Monthly Archives: June 2013

Facing fear sometimes means facing failure.

The road to mediocrity is paved with unpublished works, un-written novels, memoirs, epics, poetry thought of in the middle of the night but never committed to paper.  Regrets I’ve had a few myself that is for sure but I don’t regret my first venture into crowd funding.  I have a few mottos that I live by, never ask a question unless you want to hear the answer is one of them.  You will never know the answer unless you ask the question is another.  I recently asked the question, did anyone else support my vision for publishing my book of poems.  Now I need to refine that what I should say did anyone outside of my normal circle believe in it enough to pledge to help fund it.  The answer was no.  I received two pledges which I acknowledge with gratitude, and messages of support as well. I don’t have any regrets,  I will publish it is just a matter of priorities with finance.  Simply put I need to buy other things for my family first and that is right and proper.

Now in terms of failure this is not a real big deal, I have faced much more public failures before when standing for public office.  No matter how much I think that I would be a great member of parliament, the simple facts are that not enough other people thought so at the time. Nor did they trust me with local government.  We face failure in many different ways in our lives, exams assessments, job applications, declaring our love for another, competing in events , the list is extensive.  We are resilient well at least I am and I know there are some keys for that resilience.

I will not lie and say that I am not disappointed that my project did not make its goal, I am and that is natural, why it is that we are expected to stay stoic and brave, well there is an allergy to showing your emotions I guess.  Not that I have taken to my room at all.  There is a much bigger issue here rather than will my book get funded and that is will people like my poetry.  On that I guess I would like people to enjoy it, be challenged, informed, enraged, comforted and inspired.  But above all else I truly don’t mind.  For me the challenge will be getting it to the printer, having it in my hot hand and sending two copies off to the National Library.

Not that this will be my crowning glory as I hope to write much more in the future.  The failure I fear above all else is that I worry that as a father I am a failure.  I see my children struggle on occasion and I examine myself and think I should have taught them better, been a better example, been more supportive.  I wish I had more finances to help them out, I want to protect them more from the world.  I am sure that many other parents face the same fears.  The thing is your children and the people around you have choice and in the end it is up to them.  One can only guide and do ones best, knowing that you are yourself an imperfect vessel trying to do your best and it is in the trying that redemption comes.

For me as much as I would love to see my name in the lights as a successful author to know that my children love me and are proud to be my children will be enough and I would give all I have to achieve that.  For me success as a parent is measured in hugs and words, not in qualifications or awards.  I love you is enough reward in my life.

Sometimes our children will fail as we ourselves do so, if we teach them well that is not to see failure as a disaster but an opportunity then we will have done a good job.  Too many young people are afraid of failure and refuse to take responsibilty for their actions, where have they learnt this from is the question we need to ask.  We need to learn to model responsibility and demand that those around us either in authority or leadership model the same behavior and take away the culture of blame that stifles and strangles the life out of us. When we do those around us will also.

Take care, face your fears and do it anyway!

Paul

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Thanks Everybody

This week I made a milestone.  I clocked 2,000 views of my blog!  It is quite humbling really and sobering at the same time.  When I first set out to blog I had no idea where it may go and to be frank I still don’t suffice to say this, I love writing and I hope that my passion for this shows through in my blogs.  Passion is an interesting thing and I am learning about a few passions that I have in life.  I am learning to ask the hard questions of myself as it it not unless one asks a question that one gets an answer.  

If you told me three years ago that I would contemplate publishing a book of poetry I would have laughed at you.  Here I am ready to go to the printers with a book of poetry.  Not only that I have a belief that I can write and I am told that others enjoy it as well. Some say even that I have talent.  That is one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with.  Accepting that I might be good at something, in fact anything.  For as long as I can remember I have always over compensated for my own perceived faults or lack of talent, this was manifested in many ways, some I won’t share as I am embarrassed even now as I think about them and some of those incidents were well over 30 years ago.  

Even now I catch myself on occasion being caught up in old behaviours.  The benefits of the changes I have made in my life is that I have learnt to be reflective and to be truthful to myself.  Without being truthful to yourself you can’t be truthful to others!  This week i found another truth out about myself, something that I knew really all along however I need to just put it out there.  I am still sensitive to being bullied,  I watched this you tube clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Edykzzl5eg0 and it triggered some old memories for me. I can spot a bully from a long way away and frankly I have had enough.  Now there are instances particularly with institutional bullying that fighting it or confronting it just causes me to expend too much energy, but  when I see young people bullying others or adults or who ever then I will attempt to do something about it.  I will hold them accountable for their actions, there is far too little accountability in our world and frankly we are creating a society that is just sickening, where a culture of blame shifting and a lack of responsibility is rife.  No section of society is free from it.  In parliament, or the streets it is there. 

Now how do we change that? Well personal response is a great place to start.  Not ignoring it when it occurs is another pathway.  Now I am am not sure really how this to turned into another didactic lecture about bullying as it started out as a celebration of a milestone but there it is, it must be an important narrative in my life.

My book is an important narrative in my life as well and I ask if you don’t mind to have a look here at this http://tinyurl.com/paulspoetrybook. If you feel like you could be a part of my dream then please go ahead.  Regardless of the outcome of my fundraising I will publish my book.  This would just help it be a bit quicker and a slightly shorter print run.

Well once again thanks for reading my posts and remember to live, laugh and love with passion!

 

38 Teaspoons of Sugar for Breakfast?

Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it, but that is what it is.  The alternative post to this is 1.5 litres of Raspberry fizz for breakfast!  As I was off to school the other day, I saw a young man on his way to school swigging down a bottle of Raspberry fizz, soda or pop whatever you may call it. Image  The average raspberry bottle of fizz has 155 gms of sugar in it  (1.5 litres, at 4 gms per teaspoon the rest is pure maths.  Now I may be jumping to an assumption that this was all that this young man had for breakfast however that is immaterial really.  I watched him drink this bottle on his way to school.

Now the total price of this fantastic nutritious start to the day is 97c, less than one dollar!  Now the question to be asked is what does that do for an young persons learning (let alone their health).

The Jury is still out around the effects of food colours on behaviour, however there is evidence surfacing that links certain food colourings to behavioural disorders.  The effect of too much sugar on young people and children, well just ask any parent about that. Here in New Zealand we face a looming diabetes crisis http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10888444.  This is linked to growing obesity rates in New Zealand.

There are some people who are convinced that processed sugars are the root of many evils.  I have not done any research around this at all but accept that sugar in excess is not a good thing at all and in my own weight loss journey I have become a label reader.  I don’t eat very much refined sugar at all.  I certainly don’t add it to my hot drinks, I drink sugar free cool drinks when I am having one, although I confess to drinking the occasional wine and beer. .  Like all things, moderation is the key but back to where i was.  I had decided to write a blog about a bottle of fizz for breakfast and had left it for a while till I came across a bottle in the corridor.  There is currently debate about food (in particular breakfasts in school)  There is a significant number of children whom live in poverty (relative poverty ) in New Zealand.

Now we can bluster about whose fault this is till the cows come home but in the end that doesn’t change anything for children who come to school without breakfast that is nutritious and healthy.  We have to decide as a nation are we going to invest in the health of our children and leave the ideology at the door.  We also need to look long and hard at the food that we sell in our school canteens. This has been done in the past but the legislation was wiped under the guise of freedom of choice.  That is all fine and well however we have to start somewhere.

Is there a place for soft-drinks at school?  Of course then the whole debate occurs around other foods, pies are considered high in fat and of dubious nutritional value do we ban them?  Children will be children I here the echoes now.  From where I stand I can only say that a bottle of raspberry fizz for breakfast is a disaster waiting to happen for so many reasons ranging from  dental health to behavioural issues. I guess that 99.99 % of the people that read this blog would not contemplate allowing their children to consume such a breakfast but what can we do to change this.

I am not sure what we can do, but when 97c is all it takes to get a massive sugar fix, then that is probably a good place to start, a sugar tax?  Maybe with all the money going to support food education and food in schools. I remember when I was a kid, soft-drinks were a luxury that was an occasional special treat because of their cost.  Food for thought perhaps?

The F word again.

That four letter word has been on my mind lately. It has been creeping in like a slowly shifting desert.  Blowing a few grains of sand here, a few there.  They started to pile up a bit and reached quite high in some areas of my life.  My old friend.  I knew he was around the evidence told me, the scales were screaming at me, the little jobs were piling up The i’s were un-dotted and the t’s un-crossed.  Yes fear had crept back into my life.  It manifested itself in an unwillingness to apply for jobs, an obsession with finding “love” and a feeling of discontentment with my lot.

Well the scales are starting to sigh with relief again and my loose ends are being tidied up.  I am no longer a member of the internet dating sites.The job thing just is and when the right one comes up I will apply for it in the meantime I am content with the long term relieving.  My biggest fear remains and it is the hardest one to deal with.  I fear that I am not good enough as a parent.  I watch my children with their ups and downs and wonder what could I have done differently to prepare my children for life.  I am sure that I could have been a much better parent.

I also fear that I am not good enough as a friend, that I am not adequate in my friendship, in my support, my giving and my acceptance.

Now I share this not because I want people to tell my that I am a great dad and a friend because I have people tell me that already.  I share it because I am sure it is a fear that many other people have.  The thing is that it doesn’t cripple me and my fear is dealt with generally by reflection, looking at myself honestly.  I accept that I am flawed.

I accept that I have areas in my life to improve.  Sometimes my confidence takes a knock especially when I see people around me suffering and hurting.  I try to stay on the horse these days and get on with life and some days it is harder than others.  As I have shared before it is sometimes harder to be reflective and honest because the masks fall away with honesty.  When these fall away and I look in the mirror I see the things I don’t want to see and then I become concerned.

I see needs  everywhere and right at the moment I have to stay focussed and cannot spread myself very far.  I am frustrated at what I see with young people growing up barely literate, often perpetuating generational illiteracy and in amongst all of this I struggle to find a place for me.  I feel guilty that I want time out that I need to relax and that I seek recreation.  I wonder \what the narrative is in my life that instils guilt because I am worn out and tired.  I look at undone mending and am harshly critical of myself when my frustration shows itself at what should be simple requests.

What does this say about me, well it says that I am human, that I share the fears and frustrations of parents, educators and many other people all over the world.  I recognise the need to be kind to myself and to make sure that the lens that I use to view my world are not distorted by false guilt and unrealistic expectations from myself and others.  I am acutely aware of the need that is expressed in society of finding someone to blame for everything.  The obsession with blame is unhealthy and counter productive.

The need to blame is seated in fear as I have shared before and is countered by taking responsibility. We cannot avoid fear but as Mark Twain said “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”Twain also said that – “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”

So my challenge to myself and to you is live a full life remembering that eternity is only ever the thickness of an artery wall away and to be condemned for your passion for life is far better than to be forgotten because of your mediocrity