Friday, October 22, 2010
I, like most people have been horrified at the suicides of youth in North America as a result of bullying. I have some pretty strong feelings about that and was going to write a blog/rant on that subject. However I have found that there are many other much more eloquent people who have recently spoken out against it and thought that perhaps it would be best to share their words. I have included 3 clips in this blog, if 3 is too much, then just pick one. The more people who speak out against bullying, the faster things will change.
Lets make this world a safe place for everyone.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
This past Sunday was a gorgeous day, a busy day, but a gorgeous one none the less. I was able to take a few mins. off from my hustle and bustle just to hang out at my favourite park for an hour. I took a walk and then sat on a bench enjoying the day. I spent my time there soaking in some rays, watching the "park wild life", and occasionally noticing the passerbyers. It's funny the people that I notice though, usually the out of the ordinary types. There were the normal people riding by on their bikes or roller blades, I never really paid attention to them. A few families with stressed out Mom's and disinterested Dad's. I never really looked at them either... a lone Mom with three kids, all under 6 I think(2 walking and one in the stroller), they walked by without much of a glance from me.. then I spotted an older couple.. in their 60's maybe, walking a small dog. They were holding hands. Them I noticed, I casually watched them as they walked by, feeling something that I later identified as Envy? Jealousy? It seems that I miss the whole "holding hands" thing.
Just then, someone was walking down the lane that I watched... He was bald, bearded.. looked in his mid thirties. he looked like a biker. Tough, rough... If he would have asked for my wallet, he would not have had to asked twice. Running at his feet were 3 children.. Playing and laughing.. They were looking for ducks to feed. When this guy smiled at those kids, his face just lit up, the kind of smile that starts on your lips but ends in your eyes... The kids were shouting "Daddy, where are the ducks" and he pointed out the way. I may have been mildly afraid of their dad, but they obviously weren't. They walked by and I was thinking how amazing it is, to have someone who looked so rough and yet was such a softie with his kids. I sat smiling at the thought, and then I remembered the lone mother, with her 3 kids. All on a Sunday afternoon walk in the park. I again sat amazed at how I didn't give that family a second glance, she was just doing what good parents do, she fit the stereotype. Her kids were just as glad to be there, and she seemed like a really good parent. I mean getting 3 small kids ready for anything is no small task, and yet she chose to do that instead of getting some well deserved rest for herself on a Sunday.
The truth is that, there is usually no huge reward for just doing the right thing. You don't get a key to the city for cooking your kids dinner, no hero biscuit for taking them to soccer practice, no pat on the back and thank you for making them brush their teeth before they go to bed. It almost seems unfair when the biker dude almost rates a father of the year award, for just taking his kids to the park and being nice while they're out.
I think though that our reward for doing the mundane things that we need to do, that really are important things, like getting 3 small kids dressed and taking them to the park, is not in the thank you... It's in the silence. It's having kids that take for granted that when they come home from school, there is a snack waiting for them, or that when they are sick Mom or Dad will take care of them, and when they make a poor choice, they may be punished but they are still loved best of all.
Yes, in these things it is not the thanks but in the silence where we receive our reward. When our children take these and other acts of parenting for granted, we know that no matter how unsure we are of ourselves, there is one thing, one very important thing, that we are doing right.
Or maybe that's just me.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
I was driving yesterday and saw what I thought was a man about to fly a kite. I don't know why that made me smile, but it just did. A closer look showed me that he wasn't in fact getting ready to fly a kite, but was instead preparing some roadside sign to flag passing motorist to his place of business. Too bad, I thought the whole kite thing would have been cool.
Truth is, I haven't seen anyone fly a kite in years. My home backs onto a huge football field. Perfect for kite flying, baseball games and laying on your back to stare at clouds. All that seems to have gone the way of The Unicorn, and the Dodo Bird. In this world of Facebook, X-Box and Gameboys, who needs kites.
Now I am not ancient.. sure I am when compared to a blade of grass, but if I were a mountain, I would not even have begun in years... and for a man.. I am just right :-P(That is actually a quote from a movie for any buffs that recognized it hehe). I have been thinking since then of other things that have gone by the wayside.
Like Comics and baseball cards... Sure you can still buy them, but it's mostly for collectors now. Remember marbles, and spinning tops? When my boys were younger, I would be a freakin' Hero if I brought home Crazy Bones, or Pogs... or(yes I'll say it) Pokemon cards.
Today, I'm not sure what I would pick up on my way home from work to make the little guys grin.
I'm not anti technology at all, My home has a computer for every person, but there has to be a place in the world for the classics as well. WII fit is all good if it helps you, but it shouldn't take the place of a long walk on a beautiful day.
I guess when I ponder these things, it's only fitting to see what my place is in the puzzle. I am kind of middle of the road... I'm a tech nut true, I love my Tv, and my computer... Any day of the week you might find me gaming, but it's just as likely that you will find me curled up with a book. I watch all sorts of movies where things go Kabluey... but sometimes I just need to feed the ducks.
Some things just change, it's inevitable. Fortunately some things don't. While I am sitting here writing, with my windows open, blowing the smell of a fresh rain shower through my living room, I can hear the scream of some young and very happy children. They are out side with their rubber boots on splashing in the puddles. They don't care about what's on Tv, or who's playing Playstation, all they care about is getting wetter than the other kids. It's like a pocket of joyful sanity in a world that seems intent on moving on. In a few years, those kids will be updating their status's on their IPhones, but for today, they are just kids splashing in the puddles. As I listen to them play with a huge smile on my face that I wasn't wearing 5 mins. ago, I think I understand a little clearer why it is said that we must be as little children to enter the kingdom of heaven. I look at my day ahead of me... dishes, homework, class and later work, and I'm thinking that all that can wait. I'm going to to put life on hold, for just a little while, and take a walk in the rain.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Life seems to be made up of little moments that define us. I have read that in cases of divorce, the proverbial "last straw" is usually one moment, one act that to observers looking in may seem even trivial, but it turns out to be the deal breaker. I have spoken with people who have shared with me the moment they knew it was over.. and yes it did seem pretty small to me, but huge to them. Conversely , I think it works the other way too. We meet and date all sorts of people before we narrow in on the person we want to settle down with... What made them so special? I'm sure most of the others were nice.. Perhaps it was a single act.. One moment where we just knew.
The harsh reality is that sometimes in life, it doesn't matter what we do, be it good or bad... We can be defined by one act, in one moment.. everything else just fades into the background. Don't believe me? Lets see then, lets think Mel Gibson. Great actor, awesome director, a life time of achievements, but he is defined and remembered for one moment.. when he was pulled over for impaired driving and he went off on a racial rant that was just horrible. None of those other achievements really mean a whole lot after that. When Mel's name comes up.. we think "drunken racist".
I have been thinking about that lately for some reason. What are my moments like? How will I be remembered? I try to have as many good moments as I can, I try and be a good friend, a good Dad.
When my journey is done, I would like someone to say "Yeah, he laughed hard, and it was infectious. I would like my kids to say " he always kept his cool, and we could go to him with anything". I would like someone to say "He loved with his whole heart", or "He was a great friend, who always went above and beyond to make people happy". How about "He was a great Christian, he accepted and respected everyone's beliefs", and while I'm dreaming.. I want at least one person to say "Oh yeah, and he had a Butt, that I couldn't keep my eyes off of(LOL, I may have to pay someone for that one ahead of time).
I try and be mindful of those things in my day to day life, because there is no way to tell which moments will be forgotten and which will be remembered, and hopefully if I have enough good moments in the second half of my life, Perhaps, just maybe, I may be remembered for those and forgiven for the many, many bad moments in the first half.
Time will tell
I was in a book store recently and saw a book called "14 000 things to be happy about". Being the curious soul that I am, I picked it up, and to my surprise, it was literally just that. A list of 14 000 things, no story, plot or anything. I LOVED the idea, so I thought I would do a mini version of it.. simply do 100 things, truth be told, it was incredibly easy. I fired them off in 15 mins while I was on a break at work. There is actually 103 of them, because when I was done , there was just more that I was thinking of. I did limit myself though, just to make it an easier read. So without further adieu here is Your Average Joe's mini list of things that we can be happy about:
1)Sunflowers, 2) Pizza, 3) Birds, 4) Wildlife, 5) Puppies, 6) The morning paper, 7) A good book, 8) The Good Book, 9) Good friends 10) E-Mail, 11) Sunshine, 12) Rainy days, 13) Computer games, 14) Cell phones, 15) Movies, 16) Chocolate, 17) Toothpaste, 18) Family, 19) Loves first kiss, 20) Every other kind of kiss, 21) Pepsi, 22) Unexpected flowers, 23) Kites, 24) Balloons, 25) Fluffy clouds, 26) Long drives, 27) The beach, 28)Picnics, 29) Music, 30) Air conditioning, 31) Long weekends, 32) Fishing, 33) A new haircut, 34) A new Old Spice commercial, 35) Parrots that talk, 36) fitting into your old jeans, 37) Carrot cake, 38) Happy people, 39) Advil, 40) Aquariums,41)Babies, 42) Comfy new shoes, 43) Funny jokes, 44) Umbrellas, 45) Toboggans, 46) Debit cards, 47) Hot air balloons, 48) A thank you card, 49) Morning doves, 50) Soup, 51) Birthdays, 52) Sprinklers, 53) Your children(or someone elses if you don't have any :-), 54) Cordless phones, 55) Dishwashers, 56) Facebook, 57) Ducks, 58) Trees, 59) Autumn leaves, 60) No cavities, 61) Swimming, 62) Kittens, 63) Bubble baths, 64) A scalp massage, 65) Volunteering, 66) Girl Guide cookies, 67) A Friday evening with a friend, 68) An "I Love You", 69) Your morning drink of choice, 70) Springs first robin, 71) Halloween, 72) Ice cold water, 73) Your drivers licence, 74) Pyjamas, 75) The theme from "Friends", 76) The weekend, 77) Singing in the shower, 78) Bedtime stories, 79) Going to a baseball game, 80) Cheering someone up, 81) Your first crush, 82) The sound of waves, 83)The sunset, 84) Campfires, 85) Hearing the words "You're cancer free", 86) A large tip, 87) Smores, 88) A random smile, 89) The perfect parking spot, 90) Anniversaries, 91) loosing 5 lbs, 92) Apple picking, 93) Chipmunks, 94) Getting an "A", 95) Finding lost friends, 96) 50% off, 97) Anonymously dropping off cookies, 98) Tulips, 99) being someones Valentine, 100) dancing when no one is watching, 101) Parents who love their children, 102) Finding money in your coat pocket, 103) Being grateful.
There you have it, my short list.. It made me smile while doing it, and I think the first step in being grateful is thinking off all those things that make our day to day that much better.
Perhaps if you read this you might consider leaving a comment with 10 more things to be happy about..