Ideal parents

Few human beings have or are ideal parents. As a species we are too complex to be ideal in any of our relationships, never mind that most exacting one of parent and child. Yet the vast majority of parents really do want to do their very best for their children and are hurt and bewildered […]

New parenthood

There are few shocks to the human system ruder than becoming a parent.  From one day to the next your own not entirely unselfish needs, desires and wants must be wholeheartedly surrendered to those of a human being who, while appearing to be extremely small, in fact looms extremely large.  You – and no one […]

Middle Eastern grief

It was impossible to remain unmoved by recent images of Israelis being dragged from their homes in the Gaza strip (September 05).  Perhaps the most agonising element was that young Israeli soldiers (many of them conscripts) had to enforce a highly contentious government decision and endure at first hand the grief and rage of the […]

Making peace

In the United States recently, I attended a couple of deeply inspiring interfaith services that, for me, were unexpectedly ruffled by a request from one individual for prayers for American service people currently serving in Iraq.  I am aware that the United States is not only the most powerful nation on earth but also among […]

“Happy children, happy parents

There is nothing most parents want more for their children than happiness, and nothing that causes them greater pain than their children’s unhappiness.  Nevertheless, the role that parents play in their children’s happiness is not straightforward, especially as children’s needs and experiences become more complex. Last year, as I was travelling around the country talking […]

The happiness we need

One of the songs my children used to sing when they were little – and I imagine countless small children still sing it – went, “If you are happy and you know it clap your hands”.  Those few words were repeated many times, accompanied by highly enthusiastic hand clapping, proving in those sweet, simple moments […]

“Good food, great moods (2004)

“, Many people suffer a great deal from fluctuations in mood.  And the people around them may suffer very nearly as much. So isn’t it odd that we generally pay so little attention to how directly our moods are affected by what we eat and how we treat our bodies? ,” Maybe thinking about food […]

Food and mood (2006)

When you think about foods being “good” or “bad” for you, it’s likely you are thinking more about your body than your mind.  Yet what you eat dramatically affects the way you feel, think and act. When your brain is short of vital nutrients or water it cannot function optimally – and nor can you. […]

Fidelity matters

Perhaps you are not married to or living with a leading sports player whose sexual habits make frequent front-page news.  Nevertheless, you are concerned about your partner’s attitude to sex. When you met, fell in love and made a commitment to one another, you knew that he (or she – this story does run in […]

Faith fundamentals

I’ve been turning over the Big Question for most of my life: is there meaning to our existence beyond whatever meanings we ourselves ascribe to it?  Clearly, I’m not alone in this. It has given rise to religions, philosophies and belief systems of all kinds throughout human history. My own faith background is Christian but […]

A celebration of open minds

Barry Marshall and Robin Warren are my new heroes.  It is not just that they are this year’s noble Nobel prizewinners in medicine, they are also shining examples of that glorious and possibly rather rare condition called the open mind. Of course most of us would like to believe we are similarly blessed: open to […]