Friday, May 25, 2012

Start Paying attention or you'll miss it.....

As I try to carefully listen to my youngest son telling me all about his football game at lunchtime and how someone cheated and then why the ball was in and not out and .......My mind has drifted to the time I once wrote an piece for a conference about communicating in business, it was meant to be all about how we can do it better so I wrote the following :

"If you force people in to accepting the message in the way you communicate, they lose the ability to choose how they  receive the message and therefore lose control of how they want to be communicated to and will therefore lose some /all of the meaning you are trying to convey."

It was certainly a long sentence and quite frankly I should hang my head in shame.What a mouthful. 

Maybe what I was actually trying to say -" Don't control how people receive the message, control their preferences on how they want to be communicated to."

What I should have told the delegates is " No one listens properly". Take a lesson from how you communicate with your kids and go from there.

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So lets do just that. Lets look at how kids listen to their parents.After all who hasn't had the battles with their kids and not listening ?

What on earth makes them continue on well after you have told them clearly to stop ?

Why does the phrase "Stop it you'll hurt someone / knock something over" get ignored until you are pouring litres of soda water on to a red wine stain in the vain hope it could be removed.
In the mean time time your rug now looks like it once held a homicide victim complete with a blood stain from a crime scene on CSI.

Well probably because of a couple of reasons, your kids are a direct reflection of you so if you don't listen to them they probably won't listen to you. Also asking your kids 10 times to do something gives them a good indication that your going to nag them anyway and they have 9 more times to do something after you've asked them the first time.

Ask yourself if you listened when your parents told you not to throw the cat off the garage roof to see if it landed on its feet. Again.

Exactly my point.

But I digress. So how does that apply to us? Same principle.

How frustrating is it explaining something to someone and then someone else says the same as you did and they agree with the other person and tell you they're right ?

Every ones in a rush so they don't listen properly. They all assume by the first few words you say what the rest of the message is going to be. Kinda like speed reading, you read the first few words of the phrases and go from there.

It's frustrating - but deep down we all do it. Hell -  I do it all the time and then have to make a decision based on what I thought I heard after the person (usually The Beloved) says " What do you think?"
And after the first time not listening, I ended shopping for clothes - I learnt my lesson.

Maybe that's all it needs for someone to listen properly, a lesson in what happens when they don't listen.

 I wonder where the cat is..........

image courtesy of

Monday, May 21, 2012

Things just aren't like they used to be and I'm ok with that

As I watch my two sons grow up in the world it has become apparent that not everything is the same as when I was a child. Before you scoff and reach for your keyboards to proclaim "oh derr fred !!" Just be patient.....
Things have changed and are still changing at a great rate of knots I know that, but its not just technology that  the change has been applied to.

There are people whose entire job in life is to make everything you want either ready to go or almost instant.

It's the little things that I have noticed. Such as nowadays you only have to wait 90 secs for your porridge. Not only that it comes in 90 different flavours as apparently the old flavour of oats just doesn't cut it any more. My porridge used to be made in a pot, with whole unprocessed and unflavoured oats and took at least 10 mins.

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Not any more...and it's not like rushing it will make it any better. To get oats to cook quicker they have beaten the life out of them. Therefore point of oats = Lost.

You used to buy the ingredients to make your pasta for dinner. Now you go to the freezer section buy the ready to go pasta meal and the claim is it's ready in 7 minutes. When did it become so onerous that the 14 minutes it takes to cook pasta is too long ?

Try telling a kid that their favourite TV show isn't on again until next week, they will just look at you and ask "Why ? haven't they filmed it yet ?" They just don't understand that the network wants you to wait until next week to watch again.

When the Simpson's first started to appear on commercial TV, you used to eagerly await until the next episode came out and it was then eagerly discussed the next day at school. People used to schedule their activities around these situations. In fact Grandpa on the Go used to tell me that he used to have to go to the cinema to get the next episode of his favourite shows.

But not anymore, everything is available all the time.

They live in a world that is literally instant.

They think that email is old and redundant.

They think instant messaging is pointless. They have gone back to the one thing that everyone has said is redundant - Telephone calls. Now days of course they call each other via Skype or a variant of -  but you get my point. They talk to each other just like we used to.
They also back this up with text but most of the time they are simply chatting as if they are right next to each other.

It used to be that the smartest people on earth really struggled to get jobs and adjust to societal ways, I remember reading about the guy who had the highest IQ in Australia. He couldn't get a job and had trouble associating with others. Nowadays Google gets them a bean chair and anything they want. It's a apparently a job requirement to be not able to get along with others.

Even though all these changes and drive to save time and effort are constantly evolving - I don't mind.
After all I don't actually have to take advantage of these changes. I have discovered that there are safe havens where the lost arts are till practiced. In fact they're encouraged.

So as I tune into the eighties on my radio and make porridge in a pot I remind myself that just because they have made things faster , they haven't made them any better............

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Being Average

When people use the word average to describe somebody or something it tends to be used in a negative way. If you come back from a restaurant and say the food was average everyone you say this to will immediately not go there. This is because with food their expectation is that when they go out to eat that they will be "wow'd" or taken somewhere their taste buds didn't expect. Average just won't cut it.

So how on this green earth did this cross over to our kids ?

Nowadays for some parents if your kid isn't super bright or super stupid you're told or lead to believe that there is something wrong. I'm serious.

Being average is becoming a stigma. But let me tell you - Average people succeed all the time.

Take for example the below list of people you would all know -

Walt Disney - Average student
Henry Ford - Average student
Milton Hershey - Only had a 4th grade education and look at his company Hershey's Chocolate
Mahatma Gandhi - Apparently was thrown out of Medical school because he kept failing.

and who can forget Albert Einstein, who was removed from school because they said he was "slow". It was his mother who insisted that he keep trying different ways of learning.

Why isn't average ok any more ? When did we wake up and say "oops that's not working".

What's worse is parents bragging about how much help their child is getting to stop being average.

I read this (quite lengthy) article forwarded on to me on how to put your child in therapy , so you can see how easy it is to get it wrong just by over doing it.

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But I'm still confused as to how average became bad.

I blame the way we look at the world today, we only look at the top and the bottom not the middle. Only the really great and the really bad are of interest. It's this middle where most of us are and maybe it's because of our new found short span of attention that has led us to believe that the middle just isn't interesting any more.

Try this test on yourself - try remembering the last time you were watching a You Tube Video that went for more than 6 minutes and you watched all the way to the end. (By the way, apparently the average You Tube video is 4 mins 12 secs long)

So to all of us averages - I say congratulations on being the majority, I am an average guy. I'm not super smart and I have an average job and I'm actually really happy with that. In fact, I'm actually very happy in general.

And to those aspiring to be above average - I say to you -  stop it you're just making it harder for yourself, and not only that your going to be constantly unhappy looking for it.

So be happy with what you have and more importantly use it to your advantage.

Now if it's ok with you I'm going to make my self an average cup of tea in an average cup and enjoy the rest of the day.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Don't be so quick to judge

Well here it is - the 100th Dad on the Go Post. What a journey it has been ! Thank you to each and everyone of you as loyal readers and followers readers who have supported and encouraged me. And a huge thank you to The beloved whose constant support and regular beatings feedback, have made this blog what it is today. Anyway enough guff lets get on with it.

an act or instance of judging.
the ability to judge, make a decisionor form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in mattersaffecting action; good sense; discretion: a man of sound judgment.
the forming of an opinion, estimate, notion, or conclusion, as from circumstances presented to the mind: Our judgment as to the cause of his failure must rest on the evidence.
the opinion formed: He regretted his hasty judgment.

One of the harder things to teach your children is not to judge people. It's hard because - well - we do it all the time. It's not hard to do. Look at some one - decide who they - are and what they represent and bang you're done.

In fact we're encouraged to judge people.

Were encouraged by the media to do. They have entire TV shows around it. Look at the Top Model shows, What not To Wear and don't get me started on Masterchef. How they managed to suck the fun out of preparing meals for people beggars belief.

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The tabloids spend all day telling you how guilty people are and how bad they are even before you have time to get to know them over a cup of tea and 2  minutes on Google search. They specialise in ensuring you form judgements in their prepackaged descriptions of events and people.

Sometimes it can even catch up to you later on.

The beloved was painfully reminded very early on about judgement, when the little fella was in kindergarten and one of the other Mums came in and he exclaimed loudly :

"Look mummy , look at that lady, look she's really really fat ! Mummy look !"

So now we keep our comments to ourselves during The Biggest Loser.

I know its so easy to do, take for example the supermarket car park. As you know from this post it's a tough place. So it's very difficult not to scream out judge, when people are searching for a car park completely oblivious to all the cars behind them that are building up into their own car park.

They stop look and wait. Then repeat that 3 or 4 more times, trying to find the perfect park.

And then when they do find a park, in they slowly go. By now you would have completely worked out who they are and what other ills they have brought to the world during their annoying existence.

How quickly you retreat from your judgement, when they finally get out of your way and  two little old ladies exit the car, whose average age resembles an inner suburban postcode.

And what about when you are walking along the footpath, knowing exactly in your mind where you are going and what you are going to do when you get there- when all of a sudden the person in front of you stops right in the middle of a footpath with out checking who is behind or what the impact is.

Snap judgements form instantly in your mind not to mention the annoyance that you now have.

If you want to see how sensitive to judgement we are - try this little experiment. Next time you are walking down the street pick a person coming the other way toward you.

Got em in sight ? Ok - now look at their face and then at another part of them with out any expression on your face.

And now back a their face and hold their gaze.

See how they self consciously check themselves are draw their coat or jacket around their body or check that their hair is fine. It's because they think you are judging them.

So as I try not to yell and keep my patience I also now have to add not judging people as well to the list of this I have to do. After all I can't have the kids screaming at little old ladies in the car park now can I !