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Praising your Wife.

In Darling Harbour, Sydney for her sister’s wedding.

Is your wife perfect for you?

My wife, Cathy is perfect for me. She always has been and we have been together for almost twenty years now.

We met at our place of work in the city, she worked on the 30th floor and me on the 29th. We worked for the same Consultancy & Advisory Firm but in different divisions. We all remember the first time we saw/met our wives, don’t we? I’m sure you can tell me your story of how you met your wife.

Mine, well, it wasn’t something fancy, it happened while I was using the photocopying machine. Yep, I fell in love with her smile in one of the photocopying/fax rooms. She gave me the best smile I had received from anyone in a long while … she smiled from the heart.

Working there was a funny time and one of the reasons was that we tried to keep our relationship secret for about a year. However, no matter how hard we tried, we kept getting caught together in the lifts and outside of work – in the city streets or cafes or even on University grounds (as my wife was completing her undergrad degree while she worked). Other work mates used to wonder if we were an item but had no evidence and we later heard that it was even included in the board meeting discussions by the Partners of the Firm.

It was a funny and great phase of our lives together.

Enjoying another habit of ours – eating at a holiday resort in beautiful paradise Islands of Fiji, where I was born and spent my early youth in.

During that period of courtship before marriage, we had more ups then downs. We still have our ups and downs and fights but I think we both knew in the first phase of our relationship that we would wind up married, best friends and partners for life.

Well, I sort of knew earlier on that we were ‘on the same wavelength’ in many facets of our being. I just shared this little story with my two children over dinner recently. The story of how their mum (my wife) and I both went out independently and without any knowledge prior to the fact that we went on the same day and bought a cd of the singer ‘Enya’. We then showed each other what we bought that evening and were both surprised that we did the same thing on the same day without saying a word.

We did this in the first year of our relationship. There were many other instances.

Freaky?

Nope, Quantum Physics says that everything is essentially comprised of waves and frequencies and so … we were figuratively and literally on ‘the same wavelength’ and have been (on most things) ever since.

She has a lovely sense of humour and is very thoughtful, with a thousand other beautiful traits. We enjoy each other and we enjoy life (for the most part).

In a big part and phase of our lives, she was in the background. For example, when I changed careers and pursued my passion of attaining “Peak Performance” in every area of life – physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally … and helping people. I didn’t like the way I saw Personal Trainers/Gym Trainers training people when I was in the gym and thought that I could do much better and give people what they deserve: a more efficient, more effective and most importantly, the most safest way of training and transforming a physique …. using my knowledge and experience to that point.

She was there.

My beautiful and amazing wife, Cathy Valentine.

She had always been in the background in the phase of life that took me to two World Championships in the Sport I love, Natural Bodybuilding, my drive to be not just the BEST in my suburb, my state, my country … but my hunger to be the BEST in the World. I may very lousy trying to be the best in the world at say, Basketball (that would be wishful thinking/delusional thinking) because I was ‘slightly under 6 feet and I couldn’t dunk).

But in the sport of Bodybuilding, I could beat anyone (I thought) on that stage, just like a boxer could beat anyone in the ring in the same weight category. I was born with the right genetics and so had a competitive advantage, just like a tall person playing basketball has a competitive advantage in playing basketball.

My competitive advantages : I was always abnormally strong and fast and the same muscles that made me fast (the Type 2b ‘fast twitch’ muscle fibres) as I learned in my studies of the human body, was also responsible for building quality, lean muscle mass.

Within a year of leaving the Corporate World to pursue my passion of helping people, help themselves, achieve something they care about …  with no ‘Plan B’ … I found myself competing in competitions. I found myself beating the best in my city – Sydney, then I found myself beating the best in my State – NSW. I didn’t stop there … I thought I may as well compete against the best in my country and I did.

I placed 1st runner-up in the Middle Weight NSW Titles and qualified for the World Natural Bodybuilding Championships where the Top 2 of each weight category qualified. I represented Australia and placed in the Top 5 (beating the guy who beat me in Australia in the Australian Titles) in the World two years in a row in the sport. The Sport I fell in love with almost 30 years ago.

 

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships – New York, USA.
Standing with middle-weight (my category) and overall World Champion.
Me – 4th placed in the world
Competitor beside me – 1st place and World champion
Right: My Team Partner and wife – Cathy.

Leading up to that point I was an Accountant, managing a team of young clerks, Accountants and reporting to the CEO.

I had a lot of dreams (and still do) and of them was the dream of doing what I loved to do: to help people, help themselves be the best version of themselves. I knew I knew how and that I had developed my own unique philosophy and techniques “best bred” from all the great champions that have been in the Sport of Bodybuilding for over hundred years. Arnold Schwarzenegger being the most famous of legends.

It was difficult initially but I also believed I could achieve it, that it wasn’t wishful thinking … that I could beat the best in the world in my sport … that I could see myself standing with the best in the world because I believed in me. Luckily, she believed in that dream too. More importantly she believed in me. I developed a quality plan and I (with her help) executed the plan with quality. My years of developing plans for consulting jobs for large corporate clients was very useful here.

She was always there when I lived and breathed the running of my gym and helping everyone that I considered to be my Extended Family of members that just happened to be my gym members.

I couldn’t have done that without her support.

Her work was not as visible and maybe, to some people, not as important. But, my efforts and results would be nothing without a wife like her. What most people don’t realise is that something is as real and true in my family (I have two beautiful kids and a dog now) as it is in almost any man’s family:

What our wives do and have done is much more valuable in terms of eternity than anything we could ever do.

Ten years from now my name may appear in the Fiji Sports Hall of Fame or maybe Australia’s too. That may be part of my legacy. I am still a fan of the sport and almost all sports. I don’t get up on stage competitively like I used to but I still watch and cheer along with every other fan.

But my wife, Cathy’s accomplishments, unknown to most people, will be honoured for eternity. What she has done and is still doing for our family. She’s been there for my children in the early years of their lives … almost been the father and mother to them, when I spent years leaving the house very early (before 5am) and getting home late (after 9:30pm) when I used to run a gym for 7 years.

I just love this photo of my wife.

That is a phase of life I will always remember and appreciate. She was superhuman because she got help from no one as the gym and my extended family of members and my goals to be the best in the world took up my time and energy.

In the last number of years of this phase of life, she has learned to ‘fly’ again after having kids. She is now in the foreground and flourishing in her career as I take a backseat and invested my time in the children and develop other ideas that I see opportunities for.

I am excited for her and her growth in this phase of her life.

To all you men reading this, be and give the support your wife/woman needs and learn to adapt to the different phases of life.

God reminds me that yes, she is my wife and mother of our children and key part of my family but she is also Cathy Valentine – an individual, separate, looking for growth and progress in her being.

Husbands, be the wind beneath her wings. Sit back and see her fly … and go ‘wow!’

Thank God for all your blessings, which should always include your wife.

Ahoy and until next time!

 

Yours in iron and muscles,

The Old Captain Viking Pirate Fiji Islands – born Muscle Monk

Here we are … my beautiful wife and I.
at a dinner party.

Mr & Mrs Paul e Valentine.

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The Grace of Seeds.

_MG_9765

I have been blessed with two very beautiful, healthy children. It is truly one of life’s blessings in my eyes – the Grace of Seeds.

However, in interactions with men of all ages in gyms for over two decades now, for some men, the responsibilities of fatherhood are simply more than they bargained for. It could be due to many things.

It seems, it is not only the intrusion of a newborn child’s demands; not just the scary anticipation of financial burdens (some men tend to view it this way) – from cot to college.

Maybe, it is the realization that the ‘honey-moon’ period has finally come to an end. Things will never be the same as they imagined it to be. This can be a stark reality indeed for some men.

In addition to this, some men probably have an increased fear of the onset of family life as this would entail responsibilities of parenthood. This would ultimately mean, the feast of love with his wife will grow stale. That the wine of their love will lose its bouquet.

That their love life will fizzle out.

But this is where interpretation of what married love means to Real Men differs.

Often when a man is insecure about himself, afraid of his personal characteristics and strengths as a husband and lover, he is unable to find a reliable and relevant version of the truth about love within a marriage.

And that it is this version of truth of married love:

The love between a married couple has a special ingredient that allows for the inclusion of the love of others.

But, it seems that there are many examples all around us in today’s modern living that tell us that countless couples disagree with this position or interpretation of what married love is.

The expectation gap between ‘what is’ and ‘what they imagined’ is just too big. I have met quite a few couples over the years who choose to not have children. Very sad indeed.

I will argue one point regarding this and one point only and it is this: if the Bible makes it clear that God our Creator, made us in his image and likeness, then I believe that he (God) intended and hoped that we would be ‘fruitful and increase in number”.

So, if you choose to give life and love whether by birth or adoption, you become more of what God meant by ‘in God’s image’. This is our real slice of the ‘essence of life’, our closest chance to share – if only to a small degree – the highest attributes of God the Father himself.

This is as close to “God-like” as any person could become.

To not do so and take another path, to not offer love to our own children, the seeds that will bloom in the future. Well, personally, I cannot fathom this decision.

This is to miss one of the true meanings of what life is about. To go down this path deprives you of a taste of eternity, that is ….

The Grace of Seeds.

It is a sacrament of everlasting life.

Nourish those seeds with all the love you can muster as they will be your future – our future.

They will be the World’s Future.

And, thank God every single day for blessing you with the grace of seeds!

For posterity.

 

Until next time,

Me and my children. Children gives you a hint of eternity. A true blessing to be graced with seeds. Vv.

Me and my children.
Children gives you a hint of eternity.
A true blessing – the grace of seeds.
Vv.

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How close is close enough?

Me and my children - carriers of my genes. A taste of immortality for me.

Me and my children – carriers of my genes. A taste of immortality for me.

I spend a lot of time with my two children in this phase of my life and I feel very blessed that I have the opportunity to do so. I will cherish these moments for the rest of my life and I thank God every single day.

Being a parent is quite interesting because most of society make it out to be a relationship where the parenting is ‘one way’ but I think otherwise. I feel, the child ‘parent’ you too, if you are aware enough to recognise it so. They teach and remind you of many things you let slip by the way-side. They help you improve your game as a parent, as a human being.

We play many games together, from racing cars to doll house; from twister to monopoly; from shops to painting; from horse-riding on dad to pillow fights; from dress-ups to leggos; from hide-and-seek to pretend classrooms and so many others. I just love my time with them and I love this role of being a dad.

You see, my son is quite innovative. He is a bit of a thinker. For example, today he created maizes that he drew up from self-created dots on clear pages. He then asked me to find my way through his newly created maize (indicating where the ‘start’ is and where I should try and ‘finish’).

The aim of the game is to get to the ‘finish’ line without drawing over an existing line. I came very close to a few of his maize lines but managed to get out of the maize. He applauded my effort but then asked me an interesting question, he said –

“Dad, how close is close enough?”

I have always told my children that it was important to not be afraid to ask questions rather than know all the answers (as there are countless storage devices or google these days). I also always remind them that it is even more important to ask the right questions.

And so he did.

My kids and I with Ruby the Dog. They just adore each other. Choose to spend time with your kids, not 'quality time'.

My kids and I with Ruby the Dog. They just adore each other.
Choose to spend time with your kids, not ‘quality time’.

I asked him what he meant, and he showed me where I had come very close to ‘touching’ two of his self-made maize lines on my way to the finish line and that I could be considered to have ‘not finished’ and lost. I told him that it was a matter for him and I to decide on how ‘close enough’ is defined and acceptable to both of us. He was happy with how close my drawing was to his line and said that close enough to not be close enough for him to win.

I still am very amazed at the question he asked because it could be applied to many other areas of life. The maizes he draws could represent the maizes (different paths) we are all taking in life. Are you able to accept a service that is 98% complete without getting angry and accepting that it was ‘close enough’.

Are you a ‘close enough is good enough’ person or are you do you expect nothing short of perfect? Are you able to forgive people if they fall short? Once, twice … repeatedly? What is your tolerance level? I know how it feels to come close enough to winning natural body-building contests, experiencing runner-up finishes quite a few times. To me, close enough was not good enough in those contests but that was how the results turned out.

Have you reflected on how close are your closest friends? Are they close enough for you to really get to know you? How close enough are your family relatives? Are the number of years in a relationship relevant or is it the actual number of hours of ‘face-to-face’ contact that brings you close? How do you define ‘close enough’ in a relationship to be able to trust them? How close is close enough for you?

What a thought-provoking question from my son and was the impetus for this blog message to you.

Work the muscles you don't 'see' in front of the mirror. It creates balance and symmetry and lowers your risks of injuries and potential postural problems amongst many other things. Vv.

Work the muscles you don’t ‘see’ in front of the mirror.
It creates balance and symmetry and lowers your risks of injuries and potential postural problems amongst many other things.
Vv.

Anyway, if you have children, YOU, as a mother or father – you’re given the responsibility to work with them and help guide and build them from strong values and principles. Guide them in the ‘way they should go’. I believe it is the single most important task we will ever have in our lifetime – our most important responsibility.

I strongly believe that no other accomplishment and no definition of ‘success’ will ever compensate for failure to help teach eternal truths to your children. No amount of success (as commonly defined in life as financial wealth and status) can ever compensate for the failure to invest in your most priceless off-spring, the generation currently around your knees.

So, choose well I say.

As the American – William James, the father of modern Psychology once stated when referring to time spent with children –

“The greatest use of life is to spend it with something that will outlast it.”

This is about as close enough to close as you could get to truth on this area of life. None of us will ever get out of life, alive, in this life anyway.

And truth, as we know is beauty. So, embrace beauty – embrace the beauty and truth of life. Embrace your children.

And remember, don’t just schedule ‘quality time’, there’s no such thing. You either make time or you don’t. Choose the former before it is too late.

The ‘empty nest’ comes way too soon.

All the very best in your decisions that contribute to your purpose in life.

 

Until next time,

With my children striking a 'front-double biceps' pose for the camera. Watch out these guns are loaded .... hope you're wearing your bullet-proof vests! Vv.

With my children striking a ‘front-double biceps’ pose for the camera.
Watch out these guns are loaded …. hope you’re wearing your bullet-proof vests!
Vv.

~~Life &; wellness COACH~~

~~Life &; wellness COACH~~

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Unique WAYS.

Guess where we are? The Sydney Harbour bridge in the background - at one of our nearby favourite playgrounds.

Guess where we are?
The Sydney Harbour bridge in the background – at one of our nearby favourite playgrounds.

Every individual is unique. No two persons have the same finger print nor voice frequency. Every person has their own individual characteristics that make each of them – them.

It was only tonight that my wife mentioned that she was having a little difficulty coming to terms with the changes she has been observing with our daughter. These changes were testing her patience.

I told her that I believed that the optimal way is to allow our daughter to grow and discover her own possibilities. It is a continuously evolving process. We shouldn’t, as parents force our own biases and preferred philosophies on our child without embracing the uniqueness that makes up that child first.

I believe our parenting styles should not be too static and inflexible. Both parties to any successful relationship needs to negotiate slack. A constant push and pull tug-o-war.

We, as parents need to be better listeners, in particular, we need to listen to what our children ‘do not say’. In other words we should become more aware of our ‘children’s’ unique ways and adopt and adapt our parenting styles accordingly.

I think this is the meaning of the line regarding the process of raising your child (parenting) somewhere in proverbs in the Bible, something along the lines of –

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

As I see it, the ‘way’ is determined and ultimately pre-determined by God. It is unique to the child, to each of us (all God’s children). Way could also be another term for ‘path’ or ‘road’ I would think.

Metaphorically at least, I think this word ‘way’ relates to a ‘characteristic’.

So, it would follow that you, as a parent need to train your children according to his or her individual, unique characteristics – his or her WAY. This is difficult, I know but it is the best way, the optimal way.

Day out with my children at the Opera House.

Day out with my children at the Opera House.

If you believe there is a God or higher being (whatever you call it), then, you would see my argument here, that as parents, we cannot entertain the notion that each of our children is like a lump of play-do that we can mould to our desire. They each have a significant input in to their moulding process too.

Each child already has a unique stamp. This unique stamp is given from this higher force, this God. A pre-determined pattern – stamp. It is a GOD DNA.

I love observing my children and increasing my awareness of the strengths of both of them. My daughter, for example, is quite artistic and showed the aptitude and interest in colouring and drawing and writing very early in her life. My son, on the other hand is quite innovative and mechanically inclined.

He has already been showing strong signs of ‘thinking outside the square’ since he was 2 years old.

Each child has their own ‘way’. Their own unique characteristics. Their strengths.

Have you observed the differences in your children? Perhaps you were from a home of several children. May be one of you siblings was creative, another, practical. One may have been academically intelligent; another just average or didn’t finish High School. One of your brothers may be out-going and another sibling could have been withdrawn.

This is the ‘way’ that each and every one of us is created to make you uniquely – YOU.  We didn’t just all roll out of a assembly line like the mass—produced products flooding the world every single day. We all have our own unique WAYS.

Each child, each individual is created and hand-crafted by none other than, God. But my wife and I are not alone in this department because most parents reading this would have had issues with their children as they pass through the various stages of development.

The key to survival in all areas of life is adaptation.

Zachary and Olivia with their good friend - Ruby. They just adore one another.

Zachary and Olivia with their good friend – Ruby. They just adore one another.

It is no different with the raising of children. Parents should treat this relationship, like any good, long-term relationship. You need to adapt to the ever-evolving child as he or she develops, it is a very dynamic process. Yes, your patience will be tested greatly (and you will test you child’s patience too), but always fall back on the philosophy of adaptation.

Based on what I have observed from life and what I have just said above, I think a lot of parents make 2 major mistakes in the raising of their children:

  1. Using the same parenting approach with all their children.
  2. Compare their children to other children.

These two major and serious mistakes stem from parents not making themselves more aware of each child’s uniqueness, from not knowing each child better. From not hearing what each child is ‘not saying’. From not understanding each child’s strengths and limitations.

Possible Solution: it is pivotal that all parents observe and understand the unique characteristics (strengths) in each of our children. The earlier, the better.

The acceptance of this tailor-made, handcrafter master-piece philosophy that represents each individual child can certainly make parenting more meaningful and wise. There is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach to parenting. Find a shoe that fits.

Embrace each child’s uniqueness. Take sufficient and appropriate actions to change your parenting style to facilitate the child’s way or characteristics or strengths. You need to have the courage to adapt your parenting style accordingly. It requires an attitudinal change. Watch them grow up in to the citizens of the world you imagine them to be.

At the pool with my munchkins - Zachary and Olivia. Learning the basics of swimming with me. Your children are the most important investments you will ever make in your life (for those with kids). Become aware of their strengths-their way.

At the pool with my munchkins – Zachary and Olivia. Learning the basics of swimming with me.
Your children are the most important investments you will ever make in your life (for those with kids).
Become aware of their strengths-their ways.

Pray (if you’re that way inclined) that their future is their WAY and is built on their WAYS (strengths and characteristics).

The thing is, correcting these parenting mistakes could have profound implications on your childrens’ future. Although people certainly do change over time and our personalities adapt, scientists have discovered that core personality traits are relatively stable throughout adulthood, as are our passions and interests (supports the God DNA belief).

Even more recent research is suggesting that the roots or our personality might be visible at an even younger age than was originally thought. The study revealed that a child’s observed personality at age 3 shows remarkable similarity to his or her reported personality traits/characteristics at age 26.

So, one of the responsibilities of parents is to identify the way or characteristics of each child, to find the areas where each child has greatest potential to develop strengths. Then go and do just that to realise their potential.

Deliberately tailoring parenting to each child is important because it allows each child find ‘their own unique way’. Too many people spend a lifetime headed in the wrong direction, the wrong path, the wrong way. They go not only from cradle to the cubicle, but then to the casket, without uncovering their greatest talents and potential.

This truth, unfortunately, is all too common.

So, adapt your parenting and correct the two parenting mistakes I highlighted above. Help your son or daughter find their way, based on their strengths not their weaknesses. This increases their chances of reaching their potential.

You see this regularly in sports. Great coaches of winning sports teams understand this and coaches each member of the team differently. The coach is a master at getting each team member to ‘work to his strengths’. This helps realise not only the individual’s potential but also contributes to the team’s overall effectiveness.

Change NOW to help your children NOT take the path of most resistance (working on their weaknesses and trying all their lives overcoming deficits). This is a waste of life but is the path of a great majority of people.

Just like your children, everyone has their WAY, their unique ways – what is yours? Are you working to your strengths? Why not?

Food for thought.

All the best.

Until next time,

My Unique WAY. Working to my strengths. Vv

My Unique WAY.
Working to my strengths. Are you working to yours?
Vv

 

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