To find out more about why dads are important please click on the link which will take you to my new web site. Please come and visit for a minute or two and check out this weeks article http://jimcloughley.com/?p=1368
If I Could I Would . . .
What would you do if you had the chance to decide? Let me know-I may use your comment in my next book–JIm.
Recently I found myself engaged in a conversation with someone about their relationship when he/she finally asked me, “How do you know when a relationship is over?” I must admit that the question took me by complete surprise. So I sidestepped the question by replying: “well to begin with it is important to understand that not every relationship can be saved nor should be saved. I know that this does little to answer your question but ending a relationship is usually a pretty complicated life event.” What I meant was if you are a person with morals, values and your heart beats regularly then the option to just walk away isn’t the first, second or even the third option. If you want out it needs to be about what’s best for all concerned, how does this get done and what about those left behind? I understand why some people want to end their relationships. Too often the partners we choose don’t always remain the same people they were when we decided to be with them. Often WE don’t remain the same as we were back then either. The basis for a good relationship and discussions around what makes a good marriage are things that many parents don’t talk about with their kids now. Perhaps that is why the divorce rates are so high these days–that and it seems so easy to just walk away now.
Relationships can be the most glorious thing when they are new and exciting. However, they are often built on sandy ground–all the wrong reasons. Much of the time they are born from just a physical attraction alone. We need to keep in mind that beauty is only skin deep and it doesn’t last. I don’t see much wrong with a fling for fun scenario but only if both people agree that that’s all it is. Too often attachments are made by at least one of the partners and hurt, emotional pain, devastation and a real loss of self-esteem and self-worth ensue. These types of relationships can be spirit killers.
But sometimes the end of a relationship can prove to be a good thing–for both partners. It presents a new beginning for both sides unless there are children in the picture in which case a new set of ‘rules’ comes into play-for both parents. Since some people find themselves trapped in certain relationships by economics or the lack thereof or the threat of abuse and retribution if one leaves before the other, a dissolution of a relationship can eventually force new opportunities for those involved to re-define themselves as the people they always saw themselves to be and how they want to be seen by others. For some it is an opportunity that will never come again. Their minds and their hearts become overwhelmed with the rush of emotions and they just fall apart both mentally and emotionally. People often feel at war within themselves and they experience depression, emptiness and a sense of being disconnected–they have no place as a result. They feel torn and sometimes emotionally paralysed trying to decide between what they want to do and what they feel they have to do to find happiness in their lives. These are not always the same thing. I guess, to some degree, it depends on who ended the relationship and which one you are in the process–the ‘ender’ or the ‘endee.’ If you’re the ender it usually seems to be less traumatic as experiences go.
What I came to recognize, though, were the same issues and questions can be applied to a relationship with our children. When did the relationship go bad? What changed or didn’t change for us to, finally, abandon our children? Why and when did we stop supporting our children. Kids are often left with much the same depression, sadness, anger, resentment and grief as a life partner, a wife or husband. So if you are thinking about your relationship and whether you should continue in it please take the opportunity to consider how your children will respond and what they will need to survive the experience before pulling the plug. I don’t agree that staying together for the sake of the children is a very good or healthy thing to do for anyone especially the children.
Putting the above aside for a moment, here six questions that both sides of the relationship need to answer honestly, carefully and without any bias or outside input. Many relationships have been turned around because the partners took the time to answer and discuss the answers to these questions with each other before any final decisions had been made:
1. How would the quality of your life improve if you weren’t involved in this relationship any longer? What would be different?
2. Are you sure that you have done all you could do to make it work?
3. What did you do to contribute to the demise of the relationship? (It usually takes the contributions of both parties for a relationship to hit the skids in order to get it to this point)
4. When it was healthy and functioning well, what did you like most about the relationship?
5. (A) Is there one thing that, if it were changed, stopped or started would make a difference regarding your decision to leave the relationship?
(B) Does your partner know what that one thing is?
6. You only get one life to live. Do you want to live it in a very unfulfilling and unproductive manner with someone who really doesn’t care about what you want, why you want it or what it means to you?
Anyways, that’s how I see it–all the best, Jim
“It is much easier to get into a relationship than it is to get out of one.”–jc
If you would like to comment or contact me please do so through my new web site at jimcloughley.com (please visit and let me know what you think of the site) or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
All the best
The title of this article really says it all. As adults, we are supposed to be looking after our kids. We are supposed to be guiding them, teaching them, providing a place of security and safety for them and helping them learn how to survive in the ‘new’ world. Mostly, we are not doing a very good job of it. For sure, there are some who are doing a great job preparing their kids. They make sure their mental, emotional and physical needs are taken care of. They are in touch with what their kids need and they give it to them. But there are parents out there who are just trying to make ends meet. All their time and energy is spent trying to keep a roof over their heads. Unfortunately there are many who don’t/can’t spend the time needed to be parents. Many others are just burnt out. They have spent themselves trying to keep up economically with others figuring that the kids will understand or that they will be OK because of they want for very little. They don’t need material things. They need a hug and a pat on the back. They need to see their parents at their soccer game cheering them on from the stands. As the caption said to start this article–“Having Kids Doesn’t Make You A Father . . . Raising Them Does”.
If provided the opportunity many kids would tell their parents or primary care givers exactly what has been missing, for a long time, as far as providing them with what they need the most is concerned.
Speaking of needs, and taking into account the amazing technological advances made in the last 5 decades, are we are aware that in the last 200 years the basic needs of human beings hasn’t changed much if at all. What has changed, however, are the methods used to provide those basic needs but the basics are still the basics. Food, clothing, shelter, air, water, and now we know enough about human development to say that we can add love, affection, a feeling of being connected to something or someone, having a place to belong to and having a sense of hope are equally important.
The first group of basic needs are ‘no brainers’ really. The greatest difficulty, certainly for this generation of parents, seems to be satisfying the last three in the list for their children.
1. Kids will tell you that many are feeling disconnected from anything that matters like a support structure; some place to go when they need help, guidance, love, affection or a caring person who doesn’t judge them. These are THE most important to them and the most dangerous threat to their stability and the security of their emotional and mental health. When we study suicide rates regarding our kids we will see that those rates have escalated over the last generation or two and mostly amongst young men. There are researchers who suggest 4 out of every 5 adolescents who attempt or consider the act of suicide as an option are young males. They are trying to tell us, the adults, that they are feeling alone and angry because it doesn’t seem that anyone cares or is listening to them about what is truly important. A new x-box or video game has taken over as the panacea of the day and is supposed to say ‘we care about you-see’.
2. For a long time now our kids have been begging for our time and our attention. They want to feel as though they belong to something that is bigger than they are. This is not a one time thing or every once in a while either. They want to feel as though they have a place and that there are people in that place who care enough about them to say ‘no’ sometimes–that boundaries and expectations are good things and not punishments. They want to know what we know and they want us to show them how to live among their peers. They need us to be their guides and their teachers not their friends. They have friends. What they need are parents who care enough to say they love them and that they are there for them no matter what. The kids need to believe that this is the truth. They need to know they belong and that they are important and they have a place at the family table.
3. They need to have a sense of hope. That means that they need to believe their parents and the adults that infiltrate their lives on a daily basis have done their work and have paved the way for a decent life for their kids. They need to have a legitimate expectation that what they believe can happen. If they choose to get a good education it will be possible for them to work toward having a decent job and, perhaps, a family of their own. They need to be assured that all is not hopeless and that they are not helpless. It is our job as parents to support that belief by our example and by helping our kids hear that if they are prepared to work hard, be industrious and realistic that they can have the ‘dream’ of being happy and contented. After all isn’t that the goal of most of us–just to be happy.
We need to pay attention to what our kids have been trying to tell us for a long time. Not all of us are giving our kids what they truly need. The question becomes: “Have I done all I can do to provide the best opportunity for my kids to succeed?” The only thing our kids have a right to expect from us is that we will do our job as a parent to the best of our ability. They will do the rest.
Anyways, that’s how I see it.
If you have a comment please connect with me at email@example.com
Please pass this article along to friends as well–with thanks–James
“I believe in second chances. I’m not sure everyone deserves one”
Therein lies the dilemma. I want to believe that everyone should have a second chance to do the right thing or to change an action or an event that happened as the result of a regrettable impulsive decision. But then how do second chances get meted out? Who decides who gets that chance and who doesn’t? Based on what? Does it matter the severity of the event? Are there degrees to consider? I’m a black and white thinker most of the time. I’m not saying that is a good thing or not but that’s who I am. I agree that it is not always the best way to be nor is it always the most fair way to be but it is how I see the world I live in. I try to be as fair and as unbiased as I can be but that isn’t always possible or enough.
How do you do things when it comes to second chances? What criteria do you use? What standards do you employ? Would you want to be treated as you treat others-by the same measures?
Here are a few scenarios to consider and I would appreciate hearing your thoughts and comments about what you would do-second chance or not: (Remember this is about giving someone another chance to right a wrong. It is not about what is fair according to your idea of right or wrong)
1. John Doe murders someone in a rage because the victim was thought to have sexually assaulted his child. He says he’s really sorry for what he has done and should have let the law do it’s duty but the anger and outrage took him over and he lost it. He asked for a dramatically reduced sentence with the promise of never doing that again. He didn’t have a record of violent behaviour. He had no legal involvement at all. John Doe was a model citizen. (It later turned out that the person who died didn’t do what he was accused of doing but that was not known at the time.) Does he deserve another chance to live his life with some purpose? Wouldn’t most respond as he did because it involved his child?
2.You hear of someone who beats his/her partner because they got drunk and angry about something they did and as a result of the beating inflicted serious head injuries and permanent damage. The person who did the beating pledges to get help with the drinking problem and given another chance will dedicate his/her life to helping others who have similar problems. His/Her point was no one knows a drunk like another drunk and he/she could help others. He/she was impaired and not responsible-right?
3. A man is caught breaking into your home in the middle of the night. You later find out that the burglar was an unemployed man who had just been cut off his benefits and had a young family to support with no means to do so. However, he didn’t get to take anything and was very remorseful and stated that he would never do that again. Does the court punish him or should the court let him off with a warning and community service?
4. How about the politician who gets caught using his/her power and position to, fraudulently, access public funds for personal gain. He’d been a faithful and dedicated public servant for a lengthy time and had a spotless record of public service. He was not only apologetic for his actions but wanted to run again and promised to donate half his salary to a local charity. His riding could really benefit from his experience and the charity could help more people in need.
5. What about the smoker who has to have a lung replaced because it is cancerous and life threatening. He had learned about the dangers of smoking from his doctor and knew it in plenty of time to avoid the eventual need for a transplant. He vowed to cut down his smoking but would not commit to quitting altogether. Does he get the operation?
6. How about the father who walked away from his family for a variety of reasons but was seen as someone who was a ‘dead beat’ dad. He was not able to pay what the court suggested he had to pay for support and therefore was banned from seeing his son until he made restitution. He found that the grass wasn’t greener and wanted to come back and try to rebuild his damaged relationship with his child but was forbidden to do so by the other parent. Should he have the right to be involved again? Hey he left once–he’ll probably run again when he gets the chance. He made his choice that’s it.
These are but a few of the scenarios that we are faced with most days as a community. They are often managed with inconsistency which creates an on-going under the surface resentment and anger among citizens. Anger and resentments mostly come from a feeling or a sense of injustice so perhaps when our systems find a way to be more consistent and fair we will experience less stress and violence in our everyday living.
So what is fair? Who gets to enjoy a second chance at turning their life around? Based on what? A big part of me wants to revert to that black and white thinking and say sorry for what is going on for you but the law is the law and there are no second chances. Would these folks have felt the same had they not been caught or otherwise held accountable for their actions–likely not. If there is no consequence for our actions then what do we learn? SHould another chance be tied to the amount of money one has?
This would be a great exercise to do with your children so that fairness and consistency could be highlighted. A great ‘teachable’ moment. Would you treat your kids the same way as you would treat the strangers outlined in the scenarios or would they ‘deserve’ different treatment. What makes it right for yours but not right for others?
Anyways, that’s how I see it, Jim
Please send along your thoughts and comments on what you would do–would you grant second chances or not and why?
I look forward to hearing back from you.
Albion Falls-Canada-Photographer Unknown To Me
I was reminded, this week, that the world is truly a most remarkable place. There is so much beauty and wonder around us and so much to be excited about. I understand that there is a great deal of strife, misfortune, pain and discomfort. I know that there is hopelessness and greed and challenges in most places we look. I am truly saddened by all of this. But I was also reminded that there is much to be grateful for and it is with this in mind that I offer those who wish to view them my four favourite videos of what is going on in the world around us and some of those who try to make it a better place in their own way. The beauty and skill, the talent and desire to bring something other than negativity to the world every day or at least to try is commendable and most needed at a time when it is so easy to see just the down side of things and to complain about how horrible things are.
So in no particular order of importance here are my four favs at least for this week. Pick one and watch it and then another tomorrow or watch them all at once. There’s about 15 minutes worth if you watch all of them. They are worth the watch.
1. http://www.flixxy.com/trumpet-solo-melissa-venema.htm –This young woman is an incredible musician who astounds people with her talent and her sensitivity.
2. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=377067949058685 –This video could well change the direction of your life and certainly the quality of your life.
3. https://www.youtube.com/embed/tjJc8xLYhak –This one is really funny and there is no foul language or ‘f’ bombs to have to listen to. The Brits do this type of humor really well.
4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1T9-I3wx8I –This is an amazing wee story and the untrained pure voice is incredible. It is the absolute story of how the human spirit can triumph over near anything if given the chance to do so and demonstrates so clearly that if we would only give people a chance to shine the world would be a much brighter place.
That’s how I see it anyways, all the best, Jim
Please feel free to comment on which one had the greatest impact on you or be welcome to ask me anything you like. Those who know me will say that I am never short of an opinion. Connect with me at: firstname.lastname@example.org OR jamescloughley.com
Is That A New Vision On Its Way? (Photographer Unknown To Me)
It has been stated many times that the definition of insanity is making the same decisions over and over and expecting a different result each time.
Unfortunately the ‘insanity’ continues.
I realize how easy it is to stand on the sidelines and be critical and mocking. I am trying not to be either. What I am, however, is very concerned and nervous that the regular folks ‘out there’ will believe the manure that is being passed off as common sense and progress. The ‘ole’ election time bundle of empty promises and double talk that often baffles the best of thinkers has been dusted off and will be paraded in front of the public at regular intervals for the next few months. Quite similar to brain washing actually. For example: The so called 1.4 billion dollar ‘surplus’ is money pulled out of the ‘incidental crisis pool’ that the feds had socked away just to purchase votes by giving us what is/was ours in the first place. All this after telling us that they have no money for CPP and seniors needs. Thanks guys. And the insanity continues. It will be our children who will begin to pay the price for it.
Although it was a close race I think the ‘Darwin Award’, awarded to the most insane act/behaviour, needs to go to the Supreme Court of Canada. It’s really hard to top what these people have done in the recent past. Let’s start with banning prayers to start public meetings and gatherings. My hope is that people will see for themselves how idiotic this really is. Won’t the ‘rights’ of that one person have stripped away the ‘rights’ of thousands? Do I-we-not have a constitutional right to practice a religion of our choice? The rights of the one DO NOT eliminate or out weigh the rights of the many. The bone headed decisions that are being made lately are serious dents in our armour of freedom and self determination. The latter, for the most part, is disappearing at an alarming rate and few deterrents seem to be in place in order to counter such ‘give aways’. Our children will pay dearly for this because the slippery slope has now been established.
But the two that still grab me the most are those that the provincial Liberals put together. Selling off our assets to private concerns is one and the ever present concerns about the ‘new’ school curriculum is the other. To comment on the first: the Liberals have traded the future for the present. They have mishandled most everything they put their hands to and now will rob Peter to pay Paul. They have squandered money at a rate that is basically unprecedented and now hope to dangle public transit in the face of those who are about to feel the pinch. Many economists would say that you don’t sell off your assets because they only pay off once.
The second move that also garnered a strong consideration for a ‘Darwin’ is the misguided and ill thought out ‘new’ school curriculum.
The school thing may be best illustrated by this story: “THE ANIMAL SCHOOL FABLE”
The Administration of the School Curriculum with References to Individual Differences:
Once upon a time, the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of a “new world.” So they organized a school.
They adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all of the subjects. The duck was excellent in swimming–in fact better than his instructor–but he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to stay after school and also drop swimming in order to practice running. This was kept up until his web feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in this school, so nobody worried about that except the duck.
The rabbit started at the top of the class in running but had a nervous breakdown because of so much make-up work in swimming.
The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the tree top down. He also developed a “charlie horse” from over-exertion and then got a ‘C’ in climbing and a ‘D’ in running.
The eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely. In the climbing class he beat all the others to the top of the tree, but insisted on using his own way to get there.
At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceedingly well, and also run, climb and fly a little, had the highest average and was valedictorian.
The prairie dogs stayed out of school and fought the tax levy because the administration would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum. They apprenticed their children to a badger and later joined the ground hogs and gophers to start a successful private school.
Dr. George H. Reavis, Assistant Superintendent, Cincinnati Public Schools, 1939-1948
Does this fable have a moral? Yes it does and it is this: Let’s encourage adults and children alike to become who and what they want to be. Let’s start to celebrate our differences. Let’s remind those who come seeking a better life to stop complaining about the very freedoms that attracted them in the first place. Respect us and we will respect you in return. Let’s keep the government out of it-they only screw it up to begin with. Let’s understand that everyone is good at something and no one, Boards of Education in particular, should have the right to try to make someone into something they are not or have no desire to be. This is true for adults-this is true for our children. School needs to be a place for experience and investigation for all not just for the ‘gifted’. (See Premier Wynnes’ great vision for more).
Our children will suffer the most because of the mess we will leave them unless we stop making the same flagrant mistakes over and over expecting a different outcome each time.
Anyways, that’s how I see it, James
Comments can be sent to me at: email@example.com OR jamescloughley.com
Please pass this along to those you think might want to read it.
Photographer Unknown To Me
The purpose of this article is not to get all weepy and sloppy or down and negative but rather to encourage people to understand that they have been presented a gift and with each new day they will be presented another gift called ‘TIME’. It will last exactly 24 hours and not any longer. And it is an finite resource meaning that we only have so many ‘new’ days to receive it before it no longer graces us. Each day that goes by is a day we will never experience again. Some will be gifted with 30 years some will have, perhaps, 80 years to share and experience our humanity. There is no way, really, of knowing who will get what or for how long and there is no chance of creating more time. One of the great tragedies in human development is that young people, meaning little ones to those in their mid to late 30’s, don’t understand the importance and the value of ‘time’. This fact helps explain why some people try to relive their 20’s–they just refuse to grow up. We even have a name for this time frame–we call it ‘our mid-life crisis’.
Time is the ultimate gift and yet few give it much thought. We get so caught up with facing the world with all its complexities that we offer little thought about how each day will never come again and that we need to live life to its fullest every day doing what we enjoy doing. Most of us just assume that the next day will continue to appear-forever. They are wrong.
I remember when I was a little guy and I would look at my parents and my grand parents and say or think:’I will never be as old as my parents and certainly not as old as my grand parents. 40 was old and such a long ways away. Younger kids are often heard to say they can’t wait to get older so that they could do ‘older things’ like drive a car or go to the pub to drink and party. However, the older we get the more important time becomes and the faster it goes by. There is an inner sense that makes us aware that ‘time’ is growing shorter. There is just no way to slow down the passing of time. There is a panic of sorts that sets in and an urgency to do as much as you can before you can’t. When nearing retirement what near senior hasn’t said if only they could have known at 40 what they know now how different their life would have been. Some lessons are only taught by time and this is one of them.
So how can we manage our time differently. To assume that ‘we will have plenty of time afterward’–when we retire that is– is playing a fools game. What has to happen for us to get more from the time we have been given? One thing we can do is downsize–learn to live on less. If we can do this then we can quit working earlier and enjoy more. Many are beginning to do just that. As has been said:’You can’t take it with you’ so why not enjoy the fruits of your labour while you can appreciate the gift of time. I believe this process starts with introspection. We need to start asking ourselves some questions about how we have managed our lives to date and are we doing what we want to be doing or do we feel as though we are just hanging on for our very lives.
I have come to understand that there are two things that will suck the life out of us if we let them and by doing so will they will ‘steal’ our time. One of those is plotting our revenge to demonstrate what? Too many people don’t understand that to hang onto plotting revenge is to allow the ‘other guy’ to win. You are spending time thinking about someone other than yourself and the likelihood is that they don’t even care. The other thing is not allowing ourselves to forgive. That can mean forgiving ourselves for something we have done or something that someone else has done. Forgiveness means that I will no longer allow guilt, shame or anger power over me. I choose to forgive-not for ‘them’ but for me. It helps me to regain my control over my emotional stability. I become free again.
Other things to consider:
1. Do I live to work or work to live?
2. Do I (we) really need the secondary income to make ends meet or do we do it so we can have more toys?
3. What is the cost attached to chasing more money especially if more money isn’t necessary to maintain a particular standard of living?
4. Do my or have my relationships with family and children suffered because of my decision to chase more money?
5. Given that money can provide comfort to some degree does it buy me happiness?
6. How much money is enough?
7. If you could retire right now what would you really enjoy doing?
8. If you could go back in time and make some other decisions what would you do/decide differently?
9. What is one thing that you could begin to do now that would provide you with more happiness or contentment?
10.Is it true for you that time is going by much more quickly now that you are getting older? (The older you get the faster it goes)
Too of us many live in the future–the I wish place. In doing so we forget how important it is to live in the present. If you have things you want to do–get them done. Life is to be experienced not endured. It’s a matter of perspective. Are you in charge of your life and if the answer is ‘yes’ then what is stopping you from having or experiencing some of the things that you want to do. If the answer is ‘no’ then what is it you need to do to change that? If you truly believe that you have all the time in the world to do whatever you want to do then you are destined to be very disappointed with the choices you made when your time comes. “Time stops for no man” is a valuable saying. True happiness is directly related to how you choose to spend your time. Spend it wisely.
Anyways, that’s how I see it.
All the best, Jim
Please feel free to comment on this or any other articles in the archives by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org OR by commenting on the Wordpreess site at the bottom of the article. Please pass this on if you know of anyone who might benefit–thank you