19 December 2014

the perfect parent

I know, the perfect parent does not exist. But holy cow, this description comes as close to any I've seen, and I hope to one day be something like this father was to his kids.

From quora:

Lou DavisEmergency Department Sister, A... (more)
I'm going to tell you about my dad, he is the 'best' father ever (bar none!)

I am adopted. So the first great thing my dad did was to jump through the hoops that are part of the adoption process. That was tough (and humiliating - asked questions about really private things)

So that's the first thing you need to know, being a dad is really tough.

They had my brother first and, two years later, by a quirk of fate, the adoption society rang and said my mum and dad could have a baby girl that someone else had backed out of having. The problem was, they needed to get to the place by 5pm. But my mum was out, so my dad and his employees drove around looking for my mum and my brother.

So that's the second thing, tenacity and determination.

Then they had to wait 6 months before the papers were finalised, my dad sat in my room in a chair every night because he was frightened my birth mother would change her mind.

So, you have to be prepared to put up with discomfort.

It WAS finalised, I was theirs. But I was a very 'fragile' child, frightened of rejection (I still am!) but my dad never sighed or raised his eyes heavenwards. He would tell me I was beautiful (so you need to learn how to be kind)

And you need to be patient.

My dad used to tell me he wouldn't sell me for 'all of the money in the world and a five pound note!'

So you need to be able to provide comfort and reassurance.

My dad had a heart attack when he was 39, but he got better and he still played football with my brother and he used to run around with us.

So you have to be determined and you have to 'join in!' that was important to my brother and I.

My grandad had a stroke when I was young, my dad used to go 3 nights a week, straight after work, to put my grandad to bed,

And, in doing that, he taught me that family is important and that you sometimes need to help other people.

Occasionally, he would take me to school and I would ask him to write a letter excusing me from PE (physical education!) (ironic really, considering I'm a fanatical cyclist and do triathlon now!) And he would write the note.(and not tell my mum)

So, you might have to learn to be sneaky.

If I ever forgot my ingredients for cookery, I would phone my dad (by now a pretty high powered business man) and he would leave work to help me out (I was selfish I know but it shows that:-

You love your children more than anything.

When my first boyfriend and I separated, my dad told me that he had never liked him-

You support your children when times are tough.

After a serious illness (bacterial meningitis) I was rather depressed. My dad used to turn up, read the paper, make a cup of tea and then leave.

And he showed that a good dad can just sit and not say anything.

My dad listens to me moan, he gives me a handkerchief when I cry (and was wonderful when my first child was stillborn) He shares my joy when I laugh.
He is proud of my achievements.

It isn't about toys and things, it's about love and support always.

If you can be like my dad, your children will be as lucky as I have been.

I wish you happiness.

18 December 2014

the science of happier holidays

The Wall Street Journal, known for its economic, financial and business reporting, isn't the first place you'd think of for giving this advice, but it's well-timed and so relevant as we head into what is often a last-minute Christmas shopping frenzy. So, here's a fresh (and research-based) reminder to enjoy happier holidays for us all.

Thanksgiving and Gratitude: The Science of Happier Holidays

It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of materialism, which has been shown to undermine happiness. There’s a simple antidote: Practice gratitude

How can we avoid falling into the unhappiness trap of materialism this holiday season? One answer has been emerging from social science: Cultivate a mind-set of gratitude.ENLARGE
How can we avoid falling into the unhappiness trap of materialism this holiday season? One answer has been emerging from social science: Cultivate a mind-set of gratitude. GETTY IMAGES
As the holiday shopping season moves into high gear, it’s easy to get caught up in the rush of spending. But consider this conclusion from recent scientific research: Materialistic people are less happy than their peers. They experience fewer positive emotions, are less satisfied with life and suffer higher levels of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.
Why is this the case—and how can we avoid falling into the unhappiness trap of materialism this holiday season?
One answer has been emerging from social science: Cultivate a mind-set of gratitude. Gratitude is proving to be about much more than the occasional “thank you.” Instead, the principles of Thanksgiving give rise to a unique way of seeing the world.
The latest evidence suggests that, rather than simply being about good manners, the emotion of gratitude might have deep roots in humans’ evolutionary history, sustaining the social bonds that are key not only to our happiness but also to our survival as a species.