Est. 2004. Toronto-based Daddy Blogger and Canadian Tax Consultant still trying to find the balance between work, family and life. Married 15-years, 3 awesome kids (the swimmer/math wiz, the jock and the dancer)!
JERUSALEM — A Jerusalem court on Tuesday handed a life sentence to the main attacker in the killing of a Palestinian teenager in 2014 whose death helped spark a chain of events that led to that year’s Gaza war. The court sentenced Yosef Haim Ben David, 30, to life plus 20 years. The state prosecutor…
I couldn’t help but want to share this story, not to make light of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, but really to try to shed some light on where these countries differ so starkly.
In Iran, Iraq, Syria and in the West Bank, when an Israeli is killed, there is always footage of the people in the streets celebrating while candy is being thrown to the children.
In Israel, a 30-year-old Israeli man killed a Palestinian teenager, was arrested, had his day in court and was sentenced to life in prison plus 20-years.
The message to Israeli’s… Murder is murder, and if you commit it you will be caught and punished.
The message to Israel’s neighbours… Kill and Israeli and we will celebrate.
But it’s reality Israeli’s face on a daily basis. If the “politicians” who want to create a Palestinian state are serious about having their own country that they can run, they should stop spending money on tunnels under Israel, they should wonder why neither Israel, Egypt or Lebanon want their citizens there and they should establish laws to teach their citizens right from wrong.
I can’t tell you the number of times I have had to camp out in a coffeeshop to get some work done, either before or after meetings, due to travel, or because I just want a change of scenery.
I have pretty much seen and heard it all, over the years and this morning’s adventures have prompted me to post a quick, albeit not exclusive, list of coffee shop etiquette – the do’s and don’t do’s when you’re working from a public space.
Feel free to add to this list, or debate items on this list.
Learn the difference between your phone’s speaker and it’s regular headset. The gentleman beside me is unaware that he is using his speaker, and has the phone right up to his ear, has the volume very high, and is telling the person he is speaking to that he cannot hear him. We all hear everything about the conversation and it’s REALLY loud.
If you’re going to watch videos on your cell phone or laptop, invest in a pair of headphones. Nobody wants to hear whatever you are listening to – music, news, videogame sounds, etc.
If you’re holding a meeting with the rest of your office in, say, the Starbucks I am currently sitting in, trashing your competition and berating a staff member might not be the most professional approach.
If you’re working in a coffee shop and it’s really packed and you’ve been nursing the cheapest drink for 5 hours, it might be time to move on… I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve finished my drink, then packed up earlier than I had planned because paying customers need space. If I’m going to stay longer, I go back and buy food and another drink (although at Starbucks the additional drink is free, so I can buy better food… yum).
Like being on an airplane, there are certain seats which have responsibilities attached, so if you’re sitting near one of the few outlets, be prepared to politely engage people who really need that free jack in order to meet a deadline or get through their morning. Don’t be a grumpy outlet ogre!
Be super respectful to the staff if you’ve been to a particular location more than once. They know you, they recognize you, so don’t abuse your comfort level there. Shake things up, try foods or drinks they recommend every now and then. Remember, they control the on/off switch to the WiFi.
If you’re not sure, ask. I’ve come to many coffee shops and asked if it’s okay if I crash for a few hours, and I’ve asked them how long I can stay, and I have even told them upfront that if it gets busy, I’ll leave, or they can come tell me it’s busy and I’ll go.
Make sure your sound is off on your laptop if you have a headset on your phone. There is nothing worse than someone listening to music or having a conversation on their phone while their laptop is chirping away without their knowledge.
Smile. A smile goes a LONG way these days…
Don’t make a mess, and be helpful, and you’ll be a welcomed customer for a very long time.
It might go without saying, but for some people this is a real problem, but I cannot tell you the number of times I have gone to the washroom only to find the person / people before me had not flushed the toilet… UGH. I can only assume these people also do not wipe themselves or wash their hands, because I teach my children to ALWAYS flush the toilet and wash their hands. If they don’t want to touch the handle they can use paper towel or their foot to flush, then always wash and watch the door handle on the way out.
If there are few seating options, taking a table for 4, or the handicapped seating is fine, unless there are people in need of those spaces. Then you absolutely need to move or pack up and leave. There is no reason to stay unless you are willing to share your space, which is absolutely a nice thing to do. Sharing is, after all, caring.
Remember that as loud as it may seem in a coffee shop, with the music and coffee machine noises, it’s equally as loud for the person on the other end of the phone. Before you change your voicemail, or make that critical business call, or job interview call, to step outside where it is quiet. (To the kid who had a hard time on his phone interview last week, you really did lose out on that opportunity because you took your call in the washroom for 20 minutes, then flushed the toilet mid-conversation. They totally heard and that lack of judgement blew it for you. It was not because they didn’t like the answers to your questions… Trust me on that!
Happy to hear your thoughts and stories, as I move through my morning here in my local Starbucks where I keep my headphones on but am listening to everyone and everything…
I know hockey and I love hockey. I’ve never played ice hockey but I have coached ice hockey – 6 years while in my early 20’s because my sports physiotherapist needed someone to open and close the bench doors. I had always thought it was because he didn’t like the 6am and 7am games!
I learned to skate while teaching the kids how to play the game, and how to be winners on and off the ice.
In those 6 years we won one championship and made it to the finals 5 times because we never had the best players in the league, nor the top select players, but we made these kids buy into the team concept which meant all the players, no matter how good, bad or new to the game, were a key part.
Hockey is, after all, a team sport!
My wife found it unusual that with my love and passion I hold for hockey, I never pushed my kids into the sport. I tried, trust me, but they didn’t like it. They hated staking, they didn’t like watching the Leafs and they had no desire to shoot around a ball in the basement.
Then something changed…
The school my kids attended arranged for skating lessons during the day, and my middle child, Stewie’s class was full of top ranked hockey players, kids who could skate, shoot, pass and play the sport better than other kids their age and Stewie always felt awkward skating around his classmates. He’s a tall kid for his age and watching him stand on skates reminded me of a newborn giraffe trying to stand for the first time.
I was there, on the ice with him at his school’s skate day when his classmates skated over to him and instead of making fun of him, helped him stand, brought him the on-ice support and were giving him tips to be a better skater. I could see in his eyes that he was very appreciative of their support and he was determined to skate without support.
From that day came lessons after lessons, plus a learn-to-play hockey program and finally this season a debut in house league hockey. He’s a much better skater than 2 years ago, and his hockey sense is quite high for someone who refuses to watch the sport. He continues to get better and better each game, practice and lesson and he knows he has a long way to go.
He also knew that on his 0-7 team there was a very good chance that he was going to be traded. Not only were a lot of the kids on the team together from previous years, but he understood that to get new players, better players, you would have to give up your “lower-skilled” players (his words) and not the “worst” players.
Then came the news!
He was traded.
From a 0-7 team to a 7-0 team.
He’s not all that pleased about it either. You see, he is worried that his new teammates will not know that he’s just learning the sport, but they will see a very tall kid who tries very hard but is not the fastest, not yet able to deke players out, or who can raise the puck.
He’s worried that they will think he sucks and that the best players left the team because of him.
So I have reached out to the convenors, trying to get the new coaches contact information so I can let them know that they are getting a kid who wants to learn the game and who will do whatever he can to be better and make the team better. It’s been 2 days and no one has reached out, oh, except his old coaches who have asked for his jersey and socks back.
So what would I do in this situation?!?
I would do what is right for the children! I would have a really long look at the coaches who have volunteered to coach these teams to make sure they are looking after the kids best interests and not their own. I see teams playing poorly in hopes that their team won’t be broken up by trades and wonder aloud who does this help?!? Does that coach get an award for stocking his team while other teams struggle, or worse, what message does that send to the kids when they see a coach trying to lose in order to protect the core of the team…
I would rather the league NOT make the trades, but instead work with the coaches to teach the children to play as a team.
Sure, little Johnny can only score 3 goals, then any goals he scores after that do not count, but does it benefit the kids on either side if Johnny still dekes the entire team, then stands by the side of the net waiting for a teammate to skate to the net so that Johnny can pass to him or shoot the puck in off of him?
Does it benefit the kids that the league will not post the score when it exceeds a 5-goal differential? Nope, the kids know the real score so they might as well post it, but would it hurt the other coach to take his better offensive players and teach them defense, or passing instead. By doing that, his team learns proper positioning and the defensive team can also learn proper positioning. That would be a win-win situation!
Instead, we let the coaches run wild, we make the better kids feel special and we make the lower kids feel useless all in the name of hockey instead of using this special position of leadership to teach the kids to be good teammates, and to help their team win without rubbing it into the faces of their opponents.
I’ve applied to be a part of the convenor team because of how strongly I feel about the opportunity to teach kids to be better kids and win, lose or draw.
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.
Often, I see lists, like the one I am posting today, about things we want our children to know, learn, remember and respect, and these lists are often quite to the point if not a little on the comedic side. My Thursday Thirteen, however, is a little different from the norm as I have provided thirteen things that I need my children – Linus, Stewie and Boo – to remember as they grow up. On the bright side, if they ever forget (and I have not completely embarrassed them by the time I cease blogging), they can always find it here.
As parents it is our job to teach and shape our children so that one day when they begin to develop their own opinions they will be able to use what they learned from us to shape their thoughts on things they didn’t know – so they won’t hurt anyone (especially themselves) along the way. To do otherwise by your children, would – in my opinion – be considered failure as a parent.
Here are the thirteen things I need my kids to remember as they grow up;
13. To my boys: Pink is a colour, much as red, blue, black and green. Liking pink doesn’t mean anything except that you like the colour. If someone tells you otherwise you have to remember that it’s their problem, not yours. At some point in their life, someone tied to colour pink to a negative stereotype which simply does not exist. It’s okay to buy pink items, pink clothes and paint a room pink.
12. All (My 2 boys and my girl): Your nose is NOT an appropriate place to stick your finger – and this rule always stands, whether you are 3, 7, 8 or 38. If you do visit there, in the solitude of your own room, or home, it is NOT okay to them put that finger in your mouth, on your bed, or on your clothes. If, however, you choose to pick your nose, then you must have either a kleenex or square of toilet paper for when you are finished and wash your hands after. Remember that if your hands are dirty and you place a finger in your nose (or mouth) you are putting germs in your body. You will get sick. In addition, people think it’s yucky. Don’t be that yucky kid that turns into the yucky teen, then the creepy booger-eating adult. Please.
11. All: Respect others’ personal space and belongings. There are written rules which need to obeyed when you are in a home and there are some unwritten rules which you must follow so that you will . You need to respect others and their possessions. I know children will be children, but taking, breaking, hiding or damaging something that does not belong to you is not at all what I have in mind when it comes to creating art or playful fun. Neither is it fun to touch, push, trip or get in the face of someone for any reason. In fact, this is a lesson in doing it all WRONG! If you did this to my belongings or got in my face, I would not be happy.
10. Accept others for who they really are. In an age where bullying has taken centre stage among our youth, I hope I have taught you to see the value in differences. Race, religion, colour, accents, or dress, interests, hair style or colour, ability or disability… It doesn’t matter. See past it all and realize that we are all humans on this planet.
9. It is okay to cry. Crying is a natural emotional response to feelings. We all do it. Men cry. Women cry. Children cry. If you begin to cry and someone calls you a baby just remember that they learned this at home and they are being taught to hold in their emotions. Feel sorry for them but don’t allow them to change how you act or how you feel.
8. Always be proud of who YOU are. You may not be the tallest kid, or the fastest, or have the best hair, but really now, who cares? As long as you stay true to who you are, everything else will fall into place.
7. Find your passion. Keep looking and searching. Never ever stop.
6. Love this planet we live on called “Earth”. Recycle, reduce, reuse. Go as “green” as you can by being aware of how you live, shop, and of what you consume (and where that comes from). Now go join your mother and I hug a tree.
5. Be a brother / sister. Be a friend. Be a protector. Always be good to your family, even when there is conflict. Always remember that you are all that you have. Spouses and friends are great but at the end of the day you should know and have the support of your brother/sister when you need it. Just don’t take advantage.
4. Smart is cool. Never be ashamed of being smart or nerdy, having freckles or glasses, or loving science and math (or tax). Smart never goes out of style, it stays with you as you grow, and it will lead you down the most successful paths you can imagine.
3. All: Your body is just that, it’s your body. You can keep your hair any way or colour that you want and you can dress any way that you want, but you must remember that others will judge you and it will impact how others treat you. So long as you understand that, you may continue. Don’t let pop culture define you. I don’t know why, but today we let pop culture manipulate our youth and it’s killing them emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. From the early on fascination with princesses, to the ‘need’ for a boyfriend and big boobs, popularity, teen moms, and all the other garbage being thrown in their face – be confident going against the grain or you’ll risk selling yourself out.
2. Maintain your health. It’s life’s greatest asset. Without good health you have nothing. A positive approach to health encompasses physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Healthy lifestyle choices we taught you in your youth have already helped to lay a strong foundation for continued wellness throughout your adult life. In addition, a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, stress management, self-motivation, and remaining positive will have a huge impact on your quality of life, health, and happiness. Honourable mention: Never be afraid to laugh at yourself. Laughter is humbling. It inspires and motivates. It keeps you real.
1. Wherever you are in life, you can come home. I will be here – always. ♥ Daddy. Remember children that you will all be my favourite children forever (and equally for your own strengths and inspirations). If you don’t believe me, ask Mummy. She will tell you the same thing.