My Dad is gone but …….

My Dad died in 1996 but I continue to be Happy Anyway because of all that he was to me. You see, he is not gone in my mind. I still turn to him regularly for advice, opinions, guidance and praise.

Any guy can beget a child but it takes lots more to be a Dad.

  • A Dad loves the child unconditionally and allows that love to show all the time.
  • A Dad “plays” with the child in ways that teach great life lessons without needing to nag and pester.
  • A Dad lives and openly demonstrates the values that are important to live by and this is what the child will see and emulate.
  • A Dad will correct and impose age-appropriate discipline so the child learns how to operate in our society in ways that will bring success in whatever the child eventually chooses to do.
  • A Dad will offer age appropriate advice when it is requested (or needed) and then will trust the child to make his/her own decision.
  • A Dad will respect the right and need of the child to make theses decisions as part of the maturing process ( that never stops it seems :-)).
  • A Dad will sometimes say no.
  • A Dad will never stoop to “I told you so”. Rather, a Dad will be there and listen and give advice as and when requested.

A Dad does lots of other things. My Dad did all of these things and much more. I was always amazed that he continued to be “Dad” even as I approached middle age and beyond. What is a wonder is that he remains “Dad” and is there when I need him even though he is no longer with us. I don’t think a guy could ask for more.

Dads, be a strong and loving example to your children. Live your values. Do what you say! Give them the tools and then stand aside.

Live well, love always and laugh out loud every day with you children.

For every fall there is a spring in our step


Every once in a while you come across something that is just right. This is one of those. Dan says it so well that I have just taken his post and copied it here. For more great words of inspiration and wisdom, go visit his blog.



I hope the sun’s rays are delightfully breezing across the soft pigment of your face on this fine Fall day and that you pause — just for a fleeting moment — to reflect on the beauty that is the changing of the guard on our treasured Canadian arbors.

‘Tis a season that smacks of irony; how can something so lovely simply fall to the ground. Ah, but it is life, no? We must fall in order to spring again. How are we to stand tall — like the arbors — if we don’t at times fall?

And that rise — like that of the sun — is powerful. It reminds us not to harbor ill-will or a concentrated chagrin. It encourages us to be tall. For every fall there is a spring in our step. And the sun will once again delightfully breeze across your face.


A tree right outside my front window ... inspired me to write the prose above.A tree right outside my front window … inspired me to write the prose above.

Share your toys – Play nice!

We are becoming more divided and intolerant and we have to do something about it! I read an article today that got me to thinking about the whole issue of decorum and respect for each other. An NDP member of parliament is calling for more decorum in the house of commons, especially during Question Period. You can read the article by clicking this link.

Just as sports stars serve as examples and inspirations to viewers, so too, do our elected representatives in the House of Commons. Not such a bad place to start to change behaviour. Obviously, Members are elected from different parts of the country and different parties with very different views on how to govern. What we need to see is a return to vigorous debate on the differing approaches with respect for Members with an opposing point of view, who after all, were also elected by the people! That is what this Member is advocating. In fact, it is what all the parties and leaders have committed to while running for office. It has not translated to reality.

Those who know me will not be surprised to hear this: “Don’t tell me, show me!” We don’t need to start another round of recriminations about who is worse in behaviour in the House of Commons. Rather, each Member must take the lead. OK, start with the Official Opposition since they are the ones raising it. Just change behaviour! Lift the rest up by example. We have a tendency to lower our behaviour to the lowest common denominator. When we have an influence that lifts us up, we are just as likely to rise up ourselves. Be a lifter. Be what you want others to be. Yes, “do onto others as you would have them do into you!”

We can still have vigorous debate and in the end agree to disagree. The majority of votes will carry the day. Just keep in mind that if you win by diminishing the other side or causing the other side to feel that they were not even heard or respected in any way – you are creating a world where just the biggest and strongest bully wins. And, there is always someone bigger and stronger than you out there. Play nice.

On a personal level, we need to look at our own behaviour. Be an example. When we differ on a subject, let’s be respectful of the other point of view. Let’s always keep in mind that what we once all “knew” has often proven inaccurate over time (the world actually does revolve around the sun; the world is actually round; all matter is made up of molecules and atoms; and so on). Keep minds open. Argue your point of view. If neither of us is going to change views, let’s accept that fact and move on. Play nice.

While we are at it, let’s remember to live well, love always and laugh out loud every day.

What Do YOU Do To Be Happy Anyway?

Quick – what do you do to feel happier when you are having a bad day? How many ideas can you list in just a minute or so?

We all have them. A day when things just don’t work out. Everything you do turns to mud. Someone lost your order. Every road you drive on has construction and delays that make you actually miss meetings! Your dental plan does not cover that but you still need it. You know what I am talking about here. A “bad hair day”! You just feel anything but happy. So, what do you do to get back to feeling happy?

I have notes saying “Be Happy Anyway” placed in strategic spots where I will see them during the day. I change them up on occasion so that my mind’s eye does not just ignore them and not see them. The reason that helps me so much is because I have something else that I can use and the notes remind me to use it if I really need a boost.

Actuall it is 2 things. Two lists to be precise. I have a list that I call my “Feel Good List”. I also have a list that I call my “Joy List”. I’l describe what is on each list and how I use it to return to feeling happy when I need a boost. Then, make your own lists up and use them the same way. It will help.

“Feel Good List”
I actually have a file where I keep notes about successes that I have had and events that made me feel good. It includes testimonials from others, letters of thanks or congratulations, newspaper articles that had an uplifting effect on me, notes of things that made me feel proud (of myself or of a loved one), places I enjoyed visiting (and what it was that I enjoyed), and so on. Feel good things! I can take this out and just look through it for a minute or so and in just that short amount of time I start to feel better. I shift my focus away from the ugly and over to the beautiful.

“Joy List”
This is just a simple list of the things I love to do that make me feel happy. A list of the things that bring me joy. Things that I can actually do. Favourite music to listen to. Walk in the park. Talk to my grand-kids (the Kiddies!).  Go to a play or live show. Work out. Read a book. Plan a meal with my wonderful wife. I think you get the idea. Make a list of things that bring you joy. Include things that are big AND small. Just looking at your list will start the juices flowing. But, make sure that you actually do something on the list so that you can bring back those feelings of happiness on those “bad hair days”.

Live well, love always and laugh out loud every day! 🙂

Learning Life’s Lessons

“Life’s really important lessons are learned only one way – alone and with personal suffering. They are never easy, but, once learned, they are yours forever.”

That is a quote from a book I was reading this past week: Sherlock Holmes, The Hidden Years edited by Michael Kurland. It might seem a strange source for inspiration but after all, inspiration strikes when you are ready. My inspiration here is quite straight forward. This is how we see most of our life’s lessons learned. Through the school of hard knocks. That leads me to wonder what the role is of these sorts of blogs and the whole “self-help” industry.

I was talking to a good friend and lamenting that I could not write a book I had in mind because I could not answer the question: Who will read it? In other words, who would I be writing it for? What audience? She made a few suggestions after asking what the subject was that interested me and I came to a realization that there were two things to keep in mind. First, I had something to say to an audience. Second, I could not control whether the audience I had in mind would ever read it or not. My friend’s admonition was to write it anyway! If the intended audience did not read it now, it may later, or another unintended audience may read it and take inspiration.

Now I come to the opening quote. I think that there are indeed other ways to learn lesson of life. However, the best learned lessons when they are internalized and we apply the lesson to ourselves (and our experiences or beliefs). We learn early not to touch a hot stove element, usually not by direct experience but by someone telling us the danger and we see something burn and apply that to ourselves in our imagination. Don’t touch! However, some lessons are a bit esoteric and the effects are more distant. In those cases, if we can find no way to internalize the ideas, we are condemned to not learn and it is only when we suffer the downside that we “learn” the lesson we heard earlier.

I write these entries even if there is no learning taking place all the time. I know from my own experience, that someone may well be inspired in some way to a positive outcome. That turns my crank. I write them to have as a resource for others in times of need. The lesson appears when the student is ready. However, that lesson can only appear if it is “out there” somewhere to be able to appear.

To be sure, we all learn academically from lessons we read and study. That is how we get on in life. We learn stuff and “believe it  in theory”. When we can actually experience it, we then develop a fundamental knowing!! It is in this knowing that the lesson is yours forever. Read widely, learn lots and find ways to try to apply them to your own life whenever you can. Increase your “knowing”.

A basic knowing is that everything is a transition. No matter how bad, it is a transition. Placed in the perspective of time and the role it plays in our lives, you can be happy anyway. More to come.