How do you spell Priorities?

small-actsWe stand staring at the rainbow of two litre ice cream containers stacked behind the Pak’n Save freezer door. “Can we choose Dad?” Jesse asks with his eyes already drawn to the prize. “Okay boys, you choose” I agree. Jesse wants Chocolate Fudge Sundae, Jett wants Boysenberry Ripple, they know they need to agree. It’s a fierce debate and while they typically work their way into agreement this time it’s a duel of desire, a battle of the dancing taste buds. One puts forward their case to the other hoping to sway the decision but each retorts with an equally compelling argument, neither prepared to concede this time around… there’s nowhere to go, it’s a stalemate. Time for Dad to enter the fray and force a decision… “Okay Jesse heads or tails?” I say reaching into my parental bag of problem resolution, “Heads” Jesse replies, one eye fixed on the Chocolate Fudge Sundae. Meanwhile Jett’s focus is burning a hole in my phone which is displaying a basic coin flip app taking the place of what in the olden days we called ‘cash’. Time to settle this battle of wills… I always enjoy having the boys for extended periods during the holidays and it’s been really cool this week spending quality time with them after having been overseas for a few weeks. The day after returning Linda and I had a meeting with the principle of Jesse’s school and his two teachers in an extended and elevated parent/teacher meeting. Linda and I had expressed concerns as to the learning environment and teacher capability while the teachers had concerns about Jesse’s performance at spelling. To be honest I’m pretty relaxed about academic assessment and am more focused and concerned with providing an environment that facilitates the development of inner passions and talents and effectively nourishes their sense of Self. Having said that I found myself this week slipping intermittently into questioning whether he was where he needed to be academically as I issued forth the odd pop quiz of “hey Jesse how do you spell….” or “hey Jesse we’ve got 5 bread rolls how do we divide those evenly between the three of us…” I didn’t like these thoughts of judgement, my preference is simply for Jesse to give his best and to have the room to unfold his own brilliance. The last thing I want to see is his fire of potential being smothered by parent or teacher in what amounts to the judgement of ‘not being good enough’ for that is the plague which has crippled humanity. I flip the coin…so to speak… It’s heads, Jesse wins…his eye’s light up as if he’s won first division and Jett’s shoulders sink forward as he lets go of boysenberry dreams.

Jesse proudly opens the freezer door but pauses, never looks back just hesitates. He looks at the Chocolate Fudge Sundae but then reaches up to the top shelf taking the Boysenberry Ripple and putting it in the trolley.

“Say what” Jett says confused. Jesse just gives him a cheeky smile and we carry on, my heart exploding with pride. How do you spell Priorities? P.R.I…  ]]>

What are we doing to our children?

I have two amazing little boys to whom I am immensely proud and any perceived behaviour of theirs that from time to time I don’t feel is optimal I see as my deficiency as their parent and teacher, not theirs. Raising children is a pretty tough gig, we don’t really know what we’re doing, the tendency is to do what everyone else is doing, or maybe we do the opposite to our parents because we still resent how they raised us, or maybe we learn a few things from watching ‘The Nanny’, however we raise our children we’re just doing the best we can given what we know. spoilt-childMost of us don’t want spoilt children but at the same time we want our children to have a great life. How do we walk that fine line? What is it to be spoilt? To me it’s not how much you have but the attitude held toward that which you have. Are you grateful for it? Is the attitude still of sharing and charity, or is it of selfishness and greed? Do you feel blessed with abundance or resentful of lack? Can you still enjoy the beauty of life without any of it? What are we teaching our children to value? What do we value? Do these values really serve us at a core level? Are we accidentally perpetuating the cycle that has so enslaved us, the cycle of social consciousness – materialism, greed and competition? I’ve noticed recently that our children really live in a mini mirror of adult society, I personally don’t want my children to grow into the limitations that society convinces them they should live by, nor do I want them to be enslaved by the hamster wheel of social expectation which always has true fulfillment and happiness slightly out of reach, conditional on the next this or that but never quite materialising… _82024630_spoiltbirthdaychildWhen our kids have a bunch of toys, maybe they have an xbox or playstation, bikes, scooters, and they spend their days competing against other kids at school to be branded better-than or less-than, worthy or unworthy, successes or failures…isn’t it just a mirror of what we do as adults? At what point are we fostering in them values that won’t serve them, values of the man-made mind – Me/mine, separateness, greed, attachment, judgement, fear. Are we gradually turning them from their inherent state as creators, rich with imagination and overflowing with natural joy to that which we have become, fierce consumers, entangled by socially induced limitation? I think we are. Jesse who is my oldest boy (6 years) has ever since he could walk been the most generous, selfless, caring and considerate little boy I have ever been in contact with (parental bias noted and disregarded). His character was and I believe fundamentally still is glowing with the virtues of unity, compassion and charity. children-laughinI have however started to notice recently, just now and then very little things, which on the surface may seem insignificant and are so often dismissed by protective parents as ‘it’s just a phase’ or ‘they all go through that’, and unfortunately to the great detriment of our children I believe this is true. Little things like when being offered a bowl of treats where other children are present being over-eager to be the first to grab one. Being more worried about who’s going to get the next piece of pizza and therefore scoffing his down at pace to ensure it is he, rather than simply enjoying and savouring that which he is eating. The protest launched forward if someone else has the last of something for it must mean he has been deprived. In fairness these in balance are far outweighed by the display of amazing virtues for a six year old however they still feel to me like the undertone of socialisation starting to take hold. Without even realising it our children are converted into the social attitude of lack, greed, competition and judgement. Do toys lose their appeal quickly? Great consumers they are becoming. Is their identity as an individual slowly but surely being made conditional on the accumulation of more and more stuff? The mighty trinkets of insignificance! Is great importance placed on whether they have the same or greater as the next child-consumer-to-be? If they don’t then do they consider themselves ‘less-than’? Oh what a web we weave. Eons of genetic predisposition and cultural momentum. How do we stop it when we suffer from the same condition? I’m not sure I know other than attempting to correct myself and then trying to be a magnetic light to them, to try and keep them on a path that will serve to realise their true and beautiful potential. What is it that by way of society we tell our children they must become in order to meet expectations? Be rich, famous, powerful, thin, pretty, have the latest gadgets, the shiniest car, be better than the next person, compete! If they come to us and say they want to become a poet or a musician, maybe a painter or a writer, how do we react? These passions are the expressions of the soul, means to create. We are creators in our essence. We are the very embodiment of creation. There is an expression gaining momentum – ‘follow your bliss’. I want this for my boys. I want their life to burn bright in the fires of passion, I want them to create and contribute, I want them to dream lofty dreams and rejoice in each moment toward their manifestation. This is the sure path to inner discovery. Smack a child and a criminal you could be, but a far greater crime it is to rob our children of the purity from which they came. Yet we know not what we do. Can ignorance really be an excuse? I want it to be different for our kids. HOPE3The world craves passionate beings, let our children send ripples of joy through the world as they carve up new frontiers and show us what it is to really live. Gold will follow the pure expressions of the soul there is no doubt, but even if it was not so, none should be concerned as the fabric of joy is not woven from gold and passionate joyful expression will be eternally with it’s creator. I am immensely grateful to have an amazing woman as the mother of my children and we very much share the same vision for how we wish to raise our children. We want to allow their full potential to gracefully bloom upon this earth, for them to enjoy their natural state of being and from it to shine forth a joyous celebration of the finest of gifts, that of life itself. May it be so.]]>

Nuclear Farts

Farts_bbd083_4721385” Daddy why does it stink?” Jesse asked. I had been reading my two boys a story on the bed and let a cheeky one go mid story. This had been becoming increasingly potent so what had been a jovial past time between father and sons had now gone a step further, I was for the first time reluctant to claim responsibility and bask in the glory of said stenchfest. I jokingly replied to Jesse “maybe it was Jett”. Jett looked at me and smiled backing it up with a little chuckle… I took it as a signal he was willing to take the fall for the old man, claim responsibility for what was all out chemical warfare. I felt bad that Jett had jumped on the grenade, I felt like maybe I had pushed him towards it. I picked Jett up and we left Jesse’s room still chuckling but both glad to be vacating the room for fresher air streams. I put Jett into his bed and kissed him good night telling him how much I loved him. Maybe our bond had been strengthened that night, strengthened in a way that only taking responsibility for someone else’s fart can do. I walked back down the stairs and into Jesse’s room, damn it was like being slapped around the face by a giant poo. The short amount of time taken to put Jett to bed had only served to realign my senses back to normality just in time for the second assault on re-entry. I sat next to Jesse, he didn’t look very happy. “Jesse, it wasn’t Jett who did that fart, it was Daddy” I said. It felt good to come clean. “Are you OK?” I asked as Jesse still seemed upset. “I don’t want to sleep in the stinky bed Daddy” Jesse said bordering on tears. Farts had once been a point of hilarity between us but it seemed things were getting out of control. “Oh Jesse, it’s OK” I said comforting him. “It’ll be gone in a few minutes. Don’t forget you’ve done lots of farts on Daddy’s bed.” I changed the subject and managed to divert attention long enough to complete the night time routine and slowly exit the room clouded in guilt and the reminisce of the crime. I was reminded of only a day earlier when I had been in the bathroom and confident of my own seclusion bombed a mighty fart that rattled the glass. Turtle (my cat) came strolling into the bathroom blissfully unaware, I saw him freeze and his little tail dropped to the ground. He looked up at me as if to say ” Fuck bro.” And then turned immediately around and walked out. I had disgusted an animal that licks his own arse. Children and pets had once been great allies to the proud farter, always a willing audience. Pet’s unfazed and children captivated. It seemed now both were lost. I felt it was time to seek help. I was sure Google could save me, save us. “Holy shit I can’t handle the smell of my farts anymore. Any suggestions for death farts?I’ve been taking protein for about 7 months now and at first the farts weren’t that bad. Now I can barely stay in the same room after I fart. I fart and the room smells like stale ass for the next 30 minutes. For the time being my wife thinks the dogs have been having the farts but I don’t know how much longer I can keep the charade going.”  …it seemed I wasn’t alone, maybe there was a support group… I continued the search…  I’ve noticed the same thing, I can make flies gag. I find it gives me privacy at work. Also it gets my children back for all the stench they’ve unleashed on me. Plus, I have a coworker with notoriously bad breath. I consider it my counter offensive.” It seemed a real problem was out there and one that was rarely discussed. I searched again determined to find answers. …and then almost as soon as my search had begun it was over, I had found the answer I was seeking, thank you google. “This is natural. It’s weakness leaving the body. Bask in the glory.” Amen. ]]>

Lessons of a Playground

3478123517_39da217544_zI love taking my kids to the playground. At the playground the rest of the world is irrelevant. The playground is a vortex of positive human behaviour, a place where evil cannot reside. Joy is the currency of time. Adults become citizens of impeccable moral character, all desiring to teach their next generation solid characteristics of fairness, generosity, courtesy, caring and respect. “No Jonny, let this little boy go first”, “Go to the back of the line Paul, you must wait your turn”, “Be careful of the little girl Jesse”, “Let her play with the ball if you’re not using it” – Adults seem to bond easier in this environment of common interest, we all have our best on display, I’m sure we feel better about ourselves and what we are contributing to the world. We effortlessly embrace a little small-talk while soaking in the righteousness.We can find ourselves pushing the merry-go-round not only for our own kids but for whoever decides to jump on just because it’s a nice thing to do and there is a sense that being the cause of a child’s laughter somehow replenishes your soul, counteracting what the outside world can on occasion siphon. Kids interact with each other in a way we seem incapable of – immune to the stereotypes and racial prejudices’ that infect the outside world. Adults have a pass to act silly again, no-one to impress in the playground but their children. Dad chases the soccer ball and rolls one foot over the top while flicking his other foot behind him kicking the ball in a way he hopes shows off the skills he still has as opposed to the ones he used to have. Mum butters the bread and prepares the picnic as she watches on satisfied that life is as it should be. She’s a little over protective but only because she fears anything interfering with the perfection that is her children. Dad climbs the spider wall with his 3 year old son just because he can. Mum runs alongside her little girl on the flying fox catching hands at the ready. She’s exhausted by the tyres, she didn’t anticipate it going that fast. Dad wants a go but knows he’ll either break it or be dragged along the dirt. A sense of peace is in the air. We forget about the bills we’re not sure how to pay, we forget about the hardships in life. In this time, in these moments, we understand what it is to be grateful, to contribute, to let go of conformity, to embrace the purity of love and the appreciation of it. This is how life was meant to be. This is our playground.]]>

We Remember

At 18 years old my biggest concern was which cheap vodka to buy and what party to go to. Many of you were doing battle on the shores, watching your brothers die at your side. Whilst we will never comprehend that level of burden and sacrifice and any tribute we pay you will forever be dwarfed by your contribution to our lives, we will honour you in the only true way we can, remembrance. They went with songs to the battle, they were young. Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow. They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted, They fell with their faces to the foe. They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them. Lest we forget]]>