Home Everyday Life Small efforts can make all the difference

Small efforts can make all the difference

by admin

Most days can go either way in my house. There is no real grey area. Either I’m happy and so are the kids when we all wake up. Dancing around the kitchen, singing and laughing our way through the morning like a mini modern day version on the Von Trapp family. Or it closely resembles the beginning of armegeddon. Screaming, yelling, provocation, threats and dragging out the door to school in tears.

Yesterday was the former. Thank God. And a Friday to boot!

Without the torment of a chaotic morning hanging over my head, I was free to ponder such profound issues as surf conditions and appropriate beaches in a northerly breeze.

Before I go on, I can hear you all telling me to “fuck off” from here, and I just want you to know that I’m ok with that 🙂

En route to the beach for my twice weekly surf / me time / escape while both the little people are at school, I received a call from my cousin.

Now this is a cousin that I see a handful of times a year, and unless there has been some monumental family calamity or achievement, I would not expect a phone call from her.

My spider senses were on full alert as I answered the phone.

I was, however, more than pleasantly surprised.

You see, what she was calling about was no calamity nor celebratory. Events that had unfolded in her life over the preceding days had led her to a morning thinking about my beautiful wife Renee and some experiences they had shared together.

And she rang just to let me know this. Just. To. Let. Me. Know!

The effect it had on me was both unexpected and amazing. I finished the call by telling her, in all honesty, that she had made my day.

I don’t think I have ever received a phone call when there hasn’t been a purpose or desired outcome from said conversation.

Such a simple thing. To have someone ring just to let me know that they had been thinking of Renee, of me. Mind blown! Heart filled with gratitude!

And it made me realise how infrequently I pick up the phone to check in with friends. Too often (actually pretty much exclusively) the only time I’ll ring somebody is if I need something. An answer, information, whatever. Bad friend indeed.

So I want to consciously change this behaviour, but I’m the first to admit it is really quite daunting. I know it shouldn’t be, but I’d wager that most of you (guys) would feel the same. Drumming up conversation for conversation’s sake is not something that comes easy to alot of folks; in particular us blokes. Unless there’s beer involved of course.

So..

I have an alternative, and I think it would be more appealing to men than calling a mate for a chat.

Every day or two, send a message to a friend you haven’t heard from in a while, or someone you know is having a rough trot. No need to go all Freudian and ask them how they feel about their mother. Just say gday and ask how things are. Simple!

If the recipient has anything they would like to offload or talk about, I guarantee that they will be more forthcoming via text than if you cornered them on the street and asked a series of probing questions with an accompanying pitiful look on your face.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last 10 years, you will have noticed how eloquent and free with opinion and stories people are when they type words rather than speak them (eg me!). It gives people a chance to consider their thoughts, revise and structure accordingly before committing with a click of the send button.

This form of communication, I have found from personal experience, is very empowering. Firstly, you have the choice to respond immediately, later, or not at all. Secondly, it allows you time to gather your thoughts and decide whether to end the conversation with your reply, leave it open ended or promote further discussion. Thirdly, the very nature of texting / messaging is succinct and direct, which alleviates the fear of fumbling for words, over explanation or simply saying the wrong thing.

It is the last point I make, however, that I think is the most important in making this a great way of reaching out:

You are tucked safely away behind your screen.

Think about it:
Non-confrontational
No pressure
Not time or location bound

Some of the things that make talking face to face about serious things, like emotions, fears, worries, etc, uncomfortable for alot of guys.

I can attest to this. Some of my most heart felt responses to questions over my mental health have been penned days later, while taking a dump. Or lying on the couch in my boxers, neck deep into a block of chocolate. Or even while I’m driving the kids to school while simultaneously yelling at them (who said guys can’t multi task). And all of them I would not have voiced in person.

The freedom to respond when, where and how you like can make all the difference to whether you respond at all.

So give it a whirl, shoot someone a message. Don’t expect a response and don’t badger for one. I can tell you now that sometimes all it takes is a message of connection, of concern, of thoughtfulness, to change a potentially shit day into a good one.

You just might make someone’s day like my cousin made mine. 😊

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20 comments

Rhonda Daly August 13, 2017 - 9:36 am

Was just wondering why you are a single dad with full responsibility of your children? I’m new to this site. I was married for 18 years and ended badly ( long story) I chose it for my children. Living in a broken home is worse than living on our own. Father left and has not seen his girls for 5 years. They were 17, 15 and 10 at the time. He was a great dad yet when marriage ended he chose a woman with 4 kids from 3 different fathers who was also a ex drug addict ! I will never trust again and to this day I’m gob smacked!

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Just A Dad August 13, 2017 - 9:57 am

Hi Rhonda. That is truly a heartbreaking journey you have been through. I can totally understand why trust would be hard for you anymore.

Me, I lost my wife to cancer 2 years ago, when our kids were 2 and 6.

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Rhonda Daly August 13, 2017 - 10:06 am

Just A Dad ohh dear that is so sad . I know this may sound bad , however you had someone who loved you and i bet you loved her back. You are doing a great job . So sorry for your loss❤️ . Only wish i had someone like that that cared and loved his kids. My eldest is 22 now and building house with her partner. My middle one is 20 and lives with her partner in Sydney . My youngest turns 16 this year in year 10. Im so proud of my girls they are so kind and loving .

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Just A Dad August 13, 2017 - 10:10 am

It doesn’t sound bad and I agree 100%. I have many friends in broken partnerships with children involved and that is exactly what I tell them – I never had to question our love or commitment.

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Rhonda Daly August 13, 2017 - 10:11 am

Just A Dad thats nice. I wish you all the best and think you are doing a great job 👍

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Rhonda Daly August 13, 2017 - 10:17 am

Im a Nurse now. Went back to school. Must admit friends tell me im a clean freak and stay home every weekend, however after working all week i enjoy my home time. I get sick of people saying get out there and meet someone. I am the sort of person that says if it is meant to be it will just happen. I will never go out and look or go on dating sites. If im alone forever then that is what it is

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Just A Dad August 13, 2017 - 10:22 am

Must admit I would rather life happens organically than forcing situations

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Rhonda Daly August 13, 2017 - 10:23 am

Yeah there are no words what you have been through .

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Rhonda Daly August 13, 2017 - 10:29 am

Where do you live? Do you have your parents or relatives to help with support? Without that it would be hard .

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Rhonda Daly August 13, 2017 - 10:30 am

Im not trying to be rude. Just the state you live in as of course private

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Just A Dad August 13, 2017 - 10:34 am

That’s ok. I have great family and friends who provide support when needed. Thanks for asking 🙂

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Rhonda Daly August 13, 2017 - 10:35 am

Thats good👍

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Ames Ross August 13, 2017 - 10:05 am

Strong Dads=children with strength to boot.

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Just A Dad August 13, 2017 - 10:06 am

I hope so Ames!

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Jill Martin August 13, 2017 - 10:21 am

Yes …so important to trust your intuition and to make a contact with someone when your ‘gut ‘ brings them to mind. Try not to ignore your inner voice!
Spot on , JAD.

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Just A Dad August 13, 2017 - 10:23 am

Intuition / heart space is where its at – thanks Mum!

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Teeks Pietsch August 13, 2017 - 10:59 am

Well written! Thanks for sharing x

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Alex Ryan August 13, 2017 - 6:25 pm

What great cousins! Thanks for the reminder of picking up the phone!

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Melissa Hobbs August 13, 2017 - 7:10 pm

Love this post ☀️

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Tori Martin August 13, 2017 - 10:40 pm

Love this! I love how raw and honest you are. It’s never occurred to me as to why I prefer to text than talk, so true!!!

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