Time Out

Our daughter got a mild concussion yesterday at school. Over four years that our kids have been at Trinity College School I think my wife and I always expected that the email from the school that they had our child in the medical centre being assessed for concussion would relate to our son. But no.A pre-breakfast moment of limbo hijinks resulted in Taylor falling and hitting her head on the ground and activating a most impressive protection process by the school medical staff.

When I was a kid an impact to the head and any resulting dizziness or headaches were just a part of life and not given much attention unless seriously debilitating. Times have changed for the better. In large part this is due to the awareness of the cumulative effect of head injuries in sports such as American / Canadian football and rugby. For an excellent insight into the long-term nature of repetitive head injury, I can recommend the film Concussion, starring Will Smith. The protocols that have been established over the years for injuries on-field have been extended to the wider campus, and it is impressive.

Within minutes of this accident, Taylor had been taken to the school medical centre where she completed a Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 3 (SCAT3) test, the result of which indicated she was experiencing 19 of the possible 22 symptoms. With this result, the school immediately instituted their head injury protocol which includes close monitoring in the health centre on day one, and a daily repeat of the SCAT3 test until she is symptom-free. She was also immediately banned from all screens including phone screens, which for a teen meant immediately assigning a friend to keep her Snapchat streaks going. Priorities! When the test results are normal (hopefully soon), the school then institutes its Return to Learn programme with respect to classes and school work missed while on screen restriction. This involves the active participation of the Academic Support Office at the school in a holistic approach to bringing the student back up to academic ‘speed’ after pulling them back 100% to allow the brain to recover from the injury.

Newly Minted Teenager

My house is on lockdown.  My daughter just became a teenager.  Only the latter of these comments is true, but thinking of the years ahead perhaps a lockdown may not be the worst of ideas.  Then again, I think things are probably going to be OK.

Taylor Celebrates

I have been secretly dreading this day, and I think deep down most dads feel the same way.  Turning 13 really is a number that signifies change in a way that no other age does.

Change from the little girl who wanted to dance on your feet at parties into a young lady with a mischievous streak that now takes great joy in tickling my tummy.

Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer

It’s that time of the year, summer time.  The kids have gained freedom from the interminable routine of school and oppressive tests.  Parents are left suddenly adrift without their routine.  The year has its comforting cycle for those of us with kids in the middle to high school years.  The shorter public holiday breaks are mere pauses of the cycle.  The slightly longer breaks at Easter and Christmas fall into time slots that generally have a rhythm and traditional routine of their own.  But summer is different.  It’s a really long break.  How can you use the changed routine of these ‘lazy hazy crazy days of summer’ to your advantage.  Read on.

Boat Kids Summer

It was the great Nat King Cole who in 1963 scored a hit with the song that gives its name to this blog post title.  I love it for the mood that it captures.  Even reading the main chorus and first stanza you can’t help but have a smile on your face as you think of your summer antics.

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, those days of soda and pretzels and beer.  Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer.

Just fill your basket full of sandwiches and weenies, then lock the house up, now you’re set.  And on the beach you’ll see the girls in their bikinis, as cute as ever but they never get em wet.

Its Time To Be Tested

My kids are always a source of inspiration for me in my life and, more specific to this blog, my writing. I have pages in my journal with blog post ideas. However, the best posts always seem to come out of the answers to my question, “Hey kids, what should I write about this week?” This week, as always, the question they suggested surprised me. However, what really got me thinking were their answers. Read on.

Tired schoolboy

“Write about our tests, dad,” was their immediate answer. On my end I’m thinking, really? What could be so interesting about a test? I hated them frankly. I was what you would call, a poor test taker. In hindsight I think that was a guidance counsellor euphemism for ‘David is a lazy procrastinator who waited too late to cram for his exams’. But, enough about me. I had been thrown an idea by the kids. To expand on it I did what I have learned to do when presented with a thought that at first seems unworthy. I asked a few questions.

“So,” I asked. “What is it about tests that you want me to know about?” I got two wonderful gems in reply.

The Value of Higher Education

My grandparents on my mom’s side were what my kids would now refer to as ‘old school’. Joseph and Cynthia Pereira, or Mama and Papa as all the grandkids called them, were strict, but in a kind way of strictness, if that makes any sense. They were also clear of their expectations for all of us, as they had been for their own children. One area that we all received guidance on was constant reminders to get a good education. Today I am sure of the smile that must be on their faces looking down on the family as their youngest granddaughter, my cousin, just completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa.  Their legacy has had a lasting impact.  Read on.

Joseph and Cynthia Pereira - 1937 - Wedding Day

Joseph and Cynthia Pereira – 1937 – Wedding Day

It really is a legacy in the true sense of the word.  This is not a legacy born out of being smarter, or being well off, or having a single minded focus on an educational goal. In fact, most if not all of us were the opposite on those points. Across the family in the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Canada I am sure we are perfectly average in terms of natural gifted smarts.  Some brainiacs, some not so much (that would be me), and many in the middle, probably just like your family. Certainly growing up no one would call any of the family wealthy. And, to the last point, there was not that all-pervasive push for academic excellence that you sometimes read about in books like Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.