Monday, April 30, 2012

Zee end eez upon us

So, we've arrived at the farther end of this April journey. None-the-worse for wear from the looks of you all.

What have we learned, "not to do it again"? No. We have learned we can do this. I have learned that dial up internet is still as frustrating as it was in March. Why do we live in the only house in our county that has no access to anything faster...that doesn't cost $100?

I would like to invite you to hit "followers" and come back again. This is a dad blog and will be aiming to hit a broader daddy market. Please come back and I will see many of you in some of the other closely connected blog challenges that will no doubt be popping up!

God's peace to you!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for Yell with your mouth shut

Don’t say it.  
Just don’t say it.  
You never regret not saying something in anger.  Saying it will only ruin it.  You’re working on something bigger than whatever you’re mad about.  Don’t say it, yell with your mouth shut. As a tiny little Irish rock and roll band said, "Scream without raising your voice". 

For that matter, think of the things we never regret...ever hear anyone say, "I wish I spent more time at the office." or "I wish I had had more to drink"? Hmmm.

Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for X-rays

Falling builds character. 

I used to use that line a lot when I didn’t have kids.  I find I don’t say it too often anymore.  I still believe it, I just have a harder time wanting to see my kids build character that way.  Broken bones are not the end of the world.  That’s why the designed xray machines, to figure out the problem and then fix it.  Let your kids play.  Teach them to be safe.  But broken bones??? Hmmm...

Notice the changes in your local playground over the past ten years. Where are the swings, the teeter-totters, the old climbing apparatus? Now there is a bed of cotton balls surrounded by a safety-net. Has our love of insurance, law-suits and fear itself brought us to this point? Is that why we are content to have our children sitting on the edge of their bed playing X-Box (two more x's!) because carpal tunnel is an okay child affliction but a broken wrist is not? Are we subtracting parental common sense and adding safety bars to take its place?

Who do we blame? Pass the mirror.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Wrap it Up

I used to be a real lecturer. As a teacher, I could go on and on. If a student did something out of line, I could tell them five ways why it was wrong, how to do it better, what to try next time, etc...kind of like this sentence. As a parent its easy to do that too.

I began to realize that after the few sentences my eleven to fourteen year old students were not succumbing to my logic but either tuning out or cowering in self-loathing- neither the truly desired results.

One or two well placed sentences followed by a conversation seemed to work much better.

This is so much more important with younger children too. A pile of words in their rear view mirror does not help them to become the people we desire. They rarely check that mirror anyway. I am endeavouring to keep my words few and the dialogue open. Its hard, especially since I have it all together...subdued laughter here... but worth it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Five

I know, it would be better to use X is for Ten, x being the much trickier letter to come up with something original for, but "X" is already written, and Five is more significant...

We have five children, let me tell you their story.

Our oldest is sixteen. She just began to drive last weekend. She's only been on the road two times and the police have suggested never again...just kidding...She loves life, her bird, reading, playing cello, and most of all, not school! We have had a great few days in a row with her watching her grow up, driving, taking risks, making excellent choices, hanging out, laughing. Its been a great few days. We know that life isn't easy when you are sixteen, but she's shown a lot of resilience over the years and is showing it again right now. She is awesome.
Four of five in Savannah, Georgia...I know, boys in pyjamas

Our next son is seven, going on seventeen, like his big sister. We were only married ten months when he arrived. Having a much older sister, we thought it would be best for her and any subsequent siblings to have our children as soon as possible so they would have a few years together before our number one girl moved out. He is a tremendous guy. My wife wrote about him just last week. He loves to learn and spend time with people. He just wants to be a man.

Our next son is six. When he was born, the doctor said, "No more". We said, "okay". Number three child is an absolute joy. He is so much like his big sister we always tell her, "if you want to know what you looked like when you were little..." and she has to laugh, though she has never apologized yet... He loves sports and games of any kind. He loves to tease, he loves to snuggle, he is learning to read and is a great math student.

Our next little fella is our three year old foster son. He is so precious. Everyone who knows him sums up their experience with, "He is so well behaved." And he is. He is polite (often). Wants to play (always). Loves his mommy and brothers and grandma. Loves food and copying his older foster brothers too. We have loved having him in our home (one year and four days as of this writing) and it looks like we get to continue to enjoy him for the next several months as well.

My dear wife with her boys
Lastly, we have our three and a half month foster son. He is the reason I am awake right now at 3:53 am typing this. "Live from Orillia, its Wednesday morning!" He too is the best behaved child you can imagine he eats, sleeps, stares and laughs. Our youngest son was laughing with me yesterday that there is only three things that makes him fuss, "feed me", "change me", or "burp me". He seems to be a very happy little guy and what a story he will have to tell some day. We just hope and pray that we can help in giving him the foundation he needs.

There are our five, a longer post than I usually write for A to Z Challenge, but thanks for taking the time!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for Under where? Corny dad jokes

Da-a-adddddd… you’ve heard the word and the tone and taken in the accompanying eye-roll.  You’ve wondered at your own sense of humor or lack thereof.  You’ve wondered what happened to your witty repartee that you used to be able to come up with and why its come down to this.  But your kids like it.  They really do…

Or do they?  Some have said that corny dad jokes are designed to make our children want to leave the home, its evolutionary.  I beg to differ.  I believe that corny dad jokes are our way of showing our kids its okay to be silly and have fun and try out the language in fun ways and let down your guard at home.  What other purpose do these jokes serve?

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for The times they are a Changin'

One of the worst lines of arguing I know of is the line that says, "Come on, its 2012."
That line has been said for how many decades, centuries, millenia? Insert your own year here...

I think its a sad attempt to say that because its new, it makes it modern and therefore right or okay. "Don't bother thinking about this, ITS 2012 PEOPLE!"

I thought I would borrow two stanzas from Bob Dylan's ode to the 60's and to human history for today's post. I think they are very telling for us as parents. As much as we want to stay current, understand the times, be "hip" and "groovy" or whatever all the "cool cats" are calling it these days, we really don't understand. 

However, the reality is, people is people, kids is kids. For all the changes, there are so many things the same. Its never too old-fashioned to learn integrity, faith, respect, honesty, love, self-awareness, selflessness,  and all the things that you hold dear. Pass it on, for your sake and for your kids. Dylan knew it was important too, the whole song is forlornly wrapped up in the second stanza here (the last of the song) which reminds us that its the curse of our existence, that it will soon be tomorrow.

It is later than you think!

The Times they are a Changin' 
Bob Dylan
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Speak politely to your mother

Set a good example.  Your kids need to respect their mother and you need to both set the example and have the expectation that this is so.  
Presenting a united front with your kids' mom is very important and one of the best ways to do this is to ensure a respectful attitude is always expected toward her.  Stick up for her, she’s your bride.  You want the same for your kids later in life too.  Show them what it means to be loyal to your spouse, so that they will pass on the favor later.

Might I add that this is true for you if your kids mom doesn't live with you?  Far better to pass on that attitude than a bitter sarcastic one.  

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for Respect

“Show some respect”… ever hear those words uttered?  What was the tone of those words?  Was it one of respect?  Perhaps not.

Do you ever hear someone say, “Show some respect by doing this---"? I haven't. We must give respect to get respect, yes.  But I think its okay to teach it too.  "This is respect, or, this is not."  

One of the best ways you can do this is by adopting the phrase that leads tomorrow's post!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for quiet moments

I have pre-scheduled almost all of my A to Z posts. Tomorrow's is written, Saturday's too. Not Thursday's, no. When we first started getting this challenge fired up back in January or so, I proceeded to write almost all of what I am posting this month. I've edited as the days approached, but, the heavy brain work has been done ahead of time.

Not so for "Q".

Q has been eluding me.

Tonight (the night before the Q day) it came to me though.
Q is for Quiet Moments.

One of our sons is a very emotional lad. He carries himself like an adult and has a great desire to learn. Emotions though can and do get the best of him. We've been working with him to get those to work for him, not against him, but its often more of a do-as-I-say, than a do-as-I-do thing.

Well, tonight we had a little sit down, lets-try-this strategy moment with him, and he snuggled in and entered into the idea with us. Then he and I had a few quiet moments to color together. Those quiet moments reminded me of why we do what we do.
We are in this thing together.
Might as well enjoy it and work at making it better.
We want to do it right.

Any suggestions for quiet moments with boys? Or teeanage girls?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Parenting isn't for cowards

We can’t avoid that parenting hurts.  We can’t avoid that parenting is tiring.  We can’t avoid that parenting is hard work and time-consuming and mentally exhausting.

We can’t avoid these realities, but we signed up for this.
And we are not cowards.
We accept the challenge.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Once is enough

One of the things that Dr Kevin Leman suggests in his book, Have a New Kid by Friday, is to say things to your children once and then leave it. He postulates that they are intelligent humans and can process what you have said. Assuming you made sure you had their attention before you said your piece, leave it at that. Saying it more than once is telling them you didn't really mean it the first time, or that they weren't really sharp enough to understand with only one chance.

The practicality of this is awkward, depending on the age of your child, the request and where you are, but I do think there are lots of opportunities for us to use this every day. I know we've tried it a little at our place, but I think the jury is still out on how well we are doing.

If you would like a FREE copy of  Have a New Kid by Friday, leave me a comment and I will send it to you. I have other Dr Leman books I am giving away for free, so go to this post and see what to do and what is available.

Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for Name Recognition

Lee over at Tossing it Out has been talking about marketing this A to Z Challenge. Back on the 2nd his topic was Branding. Well, today I’m talking about branding too. More specifically, who are you as a family? Can you answer that? Can your kids? Are the answers the same?

We have been challenged lately to come up with a list of family values. This has made us dig deep and realize at the same time see that some of the things one person sees as being of utmost important, though important to someone else, is not the most important to them.

I think its great to be able to say to our kids, “We are Eastons, we don’t do that.” I think as long as its not about ridiculous things, it’s a great way to live. Any thoughts on that?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

M is for Making it through

This is one of those days, where its been too packed to think of a great post, too tiring to put the best words in the best order, too frustrating to smile let alone sing, and too much like other days to make me believe it won't happen again.

 My wife reminded those who read her blog a couple of days ago, that not only is April A to Z Blog Challenge Month, it is also Humor Month. So, in lieu of a spell-binding inspirational post, take this joke as a little help to make it through:

Did you know that dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish?

Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Love is a verb

"Rings as hollow as a high school cheer"

It’s a little cliché to say that love is a verb, but it gives pause whenever I hear the phrase.  I say I love my kids, but do my actions back up my words?  Discuss among yourselves.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Kisses (and hugs)

Kiss your kids.  You’ll soon be kissing them goodbye.  You don’t know what today brings.  Tomorrow they go to college though.

Equally important, give them hugs, even your ten year old boy.
Even your fourteen year old daughter.  

Hold on to them now, cause ready or not, there they go…

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for Just Say No

Do I have to win some kind of superficial dad of the year award by saying “yes” to all my children’s requests? Sure have another snack, go to that party, hang out with those people, read that, watch that, try that...

Far better will be winning dad of the decade by teaching them boundaries and consistent self-restraint by saying “No” at appropriate times.

Why do we always want to say yes? 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Imagination play

            When our middle son was approaching two, he was barely speaking.  He just didn’t.  Because he was already under weight and under tall, he was referred to a paediatrician, then to a speech therapist. 

The therapist did one simple thing for us, though admittedly, he had started to speak more by this time.  She suggested we do more imagination play with him.  Pretend we were eating, pretend we were going to school or gramma’s house.  Pretend we were dogs, pretend we were painters, whatever.  This would cause him to have to search for and then use words to describe what he was doing. Up to this point we had given him stuff to do, apparently he just wanted to play.

This really seemed to open up his linguistic world.  You should hear the things he comes up with now, and he reads like a wonder.  He’s still under tall and under weight, but he no longer is under speaking!  And we couldn’t be more pleased.
All that to say, if you have a one or two year old at home, try imagination play to expose them to opportunities to use their spoken language.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Husband and Wife

Today marks our 8th wedding anniversary. The beginning of year number nine. The end of the best year of our relationship, and the hardest one we've gone through together. Its so great to know that the one holding your hand is also pulling the same direction as you and pulling for you at the same time.

I love you Sabrina.

Happy Anniversary.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

G is for Grace based parenting

My dear wife has also used Grace for her word of the day, and I agree whole-heartedly. It is not just word of the day, but word of the life-time.

As far as grace and parenting is concerned, I first saw this a few months ago while looking for parenting resources online. Dr Timothy Kimmel uses this as the basis of his teaching for parents, which focuses us on the understanding of what Grace is, how it has been offered to us, and then passing it along to our kids. It does not mean letting them away with everything, it means giving them love when they step outside their boundaries.

Too many times I hear, "It was good enough for me, its good enough for my kids," as an excuse for what I would label harsh treatment of their kids. It may be time to stop the cycle of harshness in your family. It can begin with you and me.

From Dr Kimmel's site:
                                      "As we embrace the grace God offers, we begin to give it – creating a sound                                                     foundation for raising morally strong and spiritually motivated children."

Friday, April 06, 2012

F is for Followers and no, not that kind all you blogger types

Look behind you, there they are. 
            They follow hard behind you.  
                                They climb where you go, they step in your footprints, they march in step, they play to your drummer, they speak your language. 

            What are they picking up from you? 
                                                                  Sarcasm, short-sightedness and sloth? 
                                                                                                                            Or, joy, effort and love?

(Thank you for following my blog, I crossed the 100 mark yesterday and if things weren't so hectic, I am sure I should be doing something more than mentioning it here! This A to Z Challenge, beginning with the Video Challenge back in January, has brought me from 28 followers to 100. I hope its worth your time.)

Thursday, April 05, 2012

E is for Everywhere you go, you are a dad

            Integrity could be the word for today, but its starts with “I” (non earth-shattering news of the day).  Dads UnLimited has a few underlying passions, but one of the strongest is that I am Dad now and tomorrow and everyday.  I must live a life today that raises my kids to a greater tomorrow. 

What a tragedy for a dad to make a decision that affects his children forever.  Protect them, put on your shining armor and climb up on the white steed.  Forward for your children!

If you'd like a little help, or would like to pass along a little help, please check out some of the resources that I've been privileged to pass along to you. Free books from Dr Kevin Leman! Just leave a comment that you are interested and I will get in touch with you.

By the way, here's a picture my wife found for me today of one of the many reasons I have to stay true to my higher calling of "Dad-hood", our middle child and number one son with his very blessed father:

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

D is for Dads and the women who love them

            Where would we be without our kids' mom? 

For most of us she is the woman we can’t wait to see at the end of the work day.  The one we dream about, and with.  The one we struggle to love in the manner she and our kids deserve. 

How about today you make it about her?  How about today you surprise her with your devotion, service and love.  Make a meal, bring home flowers, take up her chores, fulfill that old promise, take her out.  She’s your kids’ mom, but she’s the one you love.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

C is for Coolest Dad Ever!

Closely connected to the “A-post”, your kids see you as awesome. 

How do I know?  I was a kid.  I have kids.  I taught kids. I know lots of kids. 

When they are little you have a few (what seems like ) weeks to show them you are cool.  You can do things they never knew about.  Things they can copy, and do and improve upon.  You can play the spoons!?  You can plink out a little bit of a song!?.  You can jump over THAT!??  You can throw it that far!?  You can skip that rock, name that tree, carve that wood!?  

I don’t know what you can do.  I just know that you can do something awesome.  Because of that, you are the coolest dad ever!

Don’t miss the chance to show your child what is out there for them to do, something they can do and be cool like you.

Monday, April 02, 2012

B is for Beliefs and Aunt "Bee"

Here are a few of the common philosophies and beliefs that rock our kids’ world.  Ideas and ideals that make it hard to be the people we hope and pray they will grow to become.
            He who has the gold, rules.
            Fame is more important than talent.
            What’s popular is good.
            What’s good is not popular.
            Gender doesn’t matter.
            God is dead.
            Challenging the party line is intolerant.

B is also for "Aunt Bee"

Its a bitter-sweet day in our extended family today. Four of my nieces are losing their Aunt Bee for a while. At the same time, two nieces, one nephew, one daughter, two sons and two foster-sons are getting their Aunt Bee back. Three of those people have never met her face-to-face before.

My sister has spent about 720 days in the Philippines living with my brother and his family. My sister-in-law blogs here by the way and she's trying the A to Z Challenge too. Today she rides a silver bird for Canada, her home and native land. We can't wait to see you Aunt Bee (or Cant Bee as one little one says :))

What beliefs do you see out there that challenge our kids worldviews?

Sunday, April 01, 2012

A is for Awesome, that's who you are, Dad.

That little guy with your eyes and her nose and your grandma’s knitting talent?  That little lass with her eyes, your nose (poor thing) and her grandad’s woodsplitting ability?  They think you are awesome. 

We won’t tell them that we feel weak and tired and inadequate.  We will live the right way though, to keep them thinking we are awesome, though won’t we?

My posts will be centered on Dads this April, what it means to be a good one, some ideas, some fun stories. I hope you'll keep coming by, even if you're not a dad, or send a dad by, just for fun. Have an Awesome April everyone!