Archive for the Parenting Category

Confused About American Politics

Posted in Parenting, Personal Thoughts, Politics, The World with tags , , , , on May 18, 2017 by Neal

I’m not looking to start a flame war or fight but I’m confused by American politics at the moment. Now I know a lot of people weren’t expecting Donald Trump to win the presidential election, so it was a bit of a surprise to many I’m sure. He had some very controversial policies and views during the campaign which caused serious concerns amonst not only Americans but the world at large. A lot of hype comes from the media and assorted action groups on social media so you need to be cautious of what you read. After all “fake news” or “alternative facts” seem rampant these days. 

What has me stumped is the complete lack of respect for President Trump. Sure a President or Prime Minister cops a certain amount of flak and disrespect from various people and groups during their time in office. Comes with the job. Yet things started before Trump’s inauguration. Sure some will say that President Trump has not earned the respect of the people because of his actions but are they basing that on the man or the position? From what I’ve seen the position of President of the United States carries a certain amount of automatic respect with it. You may not agree with governement policies or actions but you pushed that aside for a moment when it came to the president. The best example I’ve seen of a backlash for presidential-disrespect, was when the Dixie Chicks made this comment during a concert in 2003

“Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas” 

The backlash they got for that was extreme. They had boycotts, sponsorship losses and a long list of threats against them as well. Bit excessive for expressing an opinion. Perhaps views on freedom of expression and speech have changed over the last 15 years?  I know social media makes it easier to get your word out into the world. 

As I said I’m a little confused by all this but perhaps it’s just my views that make it confusing for me. President Trump has a style and approach that none have ever seen in a president so perhaps that is changing the political and social landscape of the world. Just some ponderings for consideration. 


What A Messed Up World – part 1

Posted in Parenting, Personal Thoughts, Politics, Religion, The World with tags , , , , , on April 17, 2017 by Neal

Who hasn’t heard of sponsoring a child? You’ve probably walked past sprukers in shopping centres or seen donation tins at the counters of stores. There are a wide range of NGO’s that help children in less developed countries with food, clothing and schooling. All stuff we take for granted. These organisations help improve the lives of children, their families and their communities with stuff we take for granted. After all everyone in the world should be able to buy fast food and throw away most of it because it isn’t what you really wanted to eat, able to leave the tap running into the drain while arguing over which celebrity wore a particular dress better, complain that there isn’t a single thing to wear despite having several wardrobes full to the brim and not to forget that school is so dull and why do I need a job when I can get a government hand out? 

The sad part is some people actually behave and think like this. We are supposed to be the more developed countries yet we act like children most of the time because we have access to everything and more than we need. The real catalyst for my ramblings is a radio add I heard this morning for child sponsoring. It wasn’t for Somalia, India, Rhowanda or any of the normal countries in dire need of assistance. No it was for a country that I had never figured would need child sponsorship, Australia. 

This got me thinking which is always a bad idea. In particular I was stunned that poverty levels in my own backyard were so bad. I’m not deaf or dumb to the way things really are. The media goes on about statistics and figures which seem to just smoke screen a lot of the real issues. Governments can spend millions on a royal enquiry for this or that but can’t support community shelters. Hundred of thousands can be spent on exclusive state dinners but funding the school breakfast programs is too much of a burden for tax payers. There are thousands of children that are being miss treated by their peers simply because money is now the biggest factor in their lives. Australian Prime Minister, Bob Hawke was derided for his pledge that “no child will live in poverty by 1990”. Yet after 30 years, assorted governments and global situations there is an increasing number of children every day being affected by poverty, something they have no control over and should never have to worry about in the first place.

I know that there are a wide range of problems, causes and solutions but when did the lucky country become so desensitised to the common person (would use common man but that starts a whole arguement of sexism) and their plight? When did the have nots outnumber the have lots by a billion to one? The sad part is that there is no easy solution to this problem. To tackle things on such a large scale would require a lot of time, planning, money and compassion for others. 

That being said I am guilty of allowing our finances influence my children. The stress of juggling bills and income tends to bleed out from my control and affects my kids. I remember telling myself when I was younger that I wouldn’t allow money matters to trouble me or my family like it troubled my parents. Don’t get me wrong we never lacked anything but the stress of running a small business and family at the same time took more of a toll on my parents than I ever could know. 

What I want to stress is that children should not be troubled by the burdens of poverty in a country with as many opportunities as Australia. They should be allowed to be children and not grow up to think like an adult before they’re old enough. The same for developing countries, children should be happy and not wondering if they will eat at all today. If you can help someone please do so. It doesn’t have to be financial, sometimes a random act of kindness can help remove the cloud of doubt that hovers over us for a while. If you have loose change then give to charities or if possible sponsor a child. 

Remember: you can’t move a mountain intact, but you can chip away at it one rock at a time. Change the lives of others with one deed at a time.

I Can Wait Till Tomorrow

Posted in Cosplay, Family, Parenting, Personal Thoughts, The World on March 13, 2017 by Neal

My youngest boy is a strange little man at times. He’s got the gift of the gab, can sweet talk like the best and is a world class negotiator. I’m sure some people think I make these stories up but even I would have a hard time thinking up some of his responses to things. The amazing thing I find about him is the limitless imagination he seems to have at times and an ability to come up with some very interesting things when he plays.

A classic example is when I work on costume parts for some of my ideas. When he was 2ish I was experimenting with foam Halo armour when he grabbed some of the parts to use as a Shell-Phone from the Nickelodeon’s version of Ninja Turtles. After some negotiation I got my parts back after making a quick throw together for him.

This then lead to him wanting to be a Ninja Turtle so I put things that I was working on on hold to experiment with some ideas. The end result was an unusual turtle shell, made from sign board and foam, and some foam weapons.

Since I experiment with my building at the moment he tends to end up with some of the parts that are too small for me or the other kids. For example the Demagol helmet that was too small for me fits him perfectly so I can use that as a test and give it to him when finished. The funniest part though is his 4yr old concept of time. He asks me to make all sorts of things and my usual response is “I’ve got a lot of things I’m working on. I’ll try to make it when I can.” I know sounds like I’m making excuses not to do things for him, the trick is I’d be making stuff for him all the time and not have time for my own things. His usual response is along the lines of “that would be great” or “when you finish yours”. 

His latest response has been the best so far. He comes out and asks me to make him a Stay Puft costume as he likes the char from Ghostbusters. I gave a usual response that I would when I have some free time and it may take a while to make and design as it’s a little complicated (I like to give my best to costumes for him to show I value him). He simply nodded and while walking back to his room shouted “That’s ok. I can wait till tomorrow to wear it”. 

Catch 22 for FathersĀ 

Posted in Family, Parenting, Personal Thoughts, The World on February 21, 2017 by Neal

a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.

I’ve been reading lots of articles lately in which fathers are being criticised for their actions. Mostly it’s the stuff that ALL fathers are usually blamed for. Not paying attention to their spouse, not taking on a share of baby or child care duties, not helping around the house with chores, the list gets rather long after a while. This irks me a lot as I know not all fathers are like this. That generalisation we seem to give things paints us all with the same colour. 

I’m amongst the group of fathers  who actually participate in helping with children. Always taken the kids shopping with me, changed nappies and bathed the kids from day one. Never had a moment when I didn’t get involved even with my depression acting up without my understanding. The idea of not being there to help out has never crossed my mind. So I do find it irritating to be classified as a useless father simply because someone views us all that way. It makes as much sense as saying all men are useless in the home. 

Over the last couple of weeks there has been a big debate on social media about men in parent rooms. It came about after an article hit the news about a father being verbally abused for feeding his daughter in the parents change room. An example of the article is here. Now as a father this got my blood boiling. When did being a father caring for your child become something considered unsavoury? I’ve even had to find alternate places to change nappies on a few occasions because the baby change tables were located in the women’s rest rooms as there was no parent’s room. 

Now I’m not going on a parent equality rant here but I think I have narrowed down why there is such a disparaging view of male parents. On some of the feeds that had variations of this article one them also had articles about children being molested by men. It’s this small percentage of (insert long list of obscenities) that get the most attention in social media. This then begins the sweeping generalisation of all men being dirt. As always the bad news travels faster and wider than good news.

In the past a father’s roles was very limited when it came to children, that has slowly changed over the years. In some families the roles are reversed and fathers take on the mothering role. If you see a father doing his part for his family give him a smile, thumbs up, nod or all of the above to show that you recognize what they’re doing.