I want to tell you about a man who never knew how amazing a parent he truly was – my father

My father was the first father in Oakville to be awarded sole custody of his children….I was four years old and my brother was only one. My dad made every weekend an absolute delight. We hiked, biked, canoed, camped, and skiied regularly. We spent hours and hours at the library, Ontario Place, Harbourfront, Bronte Park, Algonquin, Grandview ..and so many other incredible places. We travelled all over Canada. He took us to meet Eskimos in the Yukon, went panning for gold and it was there that I caught my first fish with a smaller fish inside…

He made us tiny pancakes, cut all sorts of incredible shapes out of apples, made us ice cream cones with delicious candies embedded inside. We watched “Emergency”, the “Beachcombers” and Disney movies every Sunday night. He took us to the variety store where he taught us how to spend money wisely; he also taught us how to save. He converted an old tv into a puppet theatre. He watched every show my brother and I put on for him. He converted boxes into robots. We made forts with him in the snow and the leaves, as well as in our blankets and chairs inside. When it was a special occasion, he cut footprints out of paper and we had to follow them around the house to find our presents. He bought us big helium balloons and special, meaningful gifts. He went to a lot of work every April Fools’ Day. And Christmas was so abundant. When I only received one toy but a lot of clothes one Christmas, I cried. My Dad comforted me and explained that I was growing up and I didn’t need that many toys anymore. When we got home from visits with our mom, we found newspaper clippings on our desks that he thought would interest us, small items he thought we would like, and notes he had written us.

When my father put my brother and myself to bed, he told us wonderful stories that he made up all by himself. We spent hours each night in an even more beautiful world than this one. I used to have many nightmares. One night, my dad picked me up from my bed in my nighty and took me to the end of the driveway and set a fire there for me. We roasted marshmallows together.
My dad called me “Twinkle Toes” because of my zest for life. He told me I was brave. He told me I was important. He told me I could do anything and I knew he believed it. He told me when I made smart decisions. He helped me sort the lies out from the truth; I could always count on him to always be honest with me. He taught me values. He modelled integrity and hard work. He helped me with my school work, explaining the tricky concepts to me. My brother and I respected him so much that we never misbehaved. And we both knew how much love our father had for us; his eyes said it all.

When I reached the age of ten, my dad remarried. Our whole world turned upside down. My father put my stepmom in charge of raising us. We hardly saw him after that. He climbed to great positions in the corporate world. Years later, I came to realize that my Dad never knew his importance in our lives. He never knew what an incredible father he had been to us. My mother, nanny and then stepmom caused such pain for us that subconsciously he felt he had failed us.

My dad no longer speaks to me. He lives across the country from me. I never was able to convince him of what an amazing father he was. He has other children with my stepmom and they are a big part of his life now that he is retired: I am happy he is not alone. But I believe he hurts every day because he feels he failed my brother and me. I will always love my dad and be grateful for those first 10 years of my life with him. I hope that whatever my dad is doing today, he has a good Father’s Day.

Our Children Are Our Mirrors

The Resourceful MotherNot only do children often look like their parents, they often end up being like their parents.  We can literally view our children as hand mirrors that reflect not only the messages and cues they receive from us but also, our thoughts and actions.

If we are still wounded (incomplete or hurt) from our childhood, we will wound our child, usually without being conscious of it.  If we were not accepted by our parents for who we are, we, in turn, might not accept or value our child for who they are.  If we are worried about being separated from our child, bedtime might be a nightly battleground for us or our child might be worried about starting school and leaving us.  If we are frequently angry, we might teach our child to be angry.  If we have an exaggerated sense of responsibility for our child and allow our mind to work overtime, our child might be busy, restless or unable to fall asleep quickly or sleep soundly.  Unfortunately, whatever we have not dealt with from our past, we pass onto our children.

Whatever character trait we don’t like in our child usually mirrors something we don’t like in ourselves.   Each time a mother sees her daughter lazing about the house, she finds herself getting really angry.  Telling her daughter that she is lazy is not going to incite a work ethic in her; in fact it will accomplish the exact opposite and the daughter will only resent her mother for not seeing the beauty inside her.  When the mother delves into her deeper feelings about this, she realizes that she has a tendency to be lazy and has set this example for her daughter.  The mother has a choice as to whether she accepts her laziness and thereby accepts that aspect of herself or whether she takes steps to change that aspect of herself so that her daughter doesn’t adopt this trait for life.  There are positive aspects of each seemingly negative trait.  The mother may come to the realization that her laziness is a good thing because relaxing in our society is under-rated!  As long as we are accomplishing things at other times of the day, being lazy for a few hours a day can be just what the body and mind require.  When we become less critical of ourselves, we become more supportive of our children.  But if this mother feels that her laziness is too much for her liking, she may decide to start living her life in a way in which she could never be described as lazy and will get one step closer to becoming the energetic, goal-achieving person she wants to become.

One of the biggest tasks in parenting is seeing things from a perspective that does not necessarily come easily to us.  If we can look at each challenge with our child as an opportunity to understand ourselves more than ever before and as potential for further growth, this helps us ease up on our children and prevents us from seeing things as “wrong.”  In fact, this is how we convert our “problem child” into our teacher!

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Until next time,

Meredith

Essential Fatty Acids (EFA)

The Most Overlooked Nutritional Deficiency in Today’s Children

22351234_sa copyThe #1 nutritional deficiency in children today is Essential Fatty Acids. EFAs boost metabolism, energy levels, improve digestion, build the immune system and promote cellular healing.  It is most important that you and your child consume EFAs, as our bodies cannot manufacture them.  We need to obtain them from breast milk, foods or supplements.

From the time your baby is conceived until the age of two, the brain and nervous system are forming new tissue and creating neural pathways, which pave the way for learning.  Children are particularly dependent on EFAs for brain development; without them their brains cannot grow to their full potential; EFAs are literally that important.

Cells and organs will degenerate if EFAs are not consumed.  EFAs also inhibit inflammation, which is what occurs when common allergens are consumed and each time we react adversely to food.  In addition, Essential Fatty Acids help heal the intestinal wall, lubricate the intestine and soften stools.

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Is Organic Food Really Better for You?

Plug Your Ears When it Comes to Naysayers

19826156_sA copyI am continually dismayed by the number of individuals and companies that say that organics are no better than non-organics.  This is completely untrue. So, are organic foods really better for you?

Prior to the Second World War, there was no need for organic food because of the care taken with the soil and the purity that was maintained with the fruits and vegetables being grown in that soil.  In fact, fruits and vegetables were organic without being labeled as such.  However, in nature, “perfect” fruit has always been rare.  One of the reasons that chemicals started being added to fruits and vegetables was to improve their appearance.  The organic apple is smaller, has a duller sheen, and the skin is a subtle blend of colours and imperfections.  Chemicals were also added to keep the bugs away and prolong shelf life.

If a food has a “certified organic” label, with a code beginning with a 9, it means that each ingredient and every process qualifies it as organic and chemical free.  Organic foods contain no:

  • Preservatives, pesticides, artificial fertilizers or food colouring; these chemicals affect digestion and immunity, causing food sensitivities, allergies and other illness.
  • Genetically modified ingredients, which result in new proteins being formed.  Remember, adverse reactions to foods often occur because the body cannot break down proteins.
  • Heavy or unnecessary antibiotics; only antibiotics that are necessary for individual animal treatment are used.

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