His growth as a player took a back seat to my need to win
I learned chess as a youngster. I found the order and strategy compelling. So I was more than happy to teach my sons how to play. There is a rhythm and motion to the game: looking ahead, planning your moves, setting up your opponent for a masterful maneuver—there is something about that.
My boys have progressed to the point . . .
A story by youngest, as told to Dad
"Hey," I told youngest, aged 6 at the time, "we haven't written a story in a while."
"I know," he replied.
"Do you want to?"
"Aw, come on—it'll be fun. I'll write the first paragraph and you can finish."
"Okay," he mumbled, humouring me.
"Alright, let's do this!" I said, and began the story:
One day, there was a big . . .
Posted in: kid stories
To boldly go where no bear has gone before
The following is an entry from Captain Ribbon Bear's log.
Captain's Log, Stardate 2016.10.06.We arrived in orbit of the planet JS-4, finding a pre-warp civilization thriving on the southern continent.
"Honey Bear, Chester, Jujube—you're with me," I commanded. "We'll form a landing party and investigate the temporal disturbance on . . .
Mrs. Sdao understood our personalities and what made us tick
After my eldest son headed off to his first day of Grade 4 and a new year of scholastic adventure, my thoughts transported me to a brisk Ottawa evening in April, 2014. Winter had mercifully loosened its grip to an anemic spring, but a chilly wind lingered as I walked toward my Class of 1983 Grade 4 reunion.
The gathering was held at a posh . . .
Posted in: school
A great day ended on a disappointing note
In August, you, my eldest, turned nine. It is amazing how quickly time has passed. You are growing up to be a fine person. You are persistent, stubborn, happy, thoughtful, emotional, intelligent, athletic; more of a leader than I ever was at that age. You are courageous. You are my son.
Morning of your birthday. You wake up . . .
Posted in: emotions
By attending to our messy feelings, we found room for empathy
This essay originally appeared in The Globe and Mail on June 15, 2016.
I had never let my children see me cry before. I had this tough-guy notion it would make me look weak. But one morning, messy emotion got the best of me.
My eldest son was not feeling well. Although ill, he was looking forward to spending a day with me at home. . . .
Little brother wants to be a big brother
"Fuzzy," S asked, "do you have any gē-gē's or dì-dì's?"
"I don't know," Fuzzy Bunny answered. "What's a gē-gē and a dì-dì?"
"A gē-gē," S said, "is how you say big brother in Mandarin. A dì-dì is how you say little brother."
"Oh!" Fuzzy said. "Well I have one gē-gē and one dì-dì."
"What . . .