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Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

I ask God to help me be the man my son hopes to be when he is older.
I’m far from perfect but I get up and try every single day … to be the man I want him to be.
And I have no doubt he will … because I have God on my side/in my corner.

Men.

We’re interesting creatures.

Simple, yet complex.

I like to refer to us all, as the simple-complex man, individually.

Women, do you agree?

Mens’ needs are simple. I grew up in an large extended family and I heard a lot of things said by many different people I lived with during my first 12 years of my life. One thing I heard one of the older women was –

“the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.’

When I reflect on that now, there is a partial truth, actually more than just a partial truth in that statement. You see, men need a few basic needs (like being fed with warm, proper nutrition) and we’re satisfied. Well, I think most Real Men would be. I also think that men, Real Men, are torn between two extremes, like a Dr Jekyll and Hyde or Harvey Two Face from the DC Universe.

Let’s run through a few needs or what I refer to as ‘matters of the heart’, as I see it. If we run through the basic psychological needs like – to know and be known, to love and be loved by others, there is one that stands out. I can honestly say and I honestly believe that men, Real Men need deep, caring relationships with other men.

Enjoying a little ‘biceps workout’ with my very good Aussie friend of almost 20 years now.
A best man in my wedding.
Every man needs at least one good male friend in his life.
Just one.

A have a handful of very good male friends. One, I spent a day and half with as he passed through Sydney, on his way to South America for a week long conference, attended by represented by 60 countries, including the USA and Australia. He is a United Nations Legal Advisor. We’ve been best friends since we were in kindergarten, over 40 years ago. We share dreams and sorrows. We ‘open up’ to each other and hug in public. We lean on each other during tough times but also celebrate during wins.

I have another friend, the very first friend I made on my first day of University almost 30 years ago at the start of my first degree (majoring in Mathematics and Physics). He lives only a suburb away from me and we meet up regularly for coffee and ‘debrief’ almost every week. We make time for each other.

I also have another friend I meet up every quarter that I have known for the last 20 years. We share our fears, our successes, our failures and our dreams. We share feelings. Just the way men should feel comfortable doing with other men. He got a divorce 5 years ago, it was difficult period for him. He’s in another chapter in his life.

I also have a few other friends scattered throughout my existence that have travelled with me in different phases of our lives. All there for a specific reason, upon hind-sight.

The point is, men need other men for deep, caring relationships. Like I need these men.

My very first friend at University on my very first day almost 30 years ago.
Lives just a suburb away for the last 20 years.
Catching up for a coffee and chat and digging deep in our relationship.
Man-stuff!

Yep, you read that correct. And you don’t have to be gay to want that (not that I have anything against being gay or anything like that). No, just talking purely on a ‘needs basis’.

You see, in my experience with males I call my friends and my love of observation and being around mostly men in the last 30 years of visiting the gym, I can deduce that Men need strong, caring relationships with other men. Relationships that allow a man to speak freely about things going on in his life. It is vital to their existence and sense of being and purpose. It is vital to their sanity and management of energy.

It’s to this level that James instructed Christians, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16). I believe that a man who doesn’t have at least one other man to who he can be accountable regarding failures, hurts and temptations is a prime target for masculine anger.

Yep, you heard me – masculine anger!

And how does this arise?

Well, from my observations and dealings with mostly men in the different phases of their lives, I have seen that the angry man in our society seems to be caught between mythical masculinity on one side and true masculinity on the other.

You see, the man feels the pressure to achieve, to earn, to conquer, to win and so forth. Yes, but he also feels the silent pressure to do all these things on his own. Now, that is a lot of pressure, and just like many things in life, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Men all handle pressure differently and have different stress tolerance levels.

Apart from the pressure just mentioned, a man, a Real Man also feels the NEED to love and to nurture those he loves. He also has the need to be loved and nurtured by those who love him.

This is where so many of us go a bit askew and out of line.

Askew, when he tries to reconcile or balance the two needs of love.

The man, the Real Man is constantly torn between two extremes of character, like Harvey Two Face or Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde. He is torn between being invincible and being vulnerable. He is torn between being aloof and being involved and present. He is torn between being self-serving and selfish and being of assistance.

This confusion and imbalance caused by the constant juggling act between character extremes drives a lot of men crazy, which I believe contributes to the high levels of male suicides every year. The roots of this conflict sends up numerous shoots of anger-producing tendencies in his life.

This has got to be stopped or at least managed better.

What we need is a gym like the one I ran for 7 years, in every suburb. A place where men can go and just connect with other men. A place where men can love and be loved, unconditionally. A place where every man came there with the honest purpose to help the ‘man in the mirror’ and to connect with other like-minded men who are there for the single purpose of bettering relationships.

With themselves and with other men.

This gym will be predominantly for men. For Men Only. Men need this (and this has nothing to do with sexism). This is about survival of the male species, of what it means to be a man. Today and tomorrow. Consider this: more men die now from suicide in Australia then women die from breast cancer.

Shocking truth: Men suicide rate in Australia!

A last real Man’s Domain: a gym like mine, where everyone knew your name and were happy you came.

Sit back and watch the men that we produce … within families, within communities .. within states … within countries and the … future world.

These will be men with much more balanced characters that will one day make decisions when they will be leaders of tomorrow. Decisions that we hope will be rooted on the foundation of what they have learned while – loving other men and being loved by other men.

Give it two decades.

We will create not only make Champions out of these men, but more importantly we will help form the foundations of Champion Leaders.

I will be smoking my cigar-filled pipe by then, sitting back and thinking “wow!!”

That is life. What a wonderful life and world this is.

Amen.

 

Until next time …. cheers to all YOU Real Men out there … never stop believing in YOU … keep on keeping on … Stay alive, it’s worth it!!

Ahoy & cheers!!

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate … & his thoughts on the battle within most men

Me & some of the Men of the Gym I ran for 7 years … getting together for a simple eat & meat men-bonding session
Simply because men need this.

I had a family gym that was predominantly male (70%) for about 7 years. I encouraged the men to speak freely and communicate all their feelings and we shared stories and helped one another through tough emotionally difficult phases of life. What a wonderful group of ‘post-feminite new age males’.

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A life of significance.

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If you are a regular reader of my messages, you will notice that I think a lot about life and I am constantly asking a lot of questions from life. I admit, I am a student of life.

My years of interacting with thousands of people in gyms, including seven years when I owned my own gym, I have learned a lot about life from other people’s experiences(OPE’s) and stories.

A question I have always asked is what does it mean to live your life, in particular – to live a life of significance? I feel that this is one of the most important aspects of a life well lived. What do you think? I think if I remember correctly, it was the writer Henry Thoreau that said something to the effect that he was afraid of coming to the end of life and finding that he had NOT LIVED.

I think Henry meant, coming to the end of your life and realising that you have not lived a life of significance. That was a genuine fear of his. Now, I am tempted to say that I am not genuinely afraid about anything – but that is not true. One of my main fears is insignificance. I am afraid, to put it simply, of living a life that does not matter. I admit I am afraid of leaving the world exactly as I entered and found it, no different for my having been here.

To not live a life of significance.

What about you? Is this one of your fears? Have you had a chance to think about this question in your journey through life so far?

From my observations of life so far, I have noticed that a lot of people think that “having lived” means experiencing a lot of adventures or a lot of fun and experiences or indeed – acquiring a lot of money. I think otherwise. I think these peoples’ perception of what it means to ‘have lived’ is slightly distorted and are missing the true significance of what it entails in my eyes.

Help people get what they want using your unique strengths and blessings. Vv.

Help people get what they want using your unique strengths and blessings.
Vv.

Along with spending about eight years in my early youth as a Catholic altar boy, assisting priests in church masses and bible readings, I’ve spent countless hours of listening to hundreds of stories through OPE’s, and am also a keen observer of life. I believe, this common modern-day definition of living has nothing to do with ‘having lived.’ The usual things people seek to guarantee importance in their lives – typically money, fame, power – just don’t last.

Money, fame and power don’t work very well and yet, generation after generation are still blinded and brainwashed to believe that they are the answer. History is littered with countless examples that it is a lie, short-term  and inauthentic.

These false drivers – money, fame and power all come to an end. Often, during the person’s own life, and certainly thereafter.

“So, how do you live a life of significance?” you may be thinking.

Instead of the individual’s endless pursuit of more money, fame and power, I believe living a life of significance comes with filling your life with things that last forever.

“And what are these things that last forever?” you may now be asking.

Well, these things that last forever are essentially VALUES. Yep, values! And what is the greatest value of all? Love! Put simply, you need to fill your life with love and lots of it! Love casts out all fears.

What is love? At this stage in your life, you would highly likely have some idea of what it is. Well, one definition is that it is an emotional attachment to the good things of life. So, fall in love with traits such as honesty, integrity, justice, goodwill, forgiveness, truth, grace and yes – success.

I think ultimately, you continue to live in hope in the joyous expectancy of the best, and invariably the best will come to you. Through God’s blessing.

It follows that to live a life of significance, you need to fill your life as much as possible with these values, attitudes and actions. So, start with trying to make someone else’s life a little better, using the God-given talents and strengths you have been given. This is a great start to significant living, as you have done something that lasts forever – in that person’s (his or her) heart.

Something that is eternal. A gift from you.

That impact you had on that individual or individuals is eternal because people are the only part of this world that will last forever …

Brad seeked; Brad asked the right questions; Brad knocked on the doors of opportunity towards the person he imagined himself to be. With my guidance

Brad seeked; Brad asked the right questions; Brad knocked on the doors of opportunity towards the person he imagined himself to be.
With my guidance

As we are constantly reminded daily by media, today’s modern world is filled with many threats – many imagined, some real – threats to our sense of security and safety. Today, more than ever before, you need to be in the right relationship with God. This is the ultimate security, the only true safety as he is the beginning and the end – God, as you know is the perfect giver of love.

If you are a Christian you will believe that God was there before the beginning and he has no end. He has known our fears and sufferings.

Life plays no favourites. God is life, and this life-principle is flowing through you at this moment, as you read and think upon these words. Believe that through him, you will be set free…. to live a life of significance.

Before I go, remember that you owe nothing to anyone in this world except love. In it’s simplest form, love is basically wishing for everyone what you wish for yourself – health, happiness and success (in that order) and all the blessings of life.

This is my wish for you, your family and your friends.

All the best in your choice of how to live your one life.

 

Until next time,

B&W3284

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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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