10 Secrets of Long-Living People

Laughter, Sex, Vegetables and Fish — 10 Secrets of Long-Living People is definitely a book title that is going to grab your attention. Many years ago, I was standing in a bookshop in Tasmania, trying to find my credit card so that I could invest in a book on how to live longer. It was a long-life investment!

Dr John Tickell is a medical doctor, international speaker, bestselling author, and television personality, who has spent the last four decades researching the health, well-being and longevity patterns of people around the world.

Dr John and his wife Sue have five children. Two are medical doctors, who with Dr John, have visited in total over 100 countries in our world, studying the living and eating habits of the longest-living healthiest people on earth.

If curiosity killed the cat, I would be dead nine times. Dr John Tickell impressed me, firstly because he is an Aussie; secondly, because he is a doctor; thirdly, because he has a good sense of humour and can laugh at himself; fourthly, he was rated as among the top 20 motivational speakers in the world; and fifthly, because he has five kids and is still happily married.

Watch him talk about the Stress of Success in this video:

Sometimes curiosity works for you.  In the case of Dr John Tickell’s book, this was the case for me. This book is brilliant, very real, very funny and very achievable. I encourage you to buy it. No, I beg you to buy it. Watch this video if in doubt!

I can honestly say reading this book has changed our lives. My wife and I have started to be more selective about our eating habits. We are eating more vegetables and more unrefined foods. One of Dr Tickell’s favourite quotes is from the Greek father of medicine, Hippocrates, in 400 BC: “Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Victor Lindlahr said it this way in the 1930s: “You are what you eat.”

My wife and I also have tried to eat less food. In the West, we are killing ourselves by overeating. My wife and I work hard at doing the opposite. Often at restaurants, we order a serve for one and share that serve between us two. It is cheaper too. I have taken to making my own muesli for breakfast and we have both cut back on our fast-food consumption.

My wife and I go to the gym three mornings a week between 6 a.m. – 7 a.m. My wife swims a kilometre three times a week and I do the same once per week Both of us enjoy long walks and work hard at being active. It is quite simple. If you don’t use it, you lose it!

Watch this video, which promotes the best way to live longer. You will never guess what it is!

You have to invest in yourself as a father. This goes for your health too! If you don’t lead an active, balanced, healthy lifestyle, you will have great difficulties being a father; in fact, you might drop dead without finishing the job. Living longer should be one of your main obsessions. You have to take an active interest in your health.

Dr Steven Covey, a highly acclaimed author, writes about taking time to renew yourself in the four key areas of life: physical, social, mental and spiritual. If you don’t do this, you risk getting out of balance.

Life is all about a good balance of the key ingredients. There is a saying from Proverbs: ‘A just balance is the Lord’s delight’.  Maybe we should change it to ‘a just balance in a dad is the children’s delight,’ or a ‘just balance in a husband is a wife’s delight.’

Lovework

Do yourself a favour — take some time out.  Buy a book about exercise, health, nutrition, food and fun, read it and put it into practice. If you do, you will love longer, live happier, live smarter, become a better lover, and become a better father because of all of the above.

Anyone would think that I owned shares in Crown Content, Melbourne, the publishers of Laughter, Sex, Vegetables and Fish — 10 Secrets of Long-Living People.  No, I don’t, but I do own shares in life, and so do you.

If you don’t learn, you won’t grow. If you don’t read, you won’t know. Go and buy this book. If you can find something better, buy that.

Investing in your health will change your life.  I will finish with a quote from the book by Dr John Tickell:

“Notice how so many people take themselves far too seriously? For God’s sake, lighten up a little. Try laughing. You can’t be angry when you’re laughing. You can die laughing, but you can’t get sick laughing.”

Yours for Living Longer,
Warwick Marsh

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First published at Dads4Kids. Photo by Nubia Navarro.

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Giorgia Meloni and Hope For Italy

Good news seems to be coming out of Italy.

A 45-year-old pro-family and pro-life conservative has become Italy’s first female Prime Minister. Giorgia Meloni was a conservative journalist who entered Italian politics in 2006. Since 2014 she has led the Brothers of Italy political party, and since 2020 she has been the president of the European Conservatives and Reformists Party.

As to her actual election, the state of play is this:

Italy has several political parties and it is standard practice for parties to campaign in an alliance to form a government. These alliances frequently fall apart and since World War II the temperamental political landscape has led to 68 different governments in 76 years. Once all votes are counted it is up to the President to elect a prime minister — but Meloni is favourite to win given her support — and the entire electoral process is expected to take at least a month.

She has proudly said this: “We defend God, country, and family”. You can tell she must be a champion since leftist politicians in Europe and the leftist media are already sounding the alarm, telling us how terrible it is that she has been elected. She is being called a dangerous far-right politician, and the left are now shaking in their boots.

Sounds good to me. Indeed, she has been unashamed to affiliate with the likes of Donald Trump and Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban. She has made it clear that she will resist the radical trans and homosexual agendas, and put family policy first.

Actual Inspirations

Yet she is still condemned as a fascist and a modern-day Mussolini. Let me speak to this further. One person who should know about these matters is Nicholas Farrell who has penned a biography on Mussolini. He wrote a lengthy piece in The Spectator a month before Meloni’s election, and he is well worth quoting from. He says this:

It is indisputable that Brothers of Italy are the heirs to Mussolini, in the sense that the party was founded in 2012 by Meloni and others who had been members of the neo-fascist Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI) which was set up in 1946 by former fascists. In 1995, MSI became Alleanza Nazionale and rejected fascism. Its then leader served as foreign minister and president of the Chamber of Deputies in successive Berlusconi governments.

‘I have no problem confronting this,’ says Meloni. ‘When we founded Brothers of Italy, we founded it as the centre-right, with its head held high. When I am something, I declare it. I never hide. If I were fascist, I would say that I am fascist. Instead, I have never spoken of fascism because I am not fascist.’

He continues:

She regards herself and Brothers of Italy as owing more to the late British conservative philosopher Roger Scruton than to the revolutionary socialist Mussolini. In her speeches, she often quotes Scruton. ‘In all the many things he was so passionate about, from art and music to wine and being a country gentleman, he always knew how to embody the essence of conservatism as a way of life and never as an ideology,’ she tells me.

‘I believe that the big challenge today globally, not only in Italy, is between those who defend identity and those who do not,’ she says. ‘That is what Scruton meant when he said that if you destroy something, you do not necessarily do something new and better. I’d probably be a Tory if I were British. But I’m Italian.’

Farrell points out another source of inspiration for Meloni:

She is also inspired by another ‘giant of conservative thought’: J.R.R. Tolkien. Every 3 January, she marks his birthday on her Facebook page, which has 2.3 million followers, and this year wrote: ‘He brought up so many of us with his stories, so rich in values and meanings, which taught us to believe and to dream.’ She tells me that before we met, she imagined that I would look like Tolkien. ‘No! They used to call me Strider, Aragorn,’ I reply.

‘Me, Sam Gamgee.’

Why so? Because she was fat as a child. ‘But without Sam Gamgee, nothing, nothing could be done. The truth is Sam is much more useful than Frodo.’

She goes on: ‘The Lord of the Rings is not a book that teaches you something. It’s a book that helps you discover who you are, which is something else. Above all, Tolkien has given me this understanding that power is not a conquest but an enemy, a problem that you must keep under control, on a leash.’

Children’s Rights

As to her pro-family stance, Farrell says this:

She is accused of having a ‘nakedly reactionary’ agenda — largely, it seems, because of her hostility to illegal migrants and to ‘woke ideology’, which in a speech in America earlier this year she blamed for (among other things) ‘destroying the foundations of the natural family’.

Meloni now accepts gay civil unions (which have been legal in Italy since 2016) but opposes gay adoption. She says that a child has ‘the right to a father and a mother’. She opposes gender politics in schools, and what she calls in Italian-English ‘la LGBT lobby’. A passionate, occasionally manic speaker, she famously shouted at a rally in Rome in 2019: ‘They want to call us parent 1, parent 2, gender LGBT, citizen X, with code numbers. But we are not code numbers… and we’ll defend our identity. I am Giorgia. I am a woman. I am a mother. I am Italian, I am Christian. You will not take that away from me!’

The speech went viral and was even made into a disco dance track which became a smash hit. I spot a framed platinum disc on the wall. Yes, it’s for the song. She cracks up and says: ‘It’s not real! It was a present!’ She laughs a lot. She also smokes the odd ultra-slim cigarette.

That speech that Meloni gave at the World Congress of Families in March 2019 is well worth watching:

Here are a few of her opening remarks:

They said we want to go back to the past. That we’re losers, embarrassing, unenlightened. They said it’s scandalous for people to defend the natural family founded on marriage, to want to increase the birth rate, to want to place the correct value on human life, to support freedom in education and to say no to gender ideology.

I think the ones who want to go back to the past are those trying to bring back censorship by trying to stop an event like this from taking place. I think it is unenlightened when a state that is usually willing to sponsor any old thing, even exhibitions featuring a crucifix immersed in a beaker of urine, is ashamed to sponsor an event like this.

I say the losers are those with nothing better to do than come here and insult us while we talk about what we can do for the Italian family. But above all I say the embarrassing ones are not us. The embarrassing ones are those who support practices like surrogacy, abortion at nine months, and blocking the development of children with drugs at eleven years of age. That is embarrassing.

And the closing paragraphs of a speech she gave in February 2020 at a National Conservative Conference in Rome are also worth sharing here:

Our patriotism is the will to defend our Homelands from the great challenges of our age. Challenges that will mark the future and the very survival of our civilisation and which we have to face together. The division between extreme nationalisms is as bad as the weakness of ill-defined supranational entities such as the EU. The only possible answer must be the alliance of homelands that believe in a common destiny.

It is this vision that has led us to join the great family of the European Conservatives: the idea of a new Europe as a confederation of sovereign nation-states capable of cooperating on important matters, while remaining free to take decisions regarding matters affecting our daily lives. It is much more than a choice of political positioning; it is taking up a firm stand and choosing sides.

I have an image in mind: President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II walking in the gardens of the President’s residence in Florida back in 1987. It is the image of two great men walking together along the path of history, in that brief period in the 20th century that was to change the world very shortly thereafter, thanks also to them, with the collapse of communism.

Remembering them here today is not simply to pay tribute to them; it is a warning, and a commitment not to betray their dream of freedom, which is ours, too.

Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan

Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan monument, Gdansk / Wikimedia Commons

It is of course early days yet, and we will have to wait and see how the new Italian leader proceeds. She and her party do take a hard line on immigration. And under her rule we may see another Brexit — an Italexit. She has been critical of the EU and where it has been heading, and she may well bring the country out of its confines.

So I am quietly hopeful for what may transpire there. With so many leftists running the show in Europe, it is good to see a conservative getting into office. As mentioned, time will tell in terms of how she performs. But at the very least, we need to keep her in our prayers.

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Originally published at CultureWatch.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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6 Key Leadership Tips from Queen Elizabeth II

6 Key Leadership Tips from Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II is a wonderful role model for strong and steady leadership. Her life bears lessons for all parents, who must lead their families.

If you are like me, you will have been staggered by how many people loved the Queen. I have always admired the Queen’s leadership, humility, faith, courage, and commitment. I thought I was one of very few, but it turns out I am one of billions.

The Queen’s funeral was predicted, by Metro Magazine in the UK, to reach 4.1 billion people. This makes her funeral the biggest, most-watched TV event in world history. Here in Australia, it has been almost wall-to-wall TV coverage of Queen Elizabeth, 24 hours a day, for the last two weeks.

It really has taken me by surprise. I might add, a very pleasant and wonderful surprise.

It would appear to me that the Queen was the greatest celebrity of all time, who barely regarded herself as a celebrity. She never agreed to a formal interview with the press in her 70-year reign. The Queen carried out her duties in the most humble and gracious way.

So, just why was Queen Elizabeth so popular and what leadership lessons can we learn from her? Before we go there, let’s hear what world leaders had to say about the Queen.

“Queen Elizabeth provided inspiring leadership to her nation and people…  she personified dignity and decency in public life”. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi

“Michelle and I were lucky enough to come to know Her Majesty, and she meant a great deal to us… Time and again, we were struck by her warmth, the way she put people at ease, and how she brought her considerable humor and charm to moments of great pomp and circumstance.” Former US President Barack Obama

“Queen Elizabeth was one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known… Through thick and thin, the Queen provided us with the stability and the strength that we needed.” UK Prime Minister Liz Truss

“Her commitment to German-British reconciliation after the horrors of World War II will remain unforgotten.” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz

“Queen Elizabeth is one of my favourite people in the world… I will miss her so.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

To be a mother or a father is to be a leader. So, what leadership lessons can we learn for our families from Queen Elizabeth II? Here are my six!

1. Servant Leadership

Executive Search believes that servant leadership is foundational to good leadership and says this about the Queen:

“On her 21st birthday, Princess Elizabeth addressed the nation through radio and shared her vision with the world. ‘I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service…’

Her vision and purpose would later shine through in everything she did, whether it was opening parliament, entertaining presidents, or greeting community leaders.

The Queen’s leadership style is best summed up by the motto of military academy Sandhurst: serve to lead.

“Leadership is an act of service — serving the people you lead and serving the purpose that you are collectively working towards,” explains Neil Jurd OBE, author of The Leadership Book.

Jurd highlights how the Queen dedicated her life to serving others, ever since she trained as a truck mechanic during World War Two. “She was still working 30 years after state retirement age.”

2. Be Clear About Your Role

Edward Segal, in a Forbes article titled “The Leadership Lessons Queen Elizabeth II Leaves For Business Executives”, believes clarity regarding your role is key to success as a leader.

“I believe it’s impossible for anyone to find a CEO, politician, celebrity or sports figure who can even come close to Queen Elizabeth II’s sterling example of duty, strength, hope, resolve and dignity,’ Nick Kalm, the founder and CEO of Reputation Partners, said in a statement.

‘The lesson for business executives is to be crystal clear on your role and mission, as well as the example you set for all of your stakeholders, and then adhere to them regardless of outside factors that may cause you to flag or waver,’ Kalm concluded.”

3. Develop the Ability to Listen

Edward Segal, in the same Forbes article, believes one of the Queen’s key leadership qualities was her incredible power to listen and seek wise counsel.

“One thing [the Queen] will be remembered fondly for in terms of leadership lessons is her willingness to listen,’ Wendy L. Patrick, a lecturer in business law at San Diego State University, said via email.

‘Many who worked with her described her as open-minded and forward-thinking, being receptive to hearing an opposing viewpoint and unafraid to change her mind. This was reportedly the way her coronation was televised when she was initially strongly opposed to breaking tradition: her husband persuasively changed her mind,’ Patrick recalled.”

4. Provide a Sense of Values

Edward Segal, again in the same Forbes article, extolled the Queen’s amazing ability to provide a sense of values for the ones she leads.

“The most significant leadership lesson I think we t[can] take from [her is] that leaders provide a sense of values, vision, and direction for the country, organization, etc.,’ Andy Cohen, a professor of management at the University of Denver, said via email:

Queen Elizabeth II ‘reigned during a 70-year period of tremendous change in the world in Great Britain. Yet, we always had the sense that Britain, its leadership, and its people maintained the same sense of values and who they are or were through it all. Great entities (companies, countries, other organizations) do the same, maintaining a clear sense of values and purpose even as the specifics and tactics change,’ he observed.”

5. Keep a Sense of Humour

CEO Magazine believes that one of the secrets to the Queen’s amazing ability to lead was her sense of humour. The Queen’s Paddington Bear escapade below shows that in spades.

“The Queen’s public face was one of duty and seriousness, imposed by her position and a generation that avoided showing emotion.

Privately, she was known for her dry wit and sense of fun. Queen Elizabeth was quite comfortable with being teased and teasing others. She managed the tension between the pompousness of her regal title with laughter. She found her true soul mate, in her late husband, Prince Philip, who was famous for his sense of humour and making her giggle.

The Queen also used laughter to defuse uncomfortable situations and put people at ease, well aware of the impact her presence had on others.”

6. Trust in a Higher Power

Marie-Claire Ross, in her article in CEO Magazine titled ‘The powerful leadership legacy of Queen Elizabeth II’, said,

“As the head of the Church of England, the Queen had a strong Christian faith and firmly believed that her title was conferred upon her through God. On her first Christmas Address in 1952, the Queen requested prayer for her upcoming coronation.

‘I want to ask you all, whatever your religion may be, to pray for me on that day,’ she said, ‘to pray that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you, all the days of my life.’

In future Christmas addresses, the Queen would acknowledge just how much relying on her own faith had helped her. In her 2002 address, she remarked, ‘Each day is a new beginning. I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God…’

As I discuss, in my book, Trusted to Thrive, trusted leaders believe in a higher power. Developing our inner ability to trust is crucial. At some level, it requires trusting that everything is going to work out, that we are being looked after by a benevolent force, even if we can’t imagine how that will possibly happen at that point in time. Trusting a higher power gives us the certainty to trust that all will be well and to trust ourselves.”

Lovework

Hopefully, we can all learn something for our families from this amazing woman!

Yours for servant leadership,
Warwick Marsh

PS: Good news — the booking deadline for our fathering course has been extended. The Courageous Online Zoom Fathering Course now starts this Tuesday, 27 September. Watch video here.
Bookings close Monday 26 September at midnight. Book here.
Tell your friends. For more info, click here.

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First published at Dads4Kids.

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‘My Dad is My Rock’: The Inspirational Father Behind Bree Walker

‘My Dad is My Rock’: The Inspirational Father Behind Bree Walker

Australian Olympian Bree Walker finds strength from her father, who ever encourages her to greater heights. He has been dedicated to supporting her in her sporting endeavours since childhood, sacrificing that she may succeed in her passions.

Once a father, always a father. You will find that as your children grow up, they still need you. Just in different ways!

Read this incredible story of Mick Walker and his 29-year-old daughter Bree, taken from the Australian Olympics news site.

‘I think you need to come over and give Bree a hand.’ They were the words of Bree’s boyfriend Christian, who picked up the phone in Europe and called her dad, Mick Walker in Cairns — right in the middle of her preparation for the upcoming Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

Christian could sense something wasn’t quite right for the mono-bob and bobsleigh athlete and only one person who could address it.

“I got really homesick,” Bree said… I’ve never been away from my family for longer than two years. I really wasn’t performing very good or feeling very good about everything.”

Being a bobsledder on the World Cup tour from Australia requires a unique commitment and resilience.

It is one of the most time-intensive sports to train and compete in, you never have a home crowd or home ground advantage, and the climate is different to from where Bree grew up in Mount Evelyn in Melbourne.

For most of her sporting life, Bree was accustomed to seeing her dad everywhere she went.

“When I was very young, a 6-year-old, I was a horse rider.

“There were a lot of not-so glamorous 5am starts on Sunday mornings in the freezing cold, where Dad would get up to get the horse ready while I was still staying in bed for a little while and then getting myself ready.

“By the time I’d roll out, Dad would have the horse float hitched up to the car and the horse ready to load up. I would just have to roll into the car, hardly able to coordinate myself because it was really early.

Bree Walker“When we would roll into a horse show, there weren’t many dads around, it was mainly horse mums. Dad would be there plaiting my horse’s mane and doing all the things the mums would normally do. It was just us two really running our show for the first few years.”

Mick was always ready to spring into action if there was anything he could do to make Bree’s experience better.

“One time my horse didn’t want to go over the jumps in the cross-country competition. The horse just didn’t want to go that day, we didn’t know what was up with him.

“Dad ran down to the jump I was stuck at, and he helped me get this horse over the jump. Dad then proceeded to run the rest of the cross-country course with me so I could get through the competition there.

“That’s one of my biggest memories of when I knew Dad would do absolutely everything for me in order to be able to compete.”

From horseriding, Bree transitioned to athletics, with Mick still finding ways to be as useful as possible.

“Every single weekend, Dad would come down to the track in order to be able to help us all compete and participate, because it was mainly parents running the show there.

“Then as I progressed through the ages, you were able to go and compete all around Australia. Dad was always by my side. 

“There were special routines I always needed from dad. He never actually stood at the finish line to watch the end of my races. He stood at the top of the 100m straight as I was coming around in the 400m, because that’s where I needed the help most.

“I needed the final encouragement home for the last 100m. Dad would always stand there and scream and yell at me to get my arms moving. All throughout my sporting career it was just me and Dad.”

So, what was Mick’s biggest motivation to be a ‘Mr Fix It’ for Bree?

“When we did sport with Bree, she had this special gift that both my wife and I could see there was something there,” Mick said…

“Her first Australian title entry in athletics in Sydney, once again we didn’t have much money. But I had a really nice motorbike sitting in my shed and thought, ‘Well, I’ve had my fun,’ so I sold it and gave the money to her.”

With his daughter spending most of her time overseas these days, he has adapted his approach to have the biggest possible impact on Bree.

“Bree and I can be really blunt to each other talking on the phone.

“One time she was struggling, and she rang me up on a Thursday night before a competition in Innsbruck, Austria and said, ‘Dad, I’m really struggling with this.’

I said, ‘Just get some mongrel in you and get it done.”’

“That’s all it has to be with Bree.

“Then when I was sitting at home watching her compete, she wins the gold medal.”

Bree Walker

“It’s not like Dad is a Bobsleigh expert, but he knows me very well,” Bree said. 

“Sometimes I guess I’m thinking too much when I’m wanting it to be perfect. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be perfect, like Dad said, ‘let the mongrel out’ and sometimes I forget that because it’s not like I have people who have known me for 29 years around me.”

When Mick heard Christian’s request for his presence in Germany to help Bree finish off the 2020-21 season, it did not take long for Mick to show up…

“I don’t know if I would have got through the season with as much success as I had without dad there. My best week of my career was in Winterberg (Germany) and that was the first week my dad was there, so I credit that a lot to him.”

Mick absolutely loves his daughter, who owns Australia’s best-ever finish in any Bobsleigh discipline at the Olympics (5th in monobob on her Olympic debut at Beijing 2022), and is extremely proud of everything she’s done.

I don’t know many dads who would sell their favourite motorbike for their daughter. Mick Walker did, but he is a hard act to follow!

Hopefully this week you will be inspired to give a little bit more for your family, just like Mick.

PS: The Courageous Online Zoom Fathering Course starts this Tuesday.
For more info, click here.
Tell your friends.
Bookings close Monday 19 September at midnight. Book here.

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Benefits of Roughhousing (Rough & Tumble Play)

Benefits of Roughhousing (Rough & Tumble Play)

Roughhousing with your children builds resilience and trust, while shaping their character and intellect. Reap the benefits starting today!

Harmon Killebrew said, “My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, ‘You’re tearing up the grass’. ‘We’re not raising grass,’ Dad would reply. ‘We’re raising boys’.” That may well have been the reply of Dan Fowlks to his detractors.

Dan’s viral video has been seen well over 161,000,000 times on Facebook and totalled multi-million views on YouTube and other platforms. The Today Show on Channel 9 even did a feature story on this adorable father-daughter dancing/jumping/clapping singing duo.

Dan Fowlks – The Dad

Unfortunately, Dan is not without his critics, as pointed out by the UK’s Mirror article titled “Dad’s sweet sing-along with baby daughter has people more worried about her safety“.

Under the words “adorable video has attracted plenty of fans — and some concerns too” runs the following article.

New dad Dan Fowlks recently shared an incredibly cute video of him enjoying some father-daughter time.

Or rather, he shared footage of his baby daughter having a riotously good time while he played the guitar and sang along to her.

The chubby-cheeked tot shows her appreciation for her dad’s singing and guitar playing (neither of which is too bad at all) by clapping and enthusiastically rocking back and forth while kneeling on a bed.

It’s one minute and 47 seconds of simple, feel-good viewing as dad and daughter share a special moment together.

The footage, shared by The Dad, also attracted some comments expressing worry for the little girl’s safety.

 “Anyone else cringing in fear the baby would fall or is it just the [helicopter] father in me?” wrote one man.

“Same,” agreed a mum.

“My stomach dropped every time she rocked,” another comment read.

“My 6-year-old son kept saying the same thing!” pointed out someone else.

Another comment read, “I was tense the entire time.”

Not everyone felt the same way, though.

It took the mum of the baby girl to wade in, and point out, “If you notice, my husband puts his leg up to keep her from falling. It’s funny how you had to point that out when clearly it was just meant to be a cute and endearing video.”

As someone adroitly pointed out in the comments section: “Anyone who doesn’t smile and laugh at this has no heart.” Thank God Dan Fowlks’ wife, Chantelle Fowles, gets the importance of dads roughhousing and playing with their children, starting from an early age.

The term roughhousing could literally mean playing boisterously, physically and competitively with your children. It is what you make it.

Let me share seven benefits of Dads Roughhousing with Their Children. The first six are taken word for word from Brett & Kay McKay’s brilliant article, “The Importance of Roughhousing with your Kids.”

1. FITNESS – Roughhousing Gets Your Child Physically Active

Dads have a profound impact on their children’s physical fitness. Studies have shown that the father’s (not the mother’s) activity level and weight strongly predict what their children’s activity level and weight will be as adults. If you want your kids to be healthy, active, and fit, then you better be healthy, active, and fit yourself.

What better way to teach your kids to live an active lifestyle than by getting down on the carpet with them for some vigorous roughhousing instead of everyone vegging out in front of the TV? All that running, tumbling, and tackling helps develop strength, flexibility, and coordination in your child.

2. RESILIENCE: Roughhousing Boosts Your Child’s Resilience

Roughhousing requires your child to adapt quickly to unpredictable situations. One minute they might be riding you like a horse and the next they could be swinging upside-down. According to biologist Marc Bekoff in his book Wild Justice, the unpredictable nature of roughhousing actually rewires a child’s brain by increasing the connections between neurons in the cerebral cortex, which in turn contributes to behavioural flexibility. Learning how to cope with sudden changes while roughhousing trains your kiddos to cope with unexpected bumps in the road when they’re out in the real world.

Additionally, roughhousing helps develop your children’s grit and stick-to-itiveness. You shouldn’t just let your kids “win” every time when you roughhouse with them. Whether they’re trying to escape from your hold or run past you in the hallway, make them work for it. Playtime is a fun and safe place to teach your kids that failure is often just a temporary state and that victory goes to the person who keeps at it and learns from his mistakes.

3. INTELLIGENCE: Roughhousing Makes Your Child Smarter

Go ahead. Toss your kid like a sack of potatoes onto your bed. It will help turn him into a Toddler Einstein.

Psychologist Anthony Pellegrini has found that the amount of roughhousing children engage in predicts their achievement in first grade better than their kindergarten test scores do. What is it about rough and tumble play that makes kids smarter? Well, a couple of things.

First, as we discussed above, roughhousing makes your kid more resilient, and resilience is key in developing children’s intelligence. Resilient kids tend to see failure more as a challenge to overcome rather than an event that defines them. This sort of intellectual resilience helps ensure your children bounce back from bad grades and gives them the grit to keep trying until they’ve mastered a topic.

In addition to making students more resilient, roughhousing actually rewires the brain for learning. Neuroscientists studying animal and human brains have found that bouts of rough-and-tumble play increase the brain’s level of a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF helps increase neuron growth in the parts of the brain responsible for memory, logic, and higher learning — skills necessary for academic success.

4. SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE – Roughhousing Builds Social Intelligence

Roughhousing builds social intelligence in several ways. First, when kids roughhouse, they learn to tell the difference between play and actual aggression. Dr Pellegrini found in a survey among school-aged children that the ones who could tell the difference between play and real aggression were more well-liked compared to kids who had a hard time separating the two.

The kids who mistook play for aggression often ended up returning their classmates’ good-natured overtures with a real punch in the kisser. The ability to differentiate between play and aggression translates into other social skills that require people to read and interpret social cues.

Roughhousing also teaches children about taking turns and cooperation. You might not recognise it, but when you horse around with your kids, you’re often taking part in a give-and-take negotiation where the goal is to make sure everyone has fun. Sometimes you’re the chaser and sometimes you’re the chasee; sometimes you’re pinning down your kids and other times they’re pinning you down. Your kids wouldn’t want to keep playing if they were constantly on the losing side. Everyone has to take turns in order for the fun to continue.

What’s interesting is that animals even take part in this back-and-forth role reversal. Adult wolves will expose their bellies and necks to their cubs and let them “win” the play fight. Stronger rats will handicap themselves during bouts of play and let the weaker rat win so play can continue. Marc Bekoff posits that roughhousing may be nature’s way of teaching cooperation to animals, a necessary skill for the survival of a species.

5. ETHICS – Roughhousing Teaches Your Child Morality

We all want kids who end up like Atticus Finch — moral, upright, compassionate. That’s exactly why you need to body-slam your kid every now and then.

When we roughhouse with our sons and daughters, they learn boundaries and the difference between right and wrong. If they start hitting hard, aiming below the belt, or becoming malicious, you can reprimand them and then show by example what’s appropriate roughhousing behaviour.

Also, roughhousing teaches our children about the appropriate use of strength and power. As I mentioned earlier, when we roughhouse with our kids, we often take turns with the dominant role. Because we’re so much bigger and stronger, we have to handicap ourselves. The implicit message to your child when you hold back is: “Winning isn’t everything. You don’t need to dominate all the time. There’s strength in showing compassion for those weaker than you.”

6. BETTER BONDING – Roughhousing Builds the Father-Child Bond

Some of my best memories of my childhood were when my dad roughhoused with my brother and me. When we were smaller, he’d do the obligatory “ride the horsey.” When we got a little bigger, we moved to slap-fighting, which consisted of my dad dramatically swirling his hands in front of him like you see fighters do in the old kung fu movies and then very lightly smacking our heads with quick open-handed jabs. Slap fights were the best…

When you throw your kids up in the air and catch them or swing them upside-down, you’re building your child’s trust in you. As they take part in somewhat risky activities with you, your kids learn that they can trust you to keep them safe.

7. FUN – Yes fun where would the world be without FUN?

Children love fun; so do dads. Remember children spell love = TIME, but for children love and fun are hard to distinguish, so children also spell love = FUN. It is funny (excuse the pun) how LOVE and FUN both require TIME.

Lovework

If this information really interests you, Brett and Kate McKay from the Art of Manliness and I would definitely recommend you pick up a copy of The Art of Roughhousing. The book features some great suggestions for roughhousing fun, along with helpful illustrations showing you how to do them. Remember though, you don’t have to read a book to do this: just start ASAP and learn as you go.

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Photo by Kampus Production.

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A Tribute to Queen Elizabeth II by Indigenous Australian Leader Ps James Dargin

Australian Indigenous leader Ps James Dargin has paid a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, saying he has great respect for the Queen and urges Indigenous Australians to honour her as a mother and a grandmother.

“She Will Be Missed”

I have a lot of respect for the Queen because of what she has done in her lifetime. All Indigenous people around the world should honour and thank her.

Honour the Queen as a mother and honour her as a grandmother. We all have mothers and grandmothers, and we honour them. We should do the same for the Queen.

God gave her a job to do. What she did was not only for her family, but for the Nations and for the Commonwealth.  Let’s honour this amazing and beautiful woman who set an example for all of us. God has got a mission for all of us. And I think we should honour the Queen for hers.

God looks at our heart, not at what we do. We should do the same for the Queen. The Queen walked in the unknown with a beautiful heart and a desire to serve her people.

Queen Elizabeth II was an amazing and beautiful woman.

She’s going to be missed.

True Leader of Her Country

She took care of her own country, but she had responsibility for other countries, like Australia and the other 52 Commonwealth countries. We have a lot to be thankful for. All indigenous people around the world should honour and thank her for her service. I have a lot of respect for the Queen because of what she has done for us. I wouldn’t be able to do what she does.

Not only because she’s got a title. Honour her as a mother and grandmother. You see, she has always looked after her own family and worked to keep them together, and that’s what we should be doing. Keeping our families together. Loving one another and forgiving each other. But the Queen, she is going to be missed. Because there’s no one like her.

Peace, Joy, Love and Forgiveness

We are all individually made. Each of us has a purpose on this earth. Peace, Joy, Love and Forgiveness. I believe that is unity. That’s what this nation is about. This is what it’s about being on this earth. True unity is coming together in love and forgiveness.

Through the Queen and the Royal Family, the Gospel came to Australia and other nations.

Come Together in Unity

Forgiveness is one of the biggest things to achieve unity. You can’t come together if you do not forgive.

We need to come together, not looking at each other as Aboriginals or non-Aboriginal or other nationalities. We need to come together as children of God as brothers and sisters. It’s about the heart. When you connect your heart with others in love, that’s true unity.

We all have the same spirit. We’re all made in the image of our Father in Heaven. We were in Him before the foundation of the world. The unity that the Father had with the Son is ours as well if we come together in love.

If we don’t forgive each other, there is no unity. The power of forgiveness is powerful even when you are persecuted. The power of love will come and overpower the persecution that you suffer. This all comes from our heart.

You should forgive people. Because if someone comes against you, they planted a seed, and that seed will grow and get bigger. In the end, you just become more bitter and angrier. That is why you must forgive.

Do not receive these negative seeds of unforgiveness as these seeds will grow, and the only person it will hurt is you. It is your choice, as God doesn’t go against your free will.

In Peace, Joy. Love and Forgiveness,
Ps James Dargin
Warilla, NSW

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New Western is a Fitting Tribute to Dads in ‘Hostile Territory’

New Western is a Fitting Tribute to Dads in ‘Hostile Territory’

Hostile Territory, the latest offering from actor, director, and writer Brian Presley, has all the right dads-for-kids ingredients.

Set in Missouri in the mid-1860s, the 2022 film is an award-worthy western with a crisp contemporary edge.

The well-thought-out script follows battle-hardened Union army Captain Jack Calgrove, who, at war’s end, finds his kids gone and his wife dead.

As he was presumed KIA, Calgrove’s children were dispatched by the US Army via the Orphan Train Movement, and told to meet up with their older brother, also a soldier, stationed further north.

Helping Calgrove is fellow POW Desmond Richards (Craig Tate), and Shantu (Lyndell Chee), along with Anishnaabe native American sharpshooters from Company K.

Wild Ride

So as not to give away any spoilers, Hostile Territory is, in sum, a story about a dad who reaches for his kids across hard terrain, while he fights off bitter Confederate renegades, and defends his ragtag ensemble against an angry tribe of displaced Apache.

Written, directed, and starred in by Presley, Hostile Territory is a notch in the belt of the husband and father of two, whose own story of success, failure, road to sobriety, and redemption is one for the retelling.

In an interview with CBN, Presley described his battle with disappointment, substance abuse and depression.

The actor turned up in Hollywood from Oklahoma with big dreams. He started out okay, only to find himself in financial hell after contracts were broken.

Things got worse for Presley before that got better. He told CBN that after making it as an actor, his dream gig of making films with faith-based realism came crashing down.

Pit of Despair

Now married and with kids, Presley said he started to self-medicate, using alcohol to distance himself from the stress of Hollywood’s ‘self-centred world — where you’re only as good as your last job.’

His drinking continued until his wife, Erin (also an accomplished actress), dragged him back to church.

Erin told CBN, “I would drag him to church on Sunday mornings,” Erin said, “when I knew he was fully hung over, but that’s what I knew he needed the most.”

Presley said, his drinking continued to get worse, even with the birth of his second child,

“I would tell myself, I want to stop, I’m gonna stop, but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. I was mad with God. This path I was supposed to go down had completely changed.”

Faith and Family

Facing serious health problems related to his liver and kidneys, Presley recounted how it took the hospitalisation of his daughter and his wife’s continuous support for him to “turn around.”

Presley told CBN he began to fight his way back to life and family. He joined Alcoholics Anonymous, and went back to the Bible, stating,

“God can resurrect anything and no matter what you are facing in life, no matter what your struggles are, God can bring you out of that. The only way I got back to the surface was with Jesus pulling the rope.”

True Story

Few films do what Hostile Territory does in the way of blending education and entertainment. A difficult thing to achieve, in a film industry quick to place ideological indoctrination over and above entertainment.

Inspired by a true story, the non-fictional context may explain why it landed in Apple’s top 25 Action and Adventure list a day after the film’s April release, and is still finding online streaming traction 5 months later.

Historically, the OTM was a relocation project run by the Children’s Aid Society.’ Founded by Rev. Charles Brace, CAS moved approximately 200,000 parentless children from New York to the frontier towns for adoption between 1854-1929.

Presley’s take is fresh. The film is lifted by John Koutselinis‘ original score, and the gravitas of its cast helps move the film forward at a good pace.

The characters are believable, and each cast member delivers the film’s carefully placed humour without compromising the film’s dramatic effect.

What’s more, both of Presley’s children star in the film with him.

Well-Crafted Tale

By presenting a survival story with a variety of characters from different backgrounds, Presley handled the historical context, which is the backbone of this film, without pandering to the anti-Western thinking dominating Hollywood.

Although the film was criticised on Amazon-owned IMBD for a slight historical gaffe, reviews often carried a mixture of warmth and disinterest.

In one of the few actual written reviews online, Air Force vet-turned-entertainment journalist Derrick Dunn gave the film a C, stating,

‘The film does not try to craft a false woke narrative. Instead, Presley constructs a film that focuses on the division within human nature as we bleed red. While the film does not truly break any ground, I will recommend it as a one-time watch.’

Excluding Dunn’s review, the pathetic response from movie buffs shows that Presley’s work roughed up the hostile Hollywoke norm.

In so doing, Presley has helped pioneer an unapologetic, new standard for faith, freedom, and family films that set out to reclaim the simple and the sacred.

This film does not disappoint. Grab your teens, pass around the popcorn, and settle in for the ride.

Hostile Territory is a legit first-class quality dads-for-kids action adventure, if ever there was one.

Five stars.

(Editor’s Note: The movie has an R rating in America for its violence, which is equivalent to a MA+ rating in Australia. The Wild West was a pretty violent place.)

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First published at Dads4Kids.

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My Journey From a Teacher to a Homeschooling Parent

My Journey From a Teacher to a Homeschooling Parent

Homeschooling has enriched this family’s life, reducing stress and creating room for personal flourishing.

My name is Heidi; my husband Ben and I are currently on a homeschool journey with our three children aged 7, 10 and 12. I am a qualified teacher and I was teaching casually at the school that my three children attended until late 2021.

My husband and I decided that our lives needed to change; we pulled our children from mainstream schooling and made preparations to homeschool them starting in 2022.

I am very sure the decision to homeschool caught many of our friends and family members by surprise; it does in fact, still surprise me at times. Our lives have changed in such a dramatic way that it sometimes seems surreal.

This time last year, we were being controlled by the routines of regular school life. Our mornings were rushed, stressful and chaotic. There was often homework being completed by one or more children at the breakfast table as we scoffed down our cereal at lightning speed. We were madly grabbing late library books and home readers while straightening ties and finding drink bottles and missing shoes.

We would then spend the next 30 minutes driving to school apologising to each other for getting angry minutes before about stolen hairbrushes and lost toothpaste tubes. I silently promised myself every car trip that tomorrow morning would be better…

Change of Pace

It was towards the end of 2021 when I decided to stop teaching, and my husband and I took some time to evaluate our family. Our eldest daughter was about to enter high school and our lives seemed to be moving too fast, and it felt as though we were missing out on relationships with our kids.

We were busy and tired, and sometimes that the busyness we were experiencing didn’t seem to have a purpose or a goal. Something needed to change, and we thought that maybe homeschooling was the answer. After much prayer and some lengthy chats with friends who were already homeschooling, my husband and I decided to dive in.

This was both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Two of our children were keen, but our eldest was not. We ended up letting our 12-year-old daughter start the year at regular school for a while. We wanted desperately for her to join us, but we also did not want to force her against her will.

Thankfully, she decided to give homeschooling a go, and a few months into it, she shared with me that she was so happy that we had made the decision to try homeschooling. As hoped for, it felt as though our family life experience a complete gear change and we noticed a massive difference immediately.

It was like our family did a collective sigh, an exhale after an intense workout. We felt as though we were now able to get on with being a family and start some real learning, and more importantly, find and develop a love of learning.

We are nine months into our homeschool journey, and I can confidently say it’s one of the best decisions we have made for our family. Our lives have slowed right down, and we are enjoying stress-free mornings where we don’t need to worry about finding lost library books or filling drink bottles.

The kids wake up from a full night of sleep, often after the local school bus has well and truly passed our front gate. We have a cooked breakfast and we are free to enjoy the stillness of the morning before we start our lessons. We begin the day with devotion and prayer, reading God’s word together around the table as a family.

Pursuing Their Passions

Our lessons are usually finished by lunchtime and then the kids are free to ride their motorbikes or tinker with their Lego. One thing I have noticed since starting this journey is each of the children has really taken an interest in a particular topic or hobby and claimed it as their own.

Our eldest daughter loves propagating plants and has a table set up on the verandah with her pots neatly arranged and labelled.

Our middle daughter has taken control of the chicken pen. She diligently collects and dates the eggs each morning and is constantly reading about how to care for them from her poultry book.

Our youngest son, who was identified at the end of kindergarten by the Learning Support Team as being a child who was behind with his reading, has amazed us with his ability and desire to read the Bible aloud in devotions. He can now often be found reading a novel on the lounge room floor. It feels as though the children have become relaxed enough to enjoy and even pursue their own learning.

Community

One of the most commonly asked questions we get asked is about socialisation. People are very interested in how our children are learning to get along with others? This seems to be a very big concern for people thinking about homeschooling. I indeed asked this very question myself when we were in the midst of decision-making.

We have discovered that God had this covered from the start in His design of the family. Siblings learning to relate to one another in a warm and nurturing environment is the best way to learn to get along with others outside the family.

We have arguments, disagreements, and sometimes there is a fair bit of yelling between sisters and their brother, but we learn how to live with one another in a safe family unit. This learning then spills over into wider circles of socialisation.

We are involved in a homeschool group of parents and children and we meet weekly. This is a wonderful time for mothers to catch up, and encourage and strengthen one another; sharing homeschool success stories as well as failures, and helping each other through the hard bits.

It is during these catch-ups that I am encouraged the most by simply watching our children getting along and playing in groups of children of multiple ages and stages. We have found that homeschooling has actually allowed more time for socialisation, and we have made some really wonderful and meaningful friendships.

We are so thankful that we made the somewhat daunting leap into homeschooling. We are watching our three children thrive and grow in ways we couldn’t have predicted. We have made deep connections with some beautiful people, and we are thankful that God has provided all that we need.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio.

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