Raising a blended family, brings certain perks. If I am honest, I love being slightly different, I love going to the shops and seeing that double take on a stranger’s face when they see me and then they see one of my brown people. I say “my brown people” because my son refers to people of similar colour that way, and seeing as he is mine, so are they.
I like thinking I am part of a solution, I like to think I am creating a bridge between pink and brown. I like to think my son’s and daughter will be better positioned because colour won’t matter to them, it won’t feature in their thought processes, it won’t inform their value judgements or influence their opinions. BUT, am I foolish in believing this, because it will matter to YOU?
We pride ourselves in the knowledge that we live in a time like no other. A time where the amount of information created, consumed and freely available is beyond anything we’ve experienced in the past. We exist in a time where at the push of a button, we achieve access to nearly every answer man has ever discovered or needed. I have in the palm of my hand a venerable magic wand which, when fully charged, is able to give its possessor God like knowledge and understanding.
From the correct spelling of the world longest word (pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis for those of you who’d like to know) to the requirements to produce atomic energy, every single person has the ability to answer every single question ever asked, and in most cases correctly.
So why do I get the sense that in spite of limitless knowledge, common sense and general good choices seem to be on the decline?
I’m feeling a little despondent today! I’m sensing the enormity of the challenge and I’m weighed down by the reality of the need. I’m troubled that so many believe and have accepted our own adoption as sons’ and daughters’ into God’s family, and yet the idea of adoption for many is as far from them them as the East is from the West.
We have freely received and therefore should freely give, as Jesus says, but what does this mean? Continue reading
I 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
Last year we started the The Fatherheart Fund, to date the response has been less than inspiring. I’ve spent sometime looking over world and South African Statistics and it’s scary! Continue reading
1 Cup of affection;
3 Cups quality time;
2.5 Cups of Hard work;
1.5 Cups of discipline (Add more if the mixture requires)
5 tsp of guidance;
1 dozen quality friends and their families.
Mix the above in 1 large community , immerse and cover with affirmation. Leave to cure for 18 years and serve.
Wouldn’t it be nice if succesful parenting was as simple as following the steps of your favourite recipe, just add, mix, bake and enjoy!
For those of you without children (Parents, you know the sort, their eyes follow you with scornful disdain and stare you down with wisdom acquired through the ages from the careful studying of movies, TV shows, second-hand opinion gathering and other useful practices) Sorry guys, this recipe doesn’t exist.
2016 has reared it’s head, full of promise and opportunities. As 2015 left the harbour I looked back over the year and it’s challenges and must admit, the gains outweighed the losses, at least in my life.
We entered the new year celebrating the arrival of our beautiful little girl, aglow with smiles and covered with a sense of excitement. My house has never seen the colour pink, but it has certainly been attacked and bares the battle wounds of this stereotypical girlie colour.
So all is good? Well yes and no! As the HMS 2016 began her maiden voyage, it appeared that the waters would be filled with both adventure but certain danger as well. The danger, at least in the context of South Africa, came in the form of a social media storm that dared suggest that perhaps we haven’t come as far as we thought on the race front. Continue reading
Last 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.
There is a word as prevalent as it is nightmarish. It haunts the hallways of schools, hides in the dark places and lays in wait for its next victim. Many children face the light of day pregnant with fear that this day will repeat the horrors they felt yesterday and the days before that. So many children are facing the morning school run with a fear that could level a heavyweight boxer by the second round.
Bullies have the ability to rip away the innocence, the joy and the wonder that should form the basis of our children’s reality. From the subtle look over his shoulder to see if his captor will allow him to make the choice he is faced with to the blatant assault he endures at the hands of the “ones in power”.
South African media has launched a tirade of articles in recent weeks exposing the hell that many children find themselves never escaping. From social media rants, emotional barrages, group punishment to full-blown physical warfare.
I don’t profess to be an expert on the material, but this is what I have experienced:
I recently read an article written by someone who understands that parenting is a team sport. It was entitled “Dads are Men, not idiots“. It was a fascinating read and presented something our family has naturally adopted. Yet while I am fully capable of putting on a full load of washing, administering medicine, washing behind my kid’s ears, changing a nappy in the dark and yes, oh yes, making dinner, many Dad’s still seem to hold the position that these abilities are super-naturally endowed and typically require the holder of such cosmic gifts to have breasts. In short, you must be a woman, or at least on your way to becoming one.
The article reminded me of a time where I was at apparent risk of increasing my estrogen levels. When my son was around 6 months old, I was handed the challenge of unemployment. Whatever the reasons, I found myself a kept man for around half a year. It was a difficult time, not so much because I was without work, but because my wife had to lay down her dream of staying at home with our first little man. She had to sacrifice her dream for a period so that I could experience the challenging gift of being a stay at home dad. Continue reading