Parenting

Men at Forty

Men at forty Learn to close softly The doors to rooms they will not be Coming back to. At rest on a stair landing, They feel it Moving beneath them now like the deck of a ship, Though the swell is gentle. And deep in mirrors They rediscover The face of the boy as he practices tying His father’s tie there in secret. And the face of that father, Still warm with the mystery of lather. They are more fathers… Read more

Two young girls in white sleeveless shirts running on the beach toward the photographer.

Life After Birth?

In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.” “Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?” The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with… Read more

Young man looking into the distance from a rocky cliff

Fathers, Be Good to Your Sons

Many of us look forward to weekends, but more and more I’m saddened by a particular phenomenon. It’s the great number of young men out with their children with no mum in sight. It’s pretty clear that most of these men no longer live with the mother of their children. There would be as many reasons for this as there are couples, but one factor would be the man’s inability to be soft and vulnerable. I’m not one to absolve… Read more

Boy running through a field of flowers toward an urban background dotted with mosque spires

4 Parenting Tips to Live By

Every child is as different as every snowflake, so let’s get it straight from the start. Our job is to get our small self out of the way and let them grow. Children need to be raised to be who they are, in all their uniqueness. If you end up raising three children who are very different from one another, then hats off to you. The first trap is a hard one to avoid. With our first child, we tend… Read more

Suburban streetscape with the neon trail of speeding car lights

On Parenting

I just read a great article by Lori Gottliebabout the perils of raising kids today. Not what you might think — stranger danger and screen dreaming — but rather our lack of perspective and failure (my words) to reflect on our own lives as a context for considering how young people might develop important life skills. What I see is a sociological thing playing out. In raising children, we will often compensate by trying our damnedest to ensure our kids… Read more

Two figures in a studio lit up by the screen display of a grid test pattern

The Beloved Son

I wrote previously about the father-son archetype in therapy, with my views that men need to exorcise their demons and embrace their gods through meaningful conversation with other men. My thoughts on this originated through my ongoing work in a group of men, witnessing how they were affected by other men’s accounts of their relationships to their fathers – as if they were their own – regardless of what their actual relationship to their father was. This is how I… Read more

A single Australian emu walking alongside a barbed wire fence in a field of dry grass

The Empty Nest Syndrome

I’m a man, but don’t let that throw you. I work full-time, write in my spare time, and I’ve raised three strapping young things to the verge of adulthood. I’ve been chief cook and bottle-washer, chauffeur, lawn-mower and friend-keeper. That’s because the mother of my children, my partner of 20-plus years, is a workaholic — in the nicest possible way, of course, saving her part of the world. She has just stopped working at the edge of 60 and has… Read more

The author. The beach at Little Dip Conservation Park.

Where Has All The Magic Gone

I was walking along the beach on a beautiful spring morning in South Australia, feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the magic in the air, the kind that reminds you that you’re part of a great and mysterious universe. Being in my mid-50s, I felt moved to ask myself, “If this was it, if it all ended now, would that be enough? Is there anything left undone?” My youngest child has just turned 18, I’ve had a positive impact on some lives… Read more

Colourful block-long graffiti from the 2009 Brooklyn, New York, Art Under the Bridge Festival

The Gift of the Truculent Teenager

As an educator of teachers and counsellors, I never have to wait long to hear the next sentence that contains an expletive alongside the word “teenager.” Having raised three of my own, I’m not unrealistic about the challenges that they can bring. In addition to the expense it takes to keep them in operation, there are numerous aspects to deal with. We have to get used to the weekend nights out without much idea of what’s going on, when even… Read more

The Father-Son Archetype in Therapy

I was recently asked to deliver professional development to some counsellors and psychotherapists on the topic of “men’s issues.” I left my son’s football game to do so and found a gathering of about 60 people. Perhaps 10 of these were men and all but one or two of them sat on the periphery of the very large room. I started by reading a poem called Rain From Nowhere by Murray Hartin. It speaks of a man with a young… Read more