Why I Won’t Be Watching the “World Cup” of Hockey

The so called World Cup of Hockey is a farce.

It is an attempt by the NHL to bleed fans of their hard earned dollars over an artificial tournament.

Let’s do a quick recap.  This is the third time that this tournament has been held.  The first time, was in 1996, the second was in 2004, and now we have this nonsense in 2016.

In its infinite wisdom, the NHL has included Canada, the United States, Finland, Russia, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Europe, and North America.  What?  Wait a minute, what the hell is Team North America, when there is a Team Canada and a Team United States?  Team Europe?  Um, don’t Finland, Russia, the Czechs, and Sweden belong to Europe?

Let’s explain.  The NHL has decided that this “World Cup” should consist of three North American teams, Canada, the USA, and another team, made up of players from…Mexico?  Nope, CANADA and the USA!  Team North America is made up of players aged 23 and under who are from one of those two countries.  Ludicrous!

Let’s take the example of Canada’s (sorry, North America’s) Connor McDavid, who is on this fabricated team.  Even at the age of 19, he is arguably one of the best players in the world.  So, under this format, Canada is robbed of having a tremendous talent on their actual team.  In addition, should Canada play Team North America in the play-off rounds, that means that McDavid will be playing against his own country.  Just what every red-blooded Canadian boy dreams of growing up, throwing on that Team North America jersey and beating Canada.  Ridiculous.

Then we have the European team.  This team is made up of players of any age, who are not from Sweden, Finland, Russia, or the Czech Republic.  Sorry, Slovakia, Germany, Austria, and the rest, I guess you just get to support Team Europe (or in other words, the NHL can’t be bothered with you).

Now, don’t get my wrong, I’m sure that the hockey in this tournament will be great, and the format probably lends itself to stronger competition.  However, to pass it off as a “World Cup” is a gross disservice.  Let’s call it what it is, an NHL money grab.  The NHL and NHLPA will make millions off of this, through jersey sales, tv revenue, sponsorships and so on.  They will get it all.

There is already a fantastic international hockey tournament which is held every four years, it is called the Olympics.  The NHL receives no money from this tournament, so they are clearly trying to bypass this with their own tournament.  Having said that, the NHL does shut down their league every four years for the Olympics, and as such, they should be compensated appropriately, as should the players.

The truth is, if they would call this something else, I would probably watch it, but given the format and the teams in this tournament, I just can’t get behind it.

I won’t be watching it, and either should you.  Send a message to the NHL that we won’t put up with this garbage whenever they decide to throw it our way.  If they want to put on a true World Cup which is held every four years instead of the Olympics, that’s great.  But make it a global event, with each nation appropriately represented, not some garbage format like what they are passing off this time.

I’ll find better ways to pass my time, and spend my money, I hope you do too.

Advice for New Dads

dad and daughter on the beach

Congratulations Dad to be!  You’re expecting the arrival of your child.  Now what?

Well, here is a little bit of information about pregnancy, the birth, and returning home from the hospital, from a male perspective.

This is of course based on my own experience.  As such, I’m going to refer to my wife throughout, but you can of course substitute the correct term based on your situation.

Step 1: She’s pregnant!

Hopefully, this is a source of joy.  It was for me, as we had planned to start a family.  If you, like me, were planning for the pregnancy, then it’s time to celebrate.  Congratulations!

If your situation is more complicated than mine was, that’s OK too.  Trust me, when you see that little one of your’s come out, nothing else will matter.  There is nothing better in the world.  Be a man, and be part of your child’s life.

Step 2: Preparing for the arrival

Do whatever she wants you to.  Seriously.  She is going to be growing a human inside of her body for around 40 weeks!  This new human will become the most important being in your world. Ever.

So, having said that, help out as much as you can.

You’ll of course need to prepare for the arrival of your child by buying all of the necessary items.  This can get really expensive.

You’ll likely have plenty of people around who are willing to offer advice, and likely give you things such as furniture, clothing, and so on.  Take it all.

There are of course also a number of books which can help you out through the process such as What to Expect When You’re Expecting and many others.

Your wife will probably have a shower thrown for her, which is also really helpful in gathering some useful items.

You should also have a Beer and Diaper Party.  Invite your friends over, have them bring beer, and diapers.  Drink the beer with them, keep the diapers for your child.  A big help.

Step 3: Holy crap, it’s time!

Midnight, your wife wakes you up, and says “I think my water just broke.”  This is not a time to suggest going back to bed for a bit (um, a “friend” of mine did that…).  However, if that happens, you do have some time.  My wife called the hospital and they said to have a shower and come on in.

Once we arrived at the hospital, we saw the admissions nurse who checked to see how far my wife was dilated.  Now fellas, be prepared, this is the first time, of quite a few, that somebody will be “up in your wife’s business” so to speak, so be ready for that, and don’t sweat it.  Having said that, if the janitor comes in for a look, that’s probably inappropriate.

We were told to take a little walk, and then to come back for another check.  During our walk, we made our families aware of the situation, as they live outside of town, and would need to make arrangements to come on down.

Once we returned, it was go time!  The nurse told us that we’d be having a baby that day!

Before I move on to the actual delivery room process, I’d like to pause to compliment the staff at London Health Sciences Centre – Victoria Hospital, because they are awesome!

OK, on to the arrival.

Step 4:  The waiting game

There will be some waiting around for things to get going.  Just enjoy that time with your wife and have fun.

You’ll have a nurse in the room with you for the majority of the time.  They will monitor vitals and whatnot throughout the process.

Now, you should probably have some discussion prior to this point about what your role in the birth will be.  I remember thinking beforehand that I would be there to hold a hand and offer comfort and encouragement.  I planned on staying up top so to speak, while letting the medical professionals handle everything below.

Your wife will of course also want to decide what she’s planning in regard to having an epidural or not.  If it was me, I know I’d be getting one!  Once again, I think that’s a decision for your wife to make, and you can add your two cents while being supportive.

My wife was open to the epidural, and in the end, she decided to get it.

From my wife’s experience, and that of some friends, I’ve heard nothing but good things.  They found that they were able to relax, be more comfortable, and enjoy the entire process.

Step 5: It’s go time

OK, so things are progressing.  In our experience, the nurse did a lot of the work leading up to the delivery.  Unexpectedly, she told me to grab a leg.  So, my visions of being up at my wife’s head did not come to be, and I’m thankful for that.  It was much cooler to be a bigger part of the process.  And, if you think of it, given the position your wife will be in while delivering, your going to be near the action regardless.

At one point, the nurse commented that our baby had “quite a head of hair,” so I went for a look.  Pretty cool to be able to see your child on their way out.

For my wife, the most difficult part actually was having to hold her breath and push all of that air out during the process.

The nurse will wait until the baby is pretty much ready to come out before calling in the doctors for the actual delivery.

For us, we had a med student with the regular doctor looking over her shoulder.

Before you know it, bam, there’s your baby.  It will be an awesome moment, so take it all in.

They will ask you if you want to cut the cord.  Prior to the delivery, I did not want to.  I figured medical procedures were best left to people with medical degrees.  However, during the birth I had decided that I wanted to cut the cord, so it took no convincing to get me to do it.  I have heard from some friends that some doctors can be really persistent about having you cut it, so be prepared for some pressure.  If you do decide to cut it, it is quite rubbery and does take a little bit of force to get through.

I know that some guys can be squeamish about blood and whatever other fluids are present during the delivery.  This stuff doesn’t really bother me, but having said that, I don’t think it’s that big a deal for most guys.  You’ll be more caught up in the excitement of meeting your child anyway.  Our little girl came out looking like a cheesecake, coated in a substance called vernix.

Step 6:  After the birth

Kiss your wife, kiss your baby.  Congratulations, you’re parents!

They’ll clean up your baby, weigh and measure them.  You’ll both get to hold your baby and enjoy some time as a family.

In our case, we stayed in the delivery room for a while before being moved into the recovery area overnight.  We were fortunate to have a private room, which was nice.

At this point, the nurse will show you anything you’re interested in about caring for your child.  For example, swaddling, nursing, bathing, etc.  The bathing experience was an eye-opener for sure.  It’s your child, and to you, they are this delicate, perfect little being.  The nurses being quite experienced, know how to move the babies around quickly and efficiently to get the job done.  Having said that, the bathing experience was a little crazy for us as it was done so fast.

Soon enough, you’ll be on your way home.  You’ll of course need to have the carseat all ready to go before you are allowed to leave the hospital.  A nurse will make sure you’ve got the little one secured properly.

Make sure that you plan for how your arrival to your home will go.  I know some people who have come home to unexpectedly have a bunch of visitors, which you probably won’t want.

Make arrangements with the people you want to be there.  In our case, we just had our parents come to the house afterwards.

I would recommend keeping things quiet in terms of announcing the birth until after you’ve had a bit of a chance to settle in.  Most people who have gone through the experience themselves will be understanding.

We were fortunate that my Mother-in-Law was able to stay with us for about half a week during the adjustment to full-fledged parenthood.  If you have a good relationship, this is really helpful when you’re just trying to wrap your head around everything.

Step 7: So you’re a Dad, now what?

Well, now it’s time to start getting used to that life.  You’ll spend the first while tracking how many times your little one is pooping and peeing to make sure all those systems are working correctly.

We had our baby sleep in a bassinet in the room which worked for us.  She slept pretty well in there, but occasionally, needed some alternatives.

Our daughter had a little reclined chair that we could set to vibrate.  When she got fussy during the night, my wife or myself would walk around the room with her, and then put her in that chair.  I spent more than a couple of nights sleeping on the floor beside her to replace her soother as it fell out.  It maybe wasn’t the most comfortable, but it helped her sleep, and was a bit of daddy-daughter bonding time.  It also afforded my wife the opportunity to get some better sleep.  It’s fair to say that she earned it.

There is some debate about letting your child sleep in your bed at this point.  We found our daughter would sleep in a bit longer if we put her in the bed with us in the morning.  Of course, you have to be aware not to roll over on them.  In our experience, this worked out well.  Our daughter is currently 10 months old, and is a great sleeper in her own room, so no negative impact in our case.

In a few days time you’ll take your child in for their first doctor’s appointment and go from there.

So that about sums it up.  Try to relax and enjoy the process.  When you stop and think about it, it really is remarkable, and in the end, you get to meet the love of your life.  How cool is that?

I’ll write more in a future post about life as a Dad during your child’s first year.  It’s awesome!

Why The Tragically Hip Matter

The Tragically Hip
My last Tragically Hip concert? August 8th, 2016. London, Ontario.

We’re forced to bed, but we’re free to dream…

We’ve all seen the memes, and we’ve all seen the commercials for the concert broadcast.  However, why does The Tragically Hip matter?  Why is it, that “Canada will be closed at 8:30” on Saturday, August 20th, 2016? How is it, that a concert can preempt the Olympics?

Well, in short, it’s because The Tragically Hip tell the story of us.  Us, as Canadians.  The people, the places, the memories, the legends, and so on, that make up this great country.

The Tragically Hip memories for me, reach back to my days as a high-school student at Meadowvale Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario. Fortunately, the walls, were not yellow-grey and sinister.

I remember seeing the At the Hundredth Meridian video on MuchMusic back when that music video channel actually played music. I was captivated by a verse in particular which I can still recite verbatim on cue despite the passage of time:  

If I die of vanity, promise me, promise me, they bury me some place I don’t want to be, you’ll dig me up and transport me, unceremoniously away from the swollen city breeze, garbage bag trees, whispers of disease, acts of enormity, and lower me slowly and sadly and properly, get Ry Cooder to sing my eulogy.”

Epic, especially when recited in only the way that Gord Downie can, with a quiet, eery calm, which grows with a sense of anguish and passion.  

I can recall talking about this song with a classmate in Mr. Gataveckas’ Grade 11 math class, and extolling the virtues of this awesome song and the aforementioned verse.  He responded with something along the lines, of, “oh, you mean this,” turning over his binder to reveal those exact words scrawled across the face of his binder.  I was not alone.

As I carried on throughout high-school, I grew as a person, and so did The Tragically Hip.  I can recall listening to Courage while trying to work up just that in order to ask out a girl (kids, that’s how it was done back then, you actually had to talk to people).    

I also remember walking home with (another) girl one day after school and she was inquiring about “who I liked.”  She made the observation that “I know who you like, you love hockey.”  I was too dumb or naive at the time to realize it, but years later in Fireworks when Gord Downie sang, “you said you didn’t give a f*** about hockey, I never saw someone say that before,” it all made sense.  She liked you, you dummy.

Eventually, I moved on to the University of Western Ontario, and found that people from all over Ontario shared a similar love for the band.  I can remember my roommate talking of his love of Grace Too and getting excited about one of Gord’s legendary live version rants: Look out! Jesus Christ, it’s a big f***ing bear!  

These incredible rants are but a small part of what makes Gord Downie the most engaging, captivating, and interesting lead singer in music.  If you’ve not heard the Killerwhaletank version of New Orleans is Sinking, stop reading, and proceed directly to doing so.  Highway Girl is another classic example.

It was during my university years, that I had the pleasure of seeing The Tragically Hip live for the first of what would be seven concerts over the course of the next couple of decades.

Now this story is a little convoluted in that “a guy I know, his sister’s brother’s cousin, knows a guy sort of way,” but here goes.  One of my friend’s friend’s sisters was dating the drummer of the band, Johnny Fay, at the time.

A group of us, including my friend’s friend went down to the Amphitheatre in Toronto to catch the show.  Afterwards, we had a few beers on said friend’s friend’s parents’ boat which was docked right outside the venue.  Afterwards, as we were leaving, Johnny Fay’s girlfriend and a group were heading to the boat.  Her brother, and our group, stopped, and were engaged in a conversation for about 5 minutes or so.  After a while, I noticed that one of the guys in the other group, a diminutive fellow, was in fact the drummer, Johnny Fay.  I gave him a  “great show,” because what do you say to someone in that situation?  He responded with a simple, “thanks.” Some in our group gave him some leftover beers, as he joined the boat, and we left.  My brush with Canadian rock royalty.

A few years after graduating from university I had the opportunity to travel east from Ontario, through Quebec and into New Brunswick to be the Best Man at my friend’s wedding (the guy who’s friend’s sister dated Johnny Fay, don’t worry, I’m a little confused too).  Anyway, this was a tremendous opportunity to see a great part of Canada while I made the 17 hour drive from Peterborough, Ontario, to Campbellton, New Brunswick.

By this point, I had accumulated quite a collection of CDs (kids, ask your parents).  Well into the hundreds I would estimate.  However, I decided that nothing would be more fitting as I drove across a portion of my great country than to listen to all of The Tragically Hip albums in order, from first to last.  I can remember that their collection at this point was enough to carry me through the first 10 hours or so of the trip.  I enjoyed the soundtrack so much, that I just started over again once I ran out of material.  It was great to match the beauty before my eyes with the sounds of Canada in my ears.

Not only have The Tragically Hip entertained Canadians for the better part of three decades, but they’ve also stepped up and helped when needed.  On one occasion, I traveled to Walkerton, Ontario to see them as they raised money to help the community after a water crisis.

A great Canada Day memory I have was seeing the band live again in Toronto.  As the show was nearing its completion, the fireworks for the big day were going off in the background.  Truly a great Canada Day memory.

The Tragically Hip were also responsible for me getting punched in the face one time.  Well, that’s a stretch, but, I was once punched in the face at one of their concerts.  The show occurred at Guelph Lake in Guelph, Ontario.  We arrived early and got a great general admission spot, about 12 rows away from the stage.  As the band was fully into their set, a drunken concert goer stumbled towards me leaving a path of strewn bodies in her wake as she barged her way through the crowd and decided to settle in and stand (or more accurately, sway awkwardly) right in front of me.  I gave this moment a sarcastic “fantastic” to which she responded with a “fantastic” of her own and hit me with a punch that had the drunken velocity of a leaf fluttering to the ground.  Her boyfriend, hot on her heels at the time, caught up to her, rolled his eyes, and apologized on her drunken behalf, before taking her for a premature trip home.

I’ve been punched in the face before (thanks to the good ol’ hockey game, sorry, that’s a different legendary Canadian performer), and have probably been deserving of it on many other occasions, but this time, I don’t think it was deserved.  However, it is a rather amusing memory that I carry with me all these years later.  In fact, this summer I returned to Guelph Lake for the first time since, for my first, and to this point, only triathlon.  I was expecting that I might get kicked in the face this time around during the swim, but I’m happy to report, a pattern of Guelph Lake facial abuse was not established.

When I moved to Sweden, my wife and I made many great new friends.  On Fridays after work, we would often have a few drinks with coworkers. On one occasion, our fellow teacher and new friend from Germany came back to our apartment to have a few beverages.  We started comparing aspects of our cultures, discussing beer, and sports, and of course, at some point, music.

The conversation of course turned to 99 Red Balloons, Wind of Change and inquiries about whether or not, David Hasselhoff is in fact big in Germany.  After adorning our friend in a Canadian hockey jersey, and showing her a fancy Canadian five dollar bill, I assured her that Canadian music was in fact more than Justin Bieber and Celine Dion.  She introduced us to some German bands we had never heard, and I of course, shared The Tragically Hip with her.

As the years passed by, it was cool to see the band be embraced by other generations of fans, even if those of my generation kind of like to claim them as ours.  In addition, there’s a generation older than mine, who would probably feel the same about their claim on the band.  In the end, The Tragically Hip belong to all of us, and as the current tour has shown, we belong to them.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve seen the band twice.  Once with somebody who was finally getting around to seeing them for the first time, and went to the trouble of sitting on a bus for hours both the day of the concert, and the day after.

Most recently, I saw them in London, Ontario and reunited with old friends over the shared memories and bonds that have been fostered in a small part, by our connection with the band.

That show was an amazing experience.  Again, an experience, which is being shared by thousands of Canadians across the country, and tonight, undoubtedly, will be shared by millions across Canada, certainly, and by Canadians (and fans of other nationalities) across the world.

The one moment that really stood out to me during the last time I saw them a few weeks ago, was when Gord sang the line “he said I’ll die before I quit.”  Given the circumstances of the tour, and that Gord is giving all of himself every night, and not going down without a fight, if at all, it was one of those heartfelt goose-bump moments.  A moment in time, that will live with me forever.

As the band gets set to play what could be their final show tonight, I am full of memories, connections, and gratitude for what they’ve brought me.  My birthday, and name appear in some of their songs, which of course, is just coincidental, but it’s still kind of cool.  But more than that, much more than that, there is an appreciation for their artistry, the lyrical genius of Gord Downie, their performances, and the fact that they mean a lot, to a whole lot of people.  If this is goodbye, they leave having left a mark on a great, great, country.  And for that, we can stand up and applaud.  Applaud for a legendary band, and for a legendary man.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.


How To Help Your Child Succeed

As a teacher, I spend a lot of time with children.  I’ve taught extensively in Canada, and for a little bit in Sweden.  One of the great things about being a teacher, is that, not only do I get to teach children, I also learn a lot from them.

Sometimes, during some quiet work time, I will find myself looking out over the sea of young faces before me and find myself wondering about their futures.  What kind of people will they grow up to be?  What jobs and careers will they have?

A large part of my job is of course to teach kids particular subject matter, but I think it is far more important for them to become quality people, who possess the characteristics needed to have a happy life.  While I of course, try to incorporate these character traits into my lessons, there is a much greater influence upon the future success of your child than our education system.  If you are reading this article, you probably already know what that influence is.  You.

The following are based on my observations over the course of the last 12 years as a teacher.  I believe these tips will help to set your child on the right course toward being successful.

person mountain goals

Let Them Fail

In our society, all too often now, kids are not able to fail.  In our education system, students are far too often pushed along through the system, without really having demonstrated the necessary skills and knowledge to do so.  We see sports leagues now where the score is not kept, even though, let’s be honest, everyone knows the score.

Through failure, we learn resiliency.  Without ever having the opportunity to fail, how can kids learn to deal with adversity?  How will they learn, that failure makes you better?  I’ve failed many times in my life, and each time, I’ve learned valuable lessons from these failures.  Lessons that have allowed me to become better.  I see this quality in my most successful students.

I once stumbled across this quote by former NFL quarterback Brett Favre, which I think really speaks to learning through failure:

If I were to make a list, I would include the interceptions, the sacks, the really painful losses. Those times when I’ve been down, when I’ve been kicked around, I hold on to those. In a way those are the best times I’ve ever had, because that’s when I’ve found out who I am.  And what I want to be.

The kids that I see who are successful, academically, and socially, are the kids that can bounce back from a disappointment, and move on.  Teach your kids how to do this, and they will be more successful.

By failing, we learn.  As a teacher I always encourage students to show their thinking.  It is OK to share a wrong answer (and yes, there are wrong answers), because that answer shows that that student is thinking, rather than sitting there, and being passive, or a non-participant in the learning environment.

So how do you let your child fail?  Well, I think it comes down to not doing everything for them.  Now, are you going to protect them from injury and dangerous situations?  Of course you are.  However, it’s OK for your child to fall.  You’ll be there to pick them up…just don’t do it too quickly.

Teach Them to Be Accountable

Some of the most successful students I see, are those who are able to admit when they’ve made a mistake, or when they’ve not acted responsibly.

In the end, these are the kids who are able to get back on track quickly, instead of obsessing about an error they’ve made.

Kids are actually generally pretty good at accepting the fact that they’ve messed up.  Often times, it is parents who have difficulty with the concept.  Here is some breaking news, your child may not act the same way at school as they do when they are around you.

Here’s the thing, as teachers, we don’t make up things about your child.  I will tell you what I see.  Let’s say for example, that a boy makes an inappropriate gesture towards a female student.  This is something that a parent should be made aware of.  In such situations, there are two types of parents.  The parent who acknowledges that their son did something wrong, works towards a solution, and helps to educate their son to ensure they don’t make a similar mistake in the future.  On the other hand, there is the parent who refuses to believe that their son would ever do such a thing.  In other words, what they are saying, is that their child’s teacher is a liar.  The student knows the truth.  The teacher knows the truth.  The parent refuses to see the truth.  Which parent do you want to be?  I want to be the one who is teaching their child that you are accountable for what you do.

Help Your Kids Be at Their Best


Give your kids the tools they need to be successful.  Kids are taught from the earliest of grades about the importance of healthy eating.  So, we have our healthy eating lessons, the kids know what foods are good and what foods are bad.  They go to their lunch pail and they open it up to find a bag of Doritos or the eight Oreo cookies that Mom or Dad have packed.  What message are you sending them?

I know that there are school boards, schools, and teachers who police lunches and snacks at schools.  I’m not one of those who do.  I teach kids what they need to know, I’ll encourage them to make a good choice when it comes to their snacks, but in the end, you, as a parent, hold the power to allow them to be able to make a good choice.

Kids love to have a treat in their lunch, and there is nothing wrong with that in moderation.  However, I will tell you from my experience, that the first thing most kids pull out for a snack at 10:15 in the morning is the worst thing in their lunches.  So, if you’re packing treats, be sure and have a discussion with them about when they should be eating it.


This should be pretty self-explanatory, but if your kid comes to school exhausted because you let them stay up playing GTA 5, had them watching The Walking Dead with you (for the record, don’t let your kids do those things either), or for whatever other reason, how do you expect them to function successfully academically and socially the next day?

Allow your kids to have the rest that they need, in order to have the energy to learn and play the next day.


Would you send your child to baseball practice without their glove or to hockey without their skates?  Let’s talk a little bit about equipping your kids with the appropriate materials to be successful.

I’m going to supply your child with what they need from my meagre classroom budget and from my own pocket (yes, this is true, teachers do this all the time), however, if you are able to, send them along with some essentials.  I would suggest the following, if you are in a position financially to be able to do so:

  • pencils (the standard HB pencil with an eraser), stay away from the mechanical variety unless you want to have your kid attempting to spend 20 minutes a day messing around with lead refills or bugging their buddy for some
  • ruler
  • pencil crayons (I find them to be more versatile and longer lasting than markers, and use them far more in my class)
  • lined paper
  • shoes for gym class
  • a pencil sharpener (please, not electric)

That’s about it.  Don’t spend a whole lot of money sending your kid back to school, but send them with enough be able to get the job done.

Also, check-in with them throughout the year.  The back to school supplies probably won’t last the entire year.

Be Involved

Hopefully, you’re already taking an active role in your child’s life.  If you’re not, start.  Get off your phone, get them off their phone, and spend time together.

You should also try to take an active role in your school community.  All too often, parental involvement at schools falls to a relatively small group of (awesome) parents.  They’re the ones who volunteer to help with pizza days, and fieldtrips, and after school activities.  Now, the reality is, not all parents have the freedom in their schedules to get involved in those ways, but luckily, if you fall into that category, you can help in other ways:

  • Get involved in advocating for what you see as being valuable in the curriculum.  What do you want your child to be taught in school?  In Ontario, we had a tonne of debate about the new Growth and Development (“Sex Ed.”) curriculum.  It was awesome to see parents get involved and voice their opinions to the government about these changes.  It would also be nice to see those voices speak out about Math, and Language, the Arts, and so on.
  • Advocate for more funding in the education system.  I receive $200 per year to purchase materials for my classroom.  Let’s take a modestly sized class of 25 students.  That’s $8 per child, for the entire year.  Enough said.
  • Contact your child’s teacher.  I will contact you if there is an issue related to your child at school.  Hopefully, I’ll also have the chance to contact you about what a great job your child is doing.  However, reach out.  Take an active role in this communication.  Go to parent/teacher interviews, discuss your child’s progress, be active!

Be a Role Model

Your kids will learn how to behave through you.  Show them how to do it.  If you are consistently being negative around them, complaining about everything, treating people poorly, not displaying manners, guess what?  You’ll likely see that reflected in your child.  Those behaviours will lead to poor academic results, and bad social relationships.  Be a positive influence on your child, not a negative one.

You’re the adult, act like one should.

Let Them Be Kids

At the start of every year, I’ll have parents asking me about how much homework their child is going to have.  My answer usually goes something like this: “I don’t really assign homework, if they work hard at school, and get their work done, then I’m happy.  They need time to play and be kids at night.”

I truly believe that.  Show kids that if they work hard, they are rewarded.  Let them have fun when they get home, if of course, they’ve earned that.  If they haven’t, well, go back and read the section about holding them accountable.

In the End

It is really up to you to set your child up to be successful in school and in life.  Teach them how to function and interact appropriately with others.  Give them the tools to be successful.  Let them fail, and encourage them to learn from their mistakes.  In the end, you will be rewarded with someone who perseveres, is prepared, and is ready to learn and persist through challenges.  Along the way, maybe you’ll learn something too.


Budget-Friendly Family Vacations

beach family

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a number of incredible travel experiences over the course of my 38 years.  This has given me great insight into planning awesome trips for myself, or along with my wife.  However, I have not had any experience in planning a family-friendly trip with children in tow.  Although, as my 10 month old daughter continues to grow up, we’ll definitely be embarking on some great family trips.

While I personally can’t offer any advice…yet, I recently read this great post which outlines some cost-cutting measures which enabled a family of five, to save more than $900 over the course of a week-long vacation.  These are simple ideas that anybody can follow, so I hope that you’ll find it as useful as I did.  I’ll be implementing them in the future!

Not only are the tips great for your bank-account, but they’ll also help you create some memorable experiences with your family.

7 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Family Vacation

p.s. I hope you’re not reading this sitting beside the pool on vacation, click on the link to find out why!