I heard the song “Teach Your Children Well” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young for the first time in ages the other day. The lyrics resonated with me as the parent of three now adult sons, and five grandchildren…
You, who are on the road Must have a code that you can live by And so, become yourself Because the past is just a goodbye.
Teach your children well Their father’s hell did slowly go by And feed them on your dreams The one they pick’s the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them, “Why?” If they told you, you would cry So just look at them and sigh And know they love you.
And you of tender years Can’t know the fears That your elders grew by And so, please help Them with your youth They seek the truth Before they can die
The second verse is for the children, to help them better understand the parenting skills (or lack there of) of the previous generation.
Teach Your Children Well was released way back in 1970, but the words still apply today, at least I think they do. What do you think?
This is the video, the words sound much better to music…
The tune and lyrics are so catchy and relevant to family life that they are currently being used in a commercial for Sobeys grocery stores.
Today I celebrate my greatest achievement. I’m sure it is apparent how much I adore my three sons. They are all kind, caring and loving, not to mention handsome, intelligent, successful, and definitely more humble than their mother.
I am especially proud of the fathers my two eldest have become with the help of the wonderful mothers of their children.
Raising Boys to Men
When my boys were growing up, people always commented on how difficult it must be to raise three boys. I wondered about that comment as I never had any daughters to compare the boys to and I always thought it was an unfair exaggeration.
These days one would call the comments sexist and all kinds of other descriptive words popular in our vocabulary today.
I have to admit, I loved every minute of it. Ok, maybe not every single minute, but 99.9% of them.
Disputing the Theory
As a mother of three boys and a grandmother to three grandsons, I dispute the opinion that boys are more difficult to raise. They may be busier physically, with different interests, but not harder or more stressful.
My father, who raised three boys and three girls, always said the girls were harder. His theory was based on the fact that he worried more about the girls until they were married. Perhaps another sexist comment, but the norm and and non-offensive back then.
Boys will be Boys
There is something to be said for the saying “boys will be boys.” My experience is that (most) little boys are fascinated with things like bugs, dirt and mud, cars and trucks, dinosaurs and more. I don’t believe these interests are taught and learned, but more instinctive or innate. Encouraged (as they should be) perhaps, but not taught.
And, one of the words my youngest grandson, at just one year old, can say is vroom, vroom. OK, that’s two words, but I’m sure you get the gist.
Tomboys Raising Boys
Perhaps I find boys easy to handle because I was a tomboygrowing up, much to the chagrin of my mother. I preferred playing hockey, football, and other sports with the boys instead of playing dolls with the girls. I don’t recall though, being particularly enamoured with bugs.
You could say I had lots of practice hanging out with the boys, that could be why I have so much patience with my grandsons’ antics and interests.
In closing, bearing and raising happy and healthy children is something to celebrate. Even though mine are now adults, I still consider them to be my greatest achievements in life, bar none!
Happy Mother’s Day to the rest of you celebrating your own achievements!
Sleep deprivation can be caused by hormone imbalance, sleep apnea, snoring, room temperature, stress/anxiety, and sleeping conditions. It is a known fact that sleep deprivation is the most common cause of many health issues affecting adults, children, and those in between.
I used to have an argument with my teenaged son many school nights, about taking his cell phone to bed with him. His argument was that the phone actually helps him to fall asleep. I, on the other hand, believe electronic devices of any kind keep the brain stimulated, delaying, and preventing restful sleep. Sleep deprivation is caused by many things, but stimulation by electronic devices is way up at the top of the list for many children, teens, and adults. Currently, this argument is aimed at my grandchildren when parents allow them to use electronics at or just before bedtime.
If you are not getting an average of eight hours (more for children and teens) of restorative sleep a day, your long term good health may be at risk. In fact, it is now being suggested that sleep deprivation can be worse for you than lack of exercise….
If you research the causes of many illnesses or conditions including ADD/ADHD, (both childhood and adult forms) anxiety, depression and other psychiatric illnesses, heart problems, type II diabetes, obesity, brain fog, difficulty focusing and/or concentrating, poor/slow reaction time, memory loss, lethargy, irritability, headaches and loss of energy, just to name a few, you will find sleep deprivation at or near the top of the list.
Every part of our bodies needs sleep to function properly. Our cells rejuvenate and grow, our energy levels are boosted, our brains refuel with energy and reboot our memories, our aching joints and muscles repair and strengthen, and our organs release essential hormones, all when we are asleep.
This research has tired me out, I think I will take a nap to rejuvenate!
My eldest son just turned 30, although sometimes it seems like he was just born yesterday. His safe arrival was the best Christmas present ever, especially after the struggle we had the few years prior to his birth. A few months ago I started thinking of something I could do to commemorate this special birthday. I much prefer unique DIY projects rather than store bought gifts. Over the years I have collected childhood memories in the form of ribbons, pictures, schoolwork, even teeth and hair from all three sons. I planned to use this huge bucket of memorabilia to make a scrapbook for each son, eventually. As I was wracking my brain for something to do or make, I remembered the bucket, stored with all of our other “stuff” in the basement, and the birthday scrapbook project took off.
I started with a catchy cover, but I guess you had to be there to understand just how significant it is. When our boys were young, we always sang “happy birthday, birthday boy” to them on their special days. I think they found it more annoying than funny, but I think it makes a perfect title for the scrapbook…
First I had to wade through all the items in the stored bucket.. I swear I have saved every report card, birthday card, award and more. Years ago, when scrapbooking was the rage, I was ambitious enough to divide the memorabilia into three separate buckets, one for each son, but that was as far as I got. I even purchased one large 18×18 inch scrapbook around the same time with good intentions. It was still in its packaging, just waiting for me to put it to use. A friend supplied lots of stamps, stickers, fancy scissors and other scrapbooking paraphernalia she had collected over the years.
My first page was dedicated to my son’s first few days of life. I had a copy of his family tree (from his baby book) hospital bracelets, pictures of him with his grandparents, newspaper birth announcements and even a newspaper clipping of what was going on in the world in 1989…
Pictures and mementos from his early years were next, including a few baby teeth and a sample of his first haircut…
…followed by pictures of him with most of his family members. Mom & Dad, brothers, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.
Next came Christmas memories, mostly pictures, with two personalized letters from Santa, courtesy of a friend’s father who spent hours writing back to children every year. I had also saved a few decorations used at a New Year’s Eve street party celebrating the turn of the century…
Another page was dedicated to birthdays. Lots of party pictures, with a special “pocket” created to hold birthday cards, especially the hand made ones from friends and his younger brothers…
Hanging With my Friends was the next page, displaying pictures of accumulated friends from pre-kindergarten to university. The picture in the top left corner appears fuzzy due to the steam off the hot tub my sons and the neighbourhood kids used to love to hang out in…
My son played many sports growing up and is a huge sports fan as well. The next page contains many ticket stubs, Brier autographs, pictures of sporting events and stadiums visited, as well as two curling idols, Brad Gushue and Wayne Middaugh…
The next two pages are full of vacation memories: Texas, San Francisco, Florida, New Orleans, Dominican Republic, Cuba, NYC, and our family cottage here in Ontario, with the second page reserved for our trip to Hawaii. Mementos include ticket stubs from various attractions, a boarding pass to Hawaii, and lots of pictures.
My son attended both Beavers and Cubs within Kanata Scouts, so I had lots of memorabilia in those categories…
Soccer (outdoor and indoor) is a sport he played and still plays, 25 years and counting…
The other sport he started young and still plays is curling. In fact, he met his wife at the curling rink way back in the Little Rocks program. He has so many accolades in the curling world that I had to dedicate two pages to the sport…
Other sports played included volleyball, swimming, T-ball, and cross-country running…
When he wasn’t playing or watching a sport, he was at piano lessons or practicing at home. At the time, he was the youngest to take lessons at Music For Young Children, starting at the age of 2.5 years old! His first recital was just before he turned 3 where he nailed Row, Row, Row Your Boat. We discovered his love for the piano when he would often go across our street to play the neighbour’s piano. She just happened to make puppets for MYC, so knew the founder, convincing her to let my son try the lessons at such a young age…
I had lots of memorabilia saved from the three schools my son attended from kindergarten through high school. There are four pages for Castlefrank Elementary School with two of them exhibiting his early artwork and writing journals. The pink piece in the top right corner of the first picture is a cupid, on a valentine card he gave to us. One page is dedicated to Katimavik Elementary School where he attended grades 7 and 8. A fourth page is for Earl of March Secondary School, grades 9 through 12. The awards in the packets are for his honor roll and math contest achievements…
After high school my son attended Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario, graduating in 2011 with a degree in Civil Engineering. I didn’t have as much paraphernalia from those four years, most likely because he did not live at home. The next page combines items from his jobs over the years as well as the Queen’s stuff I did mange to accumulate, including a false ID.
The last page is entitled “the Next Chapter” with mementos from his new house, engagement, wedding, the birth of his daughter and his new, expanding family…
This scrapbook was lots of work, but definitely a labour of love and a sentimental walk down memory lane for me. I knew I saved all that stuff for a reason! I hope I have inspired some of you to put your collection of memorabilia to good use too.
After you’ve read all about this project, please take a few extra minutes to check out my other bog where I make gardening my business.
John Cleese, the English actor and comedian of Monty Python fame, has a theory on why political correctness is getting out of hand. This theory was originally published by Jon Miltimore on Intellectual Takeout.
He’s hardly the first comedian to say so, of course. Funny men such as Jerry Seinfeld, Mel Brooks, and others have complained that political correctness is killing comedy. Cleese, like Seinfeld, says he no longer performs on America’s college campuses, where political correctness enforcement is particularly strident.
In a recent monologue with Big Think, Cleese said the effort to protect people from negative feelings is not just impractical, but suffocating to a free society.
“The idea that you have to be protected from any kind of uncomfortable emotion is one I absolutely do not subscribe to,” Cleese says.
Cleese, who spoke to psychiatrist Robin Skynner about the phenomenon, posited an interesting theory on why many people feel compelled to control the language and behaviors of others.
“If people can’t control their own emotions, then they have to start trying to control other people’s behavior,” Cleese says.
You can watch the entire monologue below. What do you make of Cleese’s theory? Is he right?
I agree, political correctness is getting way out of hand in our culture, and not just comedians are noticing.
For example, it is ridiculous that in our children’s sporting events everyone gets the same award, just for participating. No winners and no losers, everyone must be treated the same. Competition can be healthy and should not be discouraged, especially if a child shows interest in an activity. Kids should be taught that some people will be better than others in all of their endeavours. This includes sports, scholastic abilities, job skills and any other activity. You excel at some, others not so much. You learn to win graciously and accept defeat just as graciously. That is a healthy skill that all kids need to learn.
My three sons were (are) very athletic and good at any sport they chose to play. Were/are they the best? No, but they learned to recognize and respect those that were/are better, more successful than they were/are. This is an important life lesson and important for developing self esteem. Sadly, it appears that this valuable lesson is low on the priority list these days.
It is no small wonder that more teens today suffer from anxiety and depression than ever before. Teen suicide too is rampant, doesn’t it make you wonder if there is a connection to our current excessive demand for political correctness and the rise of anxiety and depression?
Are our children victims of brainwashing? Some people believe overzealous climate change activists are filling children’s heads with doom and gloom causing unnecessary stress and even depression. Children are the unwitting targets of this brainwashing in this blatant form of emotional blackmail. What parent, grandparent or any adult for that matter, can resist emotional and passionate pleas from young children?
Environmental threats are (and should be) a concern globally. As intelligent humans we need to address the threats using proven scientific solutions and compromises. The problem arises when big companies or wanna be scientists on both sides of the argument get involved by throwing big money or their famous face into the pot trying to sway the general public to their side.
Mega-rich oil and gas companies are fighting to keep their businesses afloat so deny that many of the suggested solutions will help, without attempting to compromise. Activists like David Suzuki and Jane Fonda crave the spotlight, earning their own mega-bucks in appearance fees, flying around the world in fossil fuel powered jets.
Hypocrites, all of them. While it is important to teach our children to respect the environment and reduce our carbon footprint, brainwashing them to preach unproven opinions without understanding what they are preaching is morally wrong.
Perhaps we should be teaching them to practice what they preach!
If you or a loved one suffers from anxiety disorders, PTSD or Autism Spectrum Disorder, mark your calendars for this mental health conference. Join Dr Douglas Turkington and Helen Spencer, both world-renowned experts from the UK, this coming (2019) October, here in Ottawa. They promise to share new insights into these increasingly common mental health issues.
It has taken years, but people are finally realizing that mental health is just as important as physical health. The stigma associated with mental health issues is subsiding and those affected are seeking the help they deserve. Research and information on the subject is changing constantly, but sometimes the medical jargon is hard to decipher. A conference like this, featuring respected experts, helps to demystify the information, sorting the facts from fiction.
TIPES (Teaching in Pictures Education System) is proud to support this “New Insights into Mental Health” conference; I in turn am proud to support TIPES and their incredible, devoted staff.
If attending this conference does not appeal to you, TIPES is also involved in another fundraiser in support of Ottawa’s autism community. Geared for family fun, this one collaborates with the Ottawa Redblacks football team…
If you were already thinking of attending the game or are looking for something fun to do Saturday, September 7, please order your Redblacks tickets through this link to support Ottawa’s autism community. Be sure to choose TIPES as the autism charity you wish to support.
Losing your mother changes your life in many ways. I lost my own mother twenty-five years ago today, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of her, wishing she was still here. She barely got to know two of my sons and never did meet the third. With my sons all grown up and four sweet grandchildren of my own now I wish she could share the joy they all bring to our lives.
My mom died just after reaching her 65th birthday; I was 34. She was diagnosed with lung cancer and dead within 3 months, so we had very little time to get used to the idea of life without her before she was gone. She didn’t even have enough time to rally from the shock of the diagnosis to begin to fight for her life. Losing your mother leaves you shell shocked for a long time afterward.
My father had just retired and she planned to do the same. It would have been well deserved after working from the tender age of fourteen with only a brief hiatus to bear six children in eight years. Years of work and raising children were finally in the rear view mirror as she looked forward to a more carefree life.
With six children and 13 grandchildren (at the time) spread out over Canada and USA, my mother looked forward to visiting with them all often. She was the travel planner and organizer, my dad was more of the stay at home type. In fact, after her death my father rarely travelled more than a few kilometers from his home. He was heartbroken, literally.
My mother’s untimely death changed my life in many ways. Concerned that my own life expectancy may only be 65, I reduced my work hours and the accompanying stress level by changing departments. The goal was to concentrate on the important things like spending more quality time with my three young sons (I had a third not long after she died) and my husband. Volunteering at the boys’ schools, on field trips and for their sports teams became my focus. I do not want to feel that I should have spent more time with them when I am older.
When my boys were grown up and independent twelve years later, I once again began searching for more out of life. I made another drastic change and retired (very early) completely from hospital work to start my own gardening business.
Losing your mother makes you introspective, comparing your mothering style to hers. Not just your mothering style really, but all your mistakes and regrets, as well as the hopes, dreams and triumphs too. It’s like a wake up call to improve the quality of your own life. During her last three months, my mother and I spent many hours discussing such things.
As my grandchildren grow up, I try to spend as much time with them as I can as well. I hope to be around to witness their milestones, something my mom missed out on.
I have to admit patience is a virtue I do not possess, but I’m working on it. That’s because I’m learning that grandchildren are great teachers, but require unlimited patience.
This morning was another lesson learned in the patience department. My two year old grandson and five year old granddaughter slept over last night and although she slept well, he did not. He was up several times during the night and then up for good, bouncing around with a seemingly endless supply of energy at 6am.
“Grumble, grumble, ok Grandma is up, but I won’t be dancing with Elmo or to Baby Shark within the next few hours, at least until I have a cup of coffee.”
Checking out his choices for breakfast, this (always adorable) grandson grabbed a box of Cheerios and promptly dumped (most of) its contents onto the kitchen floor. Luckily the box was not full. After I grabbed the broom and swept up the mess (with him helping of course) he repeated the process. Dump, scatter, sweep….at least five more times. After the second sequence, I realized he was having fun. No real harm done, and other than relocating breakable objects within the swinging radius of the broom handle as he “tidied up,” it was fun to watch his concentration. The cheerios were going in the garbage anyway; each time I threw some out (without him noticing of course) so there were fewer to clean up each time.
How many of you heard your parents say “Money doesn’t grow on trees” when you were a kid? Well, my grandkids know, as apparently does Fisher Price, that money comes from a bank.
This particular banking machine is a toy made by Fisher Price that we received over 25 years ago, when our eldest son was a toddler. It looks like a two sided ATM, with plastic coins and “dollar” bills.
The coins go in a slot on the top left corner, something our two year old grandson loves to do, over and over. As he no longer puts everything in his mouth, when he is here he fishes the coins out of the “off limits for his one year old cousin” bag they are stored in.
One side of the machine also has a slot to stick the five green dollar bills in. Once the coins and dollar bills are inside the machine, there are separate (one red and one blue, see top picture) buttons to push to eject them.
The ATM also comes with two realistic looking plastic credit cards, although the orange one was missing when I searched for it to take a picture. Maybe I better report that to the bank, LOL.