Welcome to the NICU Beard Club!


Lets JOIN forces and raise donations to support Dads with a baby in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

After having twins in 2013 that were 10 weeks and 1 day early, plus a number of blue light episodes, I’ve created the NICU Beard Club open to anyone who has been touched by the challenges of NICU Dads.

New book reveals how Dads can Quarterback their family’s NICU experience using the experiences of past NICU Dads as a guide.

Announcing the launch of “Enter the NICU” by The NICU Beard Club, (formerly Books for Beards).


Its been a year on tracking down NICU Dads and speaking with them about their NICU experiences. Its been an honour and a privilege as these gentlemen have shared everything about their experiences.

Once again, I am proud to partner with the Royal Womens’ Hospital in bringing this campaign to fruition.

Im also putting the call out to ALL MEN to grow a beard from 1st August to the 3rd September, which is Father’s Day. And in doing so raise money to support the NICU Dads currently on the “inside”

What that means is that we have a chance at making the experience less stressful. more bearable for future NICU Dads.

If you want to find out how to be the master of your current or upcoming Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) experience then this is the most important book you will ever read.

If you would like to help your son going through NICU right now, then this is the most important book you will ever give him.

If you would like to support your brother going through NICU right now or is likely to soon, then this is the most important gift you can give..

If you want to support your male friend going through NICU right now, the most important book he will ever read is available for you to give him.

If you want to support Dads doing it tough in NICU, then this is the most important donation you will ever make.

Here’s why.

Its been written by past NICU Dads for current and future NICU Dads and is based on real experiences and practical solutions to negotiate the NICU environment.

But first, a warning.

Before we go any further, let me make one thing abundantly clear.

This book isnt going to solve every problem a NICU Dad experiences or substitute working through challenges with your partner, or be a magic wand to make everything right.

Its not.

But what it will do is give you the insights of men who made it out the other side of NICU.

Men who are Dads who have been through the NICU doors before and have worked their way through the experience.

I believe it can help NICU Dads and families better understand the what is ahead of them and how to negotiate it like a boss.

However, I’m not suggesting that every on who reads this book or donates will experience an improvement in their lives. I don’t know how much the Dads that read it will follow the insights.

It’s likely that many of them will not be supported because they don’t read it or follow the insights or adapt them to their own particular circumstances.

Chances are we have never met and I don’t want to insult your intelligence by telling you this book will solve every problem for a NICU Dad.

At the end of the day, only a NICU Dad can Quarterback his own experience. Not me, not a book, not a seminar, a doctor or a nurse. Not even his partner. Just him.

With that said, let me jump right in and show you exactly what you are getting.

First of all, this isnt like any other parenting book you might have read!

This is dramatically different because its more of a “field guide” of ways a Dad can Quarterback his NICU experience than a traditional book has ever offered before.

There is no fluffer or filler or “well-meaning” content written by people who haven’t experienced the ups and downs of a NICU.

Its just battle-tested NICU Dad tactics that are working right now.

And its easy to read.

Its around 100 pages, so Dads can read it in an afternoon and you will immediately get everything we have been working on for the past 12 months working with a very special bunch of NICU Dads who have generously donated their time.

Its about more than just parenting.

Its about giving NICU Dads and supporting families and friends with insights about how to:
* manage their first 72 hours in NICU,
* support their partner through the experience,
* look after themselves, as well as
* negotiate with extended family,
* negotiate work requirements
* support existing kids, and
* paying bills.

For example, some of the strategies in supporting a partner also extend beyond the NICU experience as well as the ways in which people lived their lives.

And developing negotiating skills in the hospital which then transfer outside the hospital to work and to life in general.

Developing empathy and communication styles with your partner that are even more empathetic and understanding than you ever thought possible.

Recently, a family friend, lets call him David knew his wife was going to have a premature birth and a cesaerean.

I shared with David some of the strategies that are revealed in this book and within 20 minutes he felt significantly more prepared for what he was about to face at the NICU.

He even kindly sent me some feedback about that short conversation we had:

I called Rad to get some advice as my wife is pregnant with twins.

I knew that Rad had experience with the NICU and I thought it would be good to get his advice as my wife is 33 weeks and anything could happen at this point.

There is a lot of information to read online which can often be overwhelming.

Speaking to Rad really helped as he was able to share his own experience, stories and advice.

He was able to help me visualise what it would be like in the NICU and what I could expect if we needed to go there.

He also provided some helpful tips that I was able to digest now so I am ready if I need to go there.

As Rad has also spoken to other dads, his approach was great.

It was exactly what I needed.

He was very patient, thoughtful and extremely insightful.

He was also able to provide more information in case my wife needed a cesarean.

Again this is a topic that you could read about extensively online, but it’s not the same as speaking to someone.

I called Rad as I was feeling a little nervous about what to expect during labour and after the babies are born.

I came away feeling a lot more comfortable and am very thankful for the help I received.

Like I said, there is more to this book than just parenting.

Here is a fraction of what is included:

  • How to negotiate the caesarean experience even if you have never been in an operating theatre before
  • You need to provide solid motivational support during caesarean right? Wrong! Discover what the partners of our NICU Dads did while their partner was undergoing a caesarean
  • The top 3 tips about how to survive NICU and its not all about the medical procedures
  • Where to find support when you need it most
  • How to eliminate stress levels once you have entered the NICU
  • What you should never say to your partner in a Caesarean situation
  • Why not knowing a lot about a NICU helps you focus on what’s really important – you partner and your kids
  • Say goodbye to old hands off parenting styles – and how Kangaroo cuddles become a NICU Dad’s best time with their child.
  • The truth about what it’s like as a NICU Dad to quarterback the experience as the head of the family unit
  • What to do if you have run out of ideas to support your partner and family
  • When its OK to take some time for yourself despite the turmoil
  • If you know someone about to become a NICU Dad, this book could be the most valuable thing anybody does for him

That’s a lot of battle tested NICU Dad strategies to help improve the experience and its stuff you won’t have seen anywhere else because no one else is talking about it.

But it gets better because you are also getting some cool stuff from The NICU Beard Club to show your NICU Dad you are supporting him.

For donations $500 or more, you will receive a NICU Beard branded Cap, Hoodie and Tshirt worth almost $150 RRP.

For donations of $250-$499 you get to choose two items; either a Cap, a Hoodie or a Tshirt worth $30-$75 RRP.

For donations of $125 you get either a NICU Beard Club branded Cap or a T-shirt.

You will be able to keep whatever gear you want or you can gift to a NICU Dad to show your support for what they are going through.

Sometimes its the simplest gestures from friends and family while you are in a NICU that can give you the biggest boost.

Even just the reminder that as a NICU Dad, you are not alone and people, loved ones, family and friends are looking out for you.

Here is what to do next:

The cost of providing this book to each NICU Dad is $30 – thats the price that will be the Recommended Retail Price because it will be both an amazing read and incredibly helpful for NICU Dads.

Current NICU Dads need to get this book through their hospital who will have a code (or if they haven’t yet they need to get in touch with me ASAP!).

But future NICU Dads will get the best value because they can prepare and be in the best place to manage their upcoming NICU experiences.

Something that current wisdom suggests that “you just can’t prepare for.

Wrong. Wrong!

Expectant Dads CAN prepare and this book is shows future NICU Dads they can prepare and quarterback their whole experience.

And so to support future NICU Dads with a donation of $125, we can reach 6 NICU Dads and you can score a cool cap or T-shirt. Also, there is a manufacturer’s warranty on the merchandise, so you are covered for any craftmanship and quality.

For donations of $250-$499 you get to choose two items; either a Cap, a Hoodie or a Tshirt worth $30-$75 RRP.

And for genuine legends supporting NICU Dads, any contribution over $500 gives you the satisfaction of knowing you have helped, PLUS the full merch pack!

PLUS every donor that opts to stay in contact will get a copy of the book to read and regift or just gift. It’s a game changer and I want you to have a copy.

Every donor will also have their name inscribed in the book as a supporter and all round legend really for helping those who are being challenged as humans.

And in case you are wondering, there is no catch when you donate to The NICU Beard Club and the Royal Women’s Hospital.

You will need to opt in if you want to keep in touch and hear from us every now and then. But other than that there is no catch in donating.

The Womens is one of the most trusted and revered hospitals in the modern world and are amazing partners to work with.

I’m literally putting my hand in my own pocket to fund this initiative with the support of The Womens, so that I can help Dads doing it tough in the NICU.

So when I say there is no catch – THERE IS NO CATCH!

But we don’t have long.

NICU Dads need this book written for them, about them.

Beard Growing Season starts August 1st and ends on Father’s Day, September 3 2017. That’s just over 28 days of prime beard growing weather!


Time is of the essence and the NICU Beard merchandise will sell out very quickly! I am calmly confident that we will sell out of merchandise almost instantly – so DONT MISS OUT!!!

Why? Because many people will jump on board once we have finalise the entire experience.

Plus the guarantee for merchandise quality…

How is that for fair?!

This is a truly limited offer until September 3, so make your donation and get your Cap, Tshirt, Hoodie and your copy of the book now before they are all gone.

IMPORTANT: Press the big GREEN BUTTON that says DONATE and give an amount that you feel personally aligned to offer.

Its that simple.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and I look forward to seeing your name on the “Wall of Legends”.

Hope to be hear from you soon.


Radford White

on behalf of The NICU Beard Club

PS In case you are one of those people that just skip right to the end and read the PS, here’s the deal.

I’ve spent the last 12 months meeting with past NICU Dads to bring to light the amazing ways in which they managed themselves while a child of theirs was in the NICU.

The book will launch on Father’s Day.

Im also offering merchandise based on the level of contribution you make, so you can show your support for The NICU Dads Club.

And for genuine legends supporting NICU Dads, any contribution over $500 gives you the satisfaction of knowing you have supported 30 NICU Dads in need with a copy of “Enter the NICU”, PLUS you get the full merch pack of Cap, Tshirt and Hoodie!

For donations of $250-$499 you get to choose two items; either a Cap, a Hoodie or a Tshirt worth $30-$75 RRP. Looking good!

With a donation of $125, we can reach 6 NICU Dads with our book and you can score a cool cap or T-shirt. Included is a manufacturer’s warranty on the merchandise, so you are covered for craftmanship and quality.

This program runs on goodwill and being helpful.

On top of the merch, everyone who donates will get a copy of the book (please tick the box that says you want to hear from us so we can send it!).

So just go up to the GREEN BUTTON that says DONATE and make a personal contribution that feels aligned or you.

Hope to see your name on the “Wall of Legends”!

PPS How to Join The NICU Beard Club

Create Your EveryDay Hero Account https://supporter.help-au.everydayhero.com/hc/en-us/articles/208276713-How-do-I-create-a-fundraising-page-

Once you have created your Everyday Hero personal page, now come and join The NICU Beard Club:

Note: To join a team you will need to have registered for The Sunflower Foundation Wellness Walk and have an individual fundraising page.
1. Visit your personal fundraising page and log in by clicking the ‘Log in’ button in the top right corner.

  1. After you have logged in, scroll down the page and click the ‘Join an existing team’ link on the right hand side.
  2. Search for The NICU Beard Club and connect by entering the Team Name.
  3. Click on the ‘Join This Team’ to the right of the team’s name
  4. Congratulations, you are now a member of the team and your page will be displayed under the ‘Team Members’ section on the Team page.

6 Set yourself a target that’s fun and a challenge!

7 Grow a beard that only you can produce and post its progress on the Facebook page or Instagram and tag #NICUBeard

Life is what happens to you watching Crowded House

Crowded House Are Radical Dads

Fall at Your Feet

Crowded House played in December last year on the steps of the Sydney Opera House in a gig that can only be regarded as one of the best comebacks in Australian music history.

But let me explain.

Your life can flash before your eyes.

Something So Strong

You life can be what John Lennon said what happens to you while you are busy making other plans. It can go fast.

There has been changes in lineup (RIP Paul Hester, you brilliant man) but Neil Finn and crowded House effectively has an amazing backlog of not only hits, but anthems, everyone over the age of 30 knows. Not just knows can sing along.

And scores and scores of amazing songs; beautiful music interlaced with lyrics that rival any poet, lyricist or writer in the world. Even Bob Dylan.

Its not until you hear his music 20 years later that you reconsider your junior thoughts and feel that the songs are unbelievably good and truthful. And they speak to people. They spoke to me.

I remember 20 years ago enjoying their music but often thought of Crowded House as too light, too poppy, too simple at the time. “Its gotta be more complex”, I used to think.

It’s not until you are older that you understand the dedication, talent and skill required of Crowded House to synthesise into tangible sound pieces strung together through rolling melodies and rhythm.

Four Seasons in One Day

And on top of that it is completely sympathetic to the human condition.

Tim & Neil Finn are artists that on a deep connecting level really understand what it is; the human condition.

And Crowded House gently hold up a mirror to you, and rest a hand on your shoulder as you drink it all in.

Its simply delightful, evocative and deliriously delicious.

Pineapple Head

Henry Rollins on an album somewhere on one of his passionate, mile-posted talks speaks of the role of music and its current state.

He says something like:

“You have lost your job, your wife has left you, you have no money for rent or bills or food. And suddenly that Offspring record just doesn’t cut it anymore. You can put pearls on swine, but in the end, its still a pig”.

Weather With You

Not so Crowded House and their backlog of fucking awesome music.

Now I know this seems obvious but the man Neil has created hundreds, possibly thousands of songs. Just think about that for a moment.

How fucking extraordinarily brilliant to back himself like that!

Johnny Cash was another prolific artist who just wrote and wrote and wrote.

They loved their craft and it was who they were. They were artists although Im not sure thats what they would have described themselves.

Probably as simple storytellers?

Humble storytellers.

Their passion is (was) stories. Telling stories.

Stories that reflect the human condition. Crowded House tell these stories.

Understanding it. Sharing it. Uncovering it. Exposing it. Admiring it. And loving it.

It’s that single focused love of the truth and its exploration into the deepest darkest realms as well as dancing with the lighter, more flippant aspects are all ways the serial storyteller gets the message across.

There is a deeper release of the collective unconscious when we have artists and storytellers do the unthinkable: they make us think about our reason for being here.

What are we doing here, gazing at our navels.

Oscar Wilde said we were all in the gutter, but that some of us were looking up at the stars. Crowded House were the stars the other night.

Crowded House were the stars that all of Australia looked up to in a simple, single unifying two and a half hours of concert.

Chocolate Cake

But what if you are not a talented artist? What do you do?

If you are like most people you don’t have a clue and are just winging it.

Winging life. But thats how you do it right?

But do you miss out on what you want to do or does it take you closer to what you want to do?

I remember I chose to follow a corporate career in sales and marketing over pursuing a creative career in theatre / tv. There were a number of reasons I made that choice.

I made a trade and I thought I knew what I was doing. Who does in their twenties?

I didn’t really even realise I was doing at the time. At least not in the way that I now understand what it was.

I traded my time then with this justification: I will do theatre and tv LATER.

Ever done that?

Once I had earnt a few bucks.

Once I’d established a bank account and able to “live more comfortably”.

And that came about because I couldn’t live the actor’s life. It really does mean when you live the actor’s life that “life is what happens to you when you are busy auditioning other gigs”.

Did you see how I justified that? I gave myself an out when really all I wanted to do was write. Write.

You see I did three years at National Theatre Drama School so that I could understand how actors work. So I became a trained actor to work with the marvellous words of others.

Im am writing now.

And that was my original intention.

Now I still do acting gigs every now and then, some paid, some not. But

I do still love words. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of or afraid of.

But do we all have something that we secretly want to pursue but don’t let it rise to the surface?

And I love sharing a message to try to help others and shorten the length of their journey to discovery. Discovery of themselves, their passions and their desires.

That’s why I did an honours degree in psychology – I love people and want the best for them. I could have done an arts degree with psych

AND professional writing majors, but no, I didnt. Sheer lunacy.

I just did psych major and a whole eclectic mix of science electives so I “earnt” a science degree, not an arts degree.

You know, studying stuff I was actually interested in.


And Im writing.

Since starting this, Ive written more words than in the last 20 years I reckon.

More like more words that mean something.

Mean something.

And that’s important.

Its important to know what the fuck it is you love.

I learnt some amazing things at drama school.

Like the motto Joan Harris OAM, the school’s original director put together:

Risk. Trust. Allow.

Words to live by my friends. Words to shape out a life with.

Whispers & Moans

There was also a voiceover artist John Higginson who taught us Drama kids for a couple of weeks.

John said one of the most profound things artistically that Ive ever heard in my life, although I didn’t know it at the time;

“walk to the edge of the cliff between two cliffs. Step off and float in the abyss.”

THAT is what acting was all about. Its what life is about.

And while I didn’t pursue acting as a career, I have sought to recreate “abyss floating” in my career by working in sales and marketing.

Now John, IF he remembered me, which I doubt, but if he did he would describe me as the guy that didn’t pay any attention and lacked any serious application.

Maybe he thought I was just talentless. Who knows.

I do remember I gave him a hard time. Who nows why.

And here I am continuing to reference hist abyss philosophy after 20 years.

The man that taught me one of the most outstanding things Ive ever heard in my life and I gave him a hard time.

Maybe that’s because he WAS teaching something and I wasn’t ready for the message. What a fool I was.

John, if you are reading this, thanks, sincerely, for the life lesson.

Better Be Home Soon

Take the risk of falling because that’s the true success.

Trust your talent will guide and support you. Allow yourself to step away from the edge.

A complete artistic outlook. Let yourself go. Be like Crowded House.

Or more succinctly, get out of your own way.

Allow yourself to come forward.

Trust it will be good.

And allow yourself to let go.

Let go of everything that is not working in the simplicity of the story.

It got me thinking though. About you, reading this.

What are some of the things that you wish you were doing now?

What have you traded away?

Do you want it back?

Are you doing anything about it? Why not?

If I’ve learnt anything living this life at the age of 48, is that any of us can go at any minute. Which is both frightening and invigorating!

We all have too much to give, too much to share to go through with your message unfulfilled and ultimately undelivered.

I don’t want to be regretting anything. Do you?

I don’t want to play it safe. I don’t want to be comfortable. I want to continue to explore life.

There is so much more.

Private Universe

I really want one constant and close companion; Truth.

Thats it. The truth. Thats all I want.

Its a companion that has its own direction.

And yes everyone has their own truth. But really Im talking about fighting for my own truth.

Because you know what?

Without it, you need justification, compromise and a blunted instinct which generates nervous twitch in most people. It shows up somewhere, somehow.

You probably know if you have one and why you have it.

Its your turn now. Its my turn now.

We all have something in us that we want to be doing.

Something that when we do it, we float over the abyss between the cliffs.

And its not frightening, its just right. And its clean and its pure. That is what were fighting for and thats worth fighting for.

So before too long you will run out of time if you don’t do what you want to do now. And you have already waited for too long.

Your time is now, take the step.

Its yours to take and even better, you can pick these things up again. Its waiting for you and you have the ticket to re-enter the fray.

Distant Sun

Think of Crowded House.

Think of the choices they have made to give themselves the time and space to create.

You can bet they have large slabs of “everyday” that they devote to music.

Exploring and playing and discovering.

Need to breakthrough?

If you want some help to uncover some of the things that might be in the way of you being you best, most fulfilled self, send me an email at rad@radfordwhite.com and lets get started.

Im not promising you will be the next Crowded House, but hey, who knows what will happen?

I can guarantee that if you do nothing, then thats exactly what you will continue to get.


And you don’t want that.

Following your true purpose.

Its only natural.

That you should feel the same way too.

Photo source: here >

The Alarm: Be Alarmed and Awake to What is Going On

Alarm clock for Radical Dads

Do you snooze through your alarm? Be alarmed and be awake to what is going on in your life; it could be an indicator of something bigger in your life.


Now before I start this post, parents with kids less than 12-18 months, you get a leave pass on this one! I know that you are super tired, I know the kids generally don’t sleep through the night and you are up multiple times. I know, I have three year old twins.


So can understand the deep, DEEP, DEEP desire for more sleep! Being alarmed is not something that you need to worry too much about.


But after almost two years of habitually hitting the snooze alarm because I’d been up half a dozen times or even just broken sleep worrying about the kids, something jigged for me. The kids were sleeping the night now mostly. So why am I still hitting the snooze button?


There is an argument for sleep debt – that I simply havent had enough sleep over the past three years to be “balanced” back to where I was pre pregnancy. But hang on, Ive got these kids for another 20 years. There is lots more to worry about and being woken in the night? Is pressing the snooze button the new normal?


That’s right. I’ve made pressing the snooze button a habit in the morning. And Ive been able to justify it over the past year because everyone tells me Im a “dad with premmie twins so it must be hard”.


No doubt its bloody hard work sometimes, but for the most part we have come out of sleepless nights. Now there are the one, maybe two (or when they are ill three nights) a week the kids stir in the middle of the night.


But I had become a snoozer!


And before kids I wasn’t a snoozer. I was alarmed! When the alarm went off at 6, I was up wide awake and I would take the dogs on an hour long walk. Back at home at 7am, energised, ready to get ready for the day and take on the world.


But the first two years of kids, I give a leave pass for myself and my wife, because you DO have have a sleep deficit and you grab sleep where you can. Ahhhhhh sleeeep, hello my old friend!


But after two years, come on guys, lets get our shit together! Its time to be alarmed if you are still craving sleep.


There is no doubt that its a very comfortable way to wake up in the morning ; you get to experience slices of sleep, 9 minutes at a time. Warm bed, soft pillow, and slices of broken but easy to return to sleep.


Here is the real test: How do you view your alarm?


Do you see it as an unwelcome intruder destroying your peace and quiet? Or do you see your alarm as your friend that is helping you get a start on the day, off on the right foot at the right time?


What if how you saw your alarm was how you viewed your life?


What if your attitude to life was perfectly encapsulated by the thoughts you had when you woke up?


Do you say to yourself “Nooo, fuck off no way it cant be 7 yet?”




“Ok, its hard to get outta bed but here goes!”


Instead of listening to your alarm clock friend who lets face it is more reliable than any friend any of us have ever had, you abuse them?


I mean they have done everything you have asked of them. You have agreed on a time, you have spent minutes selecting the right sound you want to hear when you wake up (hmm traditional phone – no thanks. Bamboo? Oh that’s nice. By the seaside, oh yes, how relaxing) and agreed to meet again in the morning.


The alarm has done everything you have asked of it. Yet you still abuse it!!


Personally I find the softer and more gentler the sounds of the alarm, the harder it is to get up. Ive been experimenting with a “birds chirping” sound which sounds like a soundscape from a jungle.


The first morning I woke up with it I was freaking out like a bad dream. You see I had it up so loud, that I felt I had been risen from my sleep by a cacophony of angry birds towering over me and that I wasnt in my bed but  they had taken me to the jungle and I was up a tree somewhere.


This all happened in nanoseconds. Im still experiemnting with this sound, but at lower volumes. Im not convinced the gentler sounds are good for me. Maybe I need something harder on the ear to jolt me out of bed at 5am, which Ive designated my new normal time to wake up.


Now what if your thoughts and desires for remaining in comfort though were and indicator of something bigger in your life and its holding you back?


Could that desire for extended comfort warmth and snoozing could actually be telling you the reason you are not where you think you should be in life?


Where you are actually resentful or fearful of something you are about to experience? Your work? Your life? What is the first excuse you give yourself for sleeping in another 9 minutes? Its causing you to avoid life, 9 minutes at a time.


And having an avoidance mentality doesn’t produce the best outcomes for you are person of for teaching your kids how to take on the world and follow their dreams.


I trained as an actor for three years at the National Theatre Drama School and prior to the kids coming along, I’d dropped acting from my life for 15 years. i never intended to, I just put it on the “later” shelf and never got back to it.


Sound familiar?


Well when the kids came along, I felt like a fraud when I was thinking about how I was going to encourage them to follow their dreams and passions, hoping they may pursue or have a creative bone in their bodies. Maybe they could be musicians or actors or celebrated artists, sculpturers or painters.


But then I realised I was starting to project some of my hopes and dreams onto them and I was being a hypocrite. I wasn’t even doing what i was passionate about it.


So I did it. I went and found a website that brought together directors producers and actors, called www.starnow.com.au and started auditioning for a few different roles – and got them. Turns out there is a shortage of 47 year old dads for screen!


Now these aren’t paid gigs, well some are but that’s not the point. Im pursuing my passions and I can encourage the kids with 100% conviction and authenticity. And its easier with nothing stuck in my craw as I encourage the kids to pursue their passions.


Maybe if you are a chronic snoozer, you aren’t living the life you are meant to be living? And you know you can improve your own life right?


Yes, its hard to get out of bed sometimes, but don’t let your desire for comfort or you avoidance of something you are not doing be greater than your desire to be a leader, the hero, for your self and also for your kids.



NICU Dads show True Grit

Radical NICU Dads

NICU Dads have true grit.


So today I’m going to talk about the amazing experience that I have been having in bringing the Books for Beards program together, speaking with past NICU Dads.


It is pretty incredible and I’m quite honoured and privileged to be speaking to these amazing Dads. It’s something that I never thought I’d have the opportunity to do and I guess 3 and a half years ago when my kids did go through the intensive care unit.


I didn’t think I’d be here 3 years later talking to other Dads and finding out how much in common we actually have with our experiences.


It’s quite an amazing insight after one mutual experience in intensive care.



NICU Dads have a Connection

The other day in a chat with a Dad,  who had been through NICU and special care over two separate occasions. And his experience is quite different.


His first experiences was with twins born 35 weeks and went through Special Care. His kids were fine, the challenges were with his wife’s health. His second experience was with his young boy, who was a 25 weeker.


Completely different to my experiences, but we share some strong bonds and mutual respect.



NICU Dad Patterns

I guess for the start of intensive care unit they see families all the time for them the patterns are quite consistent.


When a child comes in, there’s a whole series of medical processes, reports, treatments, different systems that get hooked up and different drugs are involved to support the baby.


Very different treatments and different diagnosis, different types of issues and everyone’s got different issues in their own unique story.  Their own unique common thread is that Dads are struggling to comprehend what is happening.


Let me rephrase. They are not struggling to come to terms what’s happening – everything is happening and they’re reacting because there is no scope at all to be able to think these things through.


It’s really a reaction.



A Reaction?


So there’s a lot of the instant overwhelm going into the hospital environment. New language, new jargon,  new people, new environment, new physical environment and new people.


Its a complete change of life, almost a lockdown. Dads find themselves in the intensive care unit. It takes him out of his daily routine.


And generally to be intensive care an emergency birth has happened with your partner.  So it’s either a Cesarean section that’s brought you there or a medical emergency.


Its the common link. A new environment ripped out of your comfort zone, not at work or home or it might have been into the hospital environment trying to get your head around what’s going on…



Common NICU Dad thoughts


“What does that mean?”


“What does that do to the rest of the medical plans we have made?”


“How how are you going to go forward?”


“What are you meant to focus on?


“What’s important? What’s more important?


“Who do I speak to?”


“How is my wife going?”


“Is she telling me how she is really going or is she trying to be brave?”


“What are the doctors telling me?”


“Do I need to interpret what they were telling me?”


“Are they telling me straight?”



Rocky Mountain High (Anxiety)


To paraphrase from John Denver, NICU Dads experience Rocky Mountain High (anxiety).


As a Dad just don’t know. About. Anything. And we hate that.


There is so much going on and that’s a real common thing and that is a major reason why the anxiety levels are high.


You have a baby in the intensive care, of course, but anxiety is so high.


Based on the VIBES study up to 49% are experiencing very very high anxiety levels at birth. And then 6 months later there is still a long trailing tail of 20% of men that have suffering anxiety at 6 months compared to 10% of the general population of normal births.


These high anxiety levels are equivalent in only 10% of the dad and 6 months later it still present in 10%


I think the real opportunity with the Books for Beards program is that we can reduce that level of anxiety in the first instance over the time of the birth and over the first year 2, 3 or 4 days with the material on offer from past NICU Dads.


Second, we reduce that tail of anxiety more quickly so that in 6 months, it’s down closer to the general population or below general population.  



Books for Beards Challenge


So, that’s the challenge really for Books for Beards.  To be able to have that real impact on new NICU Dads. Real reductions in anxiety levels and numbers that we can work towards.  


We really want to make sure that we can improve the outcomes for Dads. Ultimately, if we can remove some of the challenges Dads face when they come into the NICU environment, they can be better parents and better partners.


If we could get it to the point where that anxiety level isn’t 49% that we can drop it even just 5%-10% down to 40% or 45% and then work on reducing that long tail, that will be a winner in my book.


That would be something better and I’d be super proud of it. Super proud that the NICU Dads have contributed to this project and to it’s goal to reduce anxiety. Anr really, doing it by being pragmatic. Producing material that can be used, not neccesarily read.



Straight Shooting Please


The material is not going to be any sort of fluffy piece. Its not going to be sugar coated. In saying that, it’s not deliberately raw, it’s just factual.


As a dad in a NICU, your level of interpretation or dealing with communications that can’t say clearly of offer “to the point” information or that deals directly with the issue, is a super low priority.


In fact, you only need to read something that is off the mark or isn’t on point with where you’re at for you to let go of the material and push it aside. The article is just not interesting anymore.


NICU Dads just want material that is real, that is relevant and that has the ring of authenticity,  genuineness, believability, credibility and passion.


That’s what the Radical Dads Project will deliver for the Books for Beards program.


Delivering the insights of past NICU Dads for future NICU Dads with the benefit of their experiences.



Leave a Legacy NICU Dads


And this is an amazing opportunity for past NICU Dads to really use the experiences that they have gathered in the toughest of circumstances. Most lilley the toughest of their lives.


Welcome to survive and thrive!


The way in which Dads handled family matter.


The way in which they handled friends.


The way in which they handle work and manage their environment.


The way they managed bills and payments and money while all of this is happening.


The way in which they manage the hospital staff.


And the way in which they cared for their partner.


The way they cared for the kids.


These are the insights that will help new NICU Dads get through the first 24, 48, 72 hours.


And enable them to focus on their partner and their child rather than everything else around them.


That’s because the Books for Beards resource will enable them to be better armed, simply, succinctly.


To sort the important from the not so important.


NICU Dads show True Grit. You know it.




The Real Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Dads (NICU Dads) Story

NISC Dad Radford White

The True NICU Dads Story

Ive been busy the past few weeks speaking with and getting the real story from Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Dads (NICU Dads).


Books for Beards keep moving forward!


The first interview was heavily dependant upon this NICU Dad’s schedule. Rodney Wilson has his own electrical business and we had agreed he would call me when he had a moment to spare.


NISC Dad Rodney Wilson
NICU Dad Rodney Wilson

So it was no surprise when Rodney messaged me on Monday and said said “Is tonight good?”. I think “hell yes!” was my reply or something to that effect! So we made the time and now I had to get to business – nothing like a pressing deadline to get the mind thinking clearly.


How to have a NICU Dads chat


I had been considering several possibilities about how to conduct the soon to be upcoming chats with NICU Dads. Should I meet them at their place / my place / neutral place to chat? Over the phone? Via Skype? I ruled out neutral place because we are talking about something uniquely personal and is some cases private perceptions of experiences.


Also, given my experience of how challenging the whole NICU Dads experience was, I know there is ground that I havent had an opportunity to retrospectively review or consider. I didnt want a NICU Dad to be in an unfamiliar environment if asked about these areas..


Secondly, whilst I have the space at home to have a NICU Dad as a guest for a chat, I didn’t want to impede upon a NICU Dads time. As a Dad, time is precious, even more so for a NICU Dad and travelling to my place for a Dad that lives in Mildura or Shepparton or Perth or Adelaide just wasn’t going to work.


Alternatively, I didn’t have the funds to fly around the country to meet with Dads (Umm hello corporate sponsors?) to have a chat about their experiences. That was also being a large commitment for us all. Besides, I want the chats to be simple and easy, as men who share a common experience that was, quite frankly, a definition of insanity by most accounts!


Tailored for NICU Dads

And I also have an objective of making the feedback from past NICU Dads as simple to consume as possible.


To put the feedback into a range of formats for future NICU Dads to be able to use; being written, video and podcast.


Many NICU Dads have to travel to get to and from home and hospital or work and hospital, so the podcasts become the medium for Dads there. The videos are for those times where they may be sitting by the humidcrib or isolette and being there with their child in a kangaroo cuddle situation. Done!


The video gives a NICU Dad the opportunity to see and listen to other NICU Dads and their experiences and how they got through it. Thats the same as the ebook. The transcripts of the chats will also be in the book.


So when a Dad has time on his hands or is looking for some ideas about how to manage his unique NICU situation, he can access the material electronically.


But the real goal is to reduce the anxiety levels recorded by NICU Dads both at birth (up to 49% of all NICU Dads compared to 10% of normal birth Dads) and 6 months later (up to 20%, compared to 10% of general population Dads).


So the new NICU Dad can feel like he is not alone and that other NICU Dads have walked that road before him and now shine a light on the path for the new NICU Dad to see the unseen.


Centre of the NICU Dads Universe

After their families, is their phone.


Now, we all use our phones these days for so much of our daily lives. As a man, my leaving the house routine consists of a quick check: Phone / Wallet / Keys. Of course, the kids and family checks are first: shoes still on, backpacks, jackies, hats, glasses, wtarer bottles – we all have our own drills!


But at a personal level, its Phone / Wallet / Keys and in that order too. Because without it, I’d be lost! Even more so going to the NICU ward at the hospital.


Anything superfluous or seen as extra is baggage is quickly discarded. Just. Need. Necessities. Nothing else matters. Like books. Yes you sit a long time by the bed but no room or time to bring books in. Laptops: Some dads had to work whilst at the hospital.


Hats off to you gentlemen managing to do that as some employers aren’t as generous as others. But if you don’t need to work, you are not bringing your laptop.


You have your own stuff, stuff your wife wants and its generally all in a big bag and you go in. You want all your mind available for your kids for the time you are with them in the NICU as a NICU Dad.


So the ebook, the video and the podcast will all be easily accessible from the phone and wherever there is an internet connection.


Why Skype for NICU Dads?

So I decided to go with Skype. Skype has a number of benefits:

  1. NICU Dads can have a chat from the comfort of their own home at the time that suits their busy schedule. No need to drive of fly to have the chat – win!
  2. It also suits my busy schedule with work and a NICU Dad of now three and a half year old twins and continue to make a contribution around the household chores and not be away – win!
  3. I can record Skype calls electronically for the video and podcast elements and get the chats transcribed for the text for the ebook – win, win, win!
  4. Most NICU Dads are likely to have Skype or have no issue creating a Skype account, given it is a well known brand and service.


Skypes however, isn’t high in either visual or audio quality.


Hello, Ginger Studios!

NISC Dad Radford White
A beard shaved in half is a beard half lived! NICU Dad Radford White with the kids.

Say hello to Ginger Studios! Jimi from Ginger Studios saw this crazy half shaved beard picture in the paper. He responded to his gut instincts to get involved with Books for Beards. He is a legendary sound engineer and he agreed to work on the quality for the Skype output.


Jimi working on NISC Dads at Ginger Studios
Jimi mixing NICU Dads chats audio files at Ginger Studios

This was before I had even had my first chat with a NICU Dad.


Like I said – Jimi is a legend!


Now, back to the first chat.


Where NICU Dads Chats hit the Skype

In my naiveté of Skype, I had assumed that you could just record calls on Skype. Ahhhh, wrong! No, you cant. So with about an hour before our chat, I was googling Skype recorders, reading reviews good, bad and ugly!  And having to make a major technology decision that I felt would dictate the outcomes of the entire Books for Beards project…yeah, no pressure!


I managed to find a system called Ecamm Tools which had great reviews and was easy to use. I did have to buy it, but I figured “you get what you pay for!”. I mean it wasn’t much, about $30 so not too bad.


Its been a rudimentary setup interviewing over Skype and recording the interview. Not having been a Skype user before, although had sporadically set up Skype accounts in ambition, I found I had five accounts! So trying to unlock the right one was that game of password 20 questions. Is anyone else sick of having to remember passwords?? I found the account I wanted to use and got started.


Finally, Rodney and I after a bit of texting and “what’s your Skype name?” type messages, managed to finally connect and see each other on the screen. Hello! We were both a bit nervous, but the process I had devised doesn’t start recording straight away. That’s a bit full on and too much pressure on both of us – don’t need that!


And I don’t record at the start of the call. I use this time to have a chat about the process and how it works. Find out how the week has been, how are the kids, the family, work. What’s been keeping him busy lately.


NICU Dads Ground Rule for Chats

And the ground rules are pretty simple:

  1. There are no right or wrong answers. Hell, there are no answers per se because its talking about your own NICU Dad experiences
  2. This is our sessions. If we don’t like it we can delete or edit it and start again. Or chat another time. Or change shirts or whatever it is you would like to do.
  3. Its not a Hollywood blockbuster we are filming, its an opportunity to help future NICU Dads make the transitions into a NICU easier, which will free up mental space to be a better support for their partner and kids.
  4. No one can tell which part of their chat will be invaluable for a future NICU Dad. A new NICU Dad might hear a sentence you say and that will be enough to get them through whatever it is they are going through at the time. Who are we to judge what should or shouldn’t be included – its all valuable whether tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. Share your experiences because this is your legacy to future NICU Dads after you did it tough and it will make their lives easier.


Once that’s explained, its a lot easier to relax and just enjoy having a chat about experiences that not every Dad can relate to.


Yesterday doesn’t have to be the Future

Whilst its not something any NICU Dad wants to dwell on forever, its a big part of our lives. The NICU Dads I’ve spoken to have all agreed that there is still a lot of unpacked stuff that relates to their experience. It definitely changes you and adds levels and layers of understanding of the world that you never knew you had.


Library of NICU Dads

So I am now building a library of NICU Dad chats that Ive recorded and the next step is for Jimi at Ginger Studios to clean up the audio. I am having some trouble uploading the 5 gig files to Dropbox for Jimi to work on, so I am going to need to save them on a drive and hand them over in person.


So much for the digital economy! (if you can help with this, feel free to email me with a suggested solution!!).


Ive even changed internet providers to assist but it isn’t working, so will resort to manually delivering. And I get to bring Jimi a beer for the work he has been doing for Books for Beards!


Progress Meeting with The Foundation

Last week, I met with the CEO of the Royal Women’s Hospital Foundation, Jan Chisholm and Associate Professor Carl Kuschel and outlined where we may need some funds to keep the process moving along.


Did you know that even though the content of the NICU Dads chats is amazing and incredibly insightful, that transcribing audio is incredibly tedious work? It takes 8 hours just to do one hour of conversation! Add to the list of “Another Thing I Did Not Know” before the Books for Beards project called me to get involved!


A wonderful friend has put her hand up to get involved in transcription but it’s massively time consuming. Given the amount of time it takes, the Foundation is exploring how we can have that completed professionally or through the Foundation’s volunteer database. There might  be people with the right skills to complete it quickly.


It really is the most time-consuming part of the Books for Beards process. And I really think this is where some of our funds raised will need to be used in getting the recorded spoken NICU Dads word into readable format for future NICU Dads.


The Quals are needed for NICU Dads

Next we will need a qualitative researcher.


The qualitative researcher, or “Qual” will review the transcripts from our NICU Dads chats and summarise all suggestions from the benefit of future NICU Dads.


This will create the overall themes of all the NICU Dad feedback. This will hopefully be of immense help for new NICU Dads.


We’ve been very fortunate to have been contacted by Megan Bater, studying her PhD in NICU Dads. Meg is associated with Adelaide’s Neonatal Nurseries, Women’s and Children’s Hospital & University of Adelaide and there are some synergies around our work, so stay tuned!


Finally, we are about to travel down the path of getting a subscription to a book publishing service called Reedsy.


Reedsy makes getting the formatting right a breeze. It has easy access to editors and designers and it is all housed in one portal service. Its a publishing market ecosystem if you will! It makes is easy and very simple to manage the ebook development process.


Im not expecting to get it into the format of a Mills and Boon novel, although the chats are about deep Dad love for kids and partners in most cases. They won’t be illustrated like Dr Suess books either, although that could help ease the minds of the future NICU Dad!


In short, it needs to be something that can be used by the NICU Dad and not neccesarily read.


Easy access, easy format and easy to consume for NICU Dads. To reduce stress, reduce confusion, increase capability. And the family wins. Everytime.


Want to help NICU Dads?

If you feel you could assist with any of the challenges, or would like to volunteer your time to support the Books for Beards project, please comment at the end of this post and I will be in contact.


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The Active Parent Choice to “be” a Dad

The Choice to Dad


There are a few phrases my kids use when they are wanting my involvement in their life.


“Come and play Dad” is one when they are generally playing a game or having fun in their room with their toys. Or they have developed a whole imaginary world and they want to introduce me to it.


They sometimes want me to lay the role of me. Or sometimes Im allocated a particular role they want me to play. Like the Doctor’s patient or the family dog or a baby. All hilarious scenarios and I get involved most time.


Sometimes I get involved for a minute before I’m back to work.


And sometimes I don’t because I work from home and have the business to run whilst I am home and so are they, I can see a difference in purpose but of course they can’t.


They just see dad at home, so why wouldn’t you play with Dad?


But I never get angry at them for wanting to include me in their lives.


If I can only play for a minute, then I will will explain, “Sure honey, I can play but just for a minute”. The next question is invariably “But why Daddy?”.


A wonderful opportunity to share with the kids how my life works alongside theirs.


I have explained (several times) “Well honey because Daddy and Mummy has to work so we can have our lovely house, so you can go to your kinder to play with your friends and we can get nice food to eat”.


Sometimes that is acceptable and sometimes there is a follow up question of “Why?”.


“Well sweetie, its because Mummy and Daddy want these nice things, so we work to get them. Do you like living here?”




“Do you like going to your school?”




“Should we keep living here?”




“Great ok, so let’s play then Daddy has to get back to work, ok?”


“Ok Daddy. Now put this hat on….”


So while its definitely more time consuming to approach it like that, Ive just had a conversation with my child.


Now it is only one conversation and you could be fooled into thinking “Ah well, its just one conversation”. But remember, every conversation counts.


And as a Radical Dad caring about every conversation and interaction is important.




Because over time, the message it sends to the child is that they are important to “YOU”.


Consider the other scenario where your impulse is to get angry because you are busy and your child asks, “Daddy play with me?”.


Well you get angry, because;


“Doesn’t this kid know Ive got to get to work?” (No they dont).


“Don’t you realise that Ive got bills to pay, people to see, stuff to get done?” (No they dont)


“Dont they know Ive got a deadline of 3pm?” (No they dont).


Unless you explain it to them, no they have no freaking clue and why should they? And why should you hold that against them and get angry about it?


Consider the kids perspective.


They have made you an offer to play which is typically imaginative, fun and free.


They ask you “Daddy, come and play” and you respond with an emphatic “NO” and keep walking past them to do whatever it is you are doing. What message does that send?


Now compound it twice, three times, ten times, 20 times, 100 times 1000 times, 2000, 5000 times over 10 years. What is the message you are giving your child?


How many opportunities do you have do you think that you can brush your own child off before they start to think “Dad’s not interested.”


And you may not think one instance of brushing kids off is bad but its generally not an instance there is a pattern that exists.


I reckon you have about until they are 12 or 13 and they become teenagers.


Now this is when you really need them to hear you when you speak because they need guidance and a perspective they trust.


But why would they listen to you if you have been fobbing them off for the last 10 years because you deem your life more important than theirs? Your kids won’t ever forget that.


Simply, you cant afford to wait until they are teenagers to have a relationship with them. Its too late by then, you have missed your chance. Instead, you need to choose a relationship with them NOW.


Use all the opportunities you have presented to help build that relationship. And create opportunities of your own. Be available.


You don’t have very long with them where they will absorb everything you say and learn from it.


Likewise, there will come a day where they stop asking for a cuddle. There wont be an announcement, blaring music and a cavalcade of horses letting you know that after this day, your kids won’t ask for hugs. It will just happen.


So when my kids ask for a “cud cud” (our word for cuddle), I give it to them freely and without reservation. Becuse one day they will stop asking.


Just like how they will stop asking you to play with them. There wont be a marching band or a town crier or a V* hot lap to make the announcement. It will just stop.


So make the most of NOW.


These are the greatest opportunities to nurture and develop your kids.


To have an influence, to teach, to coach.


To give them the benefits of your knowledge and of the knowledge that’s been passed to you by previous generations.


This is what gives kids the platforms of success for the rest of their lives. Your interest in them dictates that to a very large extent.


This will help you get more time with them and is a really simple way to express your emotions to the kids through caring for them. They will see that.


Guys are sometimes challenged when it comes to caring, but when it comes down to it, its simply listening and caring enough to listen to what your kids are saying and sharing your thoughts.


Some people make fun of others who “don’t know” something. Don’t treat your kid like that. That’s weak.


Be a supportive coach, inspiring them from where they are now to where they can be. To a child, caring is spending time with them, listening and sharing in a supportive way.


That’s being a real man. A Radical Dad.


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A Radical Change of the Family Colours?

Paint Spot Pony


Its the end of the football season and a radical change has occurred.


I have twins. A boy and a girl. And they are three years old.


For their entire lives, every second day, I have sung many songs to them. But one song is extra special.


A song that, after three years, they have grown to like. To love. Its a song that is steeped in tradition. It has been sung since 1929 by thousands and thousands of people.


Its a song that, in the right conditions, brings a tear to my eye and a deep heaving of my chest. Its melodic trumpeting and looping tune makes it a great song to sing. Its a song to sing in large groups too. In stadiums. Full of passionate people.


I’ve sung it more times in the last three years with the kids than I have sung it in my entire life BK (Before Kids). It is of course, the Carlton Football Club theme song. And nothing better than when the players themselves belt it out after winning games.


Over the past winter, I’ve started to get excited. Really excited.


The kids would request the “Carlton song” in car trips and I really felt like the work I had put into singing it to the kids was really beginning to pay dividends. The theme song was becoming a part of their life and it was something that they would forever associate with their old man. A legacy, if you will. A song that will connect the kids with the Carlton family.


Now, that all seems to be coming undone at the seams.


You see, my family lives in West Footscray.


And as the crow flies (or dog runs) we are less than 900 metres from Whitten Oval, the home of the Western Bulldogs.


This last month has been superb for the Bulldogs. Its been extraordinary.


They won the AFL Grand Final.

Western Bulldogs AFL Premiers 2016 (source: http://www.woof.net.au)
Western Bulldogs AFL Premiers 2016 (source: http://www.woof.net.au)


They played a brand of football that raised the bar when it comes to intensity, determination and personal application to achieving a result.


And not a result for themselves, but a result for each other. And even though I am a long time Carlton man, I allowed myself the luxury of a “Bandwagon Permit”.


That is, where you embrace another side who is in the finals, to keep your interests up, when your team is on early holidays and not part of the September (October) action.


Now, I have lived in the west for over 16 years. In Yarraville, in Seddon and now West Footscray.


Now, for some reason, and its tough to admit, but I have an ethereal connection to the Club.


Is it because Ive been here for so long that after 16 years, I could almost be considered a local?


Was it because my first football club was Braybrook Football Club under 11’s where we made the finals and played on the Whitten Oval. Now the Whitten Oval is bigger than the MCG, so a big effort for under 11’s!


Was it that I had lived for a year in Braybook with my mum and step dad in the shadow of the Footscray Football Club?


Herbert Adams Footscray 1948
Herbert Adams Footscray 1948 (source: http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/12053634?q&versionId=14212757)

Or its it that Mum ran the Herbert Adams Cake Shop in the 70’s in the Footscray Mall and used to bring home the unsold cakes which as kids took to school to be devoured by class mates?


Is it because everyone loves an underdog story?


Is it because a number of close mates are Dogs supporters and I felt for them?


Especially after watching them fall so agonisingly close to the Grand Final over the past few years where previous great Bulldogs sides just couldnt crack the preliminary final barrier.


Is it because I really love the West as a place to live and raise kids?


Is it because of my family history and connections to Williamstown and Footscray since 1855? My grandfather, William Rupert White was a major advocate for government support for the establishment of a car engine manufacturing plant in Footscray in the 1930’s instead of GM?


Williamstown Hospital Women's Ward donated by JJ White
Williamstown Hospital Women’s Ward donated by benefactor JJ White. Source: The Bay to Look Upon: A History of the Williamstown Hospital by Lynne Strahan

Or because of William Rupert’s uncle John Joseph White, my great uncle who was a ship owner and maritime entrepreneur established on the banks of the Maribyrnong?



1917 Williamstown Hospital Women's Ward construction building dedication to late wife Agnes Fairbairne Turnbull
1917 Williamstown Hospital Women’s Ward construction building dedication to late wife Agnes Fairbairne Turnbull

John Joseph was quite the benefactor giving Williamstown Hospital a brand new Women’s ward building dedicating it to his wife who died almost 30 years earlier?


Was it because JJ White also funded the construction of the current Footscray Mechanics Institute in 1913?



Is it because the Bulldogs were on struggle street for so long? As a good mate used to say in mirth “rebuilding

Railway Hotel Yarraville
Railway Hotel Yarraville (Posted on Inner West (Melbourne) Buy, Swap & Sell by Kelly Hartley and shared on Inner West Community (Melbourne, Australia)).

since 1954″ and the sheer perceived impossibility of winning a premiership?


Seeing the Bulldogs players relaxed and enjoying the local cafes in the area like Common Galaxia, or Luxsmith (formerly Le Chien) or The Corner Shop?


Is it because of the well established older residents of the West that I see wearing their Bulldogs colours through winter?


The legions of kids wearing the Western Bulldogs jumpers in Winter, the epitome of hope for all things possible?


And hope, the fuel that runs football clubs, has always been in abundant supply in the west. Hope for a better footballing future.


Is it our talented citizens like William McInnes?


Is it the Railway that went all out and painted the pub red, white and blue?


Paint Spot Pony
The famous Footscray Paint Spot Pony

Or is it the famous white Footscray Paint Spot horse that was stolen a few months ago, but someone had a white pony statue they donated and for the grand final had been painted up red, white and blue by local kids?


Or is it the tragedy of Rodney Bright, the smiling 77 year old fellow who for 20 odd years had his own bench seat

Rodney Bright of West Footscray
Rodney Bright of West Footscray (source: Herald Sun)

inside Sims supermarket in West Footscray, where he would smile, greet and talk about his Bulldogs and finish every conversation with “Go Dogs”, who passed away in June 2016 and didn’t get to see this amazing premiership?



It’s not any one thing, its all these things. It’s the sense of community this part of the world instills in its inhabitants.


Footscray melting pot
Footscray melting pot (source: http://yomadic.com/melbourne-street-photography/

Is it because of the classic multicultural melting pot, its the eclecticness of the people and the area that make it interesting and appealing as a place to experience “the world”?


Now like most three year olds, they spend regular time with their nana and like most three year olds, they have names for their favourite parks.


There is the West Footscray oval that has two ponies on the gate, so that is “Pony Park”.


The Barkly Street park is predominantly a striking orange in colour, so that is “Orange Park”.


And Nana, a Collingwood supporter, makes the 900m walk from our house down to the adventure playground park at Whitten Oval with the twins, who have appropriately named it “Nana Park”.


Now that is all ok.


And, over the past month since the Bulldogs made the Finals, homes and businesses in the local area have done a magnificent job of making sure everywhere you looked, the Western Bulldogs colours of red, white and blue were highly and proudly visible.


Quite a spectacular sight.


However, I began to take serious note when the kids started to refer to each sighting of red, white and blue streamers as “Nana Park”.


Or of red white and blue balloon clusters; “See those balloons Dad? Nana Park”.


“Look Dad, Nana Park.”


All month, the kids took great joy in saying “Nana Park” everytime they saw balloons, team posters, streamers, Bulldogs jumpers hanging in window sills of homes and businesses as well as the Bulldogs flags, bunting, beanies and “WOOF WOOF” posters.


And that was ok. I could live with that. There was clearly a connection to Nana. And a connection to the park.


But what had innocently been born when Nana started taking the kids to the park and had taken what I consider to be a turn from the dark navy blue to materialise into a connection to the colours of red, white and blue.


Not navy blue. Red, white and blue.


And the real blow came when I was walking with my daughter along Victoria Street Seddon and she saw a WOOF WOOF poster with the Western Bulldogs logo at the bottom.


I jumped in anticipation and said “Look honey, Nana Park” pointing to the poster.


“No Dad” came the rebuttal, “That’s Bulldogs”.


You could have heard a pin drop. I was stunned. I didn’t expect this one. This had crept up on me. I didn’t know what to say other than “Is it? Oh ok, wow. Bulldogs hey?”.


“Yep Bulldogs Dad”, she said proudly puffing her chest out.


And in my embrace of all of the above romance via my Bandwagon Permit and a conspiracy of factors that all seemed innocent enough on their own made a cacophony of conspiracy leading my kids to the gates of Whitten Oval, to the very statue of Ted Whitten.


And clearly, my being swept up in the moment, I let all of this passion become visible to my kids. Very visible as I tried to encourage their intert in football.


Ever heard the saying “unintended consequences”? This is a confluence of unintended consequences.


Now, lets be honest, I’ve put a lot of work into getting my kids over to Carlton, but in the end, a community coming together for a club that is winning premierships gets kids to clubs.


A contact of mine who has worked in the AFL industry for the last 20 years tells me that you can mark membership surges in clubs by going back to premiership years and between 18-25 years later you get a boost in the numbers.


That’s because all the kids that watched premierships as kids suddenly become adults and start buying their own memberships, no longer included on the family membership as they strike out in life on their own.


So what is a Dad to do?


I really want the kids to follow Carlton so that we can all go to the footy together when they’re older.


At least my son doesn’t seem to be changing colours.


Or has he and he is keeping it a secret from me?


Does I keep encouraging the kids to follow my team, the Blues?


Or do I accept what appears to be the inevitable fate of allowing the kids to follow their own multiple passions of both Nana and the Bulldogs in red, white and blue?


Have you faced this before? What did you do?


What would you do?


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The Freedom of Goalsville

Radical Dads drive radical cars


What do you do when faced with tough decisions or a restriction on your freedom?


How do you handle them? How do you deal with them? How do you remain calm under pressure?


How do you see them coming?


How do you stay clear about what you want and how you manage yourself through that?


Do you drive yourself to near distraction avoiding the looming decisions?


How about distraction through self sabotaging patterns? Is this where your self destructive patterns of behaviour emerge?


Avoidance is a powerful distractor of achieving our goals. And its a great re-calibrator to occupy our time with the minutiae of utter mediocrity.


Now I can’t preach.


I have plenty of times where I avoid doing things that I know I need to do.


I sometimes find myself sneaking onto Facebook and its always a little comment I make to myself in my mind to justify it and its as simple as: “Oh I’ll just quickly check out what’s happening on Facebook”.


Sounds innocent enough doesn’t it? Facebook for a few minutes. See what is happening.


Well the reality is there is always something going on isnt there? Never have I “taken a look” and said to myself “oh, nothing happening” and go back to my work! Someone, a friend or a group Ive opted in to follow is always posting. Always. Always.


Its a false proposition I use to distract myself.


Now instead of gaming myself by saying I will check out Facebook to “see what is happening” I now say to myself:


“Ok I am going to spend 60 minutes of my life scrolling endlessly across hundreds of posts in the time I am never going to get back again”.


At least Im being honest with myself when I say that!


Based on past behaviour before I got on top of it, that was what characterised that time. Sometimes it was an hour, sometimes longer, sometimes 3 or 4. But changing my perspective and intentions changed my behaviour.


But what is also important is the context.


Is what Im doing at the time of the distraction a genuine part of my goals and objectives in life or not?


Now there is no right or wrong answers for this.


Let me explain why.


If the activity that you are doing IS part of your goals and objectives in life, then, what is pulling you away from the path you were meant to live?


If you are distracted from your goals, why is the distraction more important than your goals?


Do you feel like you are being smarter than your goals? Do you feel you are outsmarting “them” whoever “they” are?


Do you feel like you have loads of time and that this is just a harmless distraction?


Now it may come as a shock but some people spend their whole life distracted from who they are and who they are called to be.


Called to be, their true selves.


If you are on your path and you are doing what you need to do but you keep getting distracted, is it scaring you that you are on the true path you have laid out for yourself? It can be frightening for a lot of people. To be truly connected to their future.


Well with that comes much responsibility right? That part can be frightening, if you let it be frightening. Or not if you choose to kick its butt.


Part of getting over that is your work in the mornings to manage your thoughts and intentions on a daily basis.


I have a morning routine that allows me every moning to own my own thoughts, my feelings and my actions to minimise the distractions from my true, genuine work. Part of my process helps all that. And the outcome? More focus, more passion for my work and more time.


Go figure!


So because Im not distracted and Im spending my time on the tasks I am meant to be focused on, I get more of that done.


And by doing what I am meant to be doing, I dont have the anxiety in the afternoon and evening of feeling like Im behind and need to catch up.


Here is a tip: you can never catch up the time that you have wasted.


Never. Ever. Ever.


Even if you try to convince yourself that you can, buh bow, no you can’t its gone.


So as a result of having a morning process and routine, I get more done. Again, its true, discipline sets you free.


Now, lets talk about the reasons of you being distracted and lets just say you are NOT doing the activities and work that is aligned to your goals.


There are two main reasons for this.


Firstly, do you even have goals? Secondly, why not?


Do you have something that you want to achieve? And say “being rich” or “winning lotto” or “being cool” doesn’t count!


Guess what? Your amazingly intelligent combination of your brain, your feelings / intuition and soul will always manage you if you don’t manage them.


Always. 100% guarantee it.


And guess what? That is a frigging exhausting way to live! Day to day, hour to hour, moment to moment. Its EXHAUSTING! So much effort going into managing every single incident, every opportunity and every possibility. You only have so much energy to give each day. It is a finite amount, it really is. Especially if you are exhausted on activities that give you nothing in return.


Fuel to burn?


Imagine a car, with a tank full of gas. Your tank might hold 40, 50, 60 or even 70+ litres depending upon what you drive.

Radical Dads want the dream Aston Martin Rapide s
Aston Martin for Radical Dads


Imagine your own car. You have filled the tank before. How far can you travel on that? If you use the kilometres, write down the kilometres. If you use miles, write down the miles.


So if you need to travel somewhere, do you switch on the GPS and take the scenic route? No, I didn’t think so. Who has time for that? Most of us select the “fastest route” to our destination. So why don’t we do that with our goals??


Fastest route is preferable please!
Fastest route always for Radical Dads


Some of us are tight arses too and select “fastest route” with the other highly utilised filter, “avoid motorway tolls”!! Nothing wrong with that, its your money!


So you only have one tank, you have to make it to your goal or objective for the day and back. Can you do it? How will you use your fuel?


Starting to sound like the start of your day?


Now consider this; if your gas tank holds 60 litres, and you get 400 kilometres from that tank and you need to make a round trip to the next town (lets call it Goalsville) which is 190 kilometres away, 380 on the round trip, with no petrol stations, you have approximately 20 kilometres in reserve to make it back in one trip.


What happens if you take a 15km detour after the first 30 kilometres of traveling? Not much, you take in the amazing mountains, note how interesting it is, say to yourself “gee I wouldn’t have known about this place if I didn’t take an unplanned detour” and pat yourself on the back. You have driven 30kms towards your target, but 45kms in total. So you feel pretty good about your unexpected adventure and continue on.


Now you are 100kms further down the road and you see a series of signs on the side of the road telling you to turn off and check out the great craft beers at the Bright Brewery 15 kilometres to the left. And you resist the first few signs and exits but by the 5th or 6th time, you can almost taste the beer! You might have even heard of this brewery, or a mate might have told you about it or you saw it on facebook!


So you rationalise, “Ok well Im here now, I don’t know when Im going to be back here again, so I may as well check it out”. By the way more damaging words to say to yourself: “…I may as well…” as its a sure sign of conceding defeat in achieving your goals. So you take the detour and check out the craft beer brewery and man the beer is GOOD here! So you have a sample paddle, not too many because you are driving, and get back on the road. You have driven 160km towards your goal and 190kms in total.


You drive for another 10 kilometres. You are on the point of no return. You have travelled a total of 200kms but are still 20kms short of Goalsville.


You know you now have to make a choice and accept the “facts” that the car doesnt have enough petrol to reach Goalsville. “Man, I need a car that can get me where I want to go! Im sick of this technology – it never does what I want it to do and when are they going to make the range longer?”. It’s the car’s fault, isnt it?


This sinks in.


Now you look at your watch. “Oh man, its lunch time!!”.


So you know you cant get to Goalsville because you will not be able to get back back home. But man you are starving! So you pull off the highway and visit a small town about 5kms from the highway for lunch, because you still have the 10km reserve for the return trip.


So you use it. For lunch and “just” made it.


There are a couple of lunch specials so you select old faithful, a rib eye steak.

Rib eye steak
Does it get any better than a rib eye for lunch?

You meet some locals while you are waiting for your steak to cook and chat about the mountains you saw, the brewery you visited and they share even more information about the history of the town you are now in.


I mean it just sounds like a glorious day on the road. You have seen more than planned, you have tasted beers and eaten local food. Everyone marvels at how awesome your day has been. And backslaps you. And says “well done bro”.





Except, there is a now little nagging voice inside you and it won’t go away.


It is saying, “Yes its been interesting but we were meant to be in Goalsville by 11am and its now 1pm. And you can’t get there today. You are feeling good for all the wrong reasons. This is false. I don’t deserve to be socialising or eating rib eye steak because I havent reached Goalsville like I said I was going to do this morning”.


This voice hurts because its true. And its you. And you KNOW the truth. You can’t get there. Its not possible unless you want to run out of petrol on the way home.


So what is your response, nay justification? Same old same old faithful:  “I’ll do it tomorrow”.


And you try to enjoy your last mouthful of rib eye steak and drink the last mouthful of the local beer, get back in the car and head home, vowing “tomorrow will be different”. But your guts are churning and tomorrow won’t be different. It won’t.


So you didnt get to Goalsville! Why not?


I mean you had a great time, you learned stuff about mountains and craft beers and met interesting people right? Sounds like an interesting day yeah?


Oh yes, its an interesting day, if you are on HOLIDAYS.

Radical Dads reach goals
Reaching your goals or have you “let go”?

For sure, thats the kind of day that you would love to have on holiday right? But are you on holiday? No.


You are building the rest of your life, your legacy and today is the day you make the effort.


But you were distracted, even though it was fun, you didn’t make sacrifices. Yes sacrifices mean you miss out. In the short term.


You didn’t sacrifice short term gain for long terms rewards. You gave into the temptations.


Now you need to explain to your partner when they get home how your day went.


Will you tell them that you missed your goals? Got distracted? Or will you be like one of the barflys at the pub and bang on about what an awesome day you have had? Will you tell her you lost your way and didn’t reach your goals?


We all know, in reality, you lost. YOU LOST! You lost the initiative and you lost the chance to make something more of yourself.


So what should this trip have looked like?


I drove to Goalsville today and did 190kms in 2 hours getting there by 11am.


I saw a few interesting places to take my wife and kids to perhaps our next holiday.


I did what I needed to do in Goalsville and then came back after eating at Goalsville cafe.


Achieve goals impresses the women in your life
The look in the eye says everything

I got home about 2pm and just before I went home I took a detour to this great florist I know 10 kms out of my way and picked up some flowers for my wife / partner to surprise them when they got home. I even had time to fill the car up with fuel and made the session at the gym today.


When she got home I gave her the flowers and the chocolate I picked up, talked about what a great day I’d had reaching my goals and some holiday spots that we should check out one weekend either with or without the kids.


I guess you could say the look in her eye was one of sheer fucking admiration. She kissed me, man what a kiss that was!


I guess you could say I got lucky today? But you know what, the more I align myself to my goals, the luckier in life I get.


You choose.


So two very different approaches. Two very different outcomes.


Which is your way?


If finding out more about aligning yourself for success, YOUR personal version of success is of interest so you can get more freedom, more alignment  and more control over the things in life that are important to you, let me know.


What are some of the obstacles that you have that keep railroading your goals?


Leave a comment or PM me!


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What is my secret to raising $14,037.52 for a Dad’s Group?

Shave Radical Dad


I am still amazed by the generosity of people.


No amazed isnt the right word.
















High fiving.




But most of all, a deserving cause well supported.


We all live in a busy time. We all have things to do, jobs to go to, families to raise, friends to see. Life is very busy.


For people to recognise the value of the Books for Beards campaign and to make a contribution, well its just amazing. Its phenomenal. And its just downright altruistic.


And community spirited.


To bring you up to speed, Books for Beards is a campaign that is designed to support ease the experience of Dads who have a newborn baby in intensive care.


It is an experience no one can plan for. Its an experience that you simply have to go with. The experience happens to you. You have no choice.


Or do you? The feedback from NICU Dads will provide us with insight on that.


But I have had the opportunity to share some insights to a wide range of people and shine a light on a quiet pocket of Dadness.


Here is the story Im generally discussing with people:


Most Dads receive a text message saying there is an issue with their wife or partner’s pregnancy. On average in Australia that occurs when the baby’s gestational age is 32 weeks.


And its urgent.


Its needing attention.


And no, what you are doing cannot be finished or handed over.


You simply have to drop whatever it is you are doing and get to your partner, wherever she is. For some, she might already be in the hospital.


She might be at home. She could even be in the back of a cab or ambulance.


The point is that premature births do not discriminate. They can happen to anyone.


They can happen at anytime. It could be night or day. They can happen on any day of the week. And this is the debilitating aspect. It just happens.


You cant predict it it.


It just happens.


Now when something as serious as the life of your partner and child is at stake, the complete randomness of that experience affects people.




There is initial shock, there is anger, there is disbelief.


Except you dont have the luxury of that grieving process.


You just don’t.


Because the process is just not about you. Its about your wife, your partner and your unborn child. If you have older children, its kinda about them too.


Their lives are about to be majorly disrupted.


A recent Murdoch Children’s Institute study called the Victorian Infant Brain Study or “Vibes” found that up to 47% of Dads with a baby in intensive care expreienced serious anxiety or depression symptoms.


The rest of the “normal birth” Dads experienced a rate up to 10%.


That is a big difference, but is it suprising?


Well not the idea that a dad would be more concerned about a baby in intensive care, but the scale of 1 in two showing serious mental health challenges in anxiety and depression is alarming.


And then, six months later, up to 20% of the Dads with an intensive care baby are still showing signs of anxiety and depression compared to 10% of the population of Dads who had “normal births”.


That is one in five and that is still too high.


Its great the number is reducing over 6 months but its still too high.


These Dads aren’t exactly “enjoying” being a father.


Well they are probably enjoying being a father it at a certain level but there is a part of them that has changed. And probably changed forever.


Some men can’t cope and some men can. 


And its not something that can be fixed by saying (even in a helpful voice) “cheer up”! In fact thats probably the worst thing you can do for a NICU Dad.


So that’s the experience. But what are we going to do about it?


And out of the conversations with Dads, we are hoping to share the insights with new NICU Dads in the form of a support resource as either a book, an ebook, podcast and video.


We are going to chat with past NICU Dads about their experiences and how they got through being a NICU Dad.


Questions like:


What insights would you share with a Dad who has just found out that his child will be in Newborn Intensive Care Unit?


How did you balance managing your family, friends and work while your child was in NICU? How did you handle the jargon of the hospital environment? 


What did you do to support yourself? Was it effective? Would you do anything differently if you had to go through NICU again?


We will compile the responses and look for the themes that resonate.


Our book will have three main sections; the first is for immediate support at the point of a Dad having a child admitted to the NICU. Its for immediate reference and immediate insight. Its a section that is pragmatic and instantly usable.


It is simple insights and tips from past NICU Dads for new NICU Dads to eliminate some of the confusion of what they are walking into. Its designed to be simple to absorb, take on board and do something with.


The objective is to remove some of the confusion of a newborn being admitted to NICU. Its written by men, for men.


The second section is a jargon buster that the hospital will compile that will take the most frequently used phrases and terms to help decipher the barrier that jargon inadvertently creates when attempting to communicate.


The vast majority of medical staff will share and explain the terms and the actions behind the terms where possible, but often a NICU Dad is left wondering what it all means on his own, sitting by the humidicrib, or driving to and from the hospital or even having to be at work.


A jargon buster section will help decipher the newly indecipherable and give Dads the tools to learn and understand.


The third section is the long form conversation transcription of the NICU Dads experiences. Its designed to be verbatim so you can get the genuine feedback and insights from the NICU Dad’s own mouth.


No one likes this stuff sugar coated, and it wont be – it will be real and raw.


Finally, we will provide videos and podcasts of the interviews and make them available to new NICU Dads. Because a premature birth can occur anywhere, a NICU Dad ends up doing a lot of travelling between hospital and home or between hospital and short term accommodation if they don’t live near the hospital.


So there is a lot of thinking time. Or zoning out not thinking of anything time.


However, the opportunity to listen to how past NICU Dads made it through and the stories they can share can potentially provide new NICU Dads with hope and ideas about how to manage their time in the NICU.


The stories in either book, ebook, video or podcast form are designed to support Dads through the longer periods of time in the NICU. Most of that time is spent either travelling or sitting by their child’s bed.


Our ultimate objective?


Increase levels of personal control during seemingly uncontrollable times.


Reduce the levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms we know Dad’s can experience through the process.


Help reduce the vice-like experience of so much new stuff all around you.


Do this to enable greater recognition of what is within the Dads ability to influence and what isnt.


And work with what he can influence and not to worry about what he cant.


The feedback from Contributors


We have received a lot of feedback.


Here are some of the amazing and encouraging comments:


LIAM  •  05 AUG 2016
Never met you before mate, but as a paramedic, nurse, and most importantly a full-time beard-wearer, I have to donate. Great job champion! Just make sure you grow that beard back once you shave it off (you will miss it, and it will miss you!). Liam


CHANEL •  16 AUG 2016
This is a fantastic project. As a student nurse I read biographies to understand what patients and their families experience when receiving care. It helps with developing a more holistic nursing practice. I have read a few narratives from mothers describing their experience through difficult pregnancies and subsequently their baby’s time in the NICU. I would be interested in reading about this topic from a father’s perspective, to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges men face. Good luck, I hope you can make a difference to future fathers.


CHRIS • 11 JUL 2016
My daughter M, spent 7 weeks in NICU last year. I remember the late nights, tears and feeling of helplessness, but also the amazing support of the doctors and staff there. The day we got to bring her home was the best day of our lives and now we have a perfect, happy 15 month old bundle of joy. Great cause Radford, happy to help in any way I can.


ROBERT • 20 JUL 2016
Great initiative for a sometimes forgotten group going through a tough time, great work.


There are more great feedback from contributors, but will share that at another time.





Lastly but not the least, there is an amazing team supporting Books for Beards.


At the Royal Women’s there was The Women’s Foundation CEO, Jan Chisholm and The Women’s CEO, Sue Matthews were both incredibly supportive.


In the media team, Michelle Carnovale had just joined The Women’s and Books for Beards was one her first gigs. She did an amazing job creating support and much media interest. Many thanks to Robyn Riley, PR Manager at the Women’s for putting Michelle in charge of the project!


The entire NICU team have been brilliant, especially Dr Carl, Dr Tim and Dr Omar for their tireless work on helping Dads. Dr Tim grew an amazing beard for the program and encouraged a number of his colleagues to make a contribution – collectively over $3000!


And my fellow NICU Dad, Rodney Wilson was a sterling contributor on a number of levels. We have had many chats about the experiences we have both been through and how it can be improved for future NICU Dads. PLUS he made the papers in Mildura and promoted Books for Beards. Rodney has also been the first NICU Dad go through the interview process. Well done Rodney!


The great barber FAB from Uncle Roccos in Port Melbourne who completed the gargantuan task of shaving off the beard. Dads and lads, check him out at www.uncleroccos.com.au and do yourself a favour!

Uncle roccos port melbourne


We have also had Ginger Studios come on board to offer their amazing studio support around the technicals of the audio of the videos and podcasts – brilliant work Jimi – check these guys out at www.ginger-studios.com!


Last but not least, my wife Kirsten and Rupert and Maisie who have been the inspiration all along the journey for Books for Beards and will continue to be so, have been right behind me from Day 1. They are a bit sad the beard has gone, but its a distant memory now but photos of the beard make them giggle.


Thanks to everyone who supported Books for Beards – it truly means a lot and has been warmly valued and appreciated!



So, what is the secret to smashing your fundraising target?


Send me a note or leave a comment here if you are interested in finding out more.


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What does Family mean to you?

Ancestry legacy


Today I want to share an excerpt from the book that Im writing about Radical Dads and thoughts on family and what it means.


Its a bit of a manifesto, a guide if you like about what a Radical Dad is all about and who he needs to be.


Who is he when he turns up?


What does he need to consider and what does he need to do to reach his full potential as a Radical Dad. Using some traditions, but letting go of the ones that are no longer working for him in the modern world. And its easier said than done.


Below is a chapter that Im working on around family. Its not finished yet but I really wanted to include it so you could get a good look at it. Let me know if its something that you would like to read more of. There are other chapter, mainly around the 7 pillars of being a Radical Dad. Let me know if you would find that interesting and wanna hear more!


Excerpt from The Radical Dads Manifesto (working title):


What is the meaning of family?


Let’s explore some of the ways that a family can develop.


You are the product of your parents, and they are the product of your parents’ parents and so on.
You can go on back until time immemorial.


It’s something that is not touched upon very often but there is a genetic structure that is completely unique to you. Its pathways has not nor ever will be recreated. The genetic code is one of a kind. This is not new.


However, consider the efforts and hardships your parents went through to raise you. For Radical Dads without a Dad or Mum, this is even more an intense struggle your single parent went through.


Now we may not always agree with what they did and sometimes we have so many confronting and challenging thoughts when it comes to parents and not all of them rational nor reasonable.


A Radical dad identifies, challenges and resolves those issues.


But now think about your grandparents.


The era they went through, the wars they saw.


The difficult economic conditions.


The limitations of daily life.


The monotony, the routines.


The (uneven) distribution of wealth.


The majority of our grandparents worked hard, very hard, to scrape together to make a family with your parents.


Like most families there is always history and politics (its a family!).


But I just want you to consider at a very very high level that their whole life was spent struggling and making life as enjoyable and pleasant as possible.


Sure, some more than others but you get the picture. If you had to sum up your grandparents life in one sentence how would you do it?


For me it would be: “Created a large family, worked hard in their chosen professions to be skilled and knowledgeable and loved their children and grandchildren in a tough Victorian manner”.


Have you done that?


Now think about your great grandparents.


Did you know them?


Do you know anything about them?


Do you have any idea about what they did?


What were their professions?


How many kids did they have?


Where did they live?


Were they born in your country or came from abroad?


What was their life like?


Did they have any challenges along the way?


Why did your great grandparents get married?


Where did they get married?


Are they still alive? If not, do you know where they are buried?


Which cemetery? Have you been to their graves to pay respects?


Now, for a lot of aspiring Radical Dads, this is an area where they have little or no knowledge.


Maybe a bit of information here and there, but after grandparents it really becomes a black hole about family history.


What about these great grandparents? They are real. They existed. Their actions directly contributed to your very existence.


Why don’t you know more?


What about great great grandparents?


Now should it make a difference whether you have met them or not?


Some people have the bizarre attitude that if they haven’t met family members then they are treated as “strangers” and given low care. Some think because they have not met them or are deceased that they cannot help them in current days. Nothing could be further from the truth.


Do you know if you understand your family’s history you will better understand yourself?
Its not such a bizarre concept.


Let me explain.


Ive done some significant research on my family history and managed to go back as far at 1600’s. Both sides of the family had their origins in London and Cornwall. Now, the English kept meticulous records, but my surname, White, is extremely common. So I can only go back so far, but I’ve gone back 6 generations.


Big deal?


Well what I uncovered was so amazing, so unbelievable it confirmed a number of intuitions I’d had.


For example, Ive always had some sort of attachment to Williamstown.


Even though my grandparents lived and raised my mother in Port Melbourne.


Now Port Melbourne in Australian Football circles are arch rivals with Williamstown, across the river. And I even played with Port Melbourne for a couple of years ( I was an outstanding Reserves grade player but never made the senior list).


But I never felt that animosity for Williamstown. In fact, I kinda liked the place.


Now, whether as a child it was going down to the Harbour Trust where my brother did his boat building apprenticeship or where my father used to sail his impulsively bought yacht infrequently, I might add. I do not know.


As it turns out, my father’s great grandparents, uncles and aunties arrived and settled in Williamstown in 1855, 20 years after Melbourne was established. Coincidence? Maybe.


My brother completed his boat building apprenticeship at the Melbourne Harbour trust based in Williamstown. My father Charles also liked yachts, but his father, my grandfather William, did not.


But my great great grand uncle was a successful Mariner and Ship’s Captain, having come from being a barge owner on the Thames in London, England to coming to Australia and ultimately being a successful businessman in the shipping industry owning ships now, rather than sailing them.


He set up boat building business on the Maribyrnong river and was quite successful.


When I drew the link for my brother that our family history was so heavily maritime oriented, it didn’t make an initial impression on him. But then he came to appreciate the long line of family history actually meant something…a tradition he didn’t know of. He was part of a family legacy he didn’t know about. Until I had discovered it for him.
And this is my point.


Our family history creates legacies.


We don’t all follow in the footsteps professionally of our families, some do, but with the changing nature of work and the impact of technology, it’s likely there won’t be many parallels for future generations.
However, what is the main legacy to take?


Its that generation after generation after generation of your family worked hard, did the best they could with the circumstances of their lives and made the best of it. Their entire lives contribute to you today no doubt about it.


Now think of this; if you had a chance to meet your great great grandparents from say 100 years ago, could you look them in the eye and say that you are making the most of your opportunities today?


Could you compare your lives and would you have anything to complain about?


Could you make them proud with what you have achieved?


Now go back another 100 years. We are only talking about the 1800’s here. It’s not that long ago in the entire scheme of time. Think about the rudimentary and most likely harsh conditions they most likely lived in. The division of wealth was never starker.


The poor were poor and the rich were the ruling elite.


Now tell your great great great great grandparents how you are unhappy you have to wait 30 seconds for your computer to turn on so you can do some online banking? How you are thinking about renovating your house. That you are also looking at buying a new car because the model you have is a couple of years old now.


That you have just bought a new winter jacket because your previous one is now longer fashionable or even worse, it doesn’t fit your expanding girth from too many takeaways or steak dinners.


What would their response be?


They are probably eating some sort of vegetable religiously as a staple because they grew it. Meat would be a rarity, possibly monthly? Transport would have been by foot or horse and cart.


There was no banking system available to the the majority of the population. And most didn’t earn enough to even warrant having a bank account.


No electricity for lighting and heating let alone running an abacus – the closest thing to a computer. Heating was burning wood and there was no air conditioning.


Clearly different eras.


And the question I ask is this:


How are you honoring the efforts and the contributions of those who came before you?


Could you look your ancestors both recent and long past in the eye and say you have made the most of your life?
Or will you have to justify your time on the Xbox?


Or endless online searching for facebook likes, shocking videos or even the endless pornography search men a renowned to do (1 in 5 searches is porn oriented – hello? Stop wasting your life!!).


Now, how do you explain that to past generations?


And it’s easy to dismiss the comparisons with past generations when it comes to modern society and the sheer volume and availability of resources to be successful.


There are people in this world who are STILL living like this RIGHT NOW.


The dark ages is not a time consigned to the history books. It might be for westernised countries but for some people in some parts of the world they are still living in the dark ages.


They are still awaiting this revolution of westernisation with all its trappings that we take for granted.


Some of these people are living in your country right now.


So think about the blood, sweat and tears your ancestors have contributed that has enabled you to live in the privileged manner in which you now live your life compared to other parts of the world.


Now I completely appreciate that as individuals, we all have made our own contributions and in most cases, you are your own person and I 100% agree with you that you are responsible for your success. But the key is that you don’t owe anyone except your family to ensure a great life.


HOWEVER, having a respect for your ancestors and the contribution their lives had made to your life even in a small amount is one of the reasons you have made it to this point in life today.


Can family achievements be passed from one generation to another?


Here is a cool thought.


A figure in the history of psychology, Carl jung, had a theory that there is a “collective unconsciousness” within humankind.
“The collective unconscious is … universal …, that is, every human being is endowed with this …layer since his/her birth. One can not acquire this (layer) by education or other conscious effort because it is innate.”


That the knowledge and understanding developed and problems solved from one generation, means the next generation does not need to (re)solve the same problems. They simply continue on to the next set of problems to solve to improve quality of life in life’s inherent challenges.


The point is that the collective unconscious doesn’t go backwards. It only goes forwards.


Your own family has a line of the “collective unconscious”.


All of the lessons your ancestors have learnt through their lives means that you have been the beneficiary of that knowledge, albeit in a subtle, silent way in most cases.


This is best highlighted when thinking about families that you know that either haven’t solved some of these problems yet or the families that have solved a lot of problems and live happy and well.


Or have you ever watched the TV show “Who Do You Think You Are?”.


This personifies the enabling of the collective unconscious of a family. Tracking down the history, through various circumstances over time inevitably brings the searcher to a greater enlightenment and understanding of themselves and other family members.


Its powerful stuff. Things just “make more sense”.


It extraordinary how understanding family history can improve your outlook and motivations for the future.
This is your family line’s own unique “collective unconscious”. I’d go so far as to say each person has their own “collective unconscious” which when all family members are brought together, great a family unit of “collective unconsciousness”.


Its an extraordinary concept.


A Radical Dad embraces their family history and resolve himself to improve upon it.




Because the Radical Dad recognises that he has a responsibility to learn and understand the family history of his child’s parents.


To share that history with his child and ensuring the history is not lost but maintained throughout his generation.


And finally, equipping the next generation to be able to have those discussions with their children.


Having a strong sense of family history can also help children feel grounded in an ever changing world.
For a Radical Dad, it also provides an immense resource to talk about the importance of family and support and being on the same team.


It also opens the doors for history discussions and comparing the past to today, which goes some way to kids learning to appreciate what they have right now.



AAAAND that’s just part of the excerpt……..!


If you wanna find out more, give me a big HELL YES in the comments section below!! Let me know if there are any aspects of family you would like me to explore and discover.


How I found out about my family? What tools did I use to research quickly and easily? How did I do about a third of my research on the train traveling to and from work?


What other areas of what it means to be a family could I cover that you would be interested in exploring??


Tell me in the comments below.


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