Thursday, May 17, 2012

Scoundrels put flowers on our doorstep

Today I had an amusing experience with some of the kids in our neighborhood.

A couple of days ago someone left flowers on our doorstep and my wife and I thought it was our children. But today it was revealed that the flowers had been left there by someone else. Someone unexpected. We were in the kitchen getting ready for lunch (today is a holiday in Denmark) and the door bell sounded. Out the window we could see some girls running behind a wooden fence to hide. They were about 13-14 years old and we knew they had to be the ones who rang the door bell.

Now, I could´ve gotten angry and told them never to do such a thing again. To be honest: if I´d been in a bad mood, that might just have been my chosen course of action. But really, what would that have accomplished for anyone?

So, instead I did something they certainly didn´t expect as far as their faces could tell. I swooped the door open and ran out yelling at them: "I´ll get you for this!" and coming round the fence, I saw three surprised teenage girls, when I said in a kind manner: "You didn´t expect this, did you?" At first, they were speechless, which in itself is quite the accomplishment when dealing with giggly teenage girls in my experience. But then one of them looked at me with a smile and said: "Did you like the flowers?" Flowers? I had rushed so fast out the door that I actually hadn´t seen the flowers they´d put on our doorstep and now it was my turn to be surprised. "Oh, you are the ones who are putting flowers on our doorstep. Sorry, I didn´t see them. But hey, if you´re going to be mischievous, this is the way to do it! Thanks for the flowers, you scoundrels!"

I had a big smile on my face and so did the girls. What a great way to start a holiday!

How did you start your holiday?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Building blocks of a human being - Definitions

This post is a follow up on my previous posts on how you can raise your children without spanking them and do a much better job at it!

In a way, I am skipping a step, but this is necessary for me to make a very important point regarding some of the terms I´ll be using in coming posts. These terms are:

#1: Self Awareness
#2: Self Esteem
#3: Self Confidence

These three are the building blocks of any human being and have tremendous influence on your behavior as a person. But quite often we mix them together.

Quite often I hear people speak of Self Esteem and Self Confidence as if they were two words explaining the same thing. This is a mistake. These two are to some extent intertwined, but if you want your children to grow up as strong and kind adults, you need to get the difference between them.

I´ll be going deeper into these three terms in some of the coming posts, but for now I´ll define them like this:

#1 Self Awareness
Being self aware is an ability that separates human beings from animals. Self Awareness is a necessity for us to know who we are. It´s what makes us understand how we are like other people and how we are different from other people. Without Self Awareness we will separate us from ourselves and never be able to be anything else than biological machines. Our existence depends on our self awareness, because without it we are like robots not choosing anything, but just following the crowd.

#2 Self Esteem
Self Esteem is often confused for Self Confidence, but Self Esteem is much more important than that. Self Esteem is basically built on our Self Awareness our surroundings being the builders. Your mum and dad are the primary Self Esteem builders and how they act can either build up your Self Esteem or tare it down. Self Esteem is high when you understand that you have a basic right to be who you are. Self Esteem is built when others acknowledge and confirm your emotions. I´ll be going much deeper into this in another post, because it very important to understand the difference between acknowledging your emotions on one hand and accepting your actions on the other. These two: acknowledgement and accept are NOT the same!

#3: Self Confidence is a picture of the moment
Self Confidence is closely connected to your most recent past. Your successes and failures not too long ago has a major impact on your Self Confidence. This means that while a strong feeling of Self Confidence is important when you need to perform, such as priming an exam or hooking a major client for your company, Self Confidence is very fragile and the smallest failure can brake it down easily if there is nothing else to hold you up. The reason for this is that Self Confidence has to do with your skills. What you have recently achieved or failed at determines your Self Confidence.

Your turn. Share, ask, comment. Do you feel self confident?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mother´s Day is a Hoax!

Now I´ve done it! I actually said that out loud for everyone in the world to see online: 

Mother´s Day is a hoax!

I really mean it! 

It´s a hoax, made by florists world wide to get an extra buck. That is all they care about, so when ever you are presented with 'these important messages' on television or open a magazine round these days, where flowers in abundance are thrown in your face asking you: "How will YOU show your mother your appreciation?" I ask you remember this: It´s a hoax! They don´t care about your mother. They don´t care about you. They don´t care about the relationship between you and your mother!

Now, don´t get me wrong. Having a fixed day every year to applaud mothers of the world is not such a bad idea. In fact, having such a day really is a good help remembering to appreciate our mum and all she has done for us. And even more so: it´s a good way to remember actually showing your love for your mum. Most of us don´t think much about how our mum has been playing and hopefully still is playing an important role in our lives, because most mums do so without any hesitation or regard for their own well being. Really loving mothers don´t make a fuzz about all the good things they are doing for their children and that´s why we sometimes forget to appreciate them.

So no, Mother´s Day isn´t such a bad idea in itself, but exactly this is the key phrase: in itself!

The problem is that Mother´s Day has been commercialized. It´s all about money and how to get YOU to spend them. But what would happen, if you paused for a bit and thought about that annual flower party? What is it that by gifting flowers you show your love and appreciation? Is it the flowers themselves? When you really think about it, you will probably come to the same conclusion as me: it has nothing to do with the flowers! 

It has something to do with the fact, that you remembered your mum and remembered to show your love and appreciation. If you were to skip the flowers, there are a lot of other things you can do instead.

And when you really think about it, isn´t buying flowers a tad bit too easy? I mean, all you really have to do to remember giving your mother flowers on Mothers Day is leaving a standing order at the florist to send your mother flowers every year on Mothers Day and then you can go on with your life without giving it any other thought. As long as your mum doesn´t find out, she will be happy and proud, but hey! Isn´t it a bit cheap?

Here is a tip: What about skipping those flowers? Just this once? Just this year? And do something completely different? There are so many other things you can to do give your mum a Mothers Day to remember:

  • Maybe she has a garden that needs tending?
  • Maybe she needs a day off, where you are the one doing all her usual chores?
  • Or maybe she would appreciate if you wrote her a poem or a letter telling her how much she means to you?
  • What about painting her a picture or drawing a drawing?

What ever you do, you don´t even have to be very good at it, because she will appreciate you taking your time to do what ever it is you have chosen do to for her. A bad pencil drawing of a house would mean so much more to her than a bunch of plants you bought on your way home from work, because you took the time and made an effort to show her your love.

Make this year´s Mothers Day a day to remember!

It´s this Sunday and today is Wednesday, so you have plenty of time to thin of something really great!

Make this year´s Mothers Day a day to remember!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Amazon just opened in China!!!

About an hour ago, I heard a rumor that Amazon just opened a Chinese site selling their usual goods including books and eBooks. I went to the computer and plotted in the address even though I was almost sure it was a hoax. But surprise, surprise! There it was. This is amazing news and I´m very much looking forward to see where this will take international commerce, especially when it comes to infringement.

I haven´t much more to say other than the above, but let´s share the moment with a screen shot from the brand new site:

If you want to check out this new site, you can find it at

A family project

Remember when I talked about the trampoline in our garden a few days ago? I was giving you some insight in some of the play things we have in our garden and I told you that they are being used by both our own kids and the kids in the neighborhood...

Now, it doesn´t look like much today. It´s been well used and of course it wears. Still, this trampoline is one of the most important play things at our place. Not only because it´s the one thing the kids use most and not only because it´s one of the favorites among the neighborhood kids. Not even the fact that it gives our children the opportunity to train their body and their balance is what makes this toy have a special places in our hearts.

No, this toy is special to us because we´ve built something together as a family. Not the trampoline in itself, it came in a package and all we needed to do was to assemble the parts and bits. But for safety reason´s we dug it down as you can see in the picture. We did this as a family. Everyone took part in it and did their part. Even our youngest, who was at the time only three years old, did his job digging it down.

This is how we did it:

My wife and I took shifts with the shovel in the hole and put the dirt in buckets, which were then placed on the ground. Two or three children at a time would then bring the buckets to our trailer cart where my wife or I would empty the buckets and the children brought the bucket back to the hole to be refilled.

Most of the time our youngest boy, knowing he wasn´t strong enough but stubborn enough to not wanting to admit it, would be in the hole with my wife or myself picking up stones in a smaller bucket and bring them to the trailer.

The project was finished after three days and since we all did our part in it, that trampoline has a special place in our hearts.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Neighbourhood kids playing in our garden!

- a sure way of knowing summer is here...

My wife and I live with our children in a house with a garden about the size of half a soccer field. In our garden, there is a sand box, a trampoline, some swings and a bar for balancing on. We built them all ourselves, except for the trampoline, of course. The sand box is made by putting 10 boards together, 2 on top of each other, so that it forms a pentagon (not the US military thingy, but with the same shape...)

We´ve just removed it, because the kids think they have grown too old for it, so right now it´s been taken apart and is lying in bits and pieces by one of our apple trees.

The trampoline is still in use. We´ve had it for 5 years now and digging it down was a family project then, but I´ll be posting on that some other time.

The swings were a gift from my wife´s brothers and they got it up while we were having a party in the garden 6 years ago.

And then there´s the balancing bar which is something I put up a few years ago for my daughter, who was having some trouble keeping her balance at the time.

Why am I telling you what´s in our garden? Well, this post isn´t really about these things, but more about something that is very important to us as a family. We want to be a hospitable family. We want everyone to know that they are welcome in our house and in our garden. 

One of the first week after we moved in some of the neighbourhood kids were standing by the boarded fence on the one side of our property with their faces firmly against the fence trying to look through the cracks between the boards and when we saw them, we invited them in.

Ever since then, one thing tells us summer is on for sure: all the kids from the neighbour start visiting us in our garden. Sometimes even when we´re not at home ourselves! (That´s okay, too, if it´s okay with their parents...)

And you know what? It´s summer time in our garden!

Your turn! - Share your stories or ask questions...