So we (Victorians) have just stopped using single-use plastic bags in supermarkets and we are feeling very good about ourselves. But this is just a drop in the ocean in our plastics use. Research shows that over 800 million – yes million – pieces of plastic enter Pt Phillip Bay from just its two main rivers each year. Research shows that plastics have infiltrated every ocean, every water supply and many food products. Films such as ‘Blue Planet’ and ‘The Plastic Ocean’ and TV series such as ‘The War on Waste’ show how badly our environment has been and is being damaged by our uncontrolled use of plastic. How can we address this environmental disaster?Read More »
Liberals (including me) hate Trump. We look at what he says, his fallacies, inconsistencies, morals, the people he chooses, the processes he uses. But liberals fail to look at his amazingly successful achievements – what he does. He is on his way to being one of the most successful, influential US Presidents of all time, rather in the way that Reagan influenced world economics and politics for over 20 years.Read More »
As #MeToo rumbles through society and radicalism infects disaffected young men, it seems clear that, while women are asserting themselves, many men are feeling increasingly emasculated. The old make roles of family breadwinner, provider of strength and protection, being unemotional, putting up with/sacrificing one’s life for the family are going or gone. #MeToo is a reaction to unequal power – physical power, sexual power, aggression. Men have more of these.
As horizons expand for women, they are seen to be contracting for men. Why will men accept equality, when men want to be aggressive, have the power to be aggressive? If we want social equality, how can we breed out, train out or control these innate male characteristics? What role does a man have when a woman is better educated, can earn as much, can hire strength, buy protection and live alone – with or without children, with or without a man, let alone a husband?Read More »
I love wine. But I am influenced by expert ratings and gold stars on the bottle – I can’t taste every wine before I drink it! Over time, I’ve felt that the number of wines receiving high ratings and gold stars has increased significantly – when was the last time you say a wine rated below 90? A bit of numerical analysis supports this: either wines are highly over-rated…or Australia has the best wines in the world.Read More »
Respected thinker Clive Hamilton’s new book, ‘The Silent Invasion: China’s Influence in Australia’, is very scary essential reading. This book’s deep research opened my eyes to China, especially now that Xi is President for life. It’s essential reading because it exposes so much that has long term impacts. If we don’t recognise these factors soon, it may be too late.Read More »
Many songs, books, films and plays are about love. Our society values the importance of ‘love’ in a relationship. You must love him/her. But maybe ‘living’ with someone is more important than ‘loving’, in sustaining a relationship. If ‘living and loving aren’t compatible, which should you choose?Read More »
Recently I’ve heard several speakers talking about the horrors of taking children away from their natural parents and how the children’s lives have been significantly hampered by this significant event in their lives. These stories – while heart-rending – ignore the reasons why the children were removed and ignore the stories of some of these children who have gone on to successful lives. A more balanced perspective and focus on outcomes would help us decide how to best support children, from all backgrounds.Read More »
I love competitive sport. I’ve been to three Olympic Games and religiously watched them all whenever I could, until recently. With these Pyeongchang Olympics, I found myself completely disengaged, even more so than the Rio Games. Reflecting, I think the Olympics have had their time and should be nicely retired. Here’s why.Read More »
So how does an MP who has not held a cabinet post, was not the Deputy Leader of his party and was not the best performed MP in his party, become not only Leader of his party – the Nationals – today, but also…wait for it you international readers… Deputy Prime Minister of Australia???Read More »
After being a grandparent for 3 years, I’ve forgotten the scepticism and caution I had about becoming one. I’m not great with young children – I like older ones and adults. And I found the gushing gooeyness of grandparents impossible to believe. ‘Oh you’ll love it. It’s the best job in the world,’ they said. ‘We love our grandchildren…’ and then they ran off to show pictures or recount stories of little Zac or Tayla. Yuk, I thought. That’s definitely not me.
Four years and three grandchildren later, I realise new about-to-be grandparents are asking me what it’s like, as if I have some wisdom. Reflecting, I realised I’ve changed my views and become one of them! So here are my ‘rules’ for successful grandparenting.
- Believe what other grandparents say
Yes, you will – probably – love it, even you rational, non-child-loving men like me.
- Say ‘yes’ to their parents at all times
Now you’ve been a parent for many years and you know about raising children. But DON’T SAY ANYTHING CRITICAL OF THE PARENTS’ PARENTING. I guarantee there’s lots you won’t like…but they are the parents now, not you. They believe they have all the knowledge and you are out of touch, old-fashioned or, worse, they think you were a bad parent. If you want to be successful – which means having access to the grandchildren – say ‘yes’ to everything either parent says.
- Supply parents with food
This is odd. Often a parent is at home…but if you bring food when you visit, it is almost always appreciated. Somehow new young parents now seem unable to look after a child and also make a meal for them…and you. Food wins friends…and access.
- Offer frequently to mind the children
To start with, your offers won’t be accepted. The parents are afraid you’ll kill the child by dropping it, feeding it poison (like icecream), letting the dog eat it. But at some point they will get desperate enough to accept your offer, so they can go out. The earlier this happens the better, so the grandchildren get used to you (and used to some other style of parenting) and smile when you arrive, instead of screaming ‘Mum, Mum!’ when you approach.
- Have them at your house, not theirs
This sounds odd. But having them at your house has many advantages. You will be comfortable, you set the rules, you know where everything is. When the child goes to sleep (they all sleep), you can use the time for your own activities – fixing, baking, reading, household chores – that can’t be done at their house.
- Don’t buy ANY toys
You’ll discover immediately a grandchild arrives that materialism begins at birth. Babies – and all young children – are inundated with toys. If you are desperate for your own set of toys for your house, pick up freebies on the kerbside, as children outlive toys rapidly. And guess what? Young children like playing with plastic bowls, scrunching and cutting old paper, playing in the garden, cooking, washing up, vacuuming, playing with water. Get the picture? Everyday chores are fun for children, especially if you involve them! New toys are totally unnecessary.
- Get on the floor to play with them
Get down to their level…which is the floor to start with. That makes you their size. Play their games (pouring water, washing up, cooking, making drinks, dancing), use your imagination to create stories out of your head (yes, you can do this!) and you’ll have friends for life. Leave them to play alone…and you’ll be forgotten as soon as they can get away.
- Talk in a normal, happy voice
You don’t need to revert to ga-ga language. Be enthusiastic about whatever they are doing (but say ‘no’ to set the rules). The more normally you talk, the easier it is for you and the quicker they learn real language and words.
- Treat girls and boys the same
You’ll be amazed at the sexism inherent in your behaviour to start with. Dolls houses, guns, cars, pink/blue, clothes, attitudes to aggression. Offer all choices to both sexes and see what takes their fancy. You’ll then discover their individual differences, not just girl/boy differences (I have a girl who wants to play Aussie rules and a boy who hates to play with balls…).
- DON’T turn on the TV
You’ll be very tempted to turn on the TV, as your creative and physical energy runs out. DON’T! Read a book, turn on music, sit quietly, play a new game. TV dulls their senses (and yours). Once upon a time, there was no TV. Try going back to the past.
- Devote yourself to them for the time and enjoy it!
They are the main attraction for you right now. Plan to enjoy it…and you will…mostly. If you wish you were doing something else, you’ll resent the time and they will pick that up.
In truth, I don’t ‘love’ it like most grandmothers and many grandfathers, but it is special time for them and for me. It only lasts a few years, then they are gone into the school institutionalisation processes. There’s lots of time for adult pleasures in your life. Give yourself another perspective. They say 0-6 years is key for child development. Help a young child to have a good base for their life’s development. You will love it!