Tag Archives: family

Gun Control? Stop Fooling Yourself!

Gun control! Gun control! Ok, fine, let’s increase the gun laws. We can at least make operating a firearm as regulated as driving a car. We could implement a licensing system and track sales and purchases. I actually believe there is a number of ways we can control the use and sale of firearms without actually limiting the civil liberties of Americans or being unconstitutional. But you cannot tell me that today’s tragedy was purely a result of loose gun laws. A contributing factor? Yes. But the number one cause? I’m not convinced.
 
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Where is the call for mental health reform? Where is the demand for budget increases for health-care professionals working with at-risk individuals and families or education for the public on finding help for those in need? What about studying the effects of violence in media or the breakdown in families? You want to create some real change in society, try looking there.
 
And foreigners, stop pretending like you know what it’s like in the US and stop demanding everyone be like you (which the world was so quick to condemn the US for doing). You talk of gun control like its a magic bullet. Maybe 50 years ago it might have been, but we are living in today. Try coming up with a plan that is aligned with the constitution and makes me believe my family will be safe from criminals. You bandy about terms like assault weapons and gun control, but do you actually know what it means or are we just throwing around emotions? (Assault weapons, by the way, are in fact banned by federal law, but this shooting didn’t involve assault weapons, so it’s beside the point anyway). So write me a law that makes my family safer tomorrow and you’ll have my full support, but remember that we are living in the real world. There are literally millions of guns scattered throughout America. Creating a law that tightens the control of firearms will only affect firearms that are sold tomorrow. It will have no affect on the weapons already proliferated throughout the country, nor those who intend to use them for evil. You write me a law that convinces me that my family will be safe at home or at school and that there is nothing a criminal can bring against my family that I cannot protect them against and I will shout it from the rooftops. But don’t think it is that easy!
 
Don’t talk of gun control as though it’s some kind of utopian society where guns don’t exist. Don’t compare America today to Australia where the government clamped down on guns nearly 20 years ago and say it should do the same. It is simply not the same. The numbers don’t add up. We can all say what should have happened 20, 50 or 100 years ago but that time has come and gone. To state what should happen tomorrow is a completely different story.
 
When I was in school, we practiced fire drills. That was the extent of the expected emergencies. Yesterday (I kid you not. The day before this tragedy) my 7 year old daughter practiced a drill with her class mates. Not a fire drill, like in my day, but a “Lock-down Drill” or “what to do if a bad man with a weapon” (I quote my daughter) entered her school. I’m sure my well-meaning foreign friends think they know what’s best when they scatter their advice, but unless you have kids who LITERALLY practice what to do if what happened in Connecticut were to happen in their school, or LITERALLY live in an area where dozens of people were gunned down while watching movie, you will not understand why the future of gun control will involve the ownership and stewardship of firearms. Besides, this is not a case of gun control alone. Stop fooling yourself.

Control your emotions. Maintain a happy heart

In a battle of wits and mental endurance: the younger the child, the greater the stamina.

 

This is my second post in the series, “Who is in control”. We’re talking about the dynamics of family (in my case, a family of six) and my quest to not screw up my kids so much that they need professional help…

 

“Who is in control of you? It’s not me. I can be, if you want me to be, but that’s not the best answer answer. That’s right…YOU are in control of you!”

When it comes down to it, we are only ever supposed to control ourselves. Our different levels of authority in life will mean we have varying levels of authority within certain boundaries, but in the end, we are always in control of our body, our thoughts and our emotions.

The longer we believe someone else is in control of us, the more powerless we allow ourselves to become. It’s like self-inflicted catch-22.

From the day-naught, we started teach our kids two very important life-lessons: “Control your emotions” and “Maintain a happy heart”. You may not be able to control your environment, and you certainly will never be able to control the actions of those around you, but you are always able to control how you will respond within that environment. Control your emotions and maintain a happy heart.

Kids, being kids, will always reach a moment in time when the world seems to come crashing down around them and all hope is lost. Whether it’s hunger pains or the sound of the evil “N” word (“no” or “nap”, take your pick), something will inevitably trigger a cyclonic rush of emotion and tears.

Here’s my take on the matter: I don’t actually have a problem with my kids freaking out, screaming, stamping their feet or holding their breath. What I do have a problem with is when it disturbs my calm or that of those around me. In these instances, when my children cannot fully appreciate the depth of their social responsibility, I tend to limit the range of their outburst. I don’t want to teach them that showing emotion is wrong, but if they are around others, they need to control HOW that emotion is displayed. If they cannot, a more appropriate venue will be chosen (like their bedroom, for instance, with the door shut) where they can wail and moan and gnash their teeth until they are ready to talk about their problem and enable me to help them to solve it.

Here’s the important part: this is not a time out. Nor is it any form of discipline whatsoever. It is simply them choosing to not control their emotions and handing over that control to me. They can have it back whenever they want. They just need to show they are ready to handle it again. Their door isn’t locked and they can come out whenever they like. Sometimes it’s five minutes, other times it’s a lot longer. I’m not too worried, though. I know they’ll figure it out. And if they need help, I’m only in the next room.

On occasion, we have been known to help them find their ‘happy hearts’, which can sometimes be lost in the strangest of places.

I guess your happy heart needed a wash...

 

So what’s your take on this? Does your child ever lose the plot or is that just ours? How do you handle the tantrums, toy-throws and dummy-spits? Or do you just put in the noise-cancelling headphones and listen to Adele (which, I admit, is not a bad idea!)?


Sleep, Eat, Fun

We have four kids. Two girls, two boys. Oldest is 5. Youngest is 3 months. Three had/have reflux, all are picky eaters and none ever want to go to sleep.

They are also the best kids on the planet!
They are mostly polite, mostly well behaved and they mostly love each other. They respond to correction, enjoy learning and make me laugh.

It seems that no one told me this was to be a funny photo!

Are my kids different from any other kids? As much as the father in me would say “Yes!”, I actually think not. As parents, we have struggled with the same difficulties and rejoiced in the same breakthroughs as most other families. Our kids are not miracle kids. They didn’t take their first breath of fresh air and ask to go to sleep (and they learn pretty quickly that more fun is had while awake), nor do they immediately want to “put down Daddy’s iPad and sit up for dinner.” No, we had to teach them all of that along with the fun and games.

Remember, their job is to discover the world, our job is to facilitate that discovery. Both sides of that equation are important. Let’s not remove either one!