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Sunday, June 27, 2010

TEENAGERS: Can’t live with them. Can’t live without them.

Teenagers and their behaviours can be challenging but we love them just the same.

How’s this for a reality check? Imagine that your teenager suddenly becomes seriously ill. You watch helplessly as the life seems to drain away from your child. Scary! Yes VERY, especially for one family that this scenario happened to recently. Their teenager developed Diabetes Type 1. The onset and severity was so fast that it shocked everyone. I can’t begin to imagine the anguish and helplessness that the family must have felt at the time. Fortunately their child was diagnosed quickly and treated in hospital but their lives have now profoundly changed. This has impacted on not only their whole family, but on all of those who know their family. Fortunately they have the ongoing assistance of some fantastic health care professionals as well as support groups connecting this family to other families in similar situations. (see link)

I am reminded of another family whose lives were profoundly affected after their 14 year old daughter was tragically killed in a boating accident in Sydney Harbour in March 2007. Fourteen year old Morgan Innes was a very talented ice skater and a beautiful person. She had a warm, friendly and outgoing nature and was very much loved by all who came to know her.

What happened next was truly inspiring. The day after Morgan’s funeral in Brisbane, a still grief stricken Robert Innes, Morgan's father, flew to Sydney to establish and secure funding for the Morgan Innes Foundation. The Foundation was established to honour the lives of seven people drawn together by their love of figure skating (four people died tragically and three seriously injured in the collision between a boat and ferry on Sydney Harbour on 28th March, 2007).

Each year the Morgan Innes Foundation awards a scholarship to an up and coming figure skater to undertake comprehensive training programs with elite coaches overseas. The Foundation also assists disadvantaged youth who meet the selection criteria established by the sport’s governing body, Ice Skating Australia (ISA) and who have not had the chance to experience the joy of ice skating. (see link)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

They don't call them TeenAGERS for nothing!

Have you ever got up in the morning and looked in the mirror and wondered who the hell that person is staring back at you? It's definately not you - they have bags under their eyes, wrinkles, greying, out of control hair and look at least 20 years older than you think you should look. After all you are only 30! Hmmmmmmm. Many things may cause this look that stares back at you from the mirror. Yes we all age but sometimes this process is helped along a bit by stress. The stress caused by being there for everybody else especially energy draining, self absorbed, emotional, teenagers. After all the universe does revolve around them didn't you know?

I recently had a health scare which put me in hospital. Because I had the three "F's" Fifty, Flabby and Family history, they decided to keep me in hospital for a while for observation and to do more tests. While all was well, I did feel like a bit of a fraud but I am told that stress can give similar symptoms to a heart attack. Well a few days in hospital away from work and family, while not my idea of the perfect holiday, certainly gave me time to rest, destress and think about some of my life choices.

To be continued. . . . . . . .

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

5 tips to being a Cool Parent!!!

  1. Sing along to a Marilyn Manson song, if you're game, while you are taxiing your teenagers around. Tip - Make sure the windows are up.
  2. Buy yourself a pair of Converse All Stars or Chuck Taylors. They are surprisingly comfortable. I would suggest a discount outlet as they are ridiculously expensive for a flat pair of joggers.
  3. Start your own Facebook page. My then 14 yr old set mine up for me but refuses to "Add Me" as a friend - expect that. When you've done that why don't you get really adventurous and start your own blog?
  4. Learn how to text or txt on your mobile phone including all short forms LOL, ROFL, GR8, UR etc. Predictive text takes a bit of getting used to but it is quicker in the long run.
  5. If you don't have a clue what I'm talking about in 1,2,3 and 4 then you had better learn fast from your teenagers while they are still talking to you.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Field of Dreams

This has got to be one of my all time favourite movies. Yes I know it is about baseball but it is about so much more than that. It is about choices that we make throughout our lives and the consequences and sometimes the regrets of some of those choices.

Choices made by impetuous youth rebelling against their parents, the older generation, only to find that years later they are filled with remorse for a moment in time lost forever and a deep yearning to make amends but all too late.

Kevin Costner's character is given a second chance to make amends but he has to take a huge leap of faith and follow his intuition and gut instinct and go against the mainstream, ploughing in his crop of corn to build a baseball field, much to the bemusement and ridicule of local farmers.

Only those who truly believed could see the ghostly apparitions, baseball players of yesterday in their former glory just as they had played some 50 years earlier when they were living legends.

The "voices" said "Ease his pain". We are left puzzling over whose pain and what pain is to be eased. The pain of regret perhaps and the chance for a now grown, wiser, man, with a family of his own, to see his father as the young vibrant man that he once was. It's a second chance to communicate and rebuild a relationship that had been lost in the rebelliousness of youth.

Every time I watch this film I am moved to tears, not by sadness, but by the joy of a relationship mended, a bond restored. A truly beautiful moment!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

We have always strived to instill in our children a sense of caring and compassion for people but sometimes this comes around and bites you in the bum!

Sometimes we have unexpected guests who our teenagers have sprung upon us. It is not necessarily dinner they come for, I doubt that anyone would actually be that keen to savour my cooking. Invariably it is a last minute plea for friends, who we haven't previously met, to stay the night, always followed with an emotion laiden comment like "they have nowhere else to go" or "they've just been kicked out.

Our general rule is that they can stay one night. This way their immediate needs are met. They are safe and sheltered and have somewhere comfortable to sleep and are fed. We give them the opportunity to use the phone to contact parents or guardians who may be concerned as to their whereabouts. It is up to them whether they take up this option. We generally don't ask too many questions but check with our teenager for more details.

The irony of all of this is that our eldest 18+ year old daughter left home, with no money and no job and headed for another city. No doubt with a similar plea from one of her friends to a parent/guardian. One very caring and compassionate parent is now providing her with food and lodging. To that parent I thank you for your generous nature and kind spirit and hope that one day I can meet you and thank you in person.

Friday, June 4, 2010

5 Sanity Savers for Parents

  1. Develop Parents own Txt talk starting with the classic WTF - Why The Face - gotta love it!!!
  2. Go for a walk - a really long walk - about 50km. That's the distance from Brisbane to the Gold Coast isn't it?
  3. Talk back to teenagers using single syllable grunts.
  4. Practice cloud vaporising - but you have to believe - does it work on teenagers too?
  5. Light bulb joke - How many parents does it take to change a lightbulb? None. Leave the lightbulb you can't see the mess in the teenagers room with the light out.