Its too repetitive

I grew up in a reasonably conservative religious household. One of the things that was taboo was any music on FM radio. Rock music, as we called it.

I kept asking my mum why we weren't allowed to listen to it; why she didn't like it. The best she could come up with, perhaps because she couldn't think of a good reason herself, was that it was too repetitive. 

Thanks to that unjustifiable reason, for years I would critique music based on this criteria alone.

I can only imagine what similar moments of cloudy insight I am imparting to my kids!


The Grand Final

Today is Grand Final day in Melbourne. It's not my week with the boys, and right now I am missing them. I really enjoy watching the games with them, but this year it hasn't worked out.

It seem like I have heaps of other options for watching it - pubs, parties, gatherings, solo. I even had the opportunity to attend it live.

But I have been trying to work out what I actually need today. And I have decided, and feel great about, spending the day with one of my mates, at his house, watching the game.

It's the right setting for how I feel right now. It's what I need.

The stress of mornings

From the moment of my waking up to arriving at my desk: this seems to be the most stressful part of my day. There is so much to fit in, and two little people who just don't seem to get the concept of time or being late.

It has got me thinking about my mornings and how I can make them less stressful. And the answer is simple. Work from home or a cafe those mornings that I also have to get the kids to school. Do not even attempt to get into the office at the same time everybody else is trying to get to the office. Do the opposite of what everybody else is doing.

The answer to my stressful mornings maybe as simple as not trying to meet an arbitrary arrival deadline. I will experiment with this over the next two weeks.

No comparison

I remember growing up thinking that I wanted to do better than others. I wanted to achieve more than my dad did.

Now that I have kids of my own, I realise there is nothing more that I want than for my kids to achieve more than me. And my idea of achievement has shifted so much that it is nothing like what I used to imaging achieving when I was a kid.

Achievement for me now means something more along the lines of the awareness to know myself and listen to myself, awareness of the reality of the context of my existence, the courage to live according to the truth I understand from this awareness, and the skills to put this courage into practise.

There is no competition. We are all on a path that is bound to the path of those around us. We are all here to help each other grow and achieve. I thank my dad for helping me the way he has. I enjoy nothing more than helping my kids on their own path.


What if by the time my kids are 25 it is discovered that team sport is a horrible thing put kids through?

This is probably unlikely. However I am going through a process of trying to work out what extra stuff kids do? My kids do swimming lessons (although sometimes they are not too keen), play in a basketball team, and have done some soccer. What are the skills that are most important for them to develop? 

Here are a few categories:


  • Swimming basics so they can have fun in the water and not drown

Good for coordination

  • Martial arts
  • Dance
  • Gymnastics
  • Music lessons
  • Team sports?

Good for creativity

  • Dance
  • Circus
  • Music lessons
  • Lego?

Good for socialisation / team work

  • All of the above?

Not sure that helps me that much. I think my rule of thumb will be, if the kids are into it and it is not add stress and cost to my life I don't want, then they can participate. Otherwise it is a no go.

Memories washed away

I open the dishwasher as the kids are eating breakfast. We had people over for dinner the night before, and it is filled with dishes that are now clean. I start to unpack, first the bowls, and then the plates.

I pick up one of the plates and notice that it is a different shape to the others. I look at it, and a moment of familiarity rushes back to me. I have pulled this plate out of the dishwasher before. I have had this feeling of confusion and dread before. This plate was not always blank.

My son had once drawn a picture on this plate. Twice now. And twice it has been efficiently washed off by the dishwasher. It was the plate he drew on as one of the last things he did at kindergarten. Both times he drew a picture of all four members of his family, who now live across two houses.

I am devastated. The first time it was me that put the plate in the dishwasher. The second it was a well-meaning guest who somehow used the plate and put it into the dishwasher without me being aware.

I am devastated because today is mother's day, and day of remembering the family. I am devastated because the plate represented a memory my son has of a family together, a picture he said he would like us to put on the wall when we are all living together again.

I shed some tears, and wonder whether to tell him about it. I decided that it is better that he knows. Even if he is deeply disappointed, it is a good thing for him to feel, and I can apologise for my carelessness. 

I tell him. He seems to only vaguely remember it, and to care that it is gone even less.

I wonder then about losing that picture, and why it affected my so much and him so little. Perhaps it is because he is able to feel what he feels in the moment, and then move on to deal with the next moment without nostalgia. I seem to be still processing my grief, and my son's picture a trigger for nostalgia and a reminder of what is lost.

50% of marriages?

There is a common stat bandied around is that 50% of marriages end in divorce. 

I got thinking about this recently, because most of the parents I come across at school actually seem to be living together. So I did some research.

It turns out that according to the ABS, the probability that a marriage beginning between 2000 and 2002 will end in divorce is 33%.

Not all of these marriages will have kids which means that my suspicion was right - most of the parents at the school my kids go to will have their parents together. ABS stats say that the percentage of single-parent families with kids under 15 is around 22% of all families with kids under 15.

So it seems that divorce is not as prevalent as I suspected; neither are the number of kids living in a home without both their parents.

I write this because this is my reality - I am a separated Father of two kids, and I think my initial thought was that half the kids at their school would be in a separated family. The truth is that they are in the minority, as am I.

This is neither good or bad in itself. It may be that many of the kids living with their original family would be better off if they were living with both parents separately. 

The take away for me is that because what I thought was common, is not actually as common as I thought, I need to ensure that my kids get what they need despite their different living arrangements.

Laundry List Item 33: All important decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient data

I have a decision to make. The details will be a little boring for many, and probably interesting for a few. It is about the school I send my kids too.

They currently go to a private, co-ed, primary school in a wealthy Melbourne suburb. The boys are happy there. The teachers seem nice. I don't have a problem with what they are being taught academically. My problem is with what they are being taught spiritually and the implicit cultural traits they are picking up on from the community that surrounds the school. 

My greatest desire for the boys is that they build the awareness to listen to themselves, the courage to act on what they hear, and the skills to execute well when they do act. My concern with the school they are going to is that while they will definitely develop some of the skills to execute well (for example reading, writing, maths, sport), they are not going to develop a clear understanding of who they uniquely are, nor are they going to have the courage to live out this truth. They are going to be more likely comparing them self to some external, false ideal of a person, building the same skills that everybody says they should, and think they have to do what everybody else is doing.

There are two other schools I am looking at that would seem to meet the three criteria. Based on what I have written it would seem like a no-brainer. However there are other factors running through my head, like cost, location, and disrupting the boys. 

Location can be solved through moving house, which I don't have a problem in doing, although the grandparents may object! Cost is a matter of deciding what I expect to be earning, and whether this is a good investment for the kids (as opposed to taking them overseas throughout their childhood). And I think disruption is better earlier on in school rather than later.

I have limited knowledge to make this decision. I don't know what the future will hold. I don't know what the school will be like on a day to day basis. I don't know how my boys will react to change. All I can do is evaluate and decide using the information I have available to me.

And that is what I shall do.

Fixing that which looks happy and content

My sons go to a private school. Mostly because of the journey I have been on this year, I am starting to think that it may not be a school that is aligned with my values, and the values I want my kids brought up with.

The school is actually a great environment. They seem to be loved. They seem to be cared for. And they are definitely happy. At the moment.

My concern is that as they progress through the ranks of this school they will become more influenced by the values of achievement and competition rather than curiosity and self exploration and expression.

I want my kids to have the best opportunity of being pushed and taught. Most of all though I want them to have the ability to listen to themselves, to ponder what they hear, and then to have the courage to live out their truth and bring their light to the world.

I am not sure this will happen at their current school, and I think I have found a school nearby where they will be able to develop these skills. They have had so much change in their life recently though that I wonder, is it going to be good for them or harm them, to introduce more change and move schools? I am yet to know the answer.