Living Dangerously

Recent news stories have reinforced a belief that I hold. A belief that I routinely engage in the most dangerous activity imaginable for an adult male. Now I am no thrill seeker, and I don’t engage in extreme sports. I have never climbed a mountain, jumped out of a plane or gone white water rafting. In fact on the surface it would seem like I do very little on any given day that could be considered ‘dangerous’ in any sense of the word.

austin-powers-i-also-like-to-live-dangerously

No the danger that I speak of is that I routinely interact with children and teens. Here is a list of my dangerous activities;

1- I help run a youth group

2- I coach my children’s sports teams

3- I help out at my children’s school

4- I take my children to the park, the mall, the grocery story without my wife accompanying me.

Maybe these don’t sound like dangerous activities to you. If that is the case God bless you. However I am painfully aware that there is a rapidly growing sense in our culture that every male presents a very real possible risk to minors.

If you think I am exaggerating here are two stories that filled my Facebook news feed over the past few weeks;

First a little more than a week ago a YouTube video went viral. It was of a man and a puppy going over to three different children at a playground to see if he could convince them to leave the park with him. He was successful each time. The video ended say that 700 children are abducted a day. Which as far as I can tell is not true.

And second a man in Australia who took a selfie in a Target store with a Darth Vader cut out. A mother thought he had taken a picture of her children. She then followed the man around the store took his picture shared it on Facebook describing what she thought happened. The picture was shared well over 20,000 times. The man discovered while he was sitting in a business meeting the following day that this picture of him was circulating accusing him of being a pedophile. He had to go to the police and relinquish his phone to prove his innocence.

These kind of stories chill me to the bone. But I am just not sure what to do with them. The fact is that children in the US and Canada have never been safer. Yet it seems like parents have never been more scared. Lives of well meaning, innocent adults are being destroyed, and children are being kept sequestered away for no good reason.

Back in February I was asked to be Olaf at a community festival. I did it because I knew my daughter in particular would be so excited to see Olaf in person. I also knew that a lot of other kids would enjoy it as well. I was excited, but also nervous.

I knew that the kids would want to hug Olaf/me, he does love warm hugs after all. And they would want to pose with him/me for pictures. And that is what happened. So during the evening I tried to make sure that you could see my hand in every picture that was taken. My hands were either resting somewhere on my costume or they were waving in the air. I got the sense that the women dressed up as Elsa and Anna didn’t have the same concern.

Daddy Olaf

My name is Olaf, and I am generally nervous about hugs

 

I love my children, and I want to be active in their lives. But I also believe in the old saying that it takes a village to raise a child. So I want my children to have other adults in their lives that affect them in a positive way. And I hope I can affect others in a similar positive manor. I am just worried that it is getting too dangerous to try.

What do you think?

Advertisements

I Just Ran 50,000 DM

I am not a runner. I feel I have pointed this out a few times already. When I spend time with a treadmill at the gym instead of running I set it to a very high incline (25%) at a relatively brisk pace (4 miles per hour). Normally I am happy with this plan.

Today was different. Today at the gym I ran my first official 5k, or 50,000 decimetres which sounds way more hardcore. I did this to help support a friend who is running for a cause. The ‘Soul Sisters TNT‘ that are raising money for Leukemia & Lymphoma research with Team in Training.

By the way, this was almost the third official time I ran 5k. The first was when I ran a fun run called ‘run or dye’ a few years ago, but turns out their track was not actually 5k. The second time I was supporting another friend raising money with Team in Training, but like today the treadmill I used was in miles and I did the conversion wrong. I didn’t realize until I got home that I only ran around 4 1/2kms which annoyed me.

Today I set out again to run 5k and this time I was going to get it right so I kept a distance converter app handy.

Did you know that 5k is roughly equal to;

2734 fathoms

196850 inches

1.03 leagues

and 2938 smoots

Actually I think I am going to start reporting all of my walks/runs in non-standard distance measurements. If you will excuse me I have to start training for my next 10936.13 cubit(uk) run.

5k run

‘Hey Soul Sister— Your sweet moonbeam The smell of you in every single dream I dream’  For the record, Train I am pretty confidant I did not smell like a dream here.

 

Please Don’t Share That

This post first appeared on Urban Parent Halifax on Tuesday August 19th which is a great source for all things parenting here in Halifax NS

Without fail every week if not more often I will check my normal social networks and I will come across a post, meme, video or blog dragging out the tired image or the poor bumbling helpless dad. Most times I just roll my eyes and keep on scrolling. But sometimes I really have to shake my head as I wonder why the person shared what they did.

Often times they are calling out their own spouse in a very public manner for trying to do something that was unfamiliar to them. I rarely see the humour in the faceflogging that takes place with person after person chiming in to say how funny this failure is. It’s like my whole social network channels their inner Nelson Muntz.

nelson_muntz102611

If you are considering posting something about how your silly, well meaning, but ultimately failure of a spouse messed up I would like you to consider 3 questions;

  1.  Was it one of their normal responsibilities?

In my house I am the primary cook and I am the primary grocery shopper. We do this because I enjoy cooking more than my wife does and I normally have Fridays off work to do the shopping.

My wife is a smart and capable person. We got married while we were both still in university. Because of that she never had to get used to cooking and grocery shopping for anything beyond college living.

Once shortly after we were married she did the grocery shopping for a change. To my surprise she bought a rather large package of ground pork. When I asked why she legitimately had no idea that she hadn’t bought the ground beef I asked for. To me the products look completely different. But since she didn’t normally do the grocery shopping and never handles raw meat she simply saw a package of ground meat and tossed it into the cart.

It is easy to make simple mistakes when doing something unfamiliar.

  1. How much experience do they have? 

When we get good at something it is easy to forget how hard it was at first, sort of like driving. Think back to those first few times behind the wheel. It was so nerve wracking! It took so much focus and attention. But now you jump in the car and barely give what you are doing any thought at all.

One of the things I think you should never make fun of a dad for trying to do is putting their daughter’s hair in a ponytail. Of course some of us as asking for it.

Dad getting hair ready

Mom’s I don’t think you take time to consider how much more experience you have compared to the average dad. Before you had a daughter that needed her hair put up how many ponytails did you make in your own hair? How about in someone else’s hair, like for someone you used to babysit?

I don’t know about you, but before I had a daughter that needed her hair put up I know exactly how many ponytails I tried before, zero, zip, zilch. Don’t even get me started about braids. I am still not great at putting in a ponytail, but I am learning. It takes skill to figure out how to gather up all the hair, hold it properly in one hand and twirl elastic with another.

It is easy to forget how hard something is when you get used to doing it.

  1. Do you want them to try again?

Do you remember the time when you were learning to ride your bike and you fell off, and your parents laughed and laughed at you? Than they called over all their friends to point and laugh at the poor crumpled heap you were on the ground. No? That’s probably because they wanted you to succeed and they realized ridiculing your failure wasn’t likely a great motivator.

The same people I see making fun of their partners for trying tend to be the ones that complain that their partners don’t help out around the house/in the kitchen/with the kids enough. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t make fun of them every time they try and expect them to be ready to jump up to help.

You can make fun of the failures or you can encourage their effort. You likely can’t do both.

I don’t want to sound like a kill joy. It is a good thing to be able to laugh at our mistakes. But it isn’t funny to be laughed at because of them. Maybe instead of making fun for dads who are trying you could consider posting a picture of a grumpy cat. That guy always cracks me up.

grumpy cat mornings