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Papa Blogs:: True Heroes

Our family welcomed our eighth child, Joséphine Marie, into our family on November 2d.  For the first time in our married life, I had the opportunity to take a full two weeks off of work to focus on the other children and help Nissa fully recover from the birth mostly because of the support I received from my business partner, Jerry.  So, this was probably the first time that my focus was on my family and not worried about what I was missing at work, or how much work I was going to have to endure when I returned.

The best thing that came out of my “vacation” was to experience the daily trials of our family routine.  Up early with the first child awakening.  Raising the other children at some reasonable proximity to the scheduled wake up time.  Organizing and overseeing chores, meal times, clean up, baths, story time, bedtime.  And we were not even engaged in a full homeschooling schedule – nevermind the requirements of our various on-line activities and businesses.  I can say now with certainty – that stay at home mothers (and fathers for that matter) have the hardest job on earth.  And the most important job, too – being present for your children when they need help.  I now understand the almost non-existent appreciation that goes with it all.  AND I ONLY HAD TO DO IT FOR TWO WEEKS.

So, as I return to full-time work (so I can recoup from my tour as Mister Mom), I am grateful for the amazing sacrifice my dear wife makes for me and our family every day.  I pray that I will always remember that a little acknowledgement goes a long way to make sure she always knows just how much her family appreciates what she does for us; and provide her the support and love she deserves.

To everyone who has chosen to sacrifice your personal ambitions for the benefit of your family by choosing to be a stay at home parent – You are truly a HERO.

TV Free again

Our family woke Monday morning to a bit of extra space in the family room.  Space that was once occupied by a small second-hand television.  It took up more than physical space – it stole time and energy from daily interactions and activities.  I plan to write more about the decision we’ve made, but for now I leave you with a favourite poem.  It says a good deal of what we were thinking::

The most important thing we’ve learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set —
Or better still, just don’t install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we’ve been,
We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone’s place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they’re hypnotised by it,
Until they’re absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don’t climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink —
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!
HE CANNOT THINK — HE ONLY SEES!
‘All right!’ you’ll cry. ‘All right!’ you’ll say,
‘But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!’
We’ll answer this by asking you,
‘What used the darling ones to do?
‘How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?’
Have you forgotten? Don’t you know?
We’ll say it very loud and slow:
THEY … USED … TO … READ! They’d READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching ’round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it’s Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There’s Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They’ll now begin to feel the need
Of having something to read.
And once they start — oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They’ll grow so keen
They’ll wonder what they’d ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.
~ “Mike Teavee” by Roald Dahl

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