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Notice me, Daddy!

Olivia and Zachary enjoying their time with Ruby.
Being a role model for my children is one of the most important responsibilities I will ever have in my life.
For the rest of my life.
Just like it is for every other dad out there.

A Poem: for All Fathers and Dads 

“Like all Fathers and Dads reading this, I am blessed in many ways,

One such way is having two very beautiful kids;

They are still growing and since their early days,

They know that they didn’t have to strongly bid.

to gain my attention or win my favour,

They know, they always have my attention.

When they do or say anything requiring my emotional labour;

“Notice me, Daddy!”

They know that I’m all theirs –

ALWAYS… there, like a Golfer’s Caddie;

All they have to do is to seek me out,

That is all it takes to grab a Father’s attention,

I’m as close as a joey is in her mother Kangaroo pouch;

That is all it takes to steal a loving Dad’s heart,

“Steal mine away!” I say.

For I will always be your Father, til’ death do us part,

Always be there for you, until that fateful day.”

 

My gift to you,

 

Kind regards,

Paul

 

Paul e Valentine

** Valentine Vitality **

My children striking their version of one of the seven compulsory poses in bodybuilding – the “Front-double biceps” pose.
… and strike!

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

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Genes for Jeans.

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.

My children are learning about life at a very high rate. There’s not one day that passes that I don’t hear them say or try something new. I am constantly surprised and fascinated about the next thing I will hear come out of their mouths. I am also increasingly aware of them ‘growing up’.

They are still to learn a lot of things about life and they will learn as time passes. One of the things they still have to learn are the little rhetorical phrases that Cathy and I say every now and then. One that I tend to use a lot is “its in your genes” or something related to the term “genes’ when we are seated around the table having a meal or just hanging out at home.

Each time I say it, my daughter Olivia would quickly respond (with a questioning look on her face) – “dad, I’m not wearing Jeans!”

Cathy and I would look at each other, doing our best not to break out in laughter. The certainty of her look with regards to her not wearing jeans and mocking my rather dumb statement (based on her facial expression) is priceless.

I have made various versions of that particular statement regarding ‘genes’ and each time Olivia would be the first one to correct me. My wife and I haven’t yet been caught laughing but I’m certain one day soon, we will.

It’s so cute, the ‘black and white’ view children have of the world at this age, which includes their progressive understanding of the English language and all it’s idiosyncrasies. I am looking forward to explaining to her and Zachary what I meant about the word ‘genes’ because at this present time, they only knows the word as ‘jeans’.

I’m looking forward to explaining the many ‘new’ things they will learn about life as they mature, through each phase of life. One of my roles as a parent (and every parent’s role) as I see it is to do my utmost to prepare my children for adulthood. It does not stop there, being a parent continues until the day I die.

Winning the NSW titles - one of my the 3 times I won it. My signature winning pose at that time.

Winning the NSW titles – one of the 3 times I won it.
My signature winning pose at that time.

Over the weekend, my wife and I were getting our children ready for bed and my son, Zachary was being quite disruptive and being difficult. After repeated requests, I blurted out –

“Zachary, pay attention, you’ve got to start pulling up yours socks son, you’re a year older now!”

Just then, I got reminded by Olivia that –

“Dad, Zach is not wearing socks to bed tonight, it’s too hot!”. She had that – “dad, you’re silly” look on her face again.

I expect that I will be seeing that face many more times in to the future, probably will expect to see quite a lot in her teenage years. I am looking forward to hearing her cute reminders to a silly dad.

This is one of the many ‘little daily miracles’ all of us who are lucky to be parents get to experience. Having children is truly a blessing, many times over.

I thank God and my beautiful wife Cathy, that I am able to pass on my genes on to the next generation – my children. I am sure she is appreciative too of the opportunity of passing on her genes to our children.

After all, the overall purpose of life is to procreate. To live on indefinitely or at least one more generation through your off-springs. It is surely an ‘off-set’ of our own mortality.

It gives us mortals – hope. A taste of immortality, even if most of it will be experienced through our imagination. Hope, however, is a beautiful thing and the very essence of it, of the belief summoned for it, allows some people the courage to continue to live.

Appropriate outfit given the Rugby World Cup currently under-way in England, Me and my two Australian Valentines. Go the Wallabies!

Appropriate outfit given the Rugby World Cup currently under-way in England,
Me and my two Australian Valentines.
My 2 favourite teams are Fiji and Australia. As Fiji has not progressed to the quarter finals, Go the Australian Wallabies!

So, live. Love. Laugh. Hope. Live on through genes.

Reflect on YOU, your uniqueness. On your unique genes that has been passed on to you, that makes up who you are. Your blueprint. Ask yourself, have you allowed YOU – to be the BEST YOU CAN BE? Have you worked on your genetic strengths? Have you or are you working towards your potential? For example, would you say you “strongly agree” to the statement –

“At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best, every day”.

If not, why not?

If you answered ‘strongly disagree’ or ‘disagree’, the costs to you and your life could be staggering. There seems to be an epidemic of disengagement at work of a majority of people simply because they are not working to their strengths and not emotionally engaged on their job.

A lot of unhappy, unmotivated people.

This impacts greatly on the overall quality of your life. So, work towards your strengths – your genes and try to align your job and your goals with your natural talents. It’s never too late. Just ACT and build a strengths-based development plan for a better you. A better life.

The impetus for this, for any worthwhile change in life is DESIRE. You’ve got to desire the BEST YOU to step forward. You’ve got to fuel the desire, the hunger to be the BEST YOU CAN BE, using your God-given talents. The strength in your genes, that has been passed down to you from your ascendents.

Ask yourself – have these strengths, these talents laid dormant for a number of years? Time for a change. A change for your good, for the good of your life and those around you.

Be courageous – take action.

Food for thought.

This is my genes for jeans story.

If you’ve got this far, thank you. I hope you enjoyed the story-telling and found some value in it that you could use in your life. I wish you all the very best in your search for your best, now and in to the future.

Until next time,

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

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

A semi-posing shot. Enjoying the sun and day out on my favourite beach here in Sydney , Australia.

A semi-posing shot.
Enjoying the sun and day out at my favourite beach here in Sydney , Australia.

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adaptation, attitude, God, parenting, parenting skills, path, skills, strengths

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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accountability, action, adaptation, asking questions, awareness, Beliefs, better choices, body, boys, change, children, choices, courage, game of life, gym, life, long-term perspective, long-term strategy, love, muscle building, muscles, parenthood, perspective, planning, safe training, son, truth, truths, workout, workouts, your life

Is it safe for children to weight-train?

Working the guns.

Playing with weights is as safe for children as it is for adults. Like all things, boundaries and limits are to be applied.

I have been asked many questions relating to health and fitness and weight training over the last 23 years in the gym.

If I knew the answer to the question of when it is safe for children to weight train, I would be lying. However, after all that time and my love of deducing conclusions from simply observations of consistent trends around me, I would like to attempt to provide a solution.

I will use my powers of reasoning I have developed in my 40 years on this earth, so far.

Here we go ….

My son Zachary, doing weights even before he could all properly

Leading Legends

I am truly inspired by older generations who have maintained resistance training for most of their lives. Almost all of them look and feel like someone 10, 15 even 20 years younger.

Leading Legends” – that’s what I call them. They are great examples of making it part of lifestyle.

Some of them used to tell me about how perceptions have changed over the last 50 years in regards to exercise in general and in particular – the many myths relating to weight training.

There were and still are many myths relating to weight training. There was a time when people were saying that weight training wasn’t good for women. Before that athletes like rugby players were told to stay away from weight training as it would ‘slow’ them down – this wasn’t too long ago – even in the 70s.

And even further back, it was even questioned whether weight training was in fact good for anyone at all. Times change and myths get busted. Myths are just that – myths and are meant to be dis-proven.

It is only in more recent times that the general public has accepted that weight-training is of enormous benefit to women too. I am so happy about the increase in women attending gyms as I have seen this landscape change quite a bit over the last two decades.

Now, my question is if weight training is now believed to be of enormous benefit for men and women, why shouldn’t it be good for children? After all isn’t exercise good for everyone?

My son Zachary would crawl around my Family Gym that I owned & managed for 7 years. He used to remove the pins from the machines to the dismay of the members

To weight train – you do one thing 

The truth or my version of ‘the truth’ in my straight-forward answer is that weight training can benefit any individual – young or old – who is healthy enough to engage in the activity. But that is just my opinion.

I have helped hundreds of people of all ages – kids under ten (including my children) all the way to people in their 90s. Human physiology is the same no matter what age. To weight train – you do one thing: work the muscles. To do this, you literally extend and contract that particular muscle under tension/force provided by the weight.

Simple. Right?

The very old and the very young and everyone in-between can do that. It’s what muscles are meant to do: to ‘work’ for you.

There are still myths relating to children training even in today’s world. The biggest fear amongst parents appear to be the possible negative effects on the development of children prior to puberty – that lifting stunts the growth of children.

If this was the case, the famous Arnold Schwarzenegger would should not have grown to 6’2” as he started lifting weights well before he hit puberty. I am not a Doctor but I believe this irrational fear is unfounded medically.

My daughter on the leg extension machine in my a family gym

How are risk assessments done?
My question is if weight-training was a height depressant, why is it that considerable growth can sometimes take place in the ‘post-puberty’ years. And if this was a medical fact, then, everyone should only start weight-training when their full height potential has been reached. For some, this would be well in to their early twenties.

The issue as I see it relates to the formation and growth of bones. I can understand the parents’ worries, including my family Doctor’s. From what I understand about what I have read about bones, the process of bone formation and growth is hopelessly complex and wonderfully simple at the same time.

If I recall correctly, Tiger Woods picked up and was training in golf from the age of 2 and was coached by his dad. Leytton Hewitt began playing tennis around the age of 3. Some top swimmers were undergoing stringent 4am early-morning training programs from a very young age, where parents were driving them to and from swimming pools. I know because I had good friends that were doing that when we were in Primary School.

Not many made the Olympics.

Is this any different to subjecting a child to some gym training under supervision in a gym? How is it that the perception of risk of a child in the gym is greater than that of a child on a soccer field, swimming pool, golf course or rugby field? What about a child playing tennis or netball? How are these risk assessments done?

I believe the risks to a child and his or her growing bones and muscles is higher with the other sporting activities compared to the risks associated with supervised structured weight-training.

With some of the members of my Family gym
Playing around with some ‘light weights’ … that children can also play with

A better athlete gets better results.

In my opinion the risk to bones, joints and muscle development and overall health risk (injuries from knocks to the brain and head in Rugby or other contact sports) is greater to the young kids playing most sporting activity outside the gym, compared to structured activity in the gym. My assessment of risks of these contact sports is VERY HIGH to EXTREME, because of the repetitive knocks to the head and recurring concussions.

I believe proper muscular development assisted by a well-structured weight-training program, complements whatever sporting activity a child/person chooses.

It simply makes them a better athlete. A better athlete gets better results.

The risks to the joints of the other sporting activities – like golf, tennis, netball, swimming, running etc is HIGH. The wear and tear to the joints is very high.

The joints are over used, and there is accelerated wear and tear and it shortens the effective useful life of your body. Just like any other machine of value you possess – say a car, for example. Depreciation rates can vary depending on how you use and service your machines.

Most individuals then suffer from premature ageing (from over-use) of joints and really suffer uncomfortable daily living later on in life. However, the risks to the child’s self-esteem; sense of self-worth and interest need to also be monitored too. Participants can be severely negatively affected because of the constant expectations of tolerance levels.

Weight-training done safely and under appropriate supervision is a safer and more beneficial to a child’s whole-self development then any other physical activity there is. Weight-training complements and helps make a child better at whichever sport they choose to participate in.

It is only now that tightening of regulations are being implemented to address not only some current risks but also long-term risks sustained by athletes.

My children are as comfortable with a set of light dumbells, not dissimilar to young budding soccer players or tennis juniors with footballs and rackets in camp and sporting academies. In this controlled soccer environments, no one appears to question the deliberate practises these children are forced to undertake in non-weight-bearing activities and how safe it is.

My son and I hanging out in my Family Gym

Just because a big majority of people are sending their kids there does not mean it is the safest or have the lowest risks.

Or how many instances of injuries are sustained by the very young, many of whom are regularly seeing physios and chiros at an age that is unheard of only a few decades ago.

What does this tell us? About the risks these kids are putting themselves under, the full extent will become evident in their later years.

People are only too quick to place gym training as a high risk but this is yet another myth and here is where I believe the problem is:

It is the inability of parents and administrators of sporting activities to initially correctly assess the level of risks. Yes, self-limiting beliefs unfairly bestowed on to children by parents who know no better.

Maybe they just need to adopt a new thinking paradigm that assists in the development of the ability to assess risks of activities and whether or not the risk is acceptable to them.

Time will bust these myths.

Big Truths will always beat Big Lies.

Believe in BETTER.

Make better choices with the life that you have left, with the lives of your children. Time on this planet is all that we really have anyway and one day … that will be taken from all of us.

This is one of those BIG TRUTHS or is this a BIG LIE? Anyone believe this is a MYTH?

All the best.

Until next time,

 

My wife & kids hanging out with me for a few hours in our Family Gym. The gym was my children’s playground.

Learning and absorbing our habits every single day of their initial phase of their lives is what our young Princes do.
Teach them well.

 

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