We Don’t Know Your Pain, But Your Loss Is Our Loss

255ff2eb955c106b976cfada42362409I have heard it said that those without children, know the most about parenting. It seems as though the moment we are thrust in the reality of parenthood, we lose all that wisdom that seemed to ooze out whenever we saw a child acting out or a mom/dad attempting to get their little one to do something. Oh how I long for those days where I knew it all and unashamedly would let parents know with my gaze of all-knowing-ness.

But as much as those without children may have attained new heights of enlightenment, the one thing they will never know until they themselves are parents is the almost spiritual connectedness we as parents feel toward other parents and their challenges, successes and losses. I feel this when watching things like America’s Got Talent. I have absolutely no connection to the 12 year old girl who blows the crowd away with her voice, but when I see the love in her parents eyes, the pride, the hope and the joy as she gets that golden buzzer, at this moment I find I connect with them. I am proud, I feel emotion and I’m so happy!

But as much as we can feel joy for one another’s successes, we feel an equal but opposite loss when there is pain. When moments arise where worlds are shattered, time stands still and people battle to breathe as a result of their loss. In these times, our worlds shatter with yours, out time stands still too and we lose our breath with you.

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The Unsung Hero!

hero_SqaureWEBI remember several years ago, sitting in my first adoption class, learning, discovering, being challenged and without my knowing, having my path severely altered.

I also remember the group being asked to give our thoughts on birth moms. Quick as a cat I rememb shuffling my position to one of complete ignorance and judgement. The exact words escape me but my position was based on judging a mom who could give away her child because I could never do that. Thankfully, the lady leading us was skillfully able to highlight the errors in my position in a way that simultaneously  corrected my mindset and convicted me to be part of the solution.

Of course I couldn’t relate, of course I could never have given up my first-born, but then again, I never had to! I never stared into the dark only to have fear look back at me, I never viewed my wives pregnancy as anything other than a joy. I never had my dreams shattered over a period of 9 months, I never was abandoned to live out the consequences of my decisions, or perhaps abandoned to live out the consequences of someone elses choices on my body. I never endured ridicule at the possibility of having to drop out of school, to explain to people why I didn’t use protection or couldn’t say no. Continue reading

Through the eyes and into their heart

31e736ea38917d4902e7242b054e97f1.500x338x1Last week I had the privilege of thoroughly smashing the paradigm of a group of parents and young people. I gave a talk entitled “Beneath the Surface, looking at the effects of Pornography”. I witnessed eyes growing wider and wider as if they were experiencing a blast of information that was overloading their senses and short circuiting their perceptions of what was really available to our kids.

The hard truth is this, for years now, media, movies, the written word, gaming and any other source of content has been pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable, agreeable and palatable.
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5 signs you may have replaced your spouse with your child.

IMG_2530Disclaimer 1: Offence is taken not given, so if after reading you feel a great desire to start a long life altering journey up the miff tree, remember, I pose topics to think about not absolute truths to believe in.

Disclaimer 2: Generally speaking, men don’t step up to the plate in many families, leaving mom’s to handle the fast balls life catapults at them with the greatest poise they can muster. If you identify with one/many/all it doesn’t mean your parenting skills are more Charles Manson than Nanny Mcphee.

OK, so here it goes!

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10 Reasons why I love my imperfect wife

puzzle-piecesYup, I said it, and no it’s not a typo. My wife is imperfect!

Granted her list of imperfections is dwarfed by my own impressive expose of not so lovable traits, and yes I did get her ok to throw this list into the cybersphere, but she is imperfect nonetheless and I love her!

This week marks a decade of marriage for the two of us, and on Christmas eve we will have been together for 16 years. Not a small feat considering we have only been alive for twice that time. In hollywood years I believe we are looking at the equivalent of a cool century. So at this mile stone and in celebration of our love, our family and our future adventures, I felt it important to share with the world, or at least the few hundred people who read my blog, that she is imperfect and we still have a cracker of a marriage.

There seems to be a belief rolling through the fields of singleness that to be truly happy, to build a marriage that shouts to the hilltops that perfection has been achieved, to have a relationship that can withstand the storms of life, two perfect people need to find each other, fall in love, get married and without any touch ups, repair work, renovations or upgrades, they will live happily ever after. No doubt will ever enter these people’s minds or hearts, they will never fight and at no time will anger, annoyance or frustration enter the equation. Doubt and uncertainty have no place in the marriage of these two!

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Rockheart!

heart-rock-toni-hopperSo it appears to have happened! I have achieved the ubiquitous experience of many modern-day human worker ants, Burnout! I say worker ants, as it seems ants appear to live a life on “repeat”. Wake up, get up, get out, get back and go down, only to repeat the cycle. Different day, same…well you get the idea.

Burnout seems to me a bit of a “cop-out”, after all, isn’t it a label for those who just can’t keep up with the pace, the ones who play a good game but choke on the finish line, those who were meant to do good, but should leave the great for those who don’t use the “B” word. I honestly struggle to hold this diagnosis with any form of seriousness, or at least I did before I found myself head in hand banging my fists against the wall, crouched on my knees screaming into nothingness while my kids ran to the next room unsure of what was happening. I struggle to think, to decide, to become motivated. I would rather be alone, separated from the crowd so I can let the tears gather in private. I’m irritable, I feel out of control. But isn’t this normal in todays working world?

The irony is, I’m a counsellor, a “fixer”, surely this is something I should have seen coming a mile away and taken action against? The truth is that I didn’t see this coming, sure I wasn’t passionate and full of joy, but the busyness consumes us and lies to us. It says that as long as I am filling my time with tasks, I am productive, as long as I am ticking boxes, I am fulfilling my purpose. The sad truth is that if we aren’t conscious of our own mental, emotional, physical and spiritual state, the good starts to overwhelm us and can become a poison that begins to feed on the great, our passions, our source of joy, and before you know it, the things that gave you a purpose, those things we know we have been called to, those very things become a drudgery, another task on life’s all-consuming “to do” list. So with hesitation in my heart, I declare I am burnt out!

Now what?

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The Father’s heart-a story of adoption

 

A couple of years ago, a card manufacturer decided to give inmates of a county prison the opportunity to send Mother’s day cards, nearly every prisoner took advantage of it, come Father’s day, the card manufacturer decided to offer the same service. Not one card was sent out!

Over the past few years I have been blessed with the opportunity to counsel young men and boys through various challenges, strikingly, the one common thread running through all their lives, is a poor relationship with their fathers’. James Dobson, in “Bringing up Boys” mentions that he has never counselled a homosexual male, that has had a good relationship with his Dad. All of this brings me to the conclusion that the concept of Fathers nowadays, is not one garnishing great praise, nor is the legacies many of them are leaving.

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