst that would happen to you was that you got a few wet willy’s, a charlie horse, or maybe at the worst a black eye or a bloody nose, sure I can buy into that it is part of growing up.  The problem is that this is no longer the case, as society has changed and become more desensitized to violence, sex, and drugs today’s youth have to deal with ten times the amount of trouble that we had to deal with when we were their age.  In the age of social media, the bullying not only happens at the schoolyard it follows our kids home!!

 

I read another story about a boy in the US this week that was about to do an interview with a local news channel about standing up to bullies and while they were preparing for the interview and cameras were rolling a few bullies literally came up and attacked this brave boy right in front of the reporter!!  Most of the assault was caught on tape and yet these bullies had absolutely no fear of the repercussions for their actions.  They didn’t care that there was a news camera rolling!!  I was absolutely blown away by what I saw and read and I wondered to myself “What happened to the days when kids respected authority?  What happened to the days when you would be afraid of what would happen if you did something wrong?”

 

I really don’t want to sound like one of those old school, hard line people but I really feel that something has gone wrong when it comes to discipline with the kids of today.  Kids have no fear, they know that they can’t be touched for doing something wrong, and if they don’t have the moral compass needed to determine right from wrong we end up with the bullies of today.  They don’t care if the teacher sees, they don’t care if the police are called, they don’t care if their parents find out, and as long as they can beat up or harass their victim they are going to do so without remorse.   I see what is happening today though the stories like Amanda Todd and I wonder what it is going to be like for my kids as they get older.  They are in their first few years of school I have never been so afraid of what the future could bring.  Could I end up seeing one of my kids in the hospital?  Could I see one of my kids in tears at night looking at a phony facebook page?  Or worse, could I see one of my children making a similar video?  I can only hope and pray that I give my kids the confidence and strength they will need to deal with the challenges they are inevitably going to face, because unless something dramatic happens soon there will be no avoiding the bullies out there and the tactics are only going to get worse.

 

So what are we as parents supposed to do?  How can we put an end to this epidemic once and for all?  There is plenty of awareness out there now but these things are still happening everywhere!!  I personally think that there has to be a way, there has to be a way to take the schoolyard, parks, and streets back from the bullies.  It is just a matter of finding it, and I hope we find it soon. 

 

I had written a post awhile back about the school system needing to take a stronger and more aggressive stance towards discipline and I certainly stand by the statements I made in that post.  I also feel that parents need to step up to the plate and take a firmer approach when it comes to keeping our kids in line.  In most cases parents have become too soft on our kids (I can say I have been guilty of this from time to time as well), but for the most part I am very strict but fair with my kids.  I really think that the only way to get through to the kids is through the parents, maybe if the parents of the kids that are bullying are identified and embarrassed enough they will take the hint and work getting their kids back onto the straight and narrow.  Maybe if there is a 3 strike and you are out policy at school and the parent has to take time off work to stay home with their kids or find them a new school that will take their kid they will realize there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

 

I know from personal experience with my son that when there has been an issue at school with hitting or anything I am so worried about him getting kicked out of a program I am at the school or camp in a heartbeat trying to work with them to come up with a solution.  My son has had the odd issue with hitting but his mom and I never ignore the problem and work side by side with the schools and camps to find a solution to the issue and use appropriate discipline and have been successful in doing so.  Are we strict with our son and daughter?  Yes, and we are consistent at both of our houses.  If they are in trouble and not allowed to do something at mom’s the same rules apply at dad’s.

 

Overall I have to say that the saddest part about the fact I am writing this post tonight is that I had to hear about a poor young girl, who could have had so much potential in life had to take her life to get me to write this.  This story and others like it are too much to bear and we as a society need to find away to work  together with parents, kids, schools, politicians, police, and everyone that can help to find a way to put a stop to this.  I hope and pray that Amanda’s life and the others before her can at least teach us the valuable lesson that bullying is wrong, no child should have to endure what these kids have had to go through, and no child should ever be put in a situation where they feel there life is worthless.

 

I hope and pray that someday there will be no more children taking their own lives because of the cruelty of someone else.

 

Rest in Peace Amanda Todd, I never knew you but something tells me I will never forget you.

 

 

 

My Favorite Day


I have to admit it has been a busy and fun summer and I haven’t had much time to spare to write.  The summer has been fantastic for both myself and the kids, the hot weather here in Ottawa certainly helped for sure and the cool breeze we had on our trip in Newfoundland was certainly bit of relief from that heat.

Today is Wednesday and to most that is called hump day, the middle of the week, and so on.  To me it is truly my favorite day of the week, reason being is that it is the day I get to pick up the kids from their mom and spend time with them.  Being in a co-parenting relationship certainly has its perks, you have additional freedom when the kids are with the other parent and of course you have that quality time with the kids when it is your turn.  I have my two with me 50% of the time and love every single second of it.  I am the type of dad that doesn’t want to miss a thing and when my kids are with me there is no event that will tear me away from them (hence I don’t get babysitters).  As far as I am concerned this is our time together, the rest of the world can wait.

I was actually having a conversation with a friend of mine about this today.  While we were chatting she mentioned that not all dad’s have the same attitude as me.  I was quite surprised and a little saddened to hear that, she mentioned that there are dad’s that don’t share my attitude about their kids.  My response to her was quite simple “Those dads are the ones that haven’t yet realized how important the time you have with your kids are”.  There are people out there that manage to find other priorities out there instead of their kids and unfortunately for them in the long run you are only hurting yourself.  You see I have a niece back home in Newfoundland, she is the same age as my son and her mother (my sister) passed away after a long battle with cancer when my niece was just little more than three years old.  She was an amazing person and mom to that little girl (and still is wherever her spirit is), she dedicated herself to her daughter and as I see my kids go through things (first day of school, losing a tooth, etc) as happy as I am to see these things as a dad, as a brother I am sad knowing that my sister who loved her daughter more than anything in the world isn’t there to see her daughter have these experiences.  So for me to hear that there are truly parents out there that take these things for granted, whether for careers, stress, or just plain not having an interest in their child or children I really had to take a step back.  How can that even be possible?  Do they not realize that this could all be taken away from them in an instant??

I guess my reason for sharing this today is the hope that maybe some people read it, some share it, and maybe just maybe it will reach a person that needs to hear it.  You need to hold on to every single special moment you have with those you love especially your children because someday it could be taken away.  So to all the fathers out there, I know most who read this blog have the same attitude as mine, and to those who don’t I hope you can change yours before it is too late, go upstairs right now and hug that son or daughter of yours.  Tell them that their dad loves them more than anything in the world and remember to make everyday your favorite day.