10 Things I Want to Teach My Kid

School
Off to school to learn stuff. But there is so much that I want to teach him that you can’t learn in school.

We are only on this earth for so long.  We only have so many opportunities to learn from life, and we learn so much from our parents, and older relatives, and those that are supposed to be smarter than us.  It’s human nature.  We learn from and emulate those that set examples for us.  Those that we love, those that we trust, those that raise us.  Sometimes we learn about the type of person that we want to be, sometimes we watch them struggle with things and resolve never to have to deal with their issues ourselves.  Either way you look at it, either way it goes, it’s still learning something.

I have a 5 year old son.  I love him to pieces.  He is the most important thing in the world to me.  People come and go in your life.  But your children come from you and they will always be yours.  You will always bear some type of responsibility where they are concerned, and it is up to us as parents to do everything we can to give them a good start.  Good values, the ability to see what is right from what is wrong, and to be able to prioritize things in life so we don’t let trivial things get in the way of what is truly important.  We need to give them the tools to have good relationships, to treat people with respect and dignity, and to grow up to be aware individuals that will contribute in a meaningful way to society.

In order to do this, we need to teach them things.  By example and by just plain telling them and showing them how.  If I leave this world tomorrow if I get hit by a bus, or 50 years from now from natural causes (what I’m hoping for) or anything in between, there are things that I want to teach my kid before I go.  Lessons that I want him to learn from me, and from my example.

The top 10 things, in no particular order are:

1. Take risks.  Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.  If someone gives you an opportunity to do something, don’t stand back shaking your head because you’re scared.  Take the plunge and do things that are out of your comfort zone.  You’ll have a lot more regrets in life because of the things you didn’t do because you were scared than the things you did do.

2. Be responsible.  This ties in closely with taking risks.  Every little thing you do has an impact.  It impacts your life and the lives of those around you.  Always think about how your actions may reflect on others.  Think twice before you speak.  If it looks negative, think twice about it and tread very carefully.  Rely on your basic knowledge of right and wrong (which hopefully I will have taught you) when making decisions.  When you take the risks above, always be responsible and safe, never putting a whim ahead of your own safety or that of others.

3. Believe in something.  I’m raising you in the Catholic faith, as I was raised and your father  was as well.  I have you in Catholic school, take you to church, and pray with you every night.  This is my gift to you.  As you get older, your beliefs may change.  You may take different paths, begin believing in different things.  You may meet a girl (or boy – who knows?) that shows you a different way of life, a different type of faith, and that’s okay.  As long as you have something to believe in, somewhere to go, someone to pray to, a community to support you.  A good, solid belief system and set of values to live your life by, that teaches you to treat others as you want to be treated.

4. Look after yourself.  There may come a time in life where you may be alone.  You may move away from your family for a job or school, you may just live on your own sometime, doing your thing.  Know how to look after yourself.  Learn how to cook, how to do laundry (including how to properly fold a fitted sheet).  Learn how to properly clean a bathroom and remember to change your sheets once a week.  These are all important things that some people, men in particular (sorry guys, but it’s true!) never learn to do.  They wait for others to do it for them.  They eat out 4 days a week and survive on ramen noodles and Kraft Dinner the other days.  Learn to do things for yourself and you’ll never have to rely on others.

5. It’s okay to ask for and accept help.  This ties in with the above point.  While you should know how to look after yourself, it’s absolutely okay to ask for and accept help sometimes.  Sometimes you just can’t do it all alone.  Sometimes you just don’t want to do it all alone.  It’s okay to let someone you trust in to share the burdens life brings, both mental and physical.  There is no shame in it.  And chances are, those that love you will be more than happy to help if you only ask.

6. Never lose sight of who you are.  You will meet people in life that want you to change.  You know what?  Sometimes that’s okay.  Sometimes a change of behaviour is needed.  You’re not always right about everything.  There may be a better way of doing things.  But if someone asks you or tries to make you become someone you are not, or do something that goes directly against what you believe in, don’t be afraid to put on the brakes.  Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in and who you are and say – “I am who I am.  If you don’t love me for it, then love me in spite of it.  But don’t try to change the essence of me, because I’m worth being me.”  Healthy relationships are wonderful, but never let someone else define who you are.

7. Money isn’t everything.  We’ve all heard it before, and we’ve all rolled our eyes at it.  Sure, money doesn’t fix your problems but it sure helps to make life easier.  Which is true.  I’ve gone through financial difficulties, and I will admit – life is a lot easier to plan when you don’t have to worry so much about where your next dollar is coming from.  It’s important to plan for your future.  It’s important to be responsible enough to make sure your bills are paid and you’re saving for retirement.  But it’s also important to live life.  Treat yourself to indulgences every now and then if you can.  Have fun.  Do things.  Don’t wait until you’re 65 and filthy rich to start living life.  Live it every day and don’t have regrets.

8. Stay in school.  Education is everything.  It gives you opportunities, it opens doors.  Even when things get hard, find a way.  Finish.  If the opportunity is there, learn more.  Always keep your mind open to learning new things.  Read, read, read.  Read anything you can get your hands on.  Books, magazines, online or in print.  Worlds can be opened to you by reading, and it’s often free.  Always remain a student – in the classroom or in life.

9. Work hard and give your best in everything you do.  If you can look back and say “I did my absolute best” you will never regret not trying hard enough.  When you work hard, people see it and you go can places because of it.  Your work ethic and reputation will precede you wherever you go.  Work hard and live up to it.

10. Love DOES conquer all.  Love people.  Allow yourself to be loved.  A safe, healthy, loving relationship is one of life’s greatest gifts.  Don’t shut yourself off from those who love you, no matter how easy it may be to do so.  Sometimes love is hard.  Sometimes it’s about loving someone so much that you realize that you need to let them go in order for you both to be happy – because together it just doesn’t work.  Don’t be afraid or shy to show your love.  Love your friends, and tell them you love them.  If someday you are blessed with children, make sure they know every night when they rest their head on their pillow that they are the most precious thing in the world to you.  Give love freely, and accept it freely…….especially from your mother.  😉

Just 10.  There are so many more.  And so many more that he has taught me or reminded me of in his five years.  Maybe that will be what my next post is about.

A Different Kind of Flash Mob

It soothes the heart and soul.
It soothes the heart and soul.

 

 

 

 

 

We all know I love music.  I wrote a post about it here.  Beautiful music is such a gift, and if you really think about it – it’s a truly amazing thing.  It makes my eyes fill up every time.  I’m a sap…I know it.

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you have a great Friday, and a great weekend.  I thought I would leave you with this for the weekend.  It’s a flash mob of a different kind.  What I would give to actually be walking by when something like this happens.  Take five minutes to watch this video.  Whether you’re a music fan or not, you can’t deny the awesomeness here.

Summer Vacation – First Update

 

 

Good Tuesday Morning! Second official day of vacation, but technically, I've been off since Friday. It feels good. It's nice, because for the first time in recent memory, Joe and I have vacation at the same time.

So what have we been up to? Keeping busy I guess. The weather has been so so up to this point, but I'm hoping it turns around. Saturday was Nicholas' last day of soccer and it was downright cold. Yesterday we went to visit our friend Jolene in St Catherines and went all tourist to Niagara Falls. I haven't been tourist there for many years unless you count when Joe and I went in October for our anniversary, and we didn't really do anything touristy then. Nicholas has never been to Niagara Falls before, so we thought this would be a good opportunity for him to experience some of it.

Needless to say, he thought it was pretty cool. All our talk about the “big waterfall” didn't really prepare him for how big Niagara Falls is. Even after seeing it as many times as I have, it still fascinates me.

One thing I never got to do in all the times I have visited Niagara, is go on the Maid of the Mist. I did the Journey Behind the Falls as a kid with my family, but we never made it on the boat. Perhaps because every time we went growing up it was in the summer time, and the waits were too long. This time, I did a bit of research about it and decided that we were going. I wanted to see it, and I wanted Nicholas to see it. I knew he would love it.

So we did. It was awesome.

The wait wasn't too bad. Maybe a half hour or so. The view while we waited was pretty great.

 

 

And the boat ride itself was amazing. Nicholas loved it.

 

You really don't realize how massively fantastic The Falls are until you see them from this angle. It makes you realize exactly how small we are compared to this natural wonder.

It was pretty amazing. I highly recommend it.
So yesterday the weather was crap, and after a busy weekend, we pretty much took it easy. We vegged out, and I watched most of a season of How I Met Your Mother – which I have just discovered, and am totally loving by the way.
I love vacation. Whether we do everything, or absolutely nothing at all, it's pretty great. And sitting here on a Tuesday morning, with most of the week still laid out before me, the possibilities are endless. We'll see where we end up.
I'll keep you posted. 😉

 

Summer’s Here

Copyright 2013 - Aaron Pellerin
Copyright 2013 – Aaron Pellerin

I’ve spent some time away from this blog.  I’ve been journaling a bit lately, but that’s it.  There’s lots of stuff going on, but at the same time I feel like I don’t have anything to write, and I don’t want to put stuff out there unless it means something – at least to me.  

So summer is here.  Beach and pool season is upon us.  Time ticks on…it literally seems like yesterday that it was Christmas, and a week ago that my son started school.  Now we’re into July, his first year of school is over, and he’ll be entering Senior Kindergarten in September.  Full days, every day.  It’ll be a big adjustment for him, and for us.  I think we’ll all do fine though.

Summer is my official favourite time of year.  I always used to say that Fall was my favourite season, and it is definitely up there, but in the last few years, my family and I have started frequenting the beach, and I have to say – summer has stolen my heart.

The beach never used to be a big deal for me.  I hated the sand caught in everything, the having to walk and carry everything from your car parked a mile away down to the water, the semi-clean lake, the buff bikini bods prancing around everywhere making you wish you had brought more towels to cover yourself with.  Also, most of the beaches we went to got deep fairly quick so I spent the majority of the time listening to my mother shout: “Bring it in Danielle!  A little closer to shore!!”  I’m quite a strong swimmer, but she is not, so it definitely worried her when I was too far out of her reach.  Even as I got older.

All that has changed in the last couple of years.  Nicholas was born in May, so honestly, he didn’t get out into the pool too much during his first year.  Since you’re not supposed to put sunscreen on kids less than 6 months old, I spent the majority of that first summer in the shade, making sure his sensitive baby skin wasn’t overexposed to the suns rays.  His second summer was a little better, we spent some time in my parents’ pool, but again, he was so little, that the majority of the time in the water was spent with me holding him and the rest of the time was spent with me worrying that he would fall in the water.  Very nerve wracking. I was identifying with my Mother and how worried she always was about me.

The last couple of years though, we have discovered the beach.  One Saturday we just packed up the car, and took a drive out to Kettle Point to spend the day.  Now let me tell you a little about Kettle Point that makes it perfect, and how it gets past some of the crappy beach stuff that I listed above.  First of all – the sand thing – well, it’s a beach, so there’s no really getting rid of that.  But it’s harder packed sand, so it does cut down a bit on the sand getting into everything.

Another nice thing about this beach is that you drive right up to the water.  A totally new concept for me, you just simply drive your vehicle across the sand, and up to the water.  Pop open your trunk or hatch filled with all your beach stuff, and badda bing, badda boom, you’re done!  No carting all your stuff for miles before you get to the water.  It’s great.  It’s also filled with lots of families, not just the young, buff, “look at me” crowd.

The best thing though, and the reason why I love to take my son there, is that it stays shallow forever.  There is no sudden drop, and you can walk out quite a while before the water even hits your waist.  This is awesome for kids, and I can sit comfortably by the water’s edge and let my son play (luckily he doesn’t venture too far on his own yet) without worrying that he is going to fall into the pool.  I still make him wear his PFD and I along with whoever is with me watch him like a hawk, but he is perfectly content to play in the shallow water and play with the waves as they come in.

The beach has become a source of great joy for me and for my family.  I can literally sit for hours in the non-humid climate, letting the breeze hit me and soak up vitamin D.  The sound of the water is so soothing for me, it is truly my happy place.  Last year I took a vacation day from work, and I spent the entire afternoon at Kettle Point, all by myself.  I sat and read, listened to music, watched the water, swam a bit, probably nodded off a bit.  It was awesome for me and I totally plan to do it again this year.

We’ve made it to the beach once so far this year, and have several plans to go again.  Nothing beats that first breath of air that hits you when you first step out of the car onto the sand.

Do you love summer?  Are you a beach or pool person?  Or would you rather be snowshoeing? Please feel free to hit up the comments.

Have a great summer – and don’t forget your sunscreen.  The sun is awesome, but we must respect it the same way we do the water.

What’s so bad about Religion? Yeah…I’m going there.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis

Today, 115 Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church elected this man to be our next pope.  Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina.  The first pope of the modern era that is not European.  The first ever Latin American pope.  The first pope to take his name after one of the most beloved figures in the Catholic Church – St. Francis of Assisi.

I’m not really up on my Cardinals, so I didn’t know much about this man before he stepped out onto the balcony to bless the people in St. Peter’s square.  The more I learn about him, the more I think I like him.  He seems to me like he is a humble man, not much one for luxury, seeming to prefer a more simple life.  We will see where his leadership takes us, and he is in my prayers and in the prayers of many I’m sure as he takes the leadership role of the Church in a time where there are many uncertainties, and a Church that seems divided.  This man has his work ahead of him, and I hope his papacy is one that each and every Catholic can be proud of.

I had been watching the “chimney cam” along with billions across the globe, waiting for the white smoke to signify the new pope.  I was quite excited to see the white smoke come out of the chimney.  When Pope Benedict the XVI was elected back in 2005, social media wasn’t as prevalent as it is in today’s society.  It certainly wasn’t in 1978 when Pope John Paul II began his papacy.  Today, we weren’t just watching on TV, or listening to the radio.  We were watching live feeds streaming over the internet.  Checking the “conclave” app on our iPhones.  Watching our Twitter streams and Facebook news feeds.  The moment the white smoke started, we were literally getting notifications.  Social media is wonderful as it keeps us up to date on what’s going on, and allows us to share our thoughts and feelings with our family, friends and peers.

It’s this last part that has me troubled.  Along with the “shouts of joy” that I read celebrating the vote, there were some vile and ignorant, downright rude comments as well.

I believe in freedom of speech.  I believe that everyone has a right to their opinion.  However expressing your opinion in a way that resorts to name calling and hurting other people is inappropriate and rude.  I know I don’t have to read your posts.  I know that if I don’t like what you have to say, I can simply keep scrolling, or if it offends me enough, I can unfriend you.  But why should I have to?

This is a blog about food.  It’s also a blog about books.  It’s a place where I post funny videos, pictures, and talk about things that are important to me.  This is not a political blog, or a religious one.  But if I’m to talk about things that are important to me, I’m going to go there.

I am a cradle Catholic.  Born, baptized as an infant, and raised.  I attended a Catholic elementary and high school, and for the most part, have attended church every Sunday for most of my life.  I have had times where I haven’t been as good about that as others, but I always end up coming back.  My faith has helped me through a lot of very difficult times throughout my life and I am thankful for it.

I believe in God.  I believe in the teachings of my church.  I think that in a lot of ways, my church has got things right.  I think abortion is wrong.  I believe in life from conception to natural death. (I don’t want to debate this here, I know that there are many people who disagree, and this isn’t about that.)  I also believe that there are a lot of things that are consistent with today’s society that the Catholic Church has not modified their stance on.  Gay marriage, contraception, pre-marital sex, are examples of these.  I am a very tolerant person.  I believe we are all equal.  I have a hard time believing that God is going to condemn a good person to burn in hell for simply loving someone else – just because they are the same gender.  But that is my opinion, and again, I’m not going to debate all these finer points with anyone.  That’s not the point of this post, and I won’t let anyone make it the point.

My problem is people that have such a problem with God, or with Catholics in general, Jewish people in general, Muslims in general.  I believe in the teachings of the Catholic faith.  This does not mean that I think Jewish people are idiots, or that Muslims and Buddhists are morons.  Or that Atheists and Agnostics are ridiculous.  Part of being a human being is to accept others, their faiths, and try to learn from them, no matter their beliefs.  Many people say that God and religions start wars.  I don’t believe this to be true.  God does not start war.  People start wars.  People with misconstrued visions of God, and of religion, that can use their faith as an excuse to wage war on others.  People blame God for many things, but it is not God, but the stupidity of man that has gotten us into the situation we are in.

There are a lot of horrible things that have happened throughout the years surrounding different religions.  People who have died and killed many in the name of God.  Scandals of many kinds in the church.  Horrible child abuse scandals.  These are bad, no doubt about it.  There aren’t words to describe how bad.  I believe that these men should be tried by the law, as many of them are nowadays, and the fact that they wear a collar should not protect them from this.  What we need to realize is that the Church, as are all religions, are run by humans.  Simply humans.  Not all priests molest little boys.  In fact, I think it’s safe to say that the majority of them don’t.  One priest, one person who abuses is too much.  But to quote a friend, don’t paint everyone with the same brush.  I have met some priests that are wonderful, God fearing, loving, intelligent men.  I find it hard to believe that any man has entered the priesthood for any reason other than they were called by God and had answered that call.

We need to stop looking at each other and judging each other based on the faith that we practice and start looking at each other as humans, and respecting each others beliefs.   If everyone just stopped for 10 seconds, and thought about that, who knows, maybe there would be fewer wars.  I know for sure that there would be fewer people pissed off in social media.

Hatred feeds hatred.  Love feeds love.

Peace.

Grateful – #blessedin2013

What a wonderful outlook to have.
What a wonderful outlook to have.

Way too often, we let all the crap that happens in life bring us down.  Sometimes life is hard.  Sometimes it’s really, really hard.  There is no doubt that everyone today has something or other to deal with.  Something that keeps us from saying “life is perfect.”

Yes, sometimes life sucks.  And sometimes we look around us and we feel like we are alone in our misery and that no one understands.  Trust me when I say that is not true.  We all have times of despair, and if you feel bad, all you have to do is look around to find someone that has it as bad or worse, who has been there before, or will go there someday.  No one is immune.

In the meantime, it certainly helps to look around you and count your blessings.  Remember all the good things you have in life to be thankful for.  I made a New Years resolution this year, to post on Twitter every single day of 2013 something in my life that I’m grateful for.  I’m going to use the hashtag #blessedin2013.  I’m sure that some will be profound, but others may be as simple as someone thinking about me or doing something for me in a tiny little way that made my day better.

Life is hard sometimes.  As human beings I truly believe it’s in our nature to care.  To care about what happens to us, and to other people.  It affects us.  But if you stop and add up all the good things in your life it helps.  It may not take away all the bad stuff, but it may help make that bad stuff just a bit more bearable.

I wish you all the best in 2013.  I hope it is an amazing year, filled with wonderful things.  I hope you’ll join me over on Twitter and remember for yourself all the great things you have to be grateful for.

#blessedin2013