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My daughter is about to start her last year in primary school. As a confident 10 year old it is amazing to see how she has developed over the years.

From a baby who was totally dependant on parents for her survival to a young lady who is blossoming with a wonderful spirit and attitude to life. She attends a local private school which I scrimp and save for to give her the best start I could give her in her education. Soon she will be taking exams to see if she get’s into Grammar School or not.

She has just been made headgirl for her last year and this in itself makes me burst with pride over what my little girl has achieved.

As I have always said to her, it’s not about the winning, but it is about WANTING to win. “Go out and give it the best you can” I always say to her.

So last Friday, it was my turn to feel this approach. It was the School Sports day and that can only mean one thing… The PARENTS RACE.

I was sat down watching the kids go through their races, knowing all too soon I would have to make that choice, will I enter the race or sit quietly and watch others do it. I had entered the previous year and had suffered for days after as my legs wondered what the heck had hit them. It had been 24 years since I had sprinted 100 meters and my legs showed their disapproval by refusing to work properly for 4 days after.

Since leaving school (and my last sprint)  I have been a regular gym goer, done kickboxing, achieved blackbelt in Karate, but nothing could have prepared me for the pain of SPRINTING 100 metres.

SO here I am wondering, DO I ENTER this year.

The announcement comes over the tannoy, “WOULD ALL PARENTS WHO WISH TO RACE PLEASE MAKE THEIR WAY TO THE START LINE.” I glance up in the direction of my daughter who is shouting and waving frantically, “GO ON DAD, GO ON DAD” (repeat over and over).

Remembering what I said to her, (it’s not winning but it is WANTING to win) I make my way to the start line.

My pulse is beginning to quicken as I get nervous. The whistle goes, and we’re off. or should I say, all the other dad’s are off. I am running but with little speed from my youth remaining (and I’m sure all the other dad’s are at least 10 years younger than me :)).

I actually did better than I thought, and finished 5th after making up ground in the later stages. My daughter is happy I took part and did the best I could and I am happy as I realise that my legs still work.

Since the race (5 days ago) I spent 4 of those days in agony as my legs keep cramping up and wonder what the heck I am doing at my age.  But was it worth it? YES. Because I wanted to show my daughter how important it is to always do your best and have a go even if you know you can’t win.

Next year is my daughters last sports day in primary school. I have a choice now. Do I enter next years race and feel the pain after or feign injury and allow my legs to live in peace?  Actually I have chosen a 3rd option.

I am going to prepare next year by changing my gym workout and doing some short sharp sprint in advance to prepare my legs. That way I get to make my daughter proud of me whilst ensuring I don’t kick myself in the process (if my legs worked that is).

So keep making the right choices for yourself and those around you in your life and remember to prepare as best you can for whatever is coming your way.

Thanks for reading and please do visit my website www.darrentoms.com for more inspiring and thought provoking stuff

Published this earlier today and then saw this in the Daily Mail Website… http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1292609/Take-easy-sports-day-physiotherapists-warn-parents-half-reveal-theyve-treated-injured-mums-dads.html

Over the winter months walking my dog was pretty much a solitary thing. Not too many people ventured out into the rain and the cold and those that did did so head down and moving too quickly to stop and chat.

Since the spring arrived followed ever so slowly by the warmer weather I notice how busier my dog walking route gets.

Along with warmer weather comes lighter evenings and this in turn brings out the kids and young adults (13 – 17 year olds).

When walking my dog I notice how freely the youth of today use profanities and swear words not even quietly but sometimes at the top of their voice.

I recall one time walking along when a girl aged around 11 – 13 shouts, at the top of her voice, over to her ‘friend’, “Oi, you Fxxxkxxg cxxt”.

I was really taken back by this especially as I was only about 10 feet away when she did it and she knew I was there.

Luckily I stand at 6’1″ tall and so I guess command a certain amount of authority (it also helps I have my trusty German Shepherd dog with me) so I felt comfortable advising her calmly and quietly that this language was NOT acceptable.

She muttered something under her breath but didn’t answer back.  I have seen her since and every time she keeps quiet.

I wonder how long it had had been (if ever) since she was last actively challenged by someone about her behaviour.

Impact of this

I am hoping that maybe the next time she is about to use foul language she may recall that there is a consequence and that someone else may take exception. Future employers would and so would the police.

I have done the same thing a number of times both with language and once stopping a fight with some local boys. I now always stop and have a chat with the boy (15) who was about to get beaten up.

I am aware that I am confident, I hold a black belt in Karate, I am tall and most of all I have my German Shepherd with me, but it is important that if you notice a behaviour or activity [in the environment you live in] and you don’t like this then you have a choice. What are you going to do about it?

You could take direct action but ONLY if your own safety is not at threat, you could call the police, you could even move to an environment that is better for you. There is ALWAYS a choice.

I hope that my actions with the kids in my area which are polite yet firm, listening yet not always accepting will plant the seed of good and give them the opportunity to believe they can be good regardless of peer pressure.

So what can YOU do about situations you don’t like? It could be home, it could be work, it could be the kids, your siblings in fact it could be any situation.

You can decide to do something about a situation you don’t like or you can moan about it.

Either way you are part of the solution or APART from the solution.

Keep making the right choices for yourself and those around you.

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