Mom and Dad, if you’re reading this, it wasn’t me.
Kids, if you’re reading this, it was me.
I was no angel growing up. In University we had Submarine races (the Engineering Department were often the instigators) where we’d line up in two rows and one by one we had to down the glass of beer, turn the cup upside down on our heads and then it was the next person’s turn. In High School, we sat on the floor a few feet away and played caps. That meant tossing a beer cap into the other person’s glass and they in turn had to chug that beer. There were no designated drivers in those days, if we had a house party, it was within walking distance from our home or we just crashed at our friend’s house. We didn’t know anyone who lived past one or two High Schools further from ours, so traveling across the city to find a party just wasn’t an option.
We had one phone that was attached to a cord on the wall of the house and if someone was on it, you had to wait. No group texts, no cell phone calls, no computers, very few cars (usually clunkers worth less than $500 or they were our parents’ old car.. and I mean old), and definitely not much pocket change. So mostly we just a shared a bottle of Baby Duck, Lonesome Charlie, Black Tower or beer. Though there were accidents and fatalities.. there were far fewer than today.
Just like us and probably the generation before us, kids these days are no angels. Their game of choice is called Pong, a more “sophisticated” version of “caps” where several glasses lined up as targets with a springy pong ball to take the shots. But make no mistake, the stakes are higher these days. Drugs beyond “weed” are now commonplace in schools and bars, Calgary has become a hub for importing drugs. $14 million worth of narcotics was seized in only 14 months. Do you know where your kids are? Do you know what they’ve been offered? Do they understand that they don’t even know what’s in those drugs?
If your kids are younger than mine, you’d better start that conversation.. yesterday. Conversations about peer pressure can start any time. Discussions about under-age drinking should start sooner than later. I know I am mostly through those years with my children, they’ve grown into responsible young adults who make wise choices. What do I have to thank for this amazing transformation? Just lots and lots of our time as parents and so many conversations, they started at night when we were tucking them into bed with a book and tickles. They progressed to late at night when they were coming home, early the next morning, in the car on the way to school, as we drove them somewhere with their friends.. basically, everywhere.
There were so many of these conversations I couldn’t begin to count. My secret.. was to never look shocked, even if you are surprised by what they tell you, don’t show it. Act calm and matter of fact and begin the conversation. Tell them that there’s nothing you haven’t heard before, that you’ve heard it all and there isn’t anything they couldn’t tell you that’s new. Let them know there isn’t any problem so bad that it can’t be solved. Let them know they might make mistakes because you did, that you won’t judge and that together you’ll see it through. And please set an example, words ring hollow and your kids are astute enough to catch on if you pull the old, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
It worked for us, I hope it works for you.
In my heart.. I long for simpler times for my children and for your children.
A few summers ago, I had the privilege of meeting two world class athletes, both at the top of their game and trust me, they still are. One of these woman just won gold at the Olympics. I remember one of the athletes puzzling and asking questions about this “Pong” game. She was wondering why anyone would put that much alcohol into their bodies when they could have real food.. “high octane fuel” was what she called it at the time and I’ll never forget her describing something as simple as food that way.
This athlete reminded me to think about both the level of fitness of my body and what I put in it. I forget and I do celebrate, but more often than not, I’m always trying to be at the top of my game with the “fuel” I put into my body. It’s incredible how much clearer your thinking becomes when you consume a healthy diet. My saying these days, is that old cliché: my body is my temple and I try to give it the respect it deserves. After all, my goal is to live to be 100!
Some of you may know a blogging friend of mine, Brittany from Blissful Britt. She’s a marathon runner and the girl who introduced me to some of the best protein snacks! In fact, it was her recipe for a veggie Bowl that piqued my interest and my daughter took it from there. Katie made us some of our own “high octane” fuel with this Spicy Vegan Cumin Bowl!
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large leaf kale, chopped
- 1 handful baby spinach
- 1/8 cup red onion, diced
- 1/2 red pepper, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup butternut squash, roasted, cubed
- chickpeas, roasted with olive oil, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper
- 1can black beans, rinsed, drained and patted dry
- In advance, preheat the oven to 400F. Peel the butternut squash then chop into cubes. Toss them with a bit of olive oil and bake, stirring occasionally, until the squash is softened and fork tender.
- In the meantime, rinse and drain one tin of chickpeas and then pat dry on a paper towel. Throw out any loose skins that come off. Toss with a bit of olive oil, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour the chickpeas onto the prepared baking sheet and bake in the same oven as your butternut squash for about 15 minutes. Stir and bake an additional 10 - 15 minutes or until the chickpeas are crisp on the outside but soft in the middle.
- Set aside the extra butternut squash and chickpeas. We stored these separately in containers for another day.
- Pour the olive oil into a large frying pan and heat over medium high heat. Add the kale, spinach, red onion, red pepper and garlic. Cook, stirring until the veggies have begun to soften. Stir in the butternut squash to heat through.
- Spoon into a large bowl and top with roasted chickpeas, black beans, avocado and cilantro.