Posted in Canada, Daddy, family, Life, Parenting, Toronto

Happy New Year! How Did 2017 Go? You Tell Me…


Happy New Year!  We, at The Urban Daddy sincerely hope that this year is the best year ever and that it is filled with fun, family, health, happiness, wealth, prosperity and PEACE!

While in the process of clearing off an old computer, I came across my family plan for 2017.  I’m going to post it below and after reading it, you tell me if you think that the year was a success, OR, if I need to rename it “Happy New Year 2018” and try again.

Did you set family goals for the year?  Or does that get done in September before school?

Do you then use January 1st as a re-boot?

 

Here is what I presented to my 3 children on January 1st, 2017.

Welcome to 2017!

Kids, you have left us no choice but to institute this new policy in our household. Your mother and I are tired of picking up after all of you, and asking you to do the same things over and over again.  We don’t like buying you new things because you treat everything you have very poorly.  You all have the ability to change this, but you have never had the reason to… Until now!

Each of you have complained that we don’t like doing things that you want to do, and that is also going to change this year because as a family, we will be doing more together inside and outside the house.

You have 2 options. Read them below and let’s see which one we like and want to start following.

Option 1.

Starting at 12:01.01 am on January 1st, 2017, your parents will no longer be making your lunches, driving you to programs, buying you toys, or taking you to and from school.  We will not be allowing you to watch TV, use electronics or listen to your music devices until these following conditions are all met each and every day.

Conditions;

  • Make your beds in the morning
  • Brush your teeth in the morning and at night
  • Clean up after yourselves after each and every meal – not just putting things on the counter or in the sink, but in the dishwasher, or washed, dried and away.
  • Not leave any food out
  • Put away all of your clean clothes
  • Placed dirty clothes in your hamper the right side out
  • Only be allowed to eat at the kitchen table
  • Leave the kitchen table and your eating area spotless once you have finished
  • Hang your towels on the back of the door in your bathroom once you have used it
  • Hang your jackets in the closet when you get home, not on the railing, not on the floor in the closet, but hung properly
  • Complete ALL of your homework assigned to you which is due the next day
  • Be responsible from taking your lunch box from your school bag, empty it – put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, or wash, dry and put them away. Any uneaten food must be put in the appropriate place
  • Not hit one another
  • Not yell at one another
  • Not swear at all. Ever
  • Be respectful to your parents.

 

If you fail to do any 3 of these in a week, you will forfeit anything that you consider “fun” and will be given extra school work to compensate for your lack of interest in being a contributing member of this family.

 

Option 2.

Help out more around the house. It’s your house too, not just ours.  Don’t fight as much with each other and respect each other’s belongings.  Be kind to others, be kind to yourselves, and make sure if you don’t know / are not sure / confused / uneasy or uncomfortable with anything that is said, done to you, near you or around you, or to others, to ask us or tell us.

Lie to us and it’s over. Tell us the truth and we can deal with consequences.

We want others to see how wonderful each of you are.

Hugs are a must

We’re not perfect either but we are your parents. We have the key / password / ability to allow you to have fun, or be miserable.  We think you might want fair and fun over option 1 and feeling like a prisoner.

Happy New Year!

 

 

How was our year?  Better than 2016.  🙂

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Posted in Community, Daddy, family, Life, school, urbandaddyblog

Parenting Frustration 101: Paralysis by Analysis


Being a father of three children is a lot of work.

Work that I love to do more than anything else in the world, but with this work comes the real hard work or the hidden work that gets little recognition, is not discussed at birthday parties between dads, nor does this work get or deserve high-fives among the dads at swim class.

The work I’m referring to is being consistent.

As parents we want our kids to be safe, and felt loved and supported and all that stuff, but if we don’t teach our children the right way to treat others and if we don’t set them up to be able to take care of their own affairs, then what are we doing for our kids besides providing food, shelter and love?

As the “helicopter generation” hovering over our children to keep them free from harm and protect them from a wanton stare from little Suzie or a mean word from little Billy, we do our kids no favours at all stuck to their sides.  We tell them to say please and thank you, and we correct them on everything they do that does not meet our approval but do they remember what we tell them?  If they did, why would we have to do it over and over again, so it seems, or why does someone in their class calling them silly crush them, but us telling them they behave poorly does not?

It’s because they hear our voices and they tune out.  No one wants to be corrected constantly, nor do they want to feel unloved, or disliked, so if our kids are in an environment where they feel any of these things, then we have to step up and act.  Not talk the talk, but walk the walk.

In The Urban Daddy household, we teach our children to stand up for themselves – without violence and without having to tell the teacher – to make sure that they are able to handle a situation now, in later grades, in business and in life. They don’t have to be mean, or demanding – they should try to be nice and use please and thank you, but they certainly do not have to take someone else’s bullshit or be picked on for no reason at all.  I believe we call this bullying.

Our kids have to be organized, and be part of a routine at school and at home.  Organization helps out our family unit and helps their teachers do what they need to do without my kids being a distraction or causing interruptions. Sometimes this is not possible as we are learning with 2 boys, but it is what is expected by us and taught to the kids.  If they are able to do this, they are expected to.  If they are unable to, then they will be taught it.  If they are still unable, they will be helped and hugged.  Never blamed.  Never made to feel bad.

But back to consistency…

Without consistency at home (and I struggle the most with this – always have) the kids get mixed messages and it throws them off.  When our morning routine involves a good morning, the opening of the shutters to let in the light, getting a glass of water to drink, a piece of fruit to eat, and then helping make breakfast and lunches, it messes up the children when the routine is fixed some days but not every day?

Even before the kids come down for breakfast they must get dressed, make their beds and on Monday’s and Friday’s made sure their bedroom floors are empty from toys they do not want to have stored in the vacuum cleaner.  So if they come down one day not dressed, they must be sent back upstairs to be dressed, so they understand the importance of following our routine.  Our consistency.

To be consistent is not something that can be accomplished in one day.  It’s a long-term challenge.

It’s also a long-term challenge when you work hard at home to develop a routine, have the kids buy-in, then be consistent with that routine, but when the kids go to school, or to extra-curricular programs the same does not hold true?  With different teachers, or teachers who do not understand the importance of organization and consistency, and that by putting in that effort in each and every kid, the benefit pays off ten-fold in the near future and for the rest of their lives.

Each and every year I sit down with my kids teachers to let them know what works for my child and what doesn’t. What should be brought to my attention and what should be handled by the child themselves. I do this so that the teachers know that we are on their side, we support them, and that while we check in often, it’s not out of concern for the children, but rather to ensure that they are learning, contributing and being good members of their classroom.

Imagine the surprise of finding out that one of these external providers of education are failing your child, and doing so in a big way.

Imagine the feeling of emptiness knowing that all that support and information your poured into the teachers and all the feedback you received was not worth the air it was breathed into.

I’ve been nice, and I’ve been kind and I will not give them the satisfaction of removing him from this situation and going out of my way to find him a new program to attend.  I’m going to fix this. We’re going to fix this, and at the end of the day, my kids are going to get the consistency, organization and respect they deserve and someone else is getting my hard-earned money.

The problem is that until all the pieces have fallen into place – whether we stay or whether we go – I feel like I’m in a state of paralysis by analysis.

Posted in Community, Thursday Thirteen, urbandaddyblog

Thursday Thirteen: Why the NHL is Quickly Becoming a Joke all over again


Cancelled season
Cancelled season (Photo credit: theMatthewBlack)

It’s summertime in Toronto and even though my Toronto Blue Jays are having a horrid season I still have given very little thought to what is going on with my Toronto Maple Leafs and with the NHL and hte NHLPA.  It’s not that I don’t want to, but I can’t bring myself to do it… It causes me stress and makes me sad.  Lockouts, unions, bad hockey markets, stupidly insane long-term contracts and a terrible local hockey team with an American GM bringing in only American players are enough reasons to stay away from the sport I grew up loving.

My Thursday Thirteen this week will focus on the 13 things that the NHL has done to alienate many fans and are leading to the league once again becoming the joke of all professional sports leagues.

So sit back, grab your Atlanta Thrashers jersey, a Rick DiPietro autographed hockey card (where he is actually playing) and hopefully this edition won’t concuss you.

Thirteen reasons the NHL is becoming a joke all over again:

13. The stupid Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations have been underway for a while now – technically since the last lockout – but of course the players association and the owners are waiting until just before training camp to start the real negotiations.  What this really means is that I get to hear the league cry poor (“we lost $200 million dollars over the last 4 years”) and the players defending their $100 million dollar 14 year contracts which would cover them playing until they are 44-years-old which we know is unrealistic in this league.  If the NHL loses any part of their season because of this lockout, they will lose fans and they may never recover…

12. The 2004–05 NHL lockout resulted in the cancellation of what would have been the 88th season of play of the NHL and it marked not only the first time since 1919 that the Stanly Cup was not awarded but also the NHL became the first major professional sports league in North America to cancel a complete season because of a labor dispute.  The lockout lasted 10 months and 6 days and since that lockout we have seen wide open play not resulting in more goals as projected, but in way more concussions, very dirty plays, unnecessary fighting, untimely deaths of the leagues “enforcers” and teams circumventing the salary cap they fought for, by teams offering extremely large front and rear-loaded contracts to the players who were making too much to begin with.  That make the lockout a giant waste of time and a severe miscalculation on behalf of the league, the owners and the players.  Only the fans got screwed here as salaries rolled back but ticket prices did not.

11.  Stupid owners – Stupid owners cry poor and ask players to roll back their salaries but do not reduce the cost for tickets.  That makes them appear greedy and sways the public favour towards the players.  These same owners also offer and sign off on long-term contracts to circumvent the salary cap they insisted they needed and they put their faith in Gary Bettman who has no longer proven he can do the job by allowing a player to be signed until he is 42-years-old when only a few elite players are capable of playing into their 40’s.  Hey owners… We see right through it.

10.  Long term contracts.  On September 12, 2006, Rick DiPietro signed a 15-year, $67.5 million contract with the Islanders and since that signing their “franchise goaltender” has played in around 200 games out of a potential 570 games and is, and always has been, an average yet injury prone goaltender.  Signings like this and the Yashin, Kovalchuk, Reddon deals and this summer with the Suter and Parise deals are setting a dangerous precent for the league which is seeing team “lock-up” their better players and thus killing the chances for other teams to get better through trades.  Publicly, in times of recession, $100 million dollar contracts are not cool to the average person and it reinforces the stereotype that players and agents are greedy for thinking of themselves only and not about the game, and it makes the owners look like complete tools for approving them and then 2 months later crying poor.  Long term contracts also make the trade deadline boring and it takes a “capologist “to figure out if players can be signed or traded and in causes a swelling of salaries because player A for $98 million but player B had better stats and is worth $102 million.  Watching a team overpay for a player in order to meet the salary cap floor means that player is certain to be buried in the minors and untradable once their stats level off or a better players come along.

9.  Greedy players.  And by greedy players I am referring to the players who have success on a team because of their linemates and the team’s system but take a sick amount of money to sign a long-term contract with another team only to stink out the joint – ahem, Scott Gomez.  Then the player gets bought out or traded back for a bag of pucks.  Hockey is a team game and fans do not come to watch one specific player because the league will not allow for players to be creative and show off their talents.  For every super-skilled player in the NHL there are 3 players like Matt Cooke who does not hesitate to wipe these guys out from any angle under the guise of “doing my job” and “finishing my check”.

8. Fighting in the game.  I’ve got to be in the minority here but I’ve lost total interest in fighting in hockey because I’ve found it to be unnecessary.  The concept of having players on the roster to bully other players – who are on their roster to “pester” the good players – is ruining the game.  If the NHL were serious about improving its game it would immediately cut the rosters down to 3 forward lines as it does with the 3 defensive lines and eliminate that 4th line of “agitators” and “fighters”.  The third lines could be the speedy skilled guys and then players would be more willing to try fancy, creative moves on the rush instead of worrying that they are going to get hammered crossing the blue line and wind up with a career ending concussion.  With this elimination must come an elimination of boarding which has become an accepted practice in the NHL, now known as “finishing your check”.  If a player does not have the puck, they cannot be hit, and if they do, they can only be hit to dislodge the puck from their possession, not their head from their bodies.

7. Horrible locations for teams.  Atlanta, Tampa, Phoenix, Columbus, Florida, Carolina… Really?  How did the NHL really think that 2 teams in California and 2 teams in Florida were equal to 2 teams in Ontario?  I appreciate that the league wants to “explore” Las Vegas and Kansas City but that is an mis-guided a move as putting a team in Markham, Ontario because they have a NHL-sized arena too.  Why?  Hockey is a winter sport and as such should be played in areas where they have winter and people actually like the game!  Not only does having teams like Florida and Tampa winning the cup tarnish the league’s reputation much in the same way having an American team win th CFL’s Grey Cup as the Baltimore Stallions did in 1995.   It took all the history and heritage of the league and cheapened it by helping non-traditional hockey market stock their teams and win.  I still shake my head about that decision.

6. Lack of scoring.  Where are the goals?  Where is the excitement?  Does the league really think that the majority of their fan base wants to see a 2-1 game full of dump-and-chase hockey?  Does the league really think the “trap” is good for the game as opposed to a show of skills?  The product the league puts out tells the general public this game is all about trying to run over the opponent and give the puck away then go and run someone over trying to get it back.  Sadly, the only times the skill and talents of the players are showcased is when there is a blowout or as the game gets late and players start to tire.  The obvious solution as I mentioned earlier is to cut down roster size but the NHL likes gimmicks and instead will make the nets larger.  Since the league cannot make the ice surface bigger and cutting down the number of skaters on at a time is out of the question, they will continue to tweak with the game instead of doing the obvious.  Anyone for another trapazoid?  #fail.

5.  The trap.  Possibly the worst thing for hockey since taking out the redline was allowing teams to play the trap.  Boring hockey and a lack of reinforcement of the rules which allows other teams to not forecheck and instead strategically set up their players in a way to not allow the other team to touch the puck not only is an insult to the fans who pay top dollar to watch but to the game itself which needs goals scored to win.  This allowance of the trap also told teams they didn’t need skilled players they could do well with “pluggers” and out goes the skill and in came the 3-lines of defense first players.  Yawn.  It also meant skilled players who lit up junior hockey were being held back from playing in the NHL until they learned how to play defense.   Terrible.

4.  Concussions.  Absolutely ruining the game as we have seen skilled players miss considerable amounts of time due to concussions – like Sidney Crosby who was the face of the NHL and is now one hit away from being another casulty ina league that does nothing to protect it’s players.  What the NHL / NHLPA is missing is that the trickle down effect is parents like me and many readers of my blog will not be putting our kids in organized hockey because there are other options which will not cause permanent brain damage to our children.  The game is broken.  All respect is gone among players and the NHL can save face by acting… FAST.  No respect, no play.

3. The Hockey Night In Canada theme song.  I’m glad TSN bought the rights and showed the world they could but the lustre has worn off and the song needs to be returned to where it belongs.  It belongs on the CBC, on Saturday nights, otherwise it becomes just another song being played at the beginning of hockey games.  TSN, you made your point.  Now do the right thing… Please.

2.  Gary Bettman.  He’s gotten surely, he lies to protect the face of the league yet he is the face of the league.  He said there was nothing wrong in Atlanta and that a NHL team would never be going to Winnipeg and look what happened.  He also states that the Phoenix team will be in the desert for a long time and I think that is also far from the truth.  He continues to ignore Canada in effort to “grow” the game and his legacy, when he should be pulling back the US teams in the non-hockey markets and filling up Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan (and possibly even one for the Maritimes) and growing the game before adding other markets.   I mean, geez, you don’t have to pull a Gil Stein and elect yourself to the Hockey Hall of Fame, but if doing that will allow you to move aside then please let me cast the first ballot.  It’s 100% time for a change and let’s put this in perspective… I detest unions so for me to be harping on the head of the owners means there must be a change at the top.  If the NHL is so determined to bust the union time and time again then don’t let the players set one up and be honest about it.  The players want more money when they have great seasons but I have never seen a player offer to give back when they have a terrible season.  I’m sure Donald Fehr is not going to roll over for the owners so the league needs to open up their books, be honest about their revenues and tell the players what they want to pay them.  If the players walk out, get new ones.  Then sign a 300 year deal and move on.

1. Taking the youth out of it.  What the NHL has done well in the past 15 years is take the youth out of the game.  By youth I am not referring to young players but I am referring to the increasing costs of tickets to games, the rising costs or merchandise in order to give some money to the players and the NHLPA, and the destruction of the hockey card market.  Kids today cannot expect to see a hockey game live unless their parents are rich, they are given a pair of seats from a season ticket holder, they buy them through a scalper or they live in Florida.  You can’t expect kids to love the game like we did growing up when they never get to see it.  I grew up going to see the Toronto Marlies play because I could never get into Maple Leaf Gardens, but I owned tons of jerseys, tens of thousands of hockey cards and I knew the players inside and out.  Now at $7.99 for a pack of 4 hockey cards and $179.00 for a jersey, kids only get to know the superstars and they look at the value of the card and not the content.  Upper Deck killed the hockey card market.  The NHL / NHLPA are killing their young fan base.  If something doesn’t give the NHL faces a bleak future on many fronts.

Posted in Uncategorized

NHL All-Star Game


The NHL All-Star game skill competition and young star game was yesterday in hockey-mad Montreal and it was, as usual, ok.

Not a big fan of the All-Star game because it interrupts the season, but I really enjoy the showcase that is put on by the players.  End to end, lots of passing and fancy plays.  For someone like me who plays organized ball-hockey (never ice hockey though) I watch and wonder how the heck they do that.

To all that skill and showcasing, there is the down side of hockey, that being fighting and boarding and dirty players.

It’s time for hockey everywhere to smarten up and stop fighting and boarding and turn the attention back to skill and speed.  Who really needs scripted fights between goons.  I’d rather those few minutes per game be used for something hockey-related, like passing, shooting or scoring.  It’s never been part of the game and the thought that Americans watch hockey for fighting is bullshit.  They DON’T watch hockey.  Let’s stop catering to them and bring the game back to it’s roots and back to Canadians.

No more fighting, unless really part of a game.  Reduce the rosters by one spot for the goon, and crack down on the antics of idiot players who are known as “shift disturbers”.  If all they do it run guys and hurt them, they are no longer allowed to play and must either learn to play or do something else. 

I want to see a nifty deke, not a guy laying on the ice bleeding because he got knocked out in a fight and is having a seizure on the ice.  Enough of that crap.

More to come on this issue / post, for sure!