26 August 2010

Book Recommendation: Playing With Fire

I don't think I have done a plug for this book, Playing With Fire by Theo Fleury.  I must recommend it, of course it must come with a little warning.  Theo Fleury is very blunt in writing and explaining his story.  He lets emotions go loose, which lets you feel how he felt.

I did get to meet Theo at a book signing in Saskatoon.  It was well worth the 2.5 hour wait to say to him: "Thanks for writing this book for my clients."  Since at the time I was a Counsellor at a Sexual Assault Centre, and I was trying to let my male clients know that they were not alone.  It is a must read to understand the effect abuse, especially sexual abuse, has on ones life.

If you don't have time to read, I do recommend you watch the Fifth Estate episode by CBC called The Fall and Rise of Theo Fleury.

25 August 2010

Ask Dr. Elia: Can Love Be Rekindled?

Dear Dr Elia,
I have no feelings for my spouse anymore. I try to but we have grown apart. I am trying to be more interested, spend time and try to feel how I once felt. I am frustrated that I feel empty inside. Is there any way back? It would be a relief to not be married anymore, but I want to try before I go there.

Do Marriage Education Courses Work?

Having since recently run my own Daddy Class, I came across this blog of thought, discussing whether or not marriage courses work. That is do they provide long term results. Research has shown that these courses do provide short-term results.

This got me thinking if my course was effective. Of course, I would love to think it was. The feedback I received was all positive (except for the location). In the moment of the course, the participants felt they were getting useful information for parenting. However, how effective would what they learned be once the baby came along? I have no way of knowing.

The best judgement I can use is the old adage of: people will remember 10% if they read, 20% if they heard it, 50% if it was a discussion, and 90% if it is was a experience. It is sad to think of half of what was taught being forgotten.

This is why I emphasize in my class the support system web. I want individuals to be aware of who surrounds them, and who they can go to for help, and who is supportive. I let participants know that they are not the first person to have a first child, so there are a lot of people around them who can help.

Even though what is learned in class is of value, it is most important to rely on, and develop a supportive support system to help them get through the changes.

I would hope that aspect would help have long term effects, and just not short term.

I look forward to the research determining if such marriage classes (and other transition courses) are effective, because there sure are a lot of courses out there!

20 August 2010

Being a Good Neighbour in Your Neighbourhood

While I was working one day, I saw a woman drive into a pole.  She flattened her tire and damaged the driver side of her car.  It was an unfortunate sight.  She was obviously frustrated and upset with herself.  Just as she was going to get out of her car, a herd of about 20 teens walked by who had seen her accident.  They heckled, laughed at, and mocked her.  It was embarrassing to watch, let alone being in her position.  This was sad, teens living up to their “stereotype”.

Let’s imagine for a moment if these 20 teens had offered their help in changing her tire.  Maybe even looking to be sure that she was okay.  Imagine the power in that. Twenty teens assisting a woman who was in an accident.  What do you think that woman’s view of teenagers would be?  And all of those that witnessed this? I bet it would be amazing!  Instead, she had to wait for assistance from a company.

This got me thinking.  How are we towards our neighbours?  Do we offer our services to them in a time of need?  Or do we let organizations help them out while we sit back and watch? Do you even know the name of your neighbour?  Have you even said ‘Hi’ to them?  Let’s break down those walls that divide us.

The first thing you can do is break the ice with food.  If you have children, bake cookies or some treat with them.  Wrap them up and take the snacks, and your children who helped make them, over to your neighbour.  Food is a miracle worker.  Try to drop off the baked goods when they are home.

You can also perform acts of service.  If you share a driveway, shovel it.  If you share a front yard, mow it, rake it, and respect it.  Wave to them, and say ‘Hi’ when you see each other in passing.

Maybe you haven’t been a nice neighbour.  Own up, apologize, and give an offering of reconciliation.  Don’t yell.  Say please and thank you.  Don’t swear.  Be polite and civil. If you are nice to other people, they in turn will be nice to you, eventually.

Imagine what a neighbourhood would be like if we were all civil to eachother.  Imagine if every time someone moved in, the neighbourhood brought baked goods and introduced themselves.  How much more do you think that would mean to the new family moving in?  It would bring a bigger welcoming feeling than Welcome Wagon (which does do a great job of bringing the communities services to the new family).  It means a lot more to get welcomed into a city by people than by businesses.

Maybe it is time for you to go say “Hi. My name is…” to your neighbour.  They just might end up being your new friends.

17 August 2010

Remember You Are a Husband First

It is often fairly common in marriages that the children become the focal point of the relationship, and that the children are what hold the marriage together.

While it is important to spend time with your children, and invest in them, you need to spend time with your wife as well. You wouldn’t be the father you are, if you didn’t have your wife.

It is always a shame when men, when asked who they are, respond with a career position, followed by a church or volunteer position, than dad, and lastly (and sometimes not mentioned) husband. You are a husband, first and foremost. You need to love, care for, and nurture your relationship with your wife, the mother of your children. Again, you would not be a lot things in this world without the support of your wife.

There are several things that you can do to help you put your wife first:


Read the rest of the article at Notes on Parenting or Essential Fathers.

10 August 2010

Two Women Who Are Great Examples for Youth

I admire these two women greatly (yes their fame helped me find them, but they are great examples!). Lindsey Stirling and Torah Bright are great examples to youth, and both have shared their experiences recently.

Lindsey Stirling, the America's Gat Talent contestant who was recently voted off, writes about her feelings about being voted off the show.  She really provides an example of what matters most, and what is REAL in our lives. This can be found in her blog.

Torah Bright, the Olympic Gold Medalist in Half-Pipe Snowboarding, shares her views on letting kids be kids, and youth be youth.  She encourages youth to not grow up too fast.  This can be found on Otago Daily News.

Tips to get your Child Ready for Kindergarten

The transition to kindergarten can be quite an adjustment for children and parents.  Your little angel is now going to school.  Here are some steps, taken from education.com, to consider to prepare yourself for kindergarten.


Read the entire post on Notes on Parenting or Essential Fathers.

09 August 2010

Affair Proofing Yourself at Work

I recently went to a restaurant and saw and heard something frightening!  There was a man and a woman doing business over lunch.  Their conversation, at first, was about business.  However, after their meal, their conversation turned personal.  She started disclosing about her husband and the struggles that they were having.  This male colleague was being very sympathetic by listening to her issues.  However, I was having a little panic attack.  That woman’s marriage was at stake! This is how affairs get started, by confiding emotionally in someone else of the opposite gender besides your spouse.

Of course, an affair was probably not on her mind as she was disclosing.  She was probably feeling relief in sharing, and he probably thought he was being helpful by listening.  But is that not how relationships start?  You start talking about something that you have in common, and as you start trusting each other, you share more information about yourself.

This highlights how we need to be cautious in our work environment, especially as both partners participate in the workforce.

There are several things that you can do to keep your marriage safe while at work.

First, if you are having a business lunch meeting, try making it a group of three, instead of two.  That way the conversation may be prevented from entering into personal relationships.

Second, keep the appointment short. Just like the restaurant in California, In-N-Out.  You want to be in and out of your appointment.  One hour.  If you know you have one hour to meet, it will ensure that you only discuss business, because you have only an hour.  Use this rule, even if you do or do not have a third person.

Third, meet with your colleague in a public location.  Starbucks, Tim Hortons, or whatever it may be.  Meet in a high traffic area.  You will be less tempted to do things or talk about things you shouldn’t be talking about with all those ears potentially listening in.

Fourth, keep in touch with your spouse during the day.  A text, email, or phone call.  Just so that you can say, “I love you” or “thinking about you” during the day.  It will remind you of your family.

Fifth, seek help, if needed. If that last paragraph just drove you crazy. Or maybe you feel things are a little on the rocks.  Meet with a Counsellor or Therapist in confidentiality.  That way you can talk things through with an individual who will not become emotionally involved.

Sixth, establish safe people.  This is primarily for women, because they have much more of a need to talk then men.  Safe people are people okayed by your spouse that you can talk to about life.  It is only those people you can talk to.  It can be your best friend, mother, father, sister, cousin, whoever.  But it is only them that you can go to and talk to.

By doing these things, you can help protect your marriage.  You will be able to prevent yourself from being in a situation where you are disclosing too much information, or your colleague is disclosing too much.

06 August 2010

Siblings Make Life Sweeter

There was recent study released as part of the "Flourishing Families Project" at BYU.

The study found that siblings can provide a barrier of protection against depression & delinquency and promoted pro-social behaviours.

Read the full article in the Deseret News.
TheTransition to Fatherhood
Are you going to be a Father for the First Time?
Come learn about:
  • What your spouse/partner is going through
  •  What the baby is doing
  • The changes that are going to happen to your routine
  • How to handle the new responsibility

August 12 & 19, 6pm, at Westwood Public Library

Cost is $50 per person. Cost includes manual, take home materials, two two-and-a-half hour sessions, and in class materials.
All you need to bring is YOU!
To register or for more information contact Josh Lockhart

Funded in part by:
Canadian Home Economics Foundation

03 August 2010

Moving with Toddlers

As you and your spouse found out by having a child, life changes. Sometimes, life will change again so that you can provide for your family. This may require a move.  Also, you may need to move if you are finding your place too small for your growing family.

Moving can be hard on a toddler, even though they may not show it, because they are so resilient! Nonetheless, here are some suggestions for you to consider while moving.


***Having moved four times in the past year with my daughter, I decided to write this article***

02 August 2010

Lindsey Stirling: I Will Survive

"What I took away from this experience is that often times life will spin you in directions you didn’t expect. You can sit down and cry, you can run and hide…or you can dance. I am not the best example of this, and I am trying to do better because I know that happiness is a choice. You can’t control life but you can control how you react to it. In all of life’s craziness, find the joy in it. Even if you’re dancing to the wrong music in front of 2000 middle aged women…Dance Like No One’s Watching."
Read an experience that a contestant from America's Got Talent had on stage with her band.  It's funny, but it ends on an positive note of what we should do in our life when presented with a challenge.

Forgiveness: My Burden Was Made Light

This is a powerful story on Forgiveness.