Owl and the Bull

Letters For My Sons

iniesta intelligence

Are You Intelligent? Or Just Smart?

I got called “smart” a lot at school.  It was not usually meant as a compliment, nor as an insult.  It was just the way it was.

My father often commented on how much smarter I was at my age than he was.  I liked it when he said that.  Unfortunately it really didn’t mean as much as what you might think.

Being smart is not hard.  Being smart means two things: having a decent memory, and being able to manipulate symbols in a culturally useful way.  Both of these things are relatively easy to practice.

To improve memory one must practice remembering things: facts, trivia, poems, songs, or, as in my childhood experience, bible verses.  To manipulate symbols effectively, one must read, write and speak often enough with appropriate feedback to ingrain the symbols.

Most children without learning difficulties or brain damage are smart.  My boys can rattle off more dinosaur names than David Attenborough.  They can memorise song lyrics after one or two listens.  My five year old can write his name with ease.  They are classically smart for their age, and their grandmother (to my disdain) reminds them to the point of ridiculousness.

 

But would you call them intelligent?

 

I have spent a lot of time trying to define what I mean by intelligence.  The current dictionary definitions do not capture the specificity of it.  They tend to list popular meanings instead.

The Random House definition:

1. capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity; aptitude in grasping truths,relationships, facts, meanings, etc. 2. manifestation of a high mental capacity 3.the faculty of understanding.

The Merriam-Webster definition:

(1) : the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations :reasonalso : the skilled use of reason(2) : the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (as tests)

The closest they come to my definition is “aptitude in grasping relationships”.

My definition:

The ability to correlate at least two previously unconnected points.

 

 

 

Timothy Leary described the growth of a child’s symbol manipulation skills as laryngeal-manual development, referring to the use of the voice and the hands as the primary conductors of symbolism.  Many people use the word intelligence to describe how well a person uses these muscles.

How well a person communicates will certainly limit the quality of the information being transmitted.   However, it’s fairly rare that an adult human encounters a situation where he requires intelligence.

Memory and rote learning are usually enough to get us through the day.  Most workplaces these days are the homes of automatons, with systems inserted to prevent thinking.  Schools reward high levels of smartness, but don’t often seem to know how to improve intelligence.

True intelligence on the other hand describes the ability to take two ideas or actions, and put them together in a way previously unknown to you.  It is an act of creation, and is usually accompanied by a small “aha!” moment.

 

…..

What are some examples of intelligent action?

 

When playing football, you keep putting the ball over the crossbar when taking shots on goal.  You find that your successful shots depend on you placing your left foot next to the ball, and keeping your right foot toe down.  These two bodily movements have now been correlated with successful goal-shooting.  This can be committed to memory to consistently improve your shot.

 

iniesta intelligence

Andres Iniesta: Geekiest football legend ever

 

Einstein drew new correlations between mass and energy, space and time.  He literally imagined himself on a train approaching the speed of light.  This metaphor brought so many previously unconnected points of data together that it changed the future for all of us.

 

intelligent physics

I got so excited!… until I saw Technically Viable

 

C.L. Sholes found a relationship between the arrangement of letters and typing speed on mechanical typewriters, thus creating the QWERTY typewriter.

 

intelligence

Then Shai Coleman decided that QWERTY didn’t make any sense in the modern era, as there were no more mechanical typewriter arms to get mangled.  He created Colemak and made typing

  • Ergonomic and comfortable – Your fingers on QWERTY move 2.2x more than on Colemak. QWERTY has 16x more same hand row jumping than Colemak. There are 35x more words you can type using only the home row on Colemak.
  • Easy to learn – Allows easy transition from QWERTY. Only 2 keys move between hands.
  • Fast – Most of the typing is done on the strongest and fastest fingers. Low same-finger ratio.

He recognised the redundancy of QWERTY and created a new interface to reflect that realisation.

…..

 

Intelligence is a skill.  Like all skills, we can improve our intelligence through improving the quality and increasing the quantity of the experiences we have.

These experiences create patterns from which future choices can be made, known as engrams.

 

Wikipedia definition of engram:

Engrams are a hypothetical means by which memory traces are stored as biophysical or biochemical changes in the brain (and other neural tissue) in response to external stimuli.

In other words, engrams are patterns that have been wired into your biology through consistent use.
Why are old men often so creative when it comes to problem solving?  They have a huge number of engrams to draw upon to derive solutions.  Although a hypothetical idea, I find engrams a useful metaphor for increasing intelligence.

Rock climbing has a number of different styles, one of which is crack climbing, as above.  You may notice she has her hands in a crack. Now, let’s say she has climbed several routes like the one above.  Perhaps this one:

 

 

and this one:

 

off-width crack

 

You can see that all the routes are different, but they all have similarities too; they are all on rock, they all have cracks to climb, they are mostly vertical.  Our climber has built up a decent skill set on cracks; a set of engrams she can call upon whenever she encounters cracks.  The more engrams she has to call upon, the more likely her chance of success on any given crack climb. Our climber then encounters this (horrors!):

 

 

Although she has never done a crack route like this before, her experience and engrams will allow her to make intelligent choices and correlations between her past and present climbs.  This increases her chances of success many times.

So too with intelligence.  The more problems you can solve, the more experience you will gain, and the more engrams you will develop.  All this experience will give you a wider range of options when it comes to your solution. At heart it’s the need for a successful result that drives intelligence.

To improve intelligence you must search out problems that need solutions and goals that need achieving, then find the points to correlate for a solution. Over time you will notice increased correlations and realisations.

Only then will you find an appropriately awesome ending for this post.

 

References:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/intelligence

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intelligence

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engram_(neuropsychology)

bored man

Bored Men Make Me Puke In My Mouth

I was in the work truck today and my two companions were discussing how their wives/gfs were away at the time.

To my horror, they both said how bored they were.

WHAT IN THE FUCK.

 

bored man

 

As I quietly retched in my mouth, my internal doorway of friendship came crashing down, crushing several small cute and furry mammals in a mess of intestinal pulp.

I actually felt physically ill after their admissions. These men had degraded themselves to the point that they needed another human to make their lives worthwhile. I could barely be in the truck with them.

What happens to a boy to make him decide that his life is only interesting when his woman is around? Why have they no interests in their pitiful lives that they can enjoy without Les Woman?

I am so proud of my individuality (in the original sense of the term) and independence that to see another “man” (or more accurately “human with a penis” – they are men in only a purely technical sense) dismiss those things makes me weep flaming balls of pissed-off acid.

Yet again I had to reject humans whom I thought were reasonable beings worthy of my friendly company. It is not worth spending energy on friendships that will end with the realisation that they are merely shells of people.

 

Somewhere along the line these men had their development retarded, and decided to believe in the Almighty Lie: that there is a a soulmate out there, somewhere, floating in the mist.  Once found, these men would then be complete, whole, free to travel the world in a cornucopia of polka-dotted delight and companionship.  As a result they felt they could give away their insides, their desires, wants and ambitions, and trade them for company.

I, a man of substance and intelligence, am sick to loathing of these exoskeletons whose thoughts resemble inconsequential soap bubbles.

These men need to build The Rock.

Without a rock inside a man sinks into the quicksand of boredom and apathy. That rock is the sense of self that cannot be vilified by others. It cannot be destroyed until death. That rock is the monument to oneself. It keeps a man strong, chained to his principles and yet buoyed by them. It is like a man’s shadow in bright sun, sharply defined and following him everywhere, keeping him rooted to the ground instead of floating with every whim that captures his imagination.

This rock must be grown and constructed.  A man must spend his life building such a rock, carving his likeness into the granite of his genetic inheritance.  His rock reflect his desire to become what hewants.  His tools are persistence and imagination.

It is an ongoing task.  But it doesn’t take long for the stone to grow from a pebble to a boulder, where it can anchor a man, strong in the knowledge that he needs no other man or woman.

And this is where boredom becomes nullified.

Build your rock.

Being Alone: Why Country Music Singers Have It All Wrong

This post was going to be called 10 Things a Man Should Do Alone.  But seriously, if you’re not already working out, educating yourself, writing to get your thoughts in order, and working on some skill or hobby, then get out and start before your vagina goes all Ouroboros on yoself.

 

You know, Ouroboros

You know, Ouroboros

 

Instead I’m going to discuss being alone, and share with you the things I’m not sure many men do.  To me, however, these are the things that propelled me quickly (relatively speaking) from being a socially-retarded loser to fully-functioning self-actualising human.

 

Be Alone.  But Don’t Be A Fucking Psychopath

Being alone is the fucking coolest thing on earth, and is highly under-rated by the majority of the population.  Assuming you are not alone because of socialisation problems like some psychopathic school kid, it is where you recharge, take stock, and get to know where you’re succeeding and failing.

Alone time is especially important to me, cos I have kids.  And holy shitballs, do they suck the time away.  It’s tough enough getting laid with my wife, let alone getting time by myself.  If you’ve got kids, you need to take the time to take time out.

There’s a bunch of things a man should do alone.  Any of these can be done with others, but being alone removes the Need To Socialise.  Socialising means communicating, competing, and seeking attention.  It’s tough to understand how much of this you do without being alone for extended periods of time.

There are a bunch of socialisation patterns you use with everyone you know, and without being alone you will never know of your choices: using those patterns, changing to other patterns, or burning them with the other useless paraphernalia of your life.

Being alone is also the only time you’ll hear yourself.  A lot of this has to do with socialisation patterns.  It takes a significant amount of time (thirty minutes to an hour) of conscious awareness of being alone before socialisation breaks down and the inner you starts to be heard.

 

Silence In A World Of Noise, Aka Smartphones Make You Miserable In A Happy Way

Today’s world is one of noise.  Almost everyone I meet wants to fill it with more.  People love the sound of their own voices, regardless of whether they add value, or create filth.

But it’s not just the audible noise that I want to discuss.  Every bit of data that you see, hear, taste, touch and smell takes attention.  Think of attention as a fuel tank.  There is only so much you have per day, per week, per year.

With our cache of attention we can absorb noise, or we can absorb signal.  The noise is rubbish, redundancy, rehashes.  The signal is novelty, newness, interest. Noise is obviously trash, and we want as little as possible.  It’s like using fuel to run your car on a rolling pad.  It takes you nowhere.  Signal on the other hand can often take us from A to B.  It can educate and inspire.  But not always.

The problem with signal, and it is a huge problem in today’s world, is that it is addictive.  In previous eras the information problem was a huge ratio of noise to signal.  Now that we have all of humanity’s data available to us, the problem is reversed.  We now see an immense section of society addicted to novelty.

Almost everyone I know under the age of 40 cannot leave their phones alone.  Every minute of spare time, literally as soon as there is nothing to do, the phones come out.  I have not been immune to this.  It became an awful habit.

And the worst part?

I often didn’t need to check anything.   Phones and the internet are great for getting directions, finding tradesmen, making appointments, and googling important and timely data.  But 90% of the time I needed none of those things.  All I wanted was a distraction.

In actuality, what I needed was a hit.

You’ve probably heard about dopamine before, and its effects on the brain. It’s often touted as a “reward chemical” or part of the brain’s “reward center,” but more recent research has shown that, like novelty, it’s actually more closely related to our motivation to seek rewards rather than being a reward itself. Animal studies around the brain’s reaction to novelty have suggested increased dopamine levels in the context of novelty. So the brain reacts to novelty by releasing dopamine which makes us want to go exploring in search of a reward.

http://lifehacker.com/novelty-and-the-brain-why-new-things-make-us-feel-so-g-508983802

The problem is that because dopamine encourages us to seek rewards, it may be encouraging us to look for more, and more, and more stuff on the internet.  We get sucked into long cycles of internet surfing because our brain is reward-seeking due to the dopamine hits from novel information.  Every time we see something new, it only primes us for more surfing.

So, rather than being a useful pastime, phone and internet use has become an addiction.  It is robbing you of your life, your time, and your health.  My eyes have not been the same since my first smartphone.  The fine motor muscles are extremely tight, and I find it much more difficult to actually “see” my surroundings.  I look, but I my eyes don’t engage.

How Do We Escape This Pernicious Habit? And What Does Pernicious Mean?

We need silence.  Utter digital silence.  Our brains have been changed by the internet.  We need to restrict this change.

We still have a beautiful world around us!  But how many of us notice it? Do we notice anything less than the change of seasons anymore?

As men it is our charge to remember how the world is.  One day the internet may disappear.  We must be able to remember how to live without it.  Women can keep their Facebook and the rest.  They are far more distracted than we are.

When you are alone, put away your phone.  It is a simple task, and you WILL struggle with it.   It is a habit you have to break.  Use your phone only when others are around, if you must use it at all.  Alone time is much too valuable to waste on phone surfing.

When you are alone it is important to keep this digital silence.  It is distracting you from hearing the awesome within you.  Being alone is the only time you can hear this voice trying to erupt from the depths.

Self Reflection and Self Therapy

This is the most important task you will ever perform in your life.  Sometimes you will do it every day, at other times you will go months without it.  But always you will come back.

Why do you stop when you are within arm’s reach of your goals?  Why do you sabotage your relationships?  Why can you not keep a job?  Why is missionary your favourite (and only) position?

Have you asked yourself the deep questions of your life?  These questions are the ones that will enable change in you life.  You may never get a clear answer, and you will not change with any speed.  But self-therapy is the way forward, and every man who is not perfect should practice it.

It’s the only way I have found to guarantee forward progress.  If you are stuck in a rut in life, and frustrating yourself with your inability to change, then there are likely psychological, emotional and physical barriers preventing you from getting on with life.

Therapy ain’t for pussies either.  You don’t have to tell anyone you are doing it.  In fact, it’s better if you don’t.  Everyone has psychological blocks, even hard-asses.  It’s just that hard-asses have the personal control to run through those brick walls when they need to.  The rest of us can take the slower, safer but not necessarily easier route.

Self Therapy 101

1. Buy a journal.  Write in it.  Draw in it.  Paint it with custard, I don’t give a fuck.  It’s yours and it’s private.  No one else is to see inside it.  In it should go any observations about yourself you find interesting.

Don’t edit yourself.  Remember, no one else will see this ever.  Be as honest as you can.

Over time you’ll start to get it.  You will begin to understand yourself.  You will edit less.  It’s not so much a book for re-reading.  It’s more about getting ideas out of your head and into a tangible format where you can begin to make sense of the nonsense.  Your brain will take what you’ve spewed onto the paper, and begin to work on it without you even knowing about it.  It’s pretty much magic.

2. Purchase Christopher Hyatt’s Undoing Yourself with Energised Meditation and Other Devices.  Do the exercises.

 

The most useful book you will ever buy

The most useful book you will ever buy

 

3. That’s it.  Take your time.  Take your whole life.  Nothing will make you perfect, so don’t rush change.  Take at least 12 months then look back and see if you are happier.

 

What’s the Goal Anywayz?

The goal is to get out of your own way so you can live life.  Most people live life on train tracks.  The tracks take them to the same places, emotionally, in their relationships and in their life situations.

We want to have choice.  We want the ability to experience not just frustration and misery, but happiness and satisfaction.  That is a choice.  We want to find friends that help and inspire us, rather than drain our energy.  That too is a choice.  We want to find meaningful work and hobbies that lend ambition and direction to our lives.  You can make that choice.

But you must be alone to start on that path.

Lion and cub

The Do’s and Don’ts of being a Dad – Part 2

This is the second instalment of this series.  You can find the first part here.

Lion and cub

Being a dad ain’t rocket science.  Some books and blogs would make it seem like you need advanced degrees in psychology and childhood learning before you can play peek-a-boo.

Don’t take that shit.  Do what I did in the first part of this series and decide what you want your child to be like.  Then, work backwards from there and find the behaviours that will model future character.

It’s really not hard at all, and a lot of it is common sense.  For example, if you don’t want a cruel child, don’t be cruel yourself!  Only a retard could fail to see that.  Are you a retard?

Here’s what I strive for with my children:

Don’t beat up your kids.

This should be obvious.  If you want kids who can trust you fully, you need to restrain yourself. Hey look, I’ve smacked my kids on the bum when I’m at the end of my tether.  I can count on two hands the times I’ve done it in five years.  Sometimes they just know the buttons to press.

When I review the situation after the fact, however, I find that their behaviour is, while not justified, at least somewhat predictable.  To warrant bad behaviour, they are usually

tired: from lack of sleep; a big day at some point in the previous three days; from playing with other kids; from a growth spurt.

hungry: from lack of food; or too much junk food.

requiring attention:  they haven’t got what they need from you in the past 24 hours.

A child usually cannot tell when he is hungry or tired.  How many adults do you know behave badly when they are starving or after a big night out?  Expecting a 3 year old or 6 year old to keep their emotions in check is like expecting a labrador to avoid peanut butter jelly time.

Re: that last point, your kids NEED parent time.  They don’t need a whole lot, but your kids require your undivided attention for a little while at least.  My go-to if I’m tight for time is usually wrestling.  I throw them on the bed or trampoline and go to town on them for a set time.

Ultimately, resorting to violence smacks of a lack of imagination.  Is my child misbehaving?  Should I discover the primary drivers behind this behaviour?  Should I uncover what has truly made my child upset?  Should I perhaps feed him because he is starving?

dad

I’ll just smack him!  

It’s the go-to for stupid people.  I’ve never met intelligent person who believes smacking is the answer.  The people who smack generally want their child to OBEY,  an action with which I am not entirely comfortable.  Obedience opens up a whole ‘nother can of worms, so it will be the subject of future discussion.

This doesn’t mean I don’t discipline my kids!  Kids need boundaries, they need strictness and occasionally severity.  But these are not taught through violence.

 

 

Don’t tease your kids.  

Teasing is the realm of primary school kids.  A tease from a parent is never, ever regarded as a joke by the child.  Name calling or deliberately annoying them in a cruel way destroys self-esteem, which, contrary to what some fuckheads in the manosphere community would have you believe, is as real in a child’s psychology as its sense of family.

If you want a cruel and self-loathing child, please continue with this stupidity.

Once I saw a boy of about 9 or 10 on a swing, with his dad swinging him. The boy screamed with joy.

“WHEEEEEEEE!”

“You squeal like a girl!” his father spat.

The boy shut himself up.  His face became a mask.

The morals taught?  Expression was obviously forbidden, but it was permissible to destroy another’s sense of joy.  Another future dickhead was born in that moment.

 

Don’t do their learning for them.

Most kids naturally have an inordinate sense of patience.  So where do they learn frustration and impatience?  Their parents.

When my son learnt to do his own buttons up, I was tearing up the walls.  I would rather peel my own face off than watch that performance again.

The thing is, I was the only one frustrated. Sitting warmly on my lap, he would find the button, grip it securely, then go to push it through the hole.

And miss. Patiently, slowly, surely, he would again find the button and push through.

And miss.

And again.  And again.  AND AGAIN.

Without a murmur.  His breathing would become measured by degrees, like a meditation master throat breathing.  There was no whinging, no whining.  Just trying.

I, meanwhile, was fighting an losing battle.  My inner dialogue was rapidly retrenching my desire for my son to independently learn.  Each miss sent my chest into spasms, my heart into hammer blows.  I so wanted to show him the way, and get it over with.

I finally got control over myself as my boy proudly showed me his shirt, buttoned beautifully.  His face was calm, beatific.  It had taken him ten minutes.  He didn’t mind.  Only I did.

Kids don’t do things for the end result.  They do things for the doing.  I once saw a one-year-old playing Connect Four.  He was having a lot of trouble putting the coins into the slots.  There was a woman behind him, who, whenever he had difficulty, would slot the coin.

Why on earth would you do that?  Having the coin in the slot is only a sign of success.  It’s not the point of the boy’s exercise.  Remember that next time your child is learning. Children don’t see things as frustrating.  They only want to try things, learn, and wonder.

 

Be in the moment with your kids.

Too often I am merely sitting with my kids.  I am not there.  My mind is elsewhere, daydreaming, reading, on my phone.  I am waiting for My Time (TM).

Being with kids is work.  Hard Work.  They are alive, so full of energy and always totally in the moment.  Playing with them, being with them takes energy, and it is too easy to just be there in body and not in spirit.

That’s too bad, because soon enough it will be gone.  They will grow up. My eldest is five already, and it’s just like every parent says: it goes by so fast.  

Adam Sandler starred in Click, an otherwise forgettable movie.  In it, Sandler finds a magical remote that enables him to play, pause and fast-forward through his life.  His skips all the boring bits, but finds that the remote takes note of his selections, and speeds through other parts that are similar.  In this way he ploughs through life at hyper-sonic speed to his death.

I often feel this way.  Life is the bit lived between work, sleep, meals and parenting.  What is left?  The hour or two a week you spend on your hobbies? No.

All of Life is Life.  Not just the bits you want to enjoy.

If you can live with this in mind, your kids will notice, and respond favourably.

 

“Let me think about that.”

This is one of the most potent and underused tools in a parents arsenal.  You are under no obligation to respond immediately to any request from your kids.  You can take all the time you need to decide whether the request is appropriate or not.

Too many times I’ve reacted instinctively to a request, then later regretted my decision.  The key word here is “react”.  We don’t need to react.  We can take the information on board, actively think about it, then hand down a solid decision.

 

Don’t be a helicopter.  

Hover parents are fucking annoying.  It’s like they have to micro-manage every part of their child’s life.  They make sure nothing untoward happens, that their child is playing appropriately, that their child is bored out of its fucking brain.

They are essentially saying to their child “You are incapable of playing without direct supervision” and “Life is entirely predictable”.

Here’s a tip: stay the fuck away.  Let the little bastards hurt themselves.  Let them eat sand. Let them give Jimmy a Knuckle Happy Meal and feel the consequences of a three-year-old’s burning wrath.

My boys have scars, cuts and bruises you wouldn’t see on grown men.  And guess what?  They are fucking smart, co-ordinated and pumped about life.  Next to nothing scares them.

Many of their friends look like they were pumped out of a factory production line, cookie-cutter kids.  They need mummy’s say-so to try anything new.  They run to dad if they fall over.

That’s all right though.  Our modern world needs plenty of fodder for the future’s factories.  Life is a learning experience, and if you are hovering, you are shitting on your child’s self-education.

 

Be patient.  

A father needs patience more than anything else.  He has a whole family to teach, advise, and protect.  In his realm he needs to be in control.  To lose control is to display weakness and vulnerability to his family.

In extremely specific circumstances losing control is allowable, but 99% of the time it is not. Patience is the ability to remain calm when frustration and anxiety rear their ugly heads.  Patience is not easy. But your children will respect you for it.

Patience is difficult, but it is successfully cultivated through practice.  Become a calm, solid rock for your children.  Be there to listen to them, teach them, and show them the way, and do so in a consistently patient manner.

 

No/low TV time.  

I don’t have a television.  When I mention this, the usual reaction is disbelieving silence.

Then: “What do you do at night?”

My answer is generally “Where do you find the time to watch TV?”

It is amazing that TV is so ubiquitous that to not have one is considered outlandish enough as to be unbelievable.  What is telling, however, is that the next comments after the above dialogue are often excuses about how they try to watch only “good” shows.  Yeah right.

TV hypnotises.  That’s all you need to know.  Look around you next time you’re watching a show.  Everyone looks like they are under anaesthesia.  The jaw is slack, the eyes are glazed, the body is relaxed.

When you are under hypnosis you become incredibly vulnerable to suggestion.  Is that what you want for your children?

In addition TV moralises in often unhealthy ways.  They promote weakness, groupthink, and putting everyone else ahead of yourself.  It tells you what the mob thinks you should find important, and informs you of what should cause you anxiety.

While we don’t have a telly, we do watch shows on the iPad or computer. The best part of this is the lack of ads.  But we still find that the kids want more and more show time.  Shows are great, as every parent knows, because they babysit well.  The kids will be where you left them. But of course the downsides are:

  • TV kids are generally fat
  • TV kids generally have a bad diet
  • TV kids lack imagination, and limit their games to mimic the shows they watch
  • TV kids are more badly behaved and require more parent attention when the TV is not on, because they forget how to play independently

Turn the TV off as often as possible.  The more you do it the easier your kids will find it to play independently.

….

Parenting is a hard task, but it is also problem solving at it’s best.  Working out the reasons behind bad behaviour, and coaching your kids towards being fucking awesome is the best thing I’ve done.  Let me know in the comments what your rules are.  I’m always keen to learn a little more!

Father and Son

The Dos And Don’ts Of Being A Dad – Part 1

Father and Son

 

Being a dad is arguably the most important role in a child’s life after the age of five or six.  This is particularly true if you have boys.  Both boys and girls look to their dads for insight into what it means to be a man and what to look for in a man.  In a psychological sense the father becomes the internal policeman.  If you are a kind, sensitive, yet self-disciplined father, this will reflect in their eventual behaviour.  If you are a cruel, selfish and stupid fuckwit you are sure to see self-destructive behaviour not too far down the track.

What follows is a personal reflection on what a good father should strive for.  Notice I said “strive”.  None of us are perfect, especially not me.  I am prone to breaking almost all these guidelines, particularly when I am tired or hungry.  However I am getting much better as I strive harder, and it reflects in my boys’ behaviour.  When I try harder to be more consistent, more patient and more aware, they too behave better.

 

Opportunity

I want my kids to have awesome opportunities available to them.  But my boys need the skill to see and take advantage of them.  Everyone gets opportunies.  But some of us are too fearful to jump at these chances. Some of us become our own worst enemy, and self-criticise into paralysis.  I’ve been offered many amazing things that I have turned down through fear.  I wouldn’t now, of course.  And I find it hard not to regret it, though I know I was somewhat a victim of my own programs.

It took me at least 10 years of work to get out of my own way, to nullify and replace almost two decades of childhood and adolescent programming.  There was the christian program, the beta-male program, the sexual program.  All were faulty or incomplete for functioning as a happy and satisfied adult male.  All restricted my desire to take opportunity.

As a father I want to show my sons the skills to take life by the throat, rather than live in the shadows.

 

Growth

It’s our job to create an environment for our children’s growth.  A growth environment is varied in its stimulus, and stable in its foundation. Timothy Leary’s Info-Psychology influenced me greatly here.  To grow beyond simple attack/retreat programs, an organism must first feel safe and secure.  A child must be able to go out and explore the world, and then come home to its nest without fear.  I believe this is why we have so many paranoid teenage psychedelic users.  They don’t feel safe after psychonautic exploration; they are scared of parental judgement.

Stability at home means:

  • Consistency – You, as a parent, act in a similar way in similar circumstances. There are not many surprises in terms of discipline, punishment or rewards.
  • Non-judgemental  Regardless of what your child does, you show that you still love them.  You teach that it is their behaviour that is the issue, and that behaviour can be changed.
  • A sense of structure –  The child knows where they belong in the family unit, and have clearly defined responsibilities.
  • Clear boundaries – the child knows what is permitted and what is not, and the boudaries are consistently policed.

 …..

 

My personal guidelines are based on one question: What do I want my kids to be like when they grow up?  In other words, what character traits do I want them to have?  From these end results I have worked backwards to decide on the principles I use.

I know I want them to be

Independent in nature: I don’t want my kids living with me in their twenties.  I want my boys to be paying their own rent, paying their dues, paying their way.  I want them to have a job, no matter how menial, and earn cash for themselves, or to be starting their own business.  I know too many boys in their late twenties living at home, rent-free, not cooking for themselves, not paying their bills. The use of the word “boy” is deliberate.  They are not men, despite their age.  Sure, they might save for a house earlier.  But they are not learning the fundamental skills of being a man.  This home environment stunts development.  Everything is so easy at home. We want to make things more difficult, so we can better handle the REALLY difficult stuff that will arrive soon enough.

Am I the only one that doesn't have mommy and daddy pay for everything?

 

Independent in thought: Being able to go against the crowd is an important trait. It enables one to find what is really important to them, and explore different areas of thought and action.  It allows one to discern when a group is wrong and move to work against them.  GroupThink is insidious, and is becoming more prevalent through FaceBook.  Think you have diverse information coming through that channel?  Think again.  Facebook is a mirror of yourself.  It shows you only what you want to see, again and again, through your use of the “Like” function.  True uniqueness is now incredibly difficult to cultivate.

Non- conformist

 

Considerate of others, but not at the expense of their own well-being. Compassion, sympathy and empathy are all important emotions.  However, some people transform them through personal experience into guilt, and experience them to their own detriment.

I know one girl who was brainwashed at university and felt guilty constantly because of what white people had done to other races.  She loathed the fact she was white, female, and human.  Her consideration for other races and species eventually outbid her means after she gave away all she had, and worked for charities for no money.  Her family is still suffering.

Look after yourself and your own tribe first.  Spend energy on yourself to get where you need to be emotionally and physically.  Only then will you have the power to help others.

 

Respectful to those who deserve respect. Respect is defined as:

1. a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements; and,

2. due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others.

Respect in the first definition is for those who earn it through their actions.  Those who inspire us earn our respect.

In the second definition we treat everyone nicely unless our feelings, wishes or rights are impinged upon, or aggression is warranted.  Due regard for feelings and wishes is not for those who are assholes, special snowflakes, or those who have done nothing in their lives and still feel entitled to special treatment.

 

Self-honesty at all times, and honesty to others when required.  Self-honesty is the only appropriate way through this mess we call life.  Looking at our own lives without vaseline-fogged lenses tells us where we are fucking up, and where we are really succeeding.  True insight is a Castanedian Death-on-our-shoulder, ready to show us reality, the real, horrifying, but honest reality.

Too many people blame others for their position in life.  True men take responsibility for where they are, and take steps to learn and create the life they really want.

In my case I was a true fuck-up.  I did blame my parents for a long time, but in the end I had to be honest and see the one who had to change.  Taking a blazingly hard look at myself, I saw that almost everything had to be remade.  If I wanted to be happy and satisfied I would have to start from the bottom on every scale: charisma, strength, intelligence, wisdom, knowledge, confidence, and all the rest of those awesome words.  Self-honesty showed me this.

Honesty toward others is a tricky one.  We all tell white (and cream, tan and downright shit-brown) lies from time to time.  True honesty at all times is the most energy efficient method, because keeping track of lies is difficult.  But if you want to make it in the world, you HAVE to lie.

Perhaps a better way of putting it is: be discreet.  Put everybody on a need to know basis.  Discretion is one of my core principles.  I would prefer to omit than to lie.

…..

Next week is The Dos and Don’ts of being a Dad – Part 2.  I’ll cover the principles I strive to abide by while raising my kids.

 

 

 

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