I remember seeing him in the freezing mornings covered in a blanket, on his knees in deep prayer and meditation.
I remember watching him shave every morning.
I remember being subject to his firm, yet loving discipline.
I remember his terrible jokes.
I remember watching his hair going grey and receding.
I remember being able to hear him clear his throat in the shower every morning.
I remember a man who, in retrospect, made very difficult decisions to lead his household in holy and righteous ways.
I remember a man who would take punch after punch to drag his children out of the gates of hell.
I am blessed to have this man, who called me his own, even though I wasn’t. This man who took responsibility for me in every way, and to the best of his capacity. A man who still does this, even to this day.
Yes, I am talking about my step-dad, a man whom I have absolute respect and love for.
Despite these rich blessings, he wasn’t, and never will be my dad. Even though he loves me like a son, and offers me the same rights and privileges as all his children, he is not, and will never be my dad.
There are some that have been arguing that all a child needs is love. That love is love. And who can argue against the fact that a child needs love to bloom and flourish?
My dad was taken from me by cancer, but I am still blessed to not have my heritage withheld from me. I am still blessed to know my dad’s family – uncles, cousins, extended family. I can look at a family photo and see exactly where I fit in. I can see the classic Vidins traits in my brothers, my uncles, my cousins, my niece and nephew. I know where I’m from. I know where half my roots lie, where half my heritage is from.
I can’t imagine what it would be like not to know half my story. To look in the mirror and only have half the picture. To look at a family tree and not know half the roots, or half the branches. To not know the heritage, faith, ideals, quirks of half your family. To be robbed of being able to make up your own mind on your identity.
Love was never in question when I grew up. I got it in spoonfuls from my mum, my dad, my step dad and a host of extended family on all three sides of my family. I never had a deficit of love. I just didn’t have my dad. I remember snippets and snapshots, I’ve got second hand stories and a his smile when I look in the mirror. I’ve got his name on my birth certificate and his ears sticking out of my head.
To say that all a child needs is love robs a child. A child needs their mum, and their dad. They need the good, the bad and the ugly. To be able to make up their own mind on the bits they’ll keep, the bits they’ll learn from, the bits they’ll challenge and the bits they’ll cherish.
Love might be love, and my life has been greatly enriched by people that continue to love me. I’m thankful and blessed and gracious for all the love I’ve received. I guess when you boil it down, I just miss my dad.
Love whoever you want. Marry whoever you want. To be honest, I couldn’t care less if you prefer Adam or Eve. Just don’t rob a child from their right to have their mum and dad.
The child confessing they did break the vase.
The wife admitting she did spend money at the Tupperware party.
The husband coming clean on eating the last bit of chocolate.
Admitting to your mother that you are, infact, going to get a motorbike.
Coming clean. Breaking the news. ‘Fessing up. That feeling inside of you when you know you have to say it. I don’t think there’s any easy way sometimes to do it.
It could be something as benign as confessing to your mum that you are doing your motorbike test tomorrow. It could be something way more serious like gambling away your pay (which I have not done).
There’s a stack of ways – often strange ways – people ‘come clean’. Sometimes it just builds up and out of the blue, they blurt it out. “I’ve been having an affair” – dropping the bombshell no one saw coming. Others leave hints, aching to get caught so someone else brings up the topic – leaving paper trails of stealing from work for example. Others still brag in their breach of trust.
Some turn to a confession to alleviate their guilt, or get something off their chest. Some don’t deal with it at all, burying the hurt, anger or shame in a sea of sex, drugs, workaholism or the bottle.
Even more sadly, some leave it until it’s too late to confess, writing down their shame on the ‘final note’ before ending it all.
I’ve heard people spill their beans online, often anonymously on websites such as postsecret.com
Now hear me out, I’ve got nothin’ really to confess. I mean, perhaps something as benign as casually telling my mum I’ll be on two motorized wheels within days, but nothing really bad!
I’m interested – if you had something to say, to get off your chest, how might you do it? I’m not after details or anything. It could be something as simple and really nothing major like telling your mum you’re getting your motorbike licence. It may be a situation you did find yourself in – where you confessed – what was the outcome? Did things turn out well? Badly? Worse? Tell me in the comments below!
Pic from http://breakupcookbook.com/?page_id=440
Have you ever read a form guide? A form guide tells you about the horse or dogs racing in a particular race, the odds for the current race, the animal’s racing history and often some notes. It might say a dog races well on dryer tracks, or a horse is slower in shorter distances.
You read a form guide to back a winner on the races. You look at the animals history, how it’s been training, the trainers notes and the odds it has for winning.
Have you ever thought what would be written about you on your form guide?
I’m going to be honest here. Really raw and really honest.
My form guide would be a litany of failure and loss. I’m a terrible student at uni. I think my career has stalled. I procrastinate terribly. I’ve made mistakes in the relationships in my life and hurt the ones I’ve loved. I over eat. I’m terrible at future planning.
I wouldn’t back me – not for anything important anyway.
I’ve been reminded lately, however, of someone that’s read my form guide and does not read what I read.
Someone that’s known me from even before the beginning. That knows me intimately, but still backs me 100%.
Almost every night, I sing a song to my son as a lullaby called ‘Softly and Tenderly’. Johnny Cash sings a pretty sweet version of it and I’d encourage you to have a listen, if you’ve got time. It’s an old hymn, the words are in the old style. The message, however, is as beautiful today as it was penned all those years ago.
Y’know, Jesus didn’t come for those who had their life together. He didn’t come to those who had everything sorted out. He came for those with terrible form guides. For those with a history of failure. For those who don’t see how they can win another race. He came for me and he came for you.
He’s got a race that he wants you in. He knows your history and he wants to be in your future.
What’s your form guide got in it? Brokenness? Failure? Loss? Disappointment? Jesus knows all about it. He gave it all – his whole life in fact – so you can be on his team.
Y’know, you could read this and think this Jesus mumbo jumbo just ain’t for you, and if that’s the case, I totally respect that.
He wants you on his team cause he loves you. He cares not for your past – he wants to be in your future. He’s backing you because he knows your a winner. He wants to put abundant life in your form guide from here on in.
Image from http://www.brc.com.au/brc/racing/form-guide/
There’s no end of parenting advice and parenting theories out there. Many have their merits, their quirks, their cons.
Let’s not beat around the bush. If you’re a deliberate parent, you’re probably going to take the role more seriously and your kids are probably going to turn out better. Pretty much most parenting theories, when applied properly, will have some sort of positive impact. Engaged parents usually produce engaged, healthy kids.
Pretty much every parenting theory I’ve seen follows the same formula.
Vidins is here to decode the formula for you.
1/ Every parenting theory will criticize your parents.
They’ll use sympathetic lines like ‘your parents probably did the best they could, BUT’, or ‘you probably think that because you turned out all right, your parents ways were probably right too’. They’ll probably also bring up something gendered like dad spanked us and mum scolded us.
Don’t fall for the tricks!
These parenting theories do this to lure you into a false sense of security and try to make you pity your parents. Here’s the rub. You’re a parent and you want the best for your kids, right? Well your parents wanted the best for you, too. Are you saying that their method of parenting wasn’t good enough, or hip enough for you? Fo’ shame! Your parents loved you! It would be dishonouring to them not to emulate their parenting style!
Don’t believe the latest thing. Believe the genuine thing.
2/ Discipline Shmicipline.
Without a doubt, most ‘modern’ parenting theories will talk about discipline. They’ll probably talk about setting boundaries, naughty corners, time-outs and reinforcing good behaviour. All good things, by the way. All good if you have good children.
But you don’t have good children.
You have naughty children.
Very naughty children.
Tantrum in the shopping centre children.
Rice-bubbles all over the floor children.
You’re at your wits end. That’s why you’re watching a parenting DVD or reading a parenting book.
Most days you can’t decide if you want to put your kids up for adoption or drown them in the river.
Time outs? Give me a break! More like ‘time out to recharge the batteries to give mum more hell’.
Parents, it does not matter what the theories say, it’s ok to take to your kids backsides with a wooden spoon. Daily, if need be.
Your kids will learn. Oh yes, they will learn.
3/ Bring the Bible into it.
Now I can’t say for sure with the Muslims, or the Hindus or Buddhists, or even Sikhs, but I know for sure that a stack of Christian parenting theories will bring something of the Bible into the fold. The Bible is used to explain how you should talk to your kids, set boundaries, discipline, ethics, morality, faith (obviously).
Now, don’t take this the wrong way, but when it came to Jesus, God had it pretty easy in the parenting department, apart from the whole dying on the cross thing. Jesus, fully man yet fully God never sinned, never threw a tantrum (except for that time in the Temple with the tables), never said ‘NO!’. When he got lost, he didn’t run away to do something naughty – he just hung out at the Temple. You can’t tell me that that’s parenting a strong-willed child.
There’s a stack of excellent life advice in the Bible – not just for parenting, but pretty much every area of your life. Just be wary when select half verses are used to spiritualise an aspect of parenting.
4/ You’ll damage your children if you don’t use this theory
Inevitably, the parenting theorist will criticize all the other parenting theories out there. They will be to prescriptive, to disciplinarian, to libertarian, to permissive, not loving enough, not disciplining enough blah blah blah.
You know who parenting theories damage the most? Parents! Lofty ideals, impossibly high standards, impractical ideas and experts with picture perfect kids do damage to parents!
So what’s the modern parent to do? Stop reading parenting books or watching parenting DVD’s? Of course not! You could read through a whole parenting book and get one bit of gold that helps you on your parenting journey.
You have to find what works well for you and your family.
So my advice? Well for $25.99 plus postage and handling, I can send you my exclusive parenting DVD with the latest theory on parenting and childhood development, backed up by scientific research and endorsed by a real church minister!
I’ve just bought a house and will be moving next week. It’s a very exciting time for me and my family! We’ve told our extended family and shared some photos on Facebook. We’ve had a look through home decorating magazines and catalogues for ideas to personalise our home and garden. We are very, very excited!
One of the most amazing things about life is sharing it with those you love. Your family. Your friends.
You would probably have people in your life that you miss – children that have moved away, parents that have passed on, friends you’ve lost along the way.
What I’ve been thinking about is who misses you?
Could it be a new girl or boyfriend, anxiously waiting your call or message in the evening, missing you even though you’ve just seen each other during the day?
Could it be the child who’s run away, and has a parent searching, missing, wishing they’d come home?
Could it be the old friend, wishing he’d never said those words, just missing his old mate.
Who’s missing you?
Who’s waiting by their letter box, waiting for a letter from you?
Is there someone who still checks their phone, hoping for a text from you?
Is there an old mate of yours out there, just wanting to have a beer with you one more time?
I bet there are people out there that miss you. They don’t need to know all the intimacies of your life, they just want to be part of it.
I’m going to challenge you. Send that text. Pick up the phone. Write (and send) that letter. Go out for that drink. Because you know what’s worse than being missed? It’s not being missed.
I’ve met many, many people that have been positively impacted by school chaplains. I’ve met a number of school chaplains – amazing, dedicated, loving people. Hardly ‘religious nutters’ that many in the media would have you believe. I’ve heard teachers rave about the support they’ve been provided by their school ‘chappie’. I’ve seen kids lives improved by the input the school chaplain has had. I’ve seen congregations get around and support financially, spiritually and practically chaplains in their area.
There’s no hiding my Christian faith. From the get-go, I’d love there to be a positive Christian influence in every school. There is no doubt that chaplains do an amazing role in our schools, for all members of the school community.
I’m not here to slight school chaplains or Christianity one bit. Not one iota.
Here’s what I don’t like. Taxpayer money used for school chaplains.
‘Say what?’ I hear you say!
That’s right. I don’t agree with taxpayer money being used to fund a program that is ‘church’ based.
I read a great article on school chaplaincy outlining how school chaplains are funded and some of the rules that ‘govern’ chaplaincy in school. It was common-sense and I loved it. You could even argue that it softened my stance on this issue (but not enough to change my mind!).
You’ve probably picked up from some of my other writings that I’m a bit of a libertarian.
A weapon you use is a weapon you that can be used against you. There’s no doubt that a chaplain enters a school with the love, light and spirit of Christ. Yes, they are bound by regulation, but I truly believe that every chaplain serves and loves their school community as Christ loves all mankind. They provide practical, emotional and mental support to their school communities. All good so far. But what’s stopping legislation change to allow a ‘witchcraft’ chaplain? Or a Muslim chaplain? What’s stopping a practicing Satanist to become a chaplain, should legislation change to allow it? Christians can’t argue for funding for them at the exclusion of funding for others.
I’m not arguing for Christian influences to be removed from schools. There’s no doubt in my mind that at least the basics of our Judeo-Christian heritage be taught. It’s the bedrock of our or social and legal system. If nothing else from a historical perspective, our children should be taught the importance faith and religion has had in shaping our culture.
Here’s what I think.
As with many other community organisations such as the Salvation Army, the Smith Family and a myriad of others (who do an EXCELLENT job, I might add), the school chaplain program is essentially a Band-Aid solution to a much bigger problem.
As I’ve argued before (and you can read an excellent essay here which give you an insight on my thoughts), school chaplains, welfare officers, community development programs, homeless programs, social welfare programs and alike are trying to fill a huge hole in society. The family hole.
Nothing strengthens an individual, a society and a nation like a strong, stable family. A family where each member is committed to each other, that laughs, cries and supports each other.
Anecdotally, the main group of children that school chaplains seem to support are children from broken or abusive families. ‘Families’ where mum has multiple boyfriends, dad is a name on a Child Support letter and siblings are moved around on a whim. Families where the Government has become the main breadwinner, but unlike a loving parent, the state can’t set rules for everyday behaviour, read to your children or tuck them in at night.
There has been a huge increase in independent Christian schools. You’ve probably read about the ongoing debate for Federal funding on these schools. As a disclaimer, I send my children to an independent Christian school. It’s been my experience that the parents that send their children there do so not just for the faith-based education (whilst that’s usually high on the priority list), it’s because the children that go there have families that mirror theirs. The children usually have parents that are together, who put their money where their mouth is in relation to education and families where one or both parents work.
What has this done? It’s sucked a stack of middle-class Christian families out of the state education system. It’s changed the demographic of state schools to the point where many parents (and not just Christian ones) don’t want to send their children to the schools in their catchment area as it’s too different to what they are used to – either ethnically or socio-economically. So what’s left at state schools? Dedicated teachers trying to teach students that, for the most part, have parents not engaged in their kids education and children not engaged with learning. School becomes a babysitter.
So now we have high-schools where a chaplain is dealing with students who self harm. They are trying to help the child who’s dad has pissed up the fortnights dole cheque and now don’t have money for breakfast. They are trying to find emergency accommodation for the girl who’s mums new boyfriend bounced her off the wall. There’s hardly any Christian families left in the state school system. A few, but certainly less than there was. Kids are growing up with kids who don’t actually know a family where mum and dad are married, love each other and are committed to each other. Where’s that community the school could traditionally turn to when a family is doing it tough, when a meal is needed because a dad is out of work, or a group of mums that pooled together uniforms for the clothing pool? They are all at the independent Christian school.
So now we have two problems.
First, we don’t (and shouldn’t have, and shouldn’t need to have) taxpayer funding for a faith group to support someone to go into these schools to support them.
Second, and more importantly, we have a generation growing up in broken families.
What can we do about this? What can you do about this?
pic from children-uninterested-in-religion–but-churches-determined-to-bring-them-into-the-fold
Checking in before you check out. A guide to retirement villages.
Harvey Bay. Heaven’s Waiting Room.
Last call for drinks – a hospital food service attendant tells all
1950’s. When ‘Darkie’ was an observation, not a criticism.
Open hand or wooden spoon? Your guide to modern parenting.
Spoonning. What do you do with that awkward boner?
Twitter, because there’s bound to be someone out there who’s interested in your inane, boring thoughts.
‘Cool post’ and other lies you write on Facebook
‘Hide relationship status’ – Zukerberg’s gift to cheaters.
You look 34 seconds older in this selfie, compared to the last selfie
I’m interested in all the blogs that you haven’t written, but really want to.