Bringing Chivalry Back

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On the last day of 2015 I saw something online that is rare in this day and age.  An act of chivalry, caught on camera and shared for the world to see.  The short clip highlighted an Ottawa bus driver named Carlo Defilice, going above and beyond the call of duty to leave his bus and usher his patrons safely aboard amidst the first major winter storm of the year.  Carlo rolled up his sleeves (literally) and lent a hand to all passengers — male and female, young and old and before sitting back down cleared a path for the next passengers that would be entering his vehicle.  Carlo was a living example that kind people who are passionate about their job and their customers don’t only exist but are appreciated. The video, though short — was sweet and the fact that it went viral gave me hope that 2016 could be the year of chivalry.


Before chivalry can make a comeback, I think it first must be fully understood so I wanted to take a quick moment to highlight some of the main components and to dispel some misconceptions.  It is my hope that we can all be Champions for Chivalry this upcoming year and shine a light on acts of kindness across all of our social media platforms or just give pat someone on the back in person to show them their efforts did not go unnoticed.

Merriam Webster defines chivalry as:

“the system of values (such as loyalty and honor) that knights in the Middle Ages were expected to follow”

Note that the original context had nothing to do with behaviour in relation to woman specifically.  Chivalry encompasses behaviour toward all of humanity — although the Chivralic Code does have a clause relating to women which we’ll get into later, the concept is much more far reaching than that.  Keep in mind that there were female knights — Joan of Arc is probably the most famous — so the chivalric order is not simply a boys club.

The Code I mentioned above has a number of commandments that all knights and dames in the Chivralic Order were to abide by.  I wanted to emphasize five that could really make a significant impact if they were given more thought these days rather than just thinking that opening doors and pulling out chairs were how to be kind to others.

To protect the weak and defenceless

One of the most important responsibilities of The Order was to serve and protect the weak.  We have so many people in need and a growing number of people that want to put themselves first.  We need to focus our ice-bucket-challenge-300x300attention on helping those that need it most.  I’d also like to emphasis that if you are choosing to donate your time or money — to do your research and send support charities that are important to you.  There are a number of organizations that pop up as the charity-du-jour but without having a knowledge of where your money is really going or who is gaining the benefit you could be making less of an impact than you really intended.

To refrain from the wanton giving of offence

Everyone is either offending someone or getting offended these days.  The Chivralic Code tells us that we need to refrain from deliberately offending anyone.  imagesSo for those that take shelter behind their keyboard and aim to hurt and bully people online or in person.  Just cut it out.  Furthermore, for those that are looking to be offended with everything they read on the Internet or see on TV — lighten up.


To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit

Be just, kind and honest.  Its a simple recipe for a better world.  I know that these are the things we try to drill intoimages our children’s heads from the time they are babies but when we get older we get away from this a bit.
For chivalry to make a comeback, I think this is really the foundation.  These three negative acts are really at the core of the majority of issues facing society today — especially our youth.  Bullying, sexual assault and various forms of online shaming are all built on a foundation of hate, intolerance and the need to take advantage of others.  The easiest way we can teach our kids these virtues is to be kind to other parents.  Let’s say ‘Hi’ in the morning, compliment each other or send a note home in their school bag telling them something great that their kid did that day.  We need to let our children know that they shouldn’t be afraid to be friendly and that small, intentional acts can really lift someone spirits.  There is strength in numbers and the more parents that band together and display kindness on a regular basis — the more kids we will have doing the same on the playground.

To despise pecuniary reward
Okay, I’ll be honest — I had to look it up.  Pecuniary rewards are financial in nature.  Basically what this is saying is to do things because of how they help the greate good.  I think in this day and age we should extend this to “likes” and “hearts”.  Don’t postUnknown pictures or comments merely to garner attention.  Let’s use social media to try and shine a light on the good in others — not simply for personal gain.

To respect the honour of women

Okay, so as I said before The Code does specifically give a shout out to all the ladies in our lives but I think the wording is very important. It doesn’t say that woman can’t do things that men can do so they need special treatment, it does however underline that their honour should respected at all times (because I think some men need the reminder).  They are equals and should be treated as such.  It makes no reference to pulling their chairs out or putting your coat over puddles but quite the contrary.  Respect them like you would anyone else.  Period.  This is important to take note of, especially if we have any hope of spreading the positive stories about chivalry in today’s society.  woman-paying-bill-at-restaurantVery recently a Facebook post about a little boy who took his Mom out to lunch and paid for it with his own money took quite the turn when the poster received a heavy backlash.
Many people thought that teaching a young boy that it is their responsibility to pay for meals and spend his money on his mother (or in the future – a woman) was counter productive to his development.  Whether you agree or not, I think the point of bringing back chivalry is to focus on being kind to everyone and finding those unsung heroes amongst us that are going the extra mile to honour one another without expecting anything in return.

In closing, I’d like to salute Mr. DiFelice as a shining example of how we should all treat each other and also kudos to Adriesca Julot for sharing this act of chivalry to the world.  Hopefully, if more people can embrace this code and focus on acts of kindness this year we can make chivalry go viral in 2016!















The Lager Factor

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From the moment I first found out we were pregnant with our first child I have been trying to budget and plan for all of the various expenditures that come with being a parent.  From diapers, daycare and Disney in the near future to cars, tuitions and weddings in the long term — the list of endeavours that will require funding can be daunting.  Like any responsible couple, we have cut as many corners as possible but it seems like “getting ahead” is an exercise in futility.  In my on going quest to obtain financial freedom I have come up with a concept that can not only help everyone put away a few extra bucks every month but also reduce some of the strain on your marriage.  The strategy is simple however it will require a sacrifice.


My strategy is based on the popular financial model that was coined in 2006 by David Bach known as The Latte Factor.  UnknownBach postulated that if an individual decided to forego their morning coffee (and cookie) each morning and instead invested these small amounts of money consistently that by the end of 30 years they would be able to retire with a million dollars.  Though the math has been debunked, the concept still remains a sound ideology for financial success.  Find areas where you spend money unnecessarily and instead re-invest this to obtain gains in the future.

The Lager Factor has one simple rule.

“Avoid drinking any beer that you have to pay for yourself”

The reason this is a great strategy is because it doesn’t stop you from drinking beer, it just limits your consumptions to events where beer is provided free of charge.

Weddings? Absolutely!


Office Christmas?  Drink up!


Drinks with the boys!  No doubt, just leave before its your turn to buy a round.


All of these types of events will provide you with plenty of opportunities to get your drink on without having to spend any of your own money.  If you are able to avoid buying a couple cases of beer a month and pass up on ordering a drink or two when you go out for dinner you can quickly put together $150 a month in savings which is right in line with the amount Mr. Bach indicated would be required to retire a millionaire.

If you can reduce the amount of beer you are drinking you will also see a multitude of improvements in other areas:

Health:  Reduce the beer and you’ll reduce the beer belly.  You should see a pretty significant improvement in your waistline if you swap your wobbly pops for water.



Hydration:  Studies show that the more hydrated we are the better we feel.  Beer dehydrates us severely.  Water does the opposite.  Drink more water and you’ll see an immediate increase in your energy and how you feel

Heart:  Sure, it’s better for your ticker but I was thinking more in the way of romance.  Just think that if instead of dropping into the local beer store every couple of weeks you instead picked up a bouquet of flowers for your wife or a special dessert for your kids.  The cost is the same but the benefits are much greater.



With the New Year approaching, there is no better time to start to implement this program.  This is the perfect resolution, a guaranteed way to improve your health, wealth and happiness by following one simple rule.  If you are looking for a way to make some significant improvements in 2016 — give The Lager Factor a try and ring in the New Year right!  Just make sure the New Year’s Eve party has an open bar.







The Infantry: Volume 1

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I’ve been trying to get the full version of The Infantry completed and posted for a while but there have been some minor tweaks required before I could publish it.

Thanks to some great work by my partner, Ryan Rogers we have a completed book to share with everyone.

I’m really happy with the finished product and we do have some new ideas for the squad to tackle in the upcoming year — its just a matter of finding the time to churn them out.

I want to thank Ryan for his incredible work.  His artistic interpretation of the concept got stronger and stronger as we went and it was a truly remarkable experience creating this with him.  You can check out the rest of his work at his blog — Spring Chickens

So without further ado!  The Infantry: Volume 1 (Full Version) pdf is now available!  Check out the link to the file below (its pretty big so be mindful of your data plan before proceeding).

The Infantry-Volume_1 (Full)

Please enjoy and we’d love to hear your comments and feedback so comment, like and share!



Bedhead Bling: Managing Morning Meltdowns

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I am in no way, shape or form a morning person but I’m finding out very quickly that my 5 year old has a an even bigger hate on for her early AM wake up call than I do.  For that matter, she doesn’t like being woken up in general.  If she happens to fall sleep in the car or drift of for a cat nap on a weekend things are usually uneventful if she rouses on her own but if she is forced to leave Dreamland before she is ready — a meltdown is imminent.

That’s why in the morning, when I tip toe to her bed side and catch a glimpse of a comfortably bundled little girl with a mouth hanging open catching flies, pillow impressions on her cheek and a tangled mess of hair covering her precious face — I’ve got a major issue on my hands.

I know when that Bedhead Bling — that can only mean one thing. Take cover and prepare for a meltdown.



Fear not though, if you are finding yourself in a similar situation I think I’ve come up with a potential solution to the problem.  By leveraging the wisdom of famed self help guru, Brendon Burchard and the example of Degrassi star turned hip hop icon, Drake.  I’ve implemented a solution that has totally revolutionized our morning and is getting everyone off on the right foot both literally and figuratively.

The inspiration came to me while I was watching some great free video content that Brandon Burchard posts on Youtube which cover a variety of subjects from goal setting, people management and confidence to meditation, self awareness and relationship advice.  One of the interesting points that he brings up is the following:

“To master our psychology, we must first master our physiology”

Not only does exercise get your blood flowing and your brain engaged but it provides you with a chance to think about what is ahead that day rather than focus on how badly you want to lie in bed.  With this concept in mind, I thought that I could apply it to mornings with my kids but had to figure out the right way to do it.  I don’t think it is recommended that they use a treadmill at this age and Mom would be against going for a pajama clad run before breakfast so I was kind of stumped.  Until I saw all the memes of Aubrey Graham lighting up the Internet.

That’s when the Morning Dance Party was born!


Starting the day with a short dance session has a multitude of benefits.

1. Something to look forward to

Since we’ve introduced our early AM ritual the kids have sprung out of bed, on most days, in anticipation of getting their groove on.  I don’t know how long this momentum will continue but we haven’t had any cranky mornings in over a week.  There is also an added benefit that bedtime seems to go more smoothly because they want to be well rested so they can get a good dance in, in the morning.


**Warning:  Do not use removal of Dance Party as a consequence.  Early on, when I saw how well they were working in the morning I thought I could use the fun of the dance party as a consequence for poor behaviour at night.  Remember, this is a good practice for both mind and body.  It should be something that happens regardless of how they acted the previous day.  We want to focus on the fact that today is a new day and carrying over negativity from the previous day is counter productive.

2.  Quality Time

There is no better way to spend time with your kids than acting a little bit silly.  The laughter that fills the house, where tears used to be is worth its weight in gold.  Have fun, do some goofy dad (or mom)  moves and encourage your kids to do the same.   It also provides an opportunity to use some of their screen time to work with you on creating playlists of the songs that they would enjoy hearing.  Make unique or themed songs for special days.  It can really be used as an educational tool as well as a means to enrich their appreciation for music.

Our main playlist consists of Shake It Off, Wildest Dreams, Blank Space….. its the Taylor Swift album (I’d post an image but I don’t want to get sued)

3. Sneaky Cardio

It is integral that YOU participate! If you get the right track going you’ll notice that your heart rate will increase and you will feel a little more limber when you are done. It really is a covert way to get in some exercise when you’d be otherwise sitting on your butt


4.  Positive Outlook – Optimism

We should all really start the day with a great appreciation for the fact that we woke up at all.  Teaching your kids that finding positivity and optimsim as a driving force to wake up bright and ready to face the day is something that we should all strive for when they are young.  Every day will not start out on a positive note, there will be times when the morning ritual will be shunned and you’re attempts to rouse your youngsters will fall flat.  I tell you to perservere.  Put on the music anyway!  Dance like no one is watching and eventually they will come around — they always do because let’s be honest, when the beat kicks in, kids can’t stop themselves from dancing.



If you have a cranky riser, give the morning dance party a try and let me know if it worked for you but be please mind the following disclaimer:

Morning Dance Parties in moderation are a great way to start the day by encouraging activity, fun and positive thinking but please dance resposibly.  If you allow it to get out of hand you may be force to attend Salsa lessons or worse……




If you are interested in checking out more of Brendon Burchard videos you can find them at the link below:

Ghost Pepper Tantrums!

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Every since my oldest daughter turned two, I have been on a mission to understand the dynamics of the temper tantrum. How kids can go from a perfectly happy little cherub to a possessed demon in a matter of seconds is an incredible phenomena to witness but I was pretty sure, based on all the things that I had been reading, that I was doing something wrong.  The delicate balance of not giving in to the child’s demands while defusing their outburst and still remaining a trusting and loving support system, at times, appears like an impossible feat.  It wasn’t until I watched a few Ghost Pepper Challenge videos (if you haven’t seen any there are links for some of the better ones below) that it crystallized for me and I’ve been able to use many of the techniques that I’ll discuss below to navigate through some pretty epic meltdowns in recent days.

Photo courtesy of Rockworld East Merchandise
Photo credit: Rockworld East Merchandise

So, how does the Ghost Pepper Challenge help us when our kids are kicking up a fuss?  Simply put, The Ghost Pepper Challenge is the closest simulation of an adult temper tantrum you can witness.  There is a physiological and mental response to something that the individual believes is out of their control.  If you listen to the folks taping the experience you will hear a very different approach to dealing with these adults however than we use to deal with our kids in their time of crisis of mind and body.

Step 1:  Feel the Burn

If you watch enough of these videos you will notice that the first question anyone asks is:”What are you feeling?”  In this case it is generally for selfish reasons.  They are not up to the challenge of trying it themselves so they are living vicariously through the brave soul taking on the challenge.  The fact remains, they ask them to explain exactly what they are feeling.  This is the most important thing to do when dealing with a child having a tantrum.  Continue to ask what they are feeling until they can put it into words.  Usually children will be feeling one of six things which are also consistent with the Ghost Pepper Videos.44923954

Embarrassment/Shame – “I’m so stupid, why did I eat this thing?!?”

Pain – “Oh God! It hurts so much!”

Anger – “I am going to kill you for suggesting I do this!”

Fear – “Oh God,  I don’t think this will ever stop.  I’m going to die!”

Regret\Guilt – “I never should have done this!”

Lack of Attention – *If people paid attention to me I wouldn’t have to post videos of myself performing ridiculous challenges on the Internet*

If your child is really struggling and maybe this style of dealing with their emotions is new to them you can lead them there if you think you know what might be the problem.  Careful though, don’t assume you know why they are upset.  In one case, I thought that my daughter was mad because I was asking her to clean up her toys but when I actually asked her, she indicated that I hadn’t spent any time playing with her after work and now that I was asking her to clean up she thought the chance to play with me was done for the day.  She didn’t care about the task I assigned, she was upset about what the task meant and the lack of attention she had received that day.  My bad.  Let’s deal with that.  The Ghost Pepper videos are a clear reminder to us that first and foremost we need to know what they are feeling so that we can better understand how to move forward.

Step 2:  Provide a Fire Escape

The second thing I find remarkable about many of the Challenge videos is that once the individual starts feeling uncomfortable, their instinct is to MOVE.  In many cases they have no destination and they don’t know why but they need to not be where they are.  This is a stark contrast to the leeway we allow our kids when they are upset.

Sit on that step. Stay in that room.  Don’t move.  We’ve probably all been guilty of that.

zack20morrisKeep in mind, that dealing with emotions is not a static endeavour.  Let your kids move and work out their problems in a non restrictive environment.  But like the folks in the video, maintain a close distance and keep them “in the frame”.  They are free to move about the cabin but ensure them that you will be right there with them until they deal with whatever it is that is bothering them.  I also find it helpful to try and redirect their emotions while they re moving with some questions.

“Does it make you feel better to walk around a bit?”

“Do you want to step outside and get some fresh air?”

This reinforces that they are open to move around, if it helps them feel better.  It also helps in a scenario where you are in a public place because you can take the opportunity to remove them from the store/restaurant and deal with it outside.

Step 3:  Beat the Heat

This was the main thing that drove home when I was watching these videos.  There are so many times that during temper tantrums, we as parents withhold things from our kids that can help counteract their negative feelings.  In most cases, or at least in my personal experience, kids want hugs or reassurance when they are in the midst of a big tantrum.  Many times I’ve seen that part of the negotiation is that they will get hugs and kisses when they stop acting out.  This to me, is like telling the guy who just ate a 1 million Scoville pepper that they can have some ice cream when they stop screaming in agony.  It doesn’t make sense, they need it now.  So, in my opinion — if they have told you what they are feeling and have allowed you to change scenery then give them what they need, even if they are in the midst of an emotional outburst.  Keep in mind, it is still important to ensure you are giving them what they need and not simply what they want.  If someone in these videos asks for water, they are always told that “Water makes it worse”.  UnknownWe can’t just give in to what the child wants, but we can redirect them to what they need in order to help them with what they are feeling.  That is your job during these tough times, to listen and give them the guidance to help them process their emotions

Step 4:  Battle the Blaze…..Together

Allow your kids the time needed to de-escalate.  And support them while they do it.  Throughout these Pepper Challenges you’ll note that they camera folks hang in and keep asking  how the person is feeling right until the end  The viewer can tell when the crisis is over and the Challenger usually says the same thing.  They track the path of pain from their mouth, into the throat (which seems to be the worst), slowly down through their stomach and they verbalize all the changes.  Then, when it subsides they usually indicate “Okay, that’s better.  It’s getting better”  This is a perfect model for how we can help our kids through their struggles.  The initial “How are you feeling question” needs to be asked and re-asked until the tantrum is over.  You will see that their feelings slowly change and evolve as they more fully process their emotions and much like the videos…you’ll know when its over without them even telling you.

Once you start to implement this process, which isn’t new but really hits home when you watch these videos — you will notice that kids are just younger versions of adults.  They handle stress in a very similar way they just have older people that live with them who get in the way and make it harder.  In my personal experience, the outbursts have gotten shorter and less aggressive.  I hope that this can help you better handle the heat of your youngster.  I’m sure it won’t work for everyone — there are Carolina Reaper level kids out there that may need a different plan of attack but it should take some of the sting out of your little Jalapeño in no time.

You can check out one of the better Ghost Pepper Challenge videos below:

Good Mythical Morning – Ghost Pepper Challenge

You can find the Red Hot Chilli Peppers onesie above at:

Rockworld East