As happy as a lark

20110710_df1_20110607_1022_060-065 skylark singing in flight (selected) 09-14 of 16 (sequential impression montage @ 7fps)(r+mb id@768)

Thanks to http://www.moorhen.me.uk for the pretty pic

Being a father makes me happy as a lark.  I simply love being a Dad.  It remains one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever attempted to do. Attempted, as I’m still busy trying to figure it out.  Winging it, so to speak.  Fortunately for us, our little birdies haven’t flown the coop. They still snuggle under our wings.  There has not been a need for them to spread their own.  Wings, that is. Continue reading

The good old days

Older people always reminisce about the good old days. About how great things were back in the day.  They can’t help but comment on how different things are today. ‘Different’ being used as a synonym for “it’s-really-gone-to-shit”, off course.

As kids we were bombarded by tales and urban legends of how awesome and simple things were when our parents grew up.  We used to roll our eyes when they would start to talk about all the stuff they did, around the time when dinosaurs roamed earth.

For everything we don’t know about the meaning of life, the one thing we do know is that life has a twisted sense of humour.  And the more things change, the more they stay the same. Continue reading

Lessons from Fathers

One of my dearest friends lost her father two weeks ago and my sympathetic heart is nothing compared to the turmoil and sadness they have to live with in the aftermath of this tragedy.  It’s agonizing to see them having to deal with the fact that there is a big gaping hole in their hearts.  My friends are facing a future without a father, their kids lost a grandfather and their soft-spoken mother lost the love of her life.

Sitting in the memorial service, fighting back the sadness whilst facing my own mortality, thoughts drifted to both my fathers, who I am blessed to still have in my life.  (Biological and in-lawed) During the service a testimony was given of a great man who loved nature, his dogs and knew how to crack a joke.  A generous man who left a mark on everyone he met, especially his children.  Who taught them many things, just like every other father does every day of his life.  Teaching lessons to their children without even realizing that they are. Continue reading

This is 40…Round 2

In an on-going series of dispersing 40 titbits of wisdom in anticipation of my own turning later this month (21 days and counting), please find the next 5 thingies I’m listing for the ignorant and desolate out there.  I’m here to help.

(Ok, it’s actually for my kids…)

6. Start a blog.  Surprised? You shouldn’t be.  Having a blog is an essential part of achieving total fulfilment and a real tangible sense of self worth.   Sadly, I only discovered this invaluable tonic a year ago, but alas, life is not about when you acquire wisdom, it merely requires that you do.  Acquire. Wisdom.

7. Don’t burn any bridges.  And this implies to all aspects of life, work, friendship and relationships.  Life has a very odd sense of humour and just when you think you become invincible; you’ll be confronted with someone that has grown a black heart; for you screwed them over in some way.  Do you really want to meet the Wicked Witch of the West on a sunny Tuesday morning, only to discover that you were the reason why her heart withered away?  She might even turn around and release a whole army of winged apes on your sorry ass.

8. Don’t take selfies.  And please don’t post them.  Ah dad… bought a camera and would be more than happy to use my limited knowledge of photography and capture your best pose, and then edit it with Photoshop.  If the airplane ticket is included in the request, I am prepared to fly anywhere.  (Except Nigeria, Papua New Guinea and the Ivory Coast for  I’ve been there and it sucks.)  I refuse to take a pic whilst you’re doing some arbitrary thing like eating ice cream, hanging on a door or shoving your butt in my face.  You’re a girl?  You’ll do it without a shirt?  Well, that just chances everything. Call me.

9. People can be real assholes sometimes.  If you believe this to be true, just remember you’re a people too.  And nobody’s perfect so chances are you have also had a moment, or probably more than one, where you have allowed your little dark hole at the back to do the talking for you.  Don’t judge to harshly.

10.  Love and respect your parents, for they pay your pocket money and provide food, and when you’re old enough to earn income of your own, pay it back.  (I’m only kidding…  Unless you insist…)  Anyhow, just understand that the rule will continue to apply; for parents will become cheap (read as free) babysitters for the mongrels that is yet to be birthed from your loins.  Take care.  It will be worth it.

There it is, my second set of snippets, done.  Another five things I’ve learned whilst spending time breathing oxygen.

Life changing stuff hey?

(Missed out on Round 1?  No worries. It’s here.)

Can the real men please stand up?

I am disgusted, dissapointed and frankly speaking, sligtly pissed off.  All because of a wellknown sportstar who doesn’t know how to treat woman.  And I don’t care how mad she made him or whatever else she might have done it is no excuse to randomly shoot her.  My friggin goodness, did it really happen?

I know the investigation is still ongoing but the Bladerunner remains the suspect in a murder case and as the facts are surfacing, it is not painting a pretty picture.  Awful revelations such as the fact that she was hiding in the toilet when she was shot four times.  It remains a terrible tragedy. And it happened the day before South Africans wore black on Black Friday, an initiative to show support for woman and children who has become victims of violence.

I always believed that the role of men was to protect their families and cherish their wives.  To treat them like the jewels in our crown, like the delicate flowers  that they are.   It is not a chauvinistic view of woman being the weaker sex, for my wife is the rock of my life.  My anchor to keep me firmly grounded.  It is about the role of man to respect them, love them, support them and above all NOT.TO. HURT. THEM. In a country where a woman is raped every 17 seconds, yes this is not a typo, it is heartbreaking to see another woman dying at the hands of man.  And yes it does make it worse the fact that he is a wellknown sportstar.  It is disgraceful.  I don’t care what the scenario is, you may never, never, ever raise your hand to a woman.

Charlize Theron, our very own Oscar winner, was the face of a campaign  a few years ago that said: Real men don’t rape.  I think it goes further than that, real men don’t hurt woman or children. Thinking ourselves to be  the stronger sex, do we really need to proof our manhood with violence? I am wondering how many real men is still out there today?  As the father of a young woman I want to ask: CAN THE REAL MEN PLEASE STAND  UP?

I teach my son respect, therefore he is not even allowed to raise his voice to my wife.  It is still sligtly difficult when fighting with his sister.  I am writing this to tell my little princess that if you ever find yourself in a relationship with a man who does not respect you, get out.  (I am obviously praying that this never happen.)  Point is, if a man does not treat you like the princess you are, leave.  You will not be able to change him.  You might be heartbroken but at least your body will remain intact.

And to all the woman out there who are in abusive relationships, you have heard this a milion times, get out.  Save your life and if there are kids, save them too.  He is not worth your love. Am I simplifying it, maybe, but as a logical thiking human being what is the alternative?

And yes my darling daughter, there are real men out there, because they just stood up.

Bring on the chaos!

When I travel my awesome wife is quite capable of looking after my two great kids, the household and her teaching job. So when I return from a trip, we normally go out to dinner on the first or second evening and certain things must happen.

The music has to be played loud on the way back, song choice from the kids.  Only one condition, ok two: It has to have an anthem quality and a great beat.  Like our latest choice, “Feel this moment” from Pitbull.  We all need to have a party in our SUV on the way home.

Then Carli and I will fight for a place on the coach upon our return, settling in for Modern Family.  My daughter is getting so tall, that we can reach each other’s feet whilst lying on opposite ends of the couch.  So with feet exposed the fight breaks out at each commercial break.  The loser is the one who can’t take the tickling anymore.

Before Ruben goes to bed we have to share the latest profile pics on his BBM, which can be quite hilarious, so we laugh loudly, like this one…

Image

Then when he’s off to bed it is important to have our daily wrestling match to see how quickly I can get him under the covers, then there is the placement pillows that becomes launching bags.  The dog is all part of this barking, jumping, wagging his tail, excitedly playing along.

Half an hour later when all is quiet in the house, I plunge on the couch quite exhausted, wife hands me a cup of coffee and I ask:

“How do you do this every day on your own?”

“I don’t,” she says, smiles and takes a sip of her coffee.  “When we are alone, it is all very different.  The kids go to bed willingly, calmly.  I tuck them in, we say our prayers, and then I go to my room.  The night is done.”

“How is that possible?”  I ask surprised, still breathing heavily.

“You see,  my love,” she says again, with the most amazing tone of love and appreciation.  “You bring on the chaos.  You bring the energy to our household and that is why we love you and that is why we miss you.  It is all very boring when you are away.”

Words escaped me.  There was an overpowering feeling of warmth that spilled over me.  A feeling of belonging, this is MY people.  My amazing wife could not have given me a better “I love you” even if she tried.  But I also had an epiphany…

So listen, lend me your ears, or eyes in this case.

Every person has the chaos, granted different types of it, but the secret is not to figure out what you have, the secret is to bring it.  To bring the unique energy that you alone posses and come and join the party.  Don’t stand on the sidelines, sit on a chair waiting for someone to ask you to dance, no, jump in and make the event a full experience.

Bring your own chaos.  Bring. It. On.  For what is the alternative option?

Acronyms…WTF?

The wife and I embarked on a journey to try and teach our 12-year-old son how to use social media responsibly.  Telling him to avoid ramblings like:

“This is turning out to be such a bad day…” or “I wish he knew…” or “I am not sure if I should cry…” and my favourite “I am so alone…”

(Note there is always a pause behind those statements and then another 17 comments of people asking “Why?”  And for some reason the original postee would maintain this cryptic vibe throughout the thread.)

So in order for my son to understand that there’s a reaction or interpretation on any comment made, he was restricted in using the BBM service on his Blackberry.  It had the benefit of a fix amount of contacts, just friends and me and the wife.  This implies that the damage could be contained when he called some innocent girl stupid for dumping him.  Yes he did.

So I used to get his updates constantly and if something was not above board I would ask him to change it.  I can feel the surge of readers commenting on privacy, but hey, this is how we wanted to equip our son with a sword and shield to fight the monster with the body of facebook and the head of a blue bird.  But this is not the point.

The point is, when I was reading his posts, I was not able to follow any of the conversations!  I simply could not understand all the acronyms the kids are using today.  I was bombarded with BFF and LOL and LMAO and YOLO and TGIF and G2G.  It did not make any sense.  I repeatedly asked my son what he was saying.  I came to the conclusion that these acronyms was developed as a code by a secret society of kids, who has parents like me.  I finally relinquished my duty, sending the little warrior off to fight the dragon.

But it’s sad to see words and sentences being reduced to letters.  To see generic expressions for such a wide range of emotions.  It is almost like microwaving language, the quick fix, which was evident when I confronted my son.

“Why do you write like this? You need to use full words my boy.  What if the person on the other end does not understand what you’re on about?”

“Ah dad, don’t worry.  This is our way of speaking.  It is quick and I can follow various conversations with my mates while chillaxing on the coach.  We do not have the time for full sentences, besides that’s old school, g2g.”

Besides him using the word “chillaxing”, which was pretty cool, and giving me the name of my blog, I was left with a sense of dread.  Writers use words to sculp sentences that portray a specific idea or event or dialogue, that would hopefully evoke some kind of emotion in the reader.  The sentences are painstakingly crafted, the words carefully selected, like a surgeon working on a brain.  And then when you reach the end of the piece, your mindprint is all over the page.  It is our art.  What if our art are being placed in jeopardy because people do not want to paint with full words anymore?

A few days later my son bought me his homework to sign.  He had to write an essay.  It was about pirates and hidden treasure and adventure, no acronyms.  I was beside myself, filled with so much joy.  There is hope!

The secret in saving the art of writing is to just keep doing it.  Tell stories that is impossible with generic letters and continue sharing life.  Just write write write so we can fight this detroyer of language.

And by the way TGIF…