Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sleep your way to a good relation

This post is going to be without any kind of pictures and there will be no formatting either...

It's not that I've gotten lazy (even if it was, you probably wouldn't have noticed anything different since this is actually a very important trade of mine: being lazy...)

No, the reason for this rather dull looking post is that I'm writing it in bed with my two youngest kids lying beside me. On my right I observe how my daughter's eyes seem to be made out of led and on the left I'm trying to avoid being whirled away by my son's heavy snoring.

Using Blogger-droid really isn't my favorite way of posting, but since my computer would be in the way...

The reason for writing this post is not that I am bored and need something to pass the time (probably I will soon engage in a snoring contest with my son)

No, I just had to share this moment with you and point out that being together creating relations is not so much about what you do. It is about doing it together!

Good night - sleep tight...
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.4

Friday, June 22, 2012

Building up your child - Self Awareness

In my first post about building up your child I defined three building blocks:

Self Awareness
Self Confidence
Self Esteem

Today I´ll be going deeper into the first building block: Self Awareness

The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said that a human being doesn´t really exist before he chooses himself. This may sound strange, but what I´ve found to Kierkegaard´s point really isn´t rocket science. Of course, I cannot claim to be Kierkegaard´s true vessel and my interpretation might not be accurate, but this is what I´ve benefited from reading Kierkegaard: Choosing yourself is all about taking control of your own person. Choosing yourself simply means to make your own choices and those choices determine who you are.

Picture yourself as an empty shell. From the day you were born, you were nothing more than a biological robot. You needed sustenance for your body to work and you needed to get rid of the waste. But from day one and as you grew older you began to learn. A baby´s first lesson is that crying gives you what you want. If a baby is hungry it cries and mum or dad comes to assistance. Feeding the baby or changing the baby´s diapers mum or dad fulfill the baby´s needs, but the baby probably doesn´t understand all of this. The only thing the baby understands is that crying makes the uncomfortable notion of hunger in the stomach or waste in the rear end go away. So whenever the baby is uncomfortable it cries.

But still the baby isn´t self aware. It doesn´t know who it is. The baby doesn´t begin it´s journey to self awareness before experiencing disappointment. That is: sometimes crying doesn´t make the uncomfortable go away. This is when the baby has to learn about its own feelings and emotions. It needs to become aware of itself, before it can interact with others.

Self Awareness is, rather simply put, knowing yourself. It´s about recognizing your emotions, knowing your strengths and weaknesses and understanding what it is that makes you 'YOU' and not someone else.

But to recognize your emotions, you need to have them confirmed by someone who recognizes them in you. This is where many a parent takes a wrong turn. Because most of us have a tendency to praise our children for what they accomplish instead of focusing on strengthening their personality and Self Awareness. Now, there is nothing wrong with praising your kids for what they accomplish. In fact, you should do so.

But if you praise your kids for their accomplishments and never focus on their self awareness the result will be kids who seem to be very confident of themselves, but inside they´re nervous and self loathing.

So, what to do?

Imagine your daughter is enjoying herself on a swing in the garden or in a park. She laughs and smiles and has a wonderful time. "Daddy!" she yells happily, "Daddy, look, I´m swinging!"

Usually most of us would say something like: "I can see that, darling, you´re so good at it. Look how tall you can go. I´m so proud of you!"

But if this is what we say, we praise the girl for her accomplishment: she is good at it. She has a talent for using the swing.

What would happen, if instead you said something like this:

"Oh, yeah, I can see that. You´re really enjoying yourself, aren´t you. It´s great fun. I love to see you smile and have fun!"

See, how the focus suddenly went away from what she can do and instead went to what she is, what she is feeling and most important: what she means to you!

By focusing on her as a person and as my daughter, whom I love and whom I therefore enjoy seeing happy, I can strengthen her Self Awareness - and believe me when I say that she is going to need it as she grows up!

How do you help your kids to get that Self Awareness growing?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wake up, little Suzy

Have you ever come across the terms A-people and B-people?

These terms are a way to describe if you´re the kind of person who goes to sleep early in the evening and get up early in the morning (an A-person) - or - the kind of person who goes to sleep late and wake up late in the morning (a B-person)

I always thought I was a B-person and for years I´ve found myself writing or watching TV till the middle of the night, before I went to sleep. And then in the morning it would take me quite some time to really wake up and be the kind of man you would actually want to be with. But lately I´ve found that my family is much better of if I go to bed early in the evening and get out of bed early in the morning.

This gives me the time in the morning I need to really wake up. Get a cup of coffee (very important) and maybe write a few lines.

Recently I´ve started doing just that. I get up at 4 or 5 in the morning, start brewing coffee, go to the bath room and then I go outside to get some fresh air. After that I go back to the kitchen and start up the computer, make lunch for my wife and kids and then I have just a little more than half an hour to write before I have to go to work.

All of this means that this is in the past:

The benefits a clear as crystal:

#1: I get some time to wake up without having wife and kids to chatter and rumble
#2: Because there´s no time for anything else than writing, I don´t get distracted by Facebook, Twitter, Blogs or mails that ticked in during the night
#3: I get to have my coffee for myself and I don´t have to share!

To sum it all up: It´s brilliant! And my mood is much better in the morning when I get up this early and this benefits both myself and my family.

Why haven´t I done this before? Why did I believe for so many years that I was the kind of guy who got to and out off bed late? Frankly, I don´t know... I´m just glad I found out!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

And now to something completely different

Usually I write about family and culture on this blog, but being an author I sometimes post a preview of what I´m writing at the moment.

This is some of what I wrote today. It´s for the upcoming novel 'Fyrkat' about how Norse Mythology is really derived from aliens visiting our planet 1000 years ago - I bet you didn´t know that, did you?? ;-)

Anyway, this is part of Chapter 15: The Aseir Watchmen, so sit back and relax. If you get to the end, please tell me what you think...


Thor was sitting in his chair aboard ‘The Mjolner’ looking at his screens when Loke appeared in the door. “Everything should be in place,” Loke said and approached his commander. They both had a feeling of awe being here again after all that time. “So much pain and suffering,” Thor sighed. He had his eyes fixed on the virtual screen, where he could follow almost every move of every living thing down on the planet surface. 

“Some times I wonder, if it was all worth it,” Loke replied. This statement made Thor turn his head in anger. “What?” he said, “Of course it´s worth it. Where would we be, if we hadn´t done, what we did?” He calmed down and lowered his voice. “Where would they be?” he muttered. Loke was used to Thor´s temper and was probably the only one on the ship, who wasn´t intimidated by it. “Well, I don´t know where we would be,” he said, “but chances are... they wouldn´t be at all. The Yetten fleet would most certainly have destroyed them. Maybe even demolished the whole planet to bits and pieces.”

There was a short silent moment before Loke asked the question that had been burning inside of him for more than a millenium. “I still don´t get it, Thor,” he said, “why do the Yetten see these people as such a threat? I mean, come on...! When we first discovered them, they had barely figured out how to make fire, let alone weapons.” He shook his head while speaking his mind and he hoped Thor would at least try to answer his question this time, though he never had before. It was almost as if the answer to that simple question hurt Thor physically.

In all the years, Loke and Thor had commanded ‘The Mjolner’ together, Thor had a thing for these humans, but ever since they left a millenium ago, he hadn´t wanted to talk about it - ever. Not a single word. Loke had a feeling that Thor knew much more about the humans than he wanted to share. And it was rather likely to be true. Thor had had access to time travel on a level that noone else in the entire Aseir civilization could even dream of having.

Thor turned off the screen and faced Loke. He had an expession on his face that Loke hadn´t seen before. As if he was sad and happy at the same time. Thor padded Loke once on his shoulder. “All in good time, Loke,” he said, “all in good time.”

Thor started walking to the door and they both walked down the corridor together. Loke felt a sort of relief when he realized that everything was going to change soon. It was almost as in the old days where he and Thor fought fierce battles against the Yetten fleet and Loke hadn´t had that feeling for a very long time. He felt it in every bone and his body seemed to react on it straightening up and walking tall and proud down the corridors.

The crew seemed to notice as well and as they passed groups of two or three Aseir warriors many of the crew stopped to turn their heads and follow their comanders with their eyes. Quite a few of them even showed smiles as they felt the warm flooding of a coming battle. Loke was both pleased and annoyed. He knew, what the crew didn´t: that even though a battle was coming, it was not for the Aseir warriors to fight. 

Thor hadn´t told him. Not in so many words. But still, Loke knew that this battle would be fought on Earth mostly by the humans and he felt bad about not being able to tell his fellow warriors the truth. After all, they were warriors and they had a right to be right in the center of this fight.

The both of them finally arrived at the destination on the ship and entered the transportation room. Thor opened the virtual screen by waving his hand over the console and up came a clear view of a small Island in the northern hemisphere of the planet. He drew a circle around a white stone building on the Island and zoomed in. Looking up at Loke, who had placed himself on the opposite side of the console he punched in the code for down transportation. “Ready?” he asked. Loke nodded and Thor punched the red button on the console.

There was a bright white light and their bodies began dissolving like a cloud of smoke on a windy day till they finally disappeared.


”Come on, guys!” Jeppe was eager to get inside the church and tried hurrying up the others. ”Where are you going?” Jenny asked in confusion as Jeppe went away from the church instead of toward it. ”We need to get the key first,” he replied with his back to them, ”I would prefer not to break in through a three inch thick door, if you don´t mind.” Jenny looked at Mike, who shrugged and picked up his bag to follow their Danish friend to a small house a few hundred yards down the road. ”Coming?” Jenny addressed Jim, who hadn´t moved.

He shook his head. ”No, I´d like to wait here, if that´s okay?” he said, ”I want to have a look at the church from the outside before we go in.” She started running to catch up with Jeppe and Mike with a ”suit yourself, Jim. See ya in a while” and Jim approached the church to have a look around.

It was by far the smallest church he had ever seen in his life and he couldn´t for the world understand why anyone would want to build such a thing instead of just having services at the inn or something. The church walls were white from top to one foot from the buttom and the lowest foot was painted pitch black. In many ways it was exactly like some of the old farm building on the Island and on the mainland for that matter. The sun was shining bright from the sky, but as a cloud gathered around the Island it was a bit darker than before.

Jim welcomed it, because the white church walls almost hurt his eyes when he looked at them and he really wanted to have a closer look at the markings on the walls. From a distance they seemed to be only small iron crosses, but as he came closer he saw there was something more to it. Most of the crosses were nothing special and probably had the purpose of holding the wall together in its weakest spots, but with a few of them the tips of the two strings weren´t inward bent as you would expect. Instead, these few crosses´ tips bent outwards and behind them were two small rings carved into the wall in such a way that the bending of the strings were exactly in the middle between the two rings. He touched one of them and jolted his hand back.

It wasn´t sharp, but the tip felt like it was connected to electricity and he had a small electric chock. He took of his rucksack and searched inside it. Then he found what he was looking for: a pencil. He held the pencil in his hand and approached the tip again, this time using the tip of the pencil.

Tsscichtz! He didn´t even touch it before it sent sparks out and he automatically jumped back a bit. The two rings behind the iron cross started glowing and it wasn´t before now that he realized how dark it was around him.

The glowing cross lit up a spherical shaped area about 10 feet from it and grew in size while shifting color from dim red over dark yellow, light yellow and further over to a white continously brightening light till his eyes hurt. He backstepped and hit a stone with his foot tripping backwards and landing on the other side of the stone still with his eyes fixed on the church wall. Though he couldn´t see the circles nor the iron cross there was no question that they were the origin of the light. Then something started to take form inside the light. As if a cloud of dust swirled together and kept intensifying pressure and the shape of a person began to take form right in front of him. 

Then he realized it wasn´t just one person, but two. Both of them rather tall and musculous. Swiisjch! The sound like a rock ´n roll CD being played backwards extremely fast accompanied the shrinking bubble of light and everything disappeared. Everything but two red bearded men with strange clothes, who looked right at him...

”Did you see that, Jimmy?” he heard Jenny shout somewhere behind him as she ran up the gravel path of the church, ”It was dark all of the sudden and then there was this strange bright light and....” Then she stopped talking and there was a short silence, before they could both hear Mike´s voice savouring the moment. 

”Wauw...” he said eyes wide open leaving his jaw on his chin. Then he seemed to pick himself up just enough to make a joke. ”This... this is exactly like playing ’World of Warcraft’... Wauw!”

Monday, June 18, 2012

If Muhammad won´t come to the mountain...

These last few weeks I´ve started to notice how my oldest son has begun to withdraw from the rest of the family. He comes home in the afternoon, says 'Hi!" grabs his iPad and goes to his room or the guest room, where he sort of 'hides out' for the rest of the day, if we don´t tell him to come join us. And it´s not enough to invite him to join us. We actually have to tell him (read: order him) to come be with us.

It´s rather frustrating and I was beginning to wonder, what in the world I´d done wrong. What could´ve brought my boy to flee from his family and hide away in his own world? Is there something in the way I´m being a father that is completely out of order or what?

I tried talking to him about it and told him that I want to be the best Dad in the entire universe and that I´m trying my best to be that, so if there is anything, he wanted me to think about, he really had to say so.

"No" he said, "not really... it´s fine"

Hmm... Okay...? So, he´s running away from his family in such a hurry that the mud is splashing up his back, but everything is A Okay?

Then I turned up the pressure a bit and asked him directly, why he didn´t spend time with his family, but instead kept so much to himself.

He didn´t even look at me, when he answered the question as if it was obvious: "The three others are so noisy and I just need some peace and quiet," he replied.

I thought about it for a while and two things occurred to me:

1. Why didn´t I just ask him from the very beginning why he kept to himself instead of trying to ask him, if it was me? (I felt a stupid, I have to admit)
2. If he needs the quiet (and he seems to know himself that he does) and he also needs to be with his family so that he doesn´t sort of 'grow into his own world' (and though I don´t think he knows this himself, I know I do!) - well, then we have a challenge that we need to attend to.

#1 Wasn´t easy to answer, but the lesson was clear cut: ask without inserting your own guesses in the question! (Duh!)

#2 Actually was quite easy to do something about and the answer came to me two days ago:

If Muhammad won´t come to the mountain, the mountain must come to Muhammad! So, that´s what I, the mountain, did:

I decided to join him for an hour watching him play games on his iPad and watching youtube videos with him on his iPad. The result came at once and we had a marvelous time together. I just think I might repeat it!

Wouldn´t it be great, if we, as Daddies, tried giving our kids what we always wanted our own dads to give us when we were kids ourselves?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pee Practice!

If you´re a parent you are most likely familiar with the concept of potty training, that is: the venture of teaching your kids to use the toilet and loose the diapers. But if you have boys you probably recognize the odor of that sticky yellow spot on both sides of the toilet bowl. Yes, I am talking about how even the boy with the amazing ability to write his name in the snow is suddenly deprived of his impeccable aim when standing at the very spot where his aim is most needed: in front of the toilet!

I have two boys myself and in our house such a spot has to be cleaned away on a daily basis in order for our home not to stink of you-know-what. For months I´ve thought about how to do something about it and several ideas have emerged and let go in my mind. One of them was placing a row of buckets in the garden and do a Pee Practice Session with my boys, but I am quite certain my wife wouldn´t appreciate us granting such a show for the neighbors. After several more ideas being regarded as a no-go, I almost gave up. But then I had an idea!

When you use a bathroom at a restaurant or in a hotel, they´ve quite often placed some kind of sticker on the ceramic bowl to improve the aim of male toilet goers. And from what I´ve heard it actually works! Why? Well, I think the success is drawing from the male playfulness: we wanna hit that ladybug or spider in the bowl and suddenly our concentration on what we are doing is improved.

But why not try it at home?

There is absolutely no reason I can think of that it shouldn´t work at home and doing a google search I found these stickers:

I´ve placed a similar sticker (as I wanted it to be implemented sooner than the time it takes for the sticker to arrive) in the bowl in an effort to lessen our workload. I really hope, it works and I´ll keep you posted on the development.

In the meantime you can take a look at eBay, where you can buy these stickers. They´re only $1.99 for two stickers. You can get them here (and no, I don´t get provisions): http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2-x-Pee-bug-funny-toilet-sticker-graphic-decal-/190686268529?pt=UK_Homes_Gardens_Bathrooms_Toilet_Seats_PP&hash=item2c65c98c71#ht_1798wt_1163