Is giving our kids everything we can the best way to raise them?

Sting-inheritance-to-kids-400x249Mega rich musician Sting recently announced publicly that he won’t be leaving his fortune to his kids. While some might see this as a malicious or cruel act, his choice is very intentional and comes from a caring and supportive place. Sting grew up with hard working parents and learned the value of self-reliance at an early age. His concern that his children would not have the same opportunity to learn and grow inspired his decision. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Sting said,

‘I certainly don’t want to leave them trust funds that are albatrosses round their necks. They have to work. All my kids know that and they rarely ask me for anything, which I really respect and appreciate. Obviously, if they were in trouble I would help them, but I’ve never really had to do that. They have the work ethic that makes them want to succeed on their own merit.’

Does our desire to support our kids and give them everything that we can ultimately build their self-reliance and their ambition and drive? Its not an easy balance to strike but one we should certainly consider, not only as it relates to inheritance but in our daily interactions around money as well.

Jean Chatzky offers 6 clear steps to teaching financial knowledge and responsibility to our kids.

Step 1: Stop spoiling your kids
Step 2: Give an allowance…then make it work
Step 3: Make saving and investing a habit
Step 4: Teach your children to work
Step 5: Teach your children to give
Step 6: Teach good credit card habits

Do you think Sting is being cruel or kind? What do you do to encourage self-reliance and financial responsibility to your kids?

How are dads being portrayed in the media?

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According to a survey done in the UK in 2013 50% of respondents believe fathers are represented as lazy and stupid by the media. More than 90% said that said the stereotypes of fathers depicted by the media were out of touch with reality.

“It’s never been harder to be a father – but good dads have never been more needed by their families. So it seems perverse we are telling men to step up and be involved, while running them down in the media,” said the founder of the parenting website that conducted the survey, Siobhan Freegard.

Ross Jones, policy and communications manager for campaign group Families Need Fathers said poor media representation was a big issue for dads.

“It shows them as incompetent when it comes to looking after their children or doing their bit around the house. It would be nice to see more accurate representations that reflect the many fathers across the country that parent equally. It comes up with our members who may be struggling to see their children or to keep meaningful relationship with them. When they see these negative representations it makes them feel the role of father is being devalued,” he said.

This article and the survey it references are from the UK. Do you think its reflective of the reality in North America? What dads on tv or in movies do you consider to be positive role models?

To see some beautiful pictures of dads being well-represented click here!

New Dad Manual – Resources for Aboriginal Fathers

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In traditional Aboriginal teachings, a child’s spirit chooses both parents. That is a powerful idea for a father. It means that, even though you are not the one who gave birth to your child, your child chose you to be their dad. That creates both a responsibility and an opportunity to develop a relationship with your children and to be a positive influence in their lives.

The relationship you and your child develop as you spend time together is the foundation for almost everything good you can do as a father. The closer you are to your children, the more likely they will listen to you and look to you for direction. It will also help you support your kids through difficult times they will encounter as they grow up.

 

See more at: New Dad Manual’s Resources for Aboriginal Fathers.

New Dad Manual has developed online resource for all kinds of dads.Check out www.newdadmanual.ca to see more videos and explore resources for new dads.

Alex Nayanookeesic, Loving Dad and Loving Husband (Part 4)

If you’ve been reading about Alex over the past 18 months you’ve witnessed him growing into his role as a young father and how he’s received support from and given support to his family and loved ones. In this, the fourth installment in this ongoing series we take a peek at how the challenges and joys of fatherhood continue to play out in Alex’s life.

Alex Nayanookeesic, Loving Dad and Loving Husband

The snow is finally melting in Northwestern Ontario and spring/summer TransCanada highway construction jobs are available. Alex has taken advantage of this and is working on a bridge site 50 kilometres east of Nipigon by the Gravel River. The work days are long, up at 5:30am and back home by 7:00pm, Monday to Friday weather permitting, and with the occasional Saturday thrown in for good measure. This timetable puts stress on the family life. Laura’s EI just ran out so his employment and income is a financial relief.

AJ, now 10 months old, celebrated his first Mother’s Day! He didn’t want to sleep during the day. Perhaps he could sense the excitement from his sister Angelina and brother Justice who had cards and homemade gifts ready for their mom. The entire family came over to our place for BBQ basa fish, asparagus, baked yam fingers, chopped fruit, and a Greek salad, a perfect menu for mom and grandmother. AJ sat in his high-chair and enjoyed food bits for a while before discovering that they could also decorate the dining room floor!

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Alex does his best at balancing a demanding work schedule and his time spent with Laura and the children. Also, his immediate family live in Greenstone area and he likes to visit with them even though they reside far away. This can be a tiring proposition. And warm weather is just around the corner with all of its potential for fun and adventure in the great outdoor life offered in Northern Ontario- fishing, camping, hiking…

Alex takes his days one at a time. Will a better job become available? Will he be able to operate heavy equipment with his Pappa in logging operations? Will he and his family be able to move into a new place away from their current neighbourhood? When will AJ sleep through the night?

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Submitted by Gordon Mackenzie, Nipigon, ON – a very proud and grateful father-in-law and member of the Dad Central Steering Committee representing Northwestern Ontario

Our Impact Begins Even Earlier Than We Thought

dad-pregnancy-symptom-01-pg-fullRecently, University of Calgary researchers asked pregnant women these questions assessing the support they get from their husbands/partners: how much do the get, how easily they provided it, and how effective it was at getting them through life’s challenges. The goal of the research was to understand what effect support from spouses had on pregnant mothers’ responses to stress. Knowing that a pregnant women’s stress levels affect the health of their developing fetus, this research set out to examine whether supportive partners could have an impact on future health of their child.

Moms with supportive spouses showed consistently low cortisol levels. Fathers didn’t stop mothers from feeling upset or anxious from time to time, but their support directly affected how their partners’ bodies reacted to and dealt with anxiety. At first glance, this might not seem like a big deal. If you still feel the distress, what difference does the presence of a few natural chemicals make? To your baby, a great deal indeed.

As the researchers point out: “In sustained doses, cortisol can weaken children’s developing brain architecture. Brains are like houses: their upper storeys — the reasoning and cognitive skills — can only stand when the foundation beneath them is solid. Cortisol, if left unchecked, erodes this foundation, and can lead to all kinds of psychological, emotional, and even physical problems, many of which linger into adulthood.”

This adds to a a growing body of research that shows us that fathers can have a much deeper influence on their children in utero than previously expected.

For more information on this exciting research check out the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine.

Fernand Lozier Award for Excellence in Father Involvement Practice

Be A Dad Today

This years recipient of the Lozier Award for Excellence in Father Involvement Practice is the

LAMP Community Health Centre.

Engaging fathers takes intentional decisions that begin to open doors for opportunities to support fathers in communities. With much foresight, in 2002 the Board of the LAMP CHC made a conscious decision to become a leader in engaging fathers in Ontario. This coincided with the introduction of Ontario Early Years Centres (OEYC), of which LAMP was the lead agency in south Etobicoke (Toronto). The decision was made to hire a male staff worker as the Fathering Lead since they believed that reaching men required a male presence. This was an ambitious and courageous decision. In 2003, Brian Russell was hired into the position and the Dads Today program was born.

Over the past number of years, LAMP has been true to its initial vision. They consistently give support and resources to the fathering initiative in south Etobicoke by allowing new ideas and programs to be introduced. This has allowed for the development of a variety of connection points for fathers.

  • Dads Time has been running since 2004. This is a bi-monthly drop-in for dads and their children on Tuesday evenings. It gives them a chance to play together, share some dinner, and connect with other dads.
  • Dads and Kids: In Action is a Saturday morning program run once a month. This offered a variety of activities, like hikes, gym days, read ’n’ swims, and picnics in the park.
  • Three parenting programs for fathers are delivered each year. These allow dads to discuss issues with their children, their relationships, and their role as a father with other men. Many of these fathers are involved in family court, custody decisions, or probation.
  • From 2008 –2011, one of the fathers who was highly involved in the Dads Today programs worked with Brian to organize Dads Count, an annual conference for fathers that took place in early June in honour of Father’s Day.
  • Since 2012, LAMP has hosted the Father’s Day Family Festival. There were lots of activities for families to take part in: jumping castle, games, crafts, face painting, classic car show, climbing wall, and a bar-b-q. The hit of the day was the Dads Olympics, where fathers raced to change a diaper on a doll, hang some laundry, install a car seat, ride a tricycle, and feed toddler food into a melon.
  • Online connection with dads is done through www.dadstoday.org and through a Facebook page and Twitter account.

But not only does LAMP serve the fathers in its local community, but in their efforts to be a leader in father involvement they hosted and funded four Strategies for Working with Fathers conferences. Beginning in 2004 and being offered every 18 months, these conferences saw people from across Canada gather to learn about engaging fathers, discovering innovative programming for reaching fathers, and networking around the issue. Around 100 people attended each of the conferences.

LAMP has also been an invaluable support for Dad Central Ontario. Since 2006, LAMP has provided four hours per week for Brian to take leadership in the Steering Committee. It also provided use of office space, phone, and other logistics that supported the efforts and goals of Dad Central.

It just goes to show that intentional decisions held onto over the long haul are how we leave an impression when engaging fathers in our communities. LAMP’s commitment and persistence is a model. They deserve the recognition of the Lozier Award of Excellence in Father Involvement Programming.

A Father-Daughter Diary

The enchanting art of storytelling is used to bring the rites of passage of fathers and daughters to life in A Father-Daughter Diary, a fun-filled, heart-felt cabaret style show for fathers who love their daughters, for daughters who love their dads, and for those who aspire to have an extraordinary relationship with each other.

This theatrical production is looking for real fathers and daughters who are interested in speaking about their relationship in meaningful ways in front of an audience.

To find out more about the project and the audition process please contact Tanya Lee: tanya_marie_lee@hotmail.com

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