Posts

National We Day

Sometimes Inspiration Hits When You Need It Most

Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend my third We Day event. I went into this We Day thinking that I had seen all there is to see when it came to the Free The Children event, and I left with something I hadn’t realized I needed. Personal inspiration.

Life has been busy lately. With family, a full time job, part time job and a blog to look after, I had started to feel overwhelmed on an almost daily basis. In essence, my time had become small units of monetary value and I was having trouble seeing it any other way. Family was still number 1, always, but every other aspect of my life was suffering and I was too busy to notice it.

Enter, We Day. This was by far the largest We Day I had been too, almost quadrupling last year’s Ottawa attendance. As I sat and listened to speaker after speaker share their stories as the 16,000 children in attendance screamed and flashed their strobe-like wristbands, I was transported back to the place I was in a year ago. That place was one of kindness and love, where the prevailing thought on my mind was making sure I left the world a better place than I entered it.

I got to hang out with my inspiring friend and We Day speaker, Hannah Alper. I met another amazing youth in Vishal Vijay and had the chance to speak to two amazing local girls from Huntley Centennial Public School, named Isabelle Poulin and Chelsea Wilken, who were all doing their part to create a positive change in our day to day lives. Listening to these children speak and share why kindness was important to them, reminded me of what was important to me.

When I got home that day, I immediately re-launched Kindness Canada, as it had been on the back burner, and started re-organizing my life. I realized that I still have time to do all the work that I was doing, but I plan on doing it smarter so that I have more time to focus on the things that are most important to me. Those things are my family, my health and my commitment to making the world a better place, one smile at a time. I guess this sounds cheesy but it’s how I feel, so I’m not sure how else to word it.

The We Day movement is something that I knew nothing about a year ago, and yet I have no idea where I would be without it. Everyone from the founders to the PR team and speakers are all amazing people and it just reinforces the benefit of building a strong community. I realize that the event was created to inspire children to change the world, but it has changed my world, multiple times over. Please do yourself a favour and check out the Free The Children website and the videos within it. They will change you in a very good way. Also, keep an eye out for Hannah and Spencer West as they embark on the We Create Change Tour, which started this week.

Here are some shots from the National We Day event I just attended. It’s not the same as being there but it’s still pretty cool!

We Day Speakers, Isabelle Poulin & Chelsea Wilken

We Day Speakers, Isabelle Poulin & Chelsea Wilken

Simple Plan frontman, Pierre Bouvier, rocks the We Day stage

Simple Plan frontman, Pierre Bouvier, rocks the We Day stage

 

Hannah Alper and Vishal Vijay give their powerful presentations.

Hannah Alper and Vishal Vijay give their powerful presentations.

Power In Numbers

Power In Numbers

 

 

 

Mr Zucchini Health Canada

Meet Mr. Zucchini!

I’d like you to meet, Mr. Zucchini! Mr. Zucchini was created by Health Canada as a way to talk to kids about eating well and also providing tips to parents on how to plan for a healthier lifestyle. I think this kind of creation is a perfect way to get children more engaged in the food choices they are making. To further prove that point, when I showed the above video to my kids, who are 3 & 5, they laughed hysterically and made me play it over and over again until I eventually just showed them how to do it themselves. Here’s hoping more of Mr. Zucchini will lead to them wanting to try some different foods!

For more information about this campaign, you can visit Health Canada’s Website!

I was compensated for my participation in this program.

Bridget Rose

Capturing A Child’s True Beauty

It’s no secret that I spend a lot of time on the internet, as bloggers do. Because of that, I sometimes feel like I have seen everything the internet has to offer. Yesterday, however, I was reminded that there are still amazing things happening that deserve to be talked about and I want to share one of those with you today.

A friend shared a link to an online magazine yesterday (linked above) and mentioned that it was a powerful read. It took me about a half a page before that stinging feeling started and I was wiping tears away. By the time I got to the end, I had already typed out an email to the creator of the magazine to ask if I could share it with all of you. The magazine, entitled “Kids – All About Love”, mostly features photographs and stories of children who are battling some form of illness. The pictures are incredibly done, really bringing out the personality in all the children, and the stories are so well written that I felt invested in all of them from the opening paragraphs.

The creator’s name is Lisa Kelly and she runs a website called, Salt and Light Studio. I was so touched by the stories that I arranged a phone interview with Lisa that day to talk about them and her inspiration for them. I love and agree with Lisa when she says that “Our life stories are a gift we give to the world“. I hope these stories move you the way they have moved me and please feel free to share them if you see fit. We need more stories of love in the world and these kids have helped me remember that we need to make the most of every second on this planet!

You can find more of Lisa’s work on her website, Salt and Light Studio, or on her Facebook Page.

Seat 19D

To The Woman In Seat 19D

I’m not sure you realize the magnitude of your actions. You see, we were all very excited for our first real family vacation. We were off to Disney World, every child (and parent’s) dream trip. Things didn’t go exactly as planned. In fact, things went the exact opposite of anything I could have ever planned. 

Our first flight was cancelled at 9pm on the eve of the trip, long after the kids had gone to bed with dreams of mouse ears in their heads. My wife and I struggled with the notion of how to tell them the trip would have to wait another day. Luckily, we managed to get another flight out of town very early in the morning.

The kids woke this morning with an excitement I have never seen and may never see again. “DISNEY, DISNEY!!” they shouted as they doled out thousands of pirouetting hugs. This, is the reason we get into this game called parenting. Those smiles, that love of the magical unknown. 

It only took five minutes after we arrived at the airport to be told that our flights were overbooked and we were getting bumped. I pointed to the kids and muttered, “but, Disney”, to the woman, who shrugged and apologized. We avoided disappointment the first time but it seemed inevitable at this point. Then out of nowhere, another agent called us over with good news. A NEW flight for us to try our luck with. Relief. 

We got on the plane and hit our connecting city. Success! One flight to go until the magic begins and nothing could go wrong. I excitedly printed the boarding passes to our final destination and noticed that we were all spread out in different seats. No problem, the airline will help us out, right? Wrong. The airline said that I would have to figure it out on my own which meant that I had to grovel with passengers, who were probably as exhausted as I was, to see if they would switch with me. It was more uncomfortable than anything I have ever done in my life. 

That’s where you come in. I had a 1 in 4 shot at finding a match and I was 0 for 3. I’m not going to lie, even though I understand that nobody owed me anything, I was baffled at how the others could stare at my crying child, who was petrified to sit alone, and not bat an eye as they rejected my offer. But not you. I could tell that you booked your aisle seat on purpose and I know that you really didn’t want to move but you did it anyway, without hesitation. I just hope you can understand how agonizing it was for me to have to ask you to take my middle seat and also how deeply I appreciate your act of kindness. 

I have nothing to offer you except words and a wish for all the best things that life can throw your way. You made a disastrous day a million times better and I will never forget that for as long as I live. You are an amazing human being and my whole family thanks you from the bottom of our hearts. If you read this and want some Mickey Mouse ears, please email me, as it’s the least I can do!

We Day Is Coming To Ottawa!

National We Day

When I was asked to attend the launch for National We Day, I really had no idea what to expect. If I’m being honest, I hadn’t really heard of We Day or the Free The Children organization but I was interested in finding out more, so I visited their official website and started to watch some of their videos. It only took about three videos before I began to swell up with emotion and inspiration and realized that this was an event that was going to change my life.

At the launch, I was lucky enough to meet Free the Children co-founder Craig Kielburger. In hearing his passion for what they are trying to accomplish, it was clear why this event has grown into the huge success that it is. Listening to the children speak about how this experience has changed them was especially moving and their passion to make the world a better place may or may not have caused a joyful tear or two.

One of the best parts of We Day is that you can’t buy a ticket. You have to earn your ticket through action. 1 Global and 1 Local action, to be exact. You can visit their Take Action page for more info on registering and volunteering.

So, I’m all in. How about you? I can’t think of anything better to do with my time than to teach our children how to be good to each other as we raise a new generation of young adults. I’ve included the list of speakers/performers for National We Day on April 29th, followed by the video that got me all choked up and inspired me to be a part of this movement. I hope you will take a few minutes to check out the website to see how you can take part and make a difference.

Martin Sheen – Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winning actor and activist
Chief Shawn Atleo – National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations
Kardinal Offishall – Canadian rapper and record producer
Karl Wolf – International recording artist, Socan& MTV Europe Music Award winner
Shawn Desman – Platinum-selling, JUNO and MMVA Award-winning recording artist
Cast members from the hit TV show DEGRASSI
My Name is Kay – Canadian singer and songwriter
A performance by ONE DROP, a Cirque du Soleil Founder’s initiative
Frank O’Dea – Second Cup founder, Canadian entrepreneur, humanitarian and author
Neverest – Canadian pop-rock band
Jillian Vanstone – principal dancer at the National Ballet of Canada
Rob Stewart – Award winning filmmaker of Sharkwater and Revolution
Tyler Shaw – 2012 Coca Cola COVERS MuchMusic Video Award winner
Molly Burke – Visually impaired Me to We motivational speaker
Spencer West – Me to We motivational speaker and Free The Children ambassador

Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have and I’ll do my best to find the answers for you. I really think this is going to affect a lot of people in a great way and I’m so happy that it is coming to the Ottawa area.

Could I look more awkward?? Still, awesome!

Could I look more awkward?? Still, awesome!

There Is No Greater Love Than The Love Of A Sibling

I’m not sure if it’s a normal thing among siblings at a young age, but the love my children show for each other can be emotionally overwhelming for me, at times. In thinking back to my childhood with my brother, there weren’t too many moments I can remember that didn’t involve something sharp and dangerous being hurled at one of us, while the other ran for their life.

With my children being only 2 & 4 years old respectively, I can’t possibly expect them to fully understand the value of loving and respecting others. Especially given the fact that they live in a house that doubles as a home daycare and have to watch all their worldly possessions get played with by other children, 5 days out of each week.

Yet, they have transitioned seamlessly and I dare say that this is one of the main reasons they have grown so close in such a short time span. My son, the older of the two, is constantly checking in on his little sister to make sure her needs are being met. When she cries, he almost always runs over to rub her back and ask if she’s okay, which usually causes me to pause in amazement at his brotherly awareness.

Sure, they have some battles too but the majority of their interactions are positive ones. To watch my daughter come down stairs in the morning and immediately head to the couch my son is sitting on, so they can cuddle, absolutely melts this Dad’s heart. I see it in a lot of their daily interactions and I smile each and every time something happens.

I don’t know the exact science behind it and I am absolutely not complaining. My wife, who is with them almost 24 hours a day, is clearly doing an excellent job of teaching them the importance of loving and treating each other with respect. I am eternally grateful for her decision to quit her job in order to stay home and raise our children. I don’t know if you have ever worked in a daycare setting, but it is not for everybody (me) and might be one of the toughest jobs out there.

This probably comes off as a sappy Dad post and may even seem like I am bragging about it. I can assure you that it is simply done out of pride. Maybe this is just how all young siblings behave and I am in for a very rude awakening, very soon. Even if they forget it somewhere down the line, I will always have these memories to look back on and to share with them. In the meantime, I will continue beaming with pride every time they find their way into each other’s arms.

Cheers!

The Smile That Stopped The World

It’s no secret that as our children get older, they need us less and less. I’ve already begun to see the signs of this with my 4 year old son as he sets out on his path to independence. He recently started his first “no parents allowed” swimming class and it is devastating and exciting all at once.

For some reason, even though I’d been through this with my boy, I thought that my little girl would be, well, my little girl, forever. Every day that passes I see her learning more and gaining the ability to do the little things that Daddy used to help with.

She can do up her own seatbelt in the wagon now, Daddy used to help with that. She doesn’t need Daddy to help her much at the park any more because as she says “No, I Can Do It!”. She doesn’t even need me to help her down the stairs any more, even though I still stand there, hovering over her, sometimes even hoping she’ll slip up a bit so Daddy can catch her.

That sounds harsh and it’s not that I want her to get hurt, it’s just that I want to show her that I am still useful. I want her to need me as much as I need her to need me. I know there’s a next stage of her life, where she’ll need me for a lot of other things, like riding a bike or eating an ice cream cone but I’m just not ready to go there yet.

There’s something about the sincere joy in her eyes when she sees me come in the door from work, that makes my heart ache for the day when I walk in and she just nods and carries on with her day. I dread the day when her excited screams of “Daddy, Daddy!” change to a “What’s Up?” as I enter the room.

She doesn’t know it but she has the ability to stop my world on a dime with a simple unforced cuddle. With a smile, she takes away all my worries and troubles, even if just for a split second, which is long enough.

I’m not sure what brought this on tonight. Whether it was the terrible things happening in the world right now or the realization that kids get older and need us less; or maybe a combination of both.

There is one thing I do know though.

I danced with my little girl this afternoon and as I twirled her around in my arms, in that moment, we were both completely and utterly happy. Most likely for different reasons but happy all the same.

I realized today that it’s okay for my kids to get older and it’s okay for me to be scared about that. What really matters is that I take a moment every now and then to stop and truly appreciate everything I have in them.

There’s no way of knowing what’s in store for them, so all we can do is show them that we are here for them when they need us. To give them all the love that a parent possibly can and hope that someday they are able to share that love with a family of their own.

Kids may grow up and need us less but until that happens I am going to continue to enjoy the moments that bring my world to a stand still.

Cheers!