Snowflake Generation

I have heard talk in the media describing my children’s generation as the snowflake generation, implying that they have never had it so easy. This is a statement that I heard when I was in my late teens, along with ‘the young nowadays don’t know they are born’…..’they would have never got away with it in our day.’

In many respects life is increasingly easier as each generation passes. In the West we are more prosperous than our parents and grandparents. Life is physically safer.

However the young generations are faced with other risks that just were not present when I was growing up.

The thing is our brains have evolved to protect us from danger and cannot differentiate between real and implied danger. This is a problem in a world of social media, and 24 hour news. Our children can be exposed to real and perceived threat almost continuously.

Now I am not saying they are any worse of than previous generations, just that learning to be an adult is full of hazards. It always has and always will. So let’s not compare their life with yours.

Let’s support our children to be the best adults they can and cut them some slack.

Vialetters new release


https://soundcloud.com/user-882901276/willerby 

Above is a link to Vialetters new release. If you know me on Facebook you have probably heard it. If not give it a listen. The A side will be dropped soon. 

I am being unashamedly a proud Dad, I think it is fantastic, but see what you think. If you like it share it. 

 Thank you for tolerating my indulgence.

Hull City, My Boys and Me

My old Sociology teacher Mrs Turner, once called me culturally deprived. At the time I wasn’t quite sure what she meant (I suppose that could have been down to my cultural deprivation). When I became an adult I understood what she meant. I had experienced very few traditional male influences during my childhood. I had no interest in mechanics, DIY or any other manly pursuits. When I was very young my Father was away at sea for much of the time, and when he was around never included me in such activities. When I was older and potentially more able to assist with changing the oil in the car, replacing light fittings or just using power tools in a macho way, my parents were divorced. I never went to watch football as Dad hated watching it, therefore when I was old enough to go by myself I never really had the interest or the emotional investment in a team.

My childhood had been dominated by female influences. Personally I never saw that as a deprivation other than when it comes to fixing anything or appearing at all macho I feel totally inadequate. If you want someone to change your tyre, I am not your man, but if you a feeling fed up and fancy a chat about it, then look no further.

As my boys got older I saw my chance to integrate them into male society, I couldn’t teach them how to change a tire or even drive, but I could introduce to the tribal experience of supporting your local football team (the route to male cultural integration).

So it started with taking them to the odd game and sitting in the West Stand Upper tier so we all could see the action better (I was a novice at going to football matches myself). Then we all got passes and went to every home game together. Me with my 2 boys, their eyes wide with excitement screaming and shouting at the players and the referee. I remember we played Burnley on my eldest birthday and we lost (I forget the score), he was furious, he spent 2 minutes at the end of the game shouting at the players as they left the pitch about how they had ruined his birthday, and it wasn’t about the fact they had lost, but more about the way they lost, it was fabulous to see.  Then there was another Burnley game, away this time, in fact our first away game, we were with a friend and I had popped to the toilet on my way back I could hear the crowd cheering as the team came out and my youngest was crying as he hadn’t expected such a loud response. As the game went on he relaxed and got into the flow by the time Geovanni was sent off he was stood on his chair screaming at the ref along with all the other fans, I wont repeat what he was chanting ( I am certain he didn’t know what it meant and was just copying).

I hadn’t taken them to the first play-off final, so the FA Cup semi-final was their first trip to Wembley. It still brings a tear to my eye thinking about it. They were watching their team from their home town play at Wembley, I cannot imagine what that must have felt like, and then to get to the final well that was incredible. Those are 2 days I will never forget, more for the fact that I shared it with my boys.

As my eldest as got older his interest in going to the football has dropped off and he doesn’t go anymore, however he still catches up on the results and likes to watch the highlights, but girls and music have temporarily taken over. However his home team is still the team he supports. So for the past 2 seasons it has just been me and Jack, and I love going to the football with him, it is 2 hours of chat about city, predicting the score and then dissecting the result.

The most important thing about supporting city with my boys, is the common memories that we share, in years to come we can think back to the FA Cup final the trip to Burnley when I was so hungover and probably still drunk that spilled my tea all over my pie and mash in the café before the match, and then Jack using some rather industrial language to describe what the referee does in his personal time.

Thank you Hull City for remedying my cultural deprivation and ensuring my children are never deprived.

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A Special Day

17 years ago today my life changed forever. I became a Dad!

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Ben had been late arriving and was nearly 2 weeks overdue, so Lisa had been booked to go in to Hull Maternity Hospital on the 9th April to be induced. As nothing much was going to happen overnight it was suggested I went home.

On Monday 10th April I was at the hospital early (I desperately did not want to miss the birth). I needn’t have panicked, apart from Lisa being in Labour since being induced the night before, Ben was nowhere to be seen, and Lisa was desperately uncomfortable.

By the evening it was clear he wasn’t coming out through the traditional route. As he was becoming distressed Lisa was taken through to theatre for an emergency Caesarian  Section. Surprisingly I was quite calm, it wasn’t a conscious decision, I just got involved in caring for Lisa, after all I was just a bystander and this was all happening to her, and I could not imagine what she was going through.

At 10:43pm on 10th April 2000, Benjamin Stephen Smith was born. I had never felt anything like it. It was love at first sight. To me he was the most beautiful baby in the world (I will spare you a picture of him on the day of his birth, he was not beautiful really, he was bright red  and huge 9lb 14oz). As I went to introduce Ben to his Mum, it was clear that she was not well, and had lost a fair amount of blood. However all was soon sorted by an expert team. After a blood transfusion Lisa was soon on the mend all be it quite weak and shaken for the next day.

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I went home that evening on cloud nine after crying down the phone to various relatives. I was a Dad! We had produced another Human Being! I had never felt anything like this, before. All of you parents will know exactly how that feels. I can best describe it as Christmas Day, my Wedding Day and winning the lottery all in one go.

The next day I couldn’t wait to see my boy, arrived at the hospital early, when the Midwife saw me she said “Well it is obvious who you have come to see.” When I saw him I chuckled as there was a mini Matt in the cot.

2 years later that wonderful, incredible feeling was repeated when Jack Samuel Smith was born.

Every day of my life since they fill me with pride and joy, even when they make me angry and sad I still love them more than I have ever loved anyone else. I don’t have a favourite son, I have my boys and they are handsome, talented and incredible.

Happy Birthday Ben!

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Parenthood

As it is Mother’s day I thought I would write an extra blog on the subject of parenting young people.

We love our children more than anything else in the world. We want the best for them, we don’t want them to feel pain. We want them to be a success in life whilst avoiding the failures and setbacks we experienced.

Every time we try to steer them in the right direction, every time we pass on our experience, we get ignored or told to stop interfering. ‘What do you know?’ ‘Its’ not like that nowadays.’ ‘You don’t understand the pressure I am under.’

You know what? They are right. We have not got a clue what it is like being a teenager. The only time you know what it is like being a teenager is when you are a teenager. We think we remember what it was like being a teenager, but most of that memory is not accurate, and most of our experience is long forgotten.

How do you feel when someone tells you how to live you life?

Teenagers and young adults are biologically hard-wired to want to take risks and push boundaries, to start laying foundations for their adult life. They are supposed to not listen to you and try it themselves.

Now this is a big shift in how you are expected to be as a parent. You have spent the first decade and a half protecting you children. Keeping them close, providing them with exciting and new experiences to make them a well-rounded individual. Spending hours watching them at Judo, Karate, Street Dancing and countless other classes. Hours cheering them on playing Football, Rugby, and Netball. Not anymore. They now seem to resent your helpful cheers and technical sporting advice. This is heartbreaking, you think they don’t need you anymore. You are so wrong. They need you more than ever, you just need to change your approach.

The time of passing on advice and being directive have gone. The time has come to listen to what they say, to show support and interest without being overwhelming. Most importantly you need to be there right behind them for when they fall. Not to catch them but to pick them up and encourage them to try again.

It is so hard watching the one you love make mistakes, and feel pain, but so important. If you think back to all your failures and knockbacks. That is where you created your resolve.

Giving your children the space to grow, is so much harder than it seems, but is worth the heartache.

If you are struggling and want to talk further email me;

matt@mattycoach71.comIMG_4871