For them.

From 2011 to 2014, I was in the best shape of my life. I was lifting, running, played basketball and soccer weekly, everything was great!

When Danielle was pregnant with Ben I remember thinking I want my son to think his dad is a superhero. I wanted to get on a new level.

So naive of me. Little did I know how parenthood would reallocate my freetime and resources. Fast forward 8 years and 50lbs and here we are.

Not all the added weight is bad, I kept lifting (and also eating). We shall call it an 8 year bulk. 😅

But now is time to teach the kids by leading and been an example. At some point me telling them that pop or sugar is bad while I have a beer with dinner will ring hollow. They aren’t stupid.

Next summer I turn 40 ( Si Dieu veut). I want to enter my 40s how entered my 30s lean and mean. It’s time to prioritize that aspect of my life and not use parenthood and career as an excuse. Teaching them that fitness and an active lifestyle is as important as math and reading should be a requirement.

The Plan

I am scheduling my workouts and runs to make sure they don’t get moved.

I am making stretching a priority since you know, I am old now and can’t skip them like a twenty-something kid immune to injuries.

The runs are moving outside as much as possible. Nothing beats fresh air.

And sleep, Real SLEEP. I always thought I had a superpower. While asleep I can hear when the kids go to the bathroom or leave their rooms, or when someone enters our bedroom. I was always proud of that. Well apparently that is NOT good, it means that I don’t really sleep 😕 so that has to change.

I already did bloodwork to get a baseline and now know where I need to improve.

Some foods have to go, apparently I have developed some food sensitivities and need to eliminate them (hopefully temporarily) bye for now 🥚.

Other bad habits like my addiction to fried chicken 😋 needs to go. Sorry fried 🍗 but I want so see my grandkids someday.

There wont be any specific diet just clean eating with some fasting periods here and there.

I’ll be posting short videos on YouTube vloging the progress and before July next year I should have one of those epic transformation videos right ?

That’s it for now let’s do this. If anyone wants to join on this journey and be accountability or workout/run buddies let me know.

For the kids.

Pierre

Let’s try this again.

So what’s it been ? A year ? Two ? Well alot has happened since. Obviously with the pandemic the world went to shit !

We all stayed home and barely saw anyone. Things finally reopened and now we face worldwide inflation. (Thank you Fiat currency)

Enough complaining, so what’s new? New House, New Job, Same Kids.

I picked up new skills and built a man cave in the basement; I also picked up 25bs along the way.( who hasn’t🤷🏾‍♂️)

So why am I back? Well I am not sure yet. I have a few projects in mind and feel that I need accountability and you the readers will help me with that, RIGHT ?

The thinking is that if I tell the world maybe it will help me stay on track.

So what’s the plan:

1) I turn 40 next summer and want to hit my forties back in shape so the weight IS coming off (New series of posts on fitness goals coming soon)

2) I have been thinking about writing a Children’s book for years now. I have ideas and sketches etc. I will be working on that, so if you have publishing experience or know the process, I am looking for a mentor to guide me through.

3) I am also working on a board game that my Dad invented 30+ years ago back in Haiti. I want to finish it, test it on a few game nights with friends and get it to market so yeah big plans. Stay tuned!

4) Basketball highlights Youtube channel? Why not? 😄🏀 Friends and Ball heads please subscribe and lets see where this goes.

https://youtube.com/channel/UCYfdLXeWOosgtSscEb8ZKQw

So yeah that’s the rough plan. Let me know what you think.

Pierre D.

Father Forgets

With my 2019 reading challenge over, I strive to continue the momentum and keep on reading. Currently I am reading Dale Carnegie’s classic: How to win friends and influence people.

In the book I came across “Father Forgets” a poem by W. Livingston Larned.

This poem touched on so many feelings that I and probably all fathers get.

As fathers we sometimes feel frustrated, impatient, and frankly angry with our kids. We are often too hard on our children and forget they are just that; children.

This poem reminded me to be more calm, patient and understanding with the little ones.

So I just wanted to share and hope that someone else discovers this touching poem and it’s poignant message.

Father Forgets

By W. Livingston Larned

Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.

There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.

At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” and I frowned, and said in reply, “Hold your shoulders back!”

Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive—and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father!

Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped.

You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.

Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding—this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing but a boy—a little boy!”

I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.

KOBE

When a celebrity dies, I don’t usually feel much. I never fully understood how people feel something for someone they never met. From Prince to Michael Jackson, maybe I was to young or didn’t get it as a fan. I knew what they meant to the era and understood paying respects but it always felt odd to me reading peoples messages about a stranger.

But today was different, when I saw the news, this unreal feeling took over me. I spent most of the day mopping around and trying to understand why I felt this way. Like most fans I never meet Kobe and don’t actually know him. This made no sense.

But then it hit me. I am 5 years younger than Kobe which means that his 20 years career coincided with my formative years as a basketball fan. I was 12 when he was drafted and 32 when he retired.

I realized how many memories I had because of this man.

How many posters I cut out from SLAM magazines and posted in my bedroom as a teen.

How I went from loving him as a young player when he won the dunk contest, to hating the Lakers when they started winning (Spurs fan here). Then to liking the Lakers again after Kobe beat me into submission with his competitive fire.

I feared and respected his talents so much that I eventually became a fan. My sister and I used to scream at the TV every time he had the ball down the stretch, it was infuriating how often he broke our teams hearts.

81 points!

I remember laying on the couch at my parents house watching the Lakers play the Raptors and midway through the third quarter calling one of my boys (pre-group chat days) and saying “Are you F-ing watching this?” We were giddy watching greatness destroy our team. That’s how good he was.

I remember the 50 points+ games streak , I used to check the scores at night just to see what he did, it was insane.

Even if you are not a basketball fan, when someone throws something in the garbage and yells “Kobe” you know what they are referring to. That’s how much he meant to my generation. He was more than a basketball player. He was a verb.

I remember watching him in his final game, with father time clearly having taken a toll on his body, he retired his way, gun slinging and scoring 60 points one last time. I actually stood up in my living room that night alone to give him a slow clap standing ovation.

The young M.J era happened before my love of ball but I had the Privilege to see all of prime KOBE. He was M.J for my generation.

I know that today there are tons of pieces out there dedicated to him. This is mine.

Thank you for the Memories. Rest in Peace Kobe- Mamba Out.

Pierre D.

New year! New me?

New year New me ! You are what you eat! You reap what you sow! Monkey see monkey do! We have all heard of those sayings.

The other day while I was on the living room floor stretching, getting ready for a workout, Norah-Elise came in and said “daddy I want to excersize too”. She dropped on the floor and started doing burpees. Just like that instead of my ordinary weight lifting session I was on the floor going through a bodyweight circuit with her. I certainly didn’t wake up with the intention of teaching my daughter that fitness was important or fun or even something to do. But somehow I managed to passively pass on a habit.

I play basketball every Tuesday and my son always wants to come but since it ends at 10 pm I’ve always said no. Well, the last week of school before the Christmas break I decided to take him with me. To my surprise he watched us play and stayed off my phone. On the ride home before falling asleep he told me he wants to be big so he can play with us. I was giddy inside because ball is life and now my son is looking to the future (the next Steph Curry,no?!?)

I look forward to the day my kids ask me to play and work out with them. I want to be able to play, keep up and hold my own when they are 16, 20, 25 heck even 30. I want to be able to play and participate in whatever sports my kids decide to play in their teens.

Of course they are many benefits to excersizing and living a healthy lifestyle but for me I know that monkey see monkey do. My way of life not only affects me but It will impact my kids and their kids and so on. Children are amazing mimicking machines, the more great habits you can display in yourself the more they will have for themselves.

So if you are using the new year as motivation to start a new path or get back on the horse, think of your kids I find them to be a better more lasting reason to stay motivated versus an arbitrary day on the calendar.

Pierre Richard Ducasse

AVENGERS … ASSEMBLE!!!

Yes It’s that time of the year when I get excited about dressing up the kids for Halloween. I have to admit it’s not really about the kids it’s about me. As a child and also as an adult prior to kids, I enjoyed dressing up and trying to be unique with my costumes. But now with shifting priorities I get to live vicariously through them.

My wife doesn’t get it she thinks Halloween is weird. I try to make her understand that for me it’s not necessarily about horror. To me Halloween is about originality, creativity, uniqueness and detail. She just looks at me with a blank stare calling me a nerd with her eyes.

I am also a wannabe comic book nerd. Not Big Bang Theory level but I wouldn’t mind if I was. So this year when my son said he wanted to be Captain America for Halloween, I had to add my own touch to make him the best Captain America. I told him he can be Endgame Captain America with Mjölnir (Thor’s hammer for my none nerds), a broken shield and a bloody face. When he replied ” yes! I can be worthy Captain America” my heart melted and I felt like crying.(no lie).

So the search began, I got him a Captain America costume. (End game version because…of course details matter to a 5 year old). I got Mjölnir, a shield and we were in business.

I am still trying to convince him to let me paint his face so he looks like he was in battle with Thanos but he said make up is for girls.  I’ll  try again later. Between now and Halloween I just need to damage his brand new shield and we are set.

You can clearly tell who is more excited about this. I just hope Halloween night is not too cold so that a coat doesn’t ruin my… I mean his costume. Because he would be soooo devastated right??

To all the of you Halloween parents who feel as passionately about this night as I do hang in there. One day our kids will appreciate our inner nerd. Or just get a mask from the dollar store and a pillowcase and call it a day only time will tell.

Until then AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!!

Pierre-Richard Ducasse

Range

Are you raising the next Tiger Woods ? The next Serena ? Messi ? Steve Nash? Kasparov ? Questlove? Well let me tell you something…you could be.

Before having children I had this image that my son will be great at this or my daughter will be awesome at that. I pictured helping them focus, train and practice until they become the best at something, anything.

Now that I have them I realize it’s not so simple. I have to balance my wants and dreams vs theirs and figure out when to push and when to back off. (Seriously they are only 5 and 3). I started thinking and worrying should I be pushing them in this sport or that activity ? So many options.

Over the summer I read this book called Range: Why generalist triumph in specialized world by David Epstein. The author argued for diversity and balance over specializing and provided countless case studies to support his arguments.

If that sounds like a good read it’s because it is. Buy it it’s worth it. (Yes shameless plug). But back to my point.

The book made me realize that there is no special formula to get anywhere. Your path is YOUR path. Yes, we get the one in a million athletes like Tiger and Serena who were trained with one goal in mind from a young age. But in reality most successful stories are a result of range. Trying and failing at different things help you become well rounded and help you discover what you truly like and are meant to do.

This made me realize that no matter what I want for my kids there is no single way to get there. Yes I can guide and help them when in need. I can provide advice and support but there is no golden blueprint.  It’s OK that they fail, it’s OK that they stop and try something else even if they are good at it. It’s OK to let them quit (sometimes) as long as they are learning from the experience. Odds are that my daughter or your son will not be the next great one but it’s looks like being well rounded and balanced does give them a better chance at reaching that goal. So keep that in mind when you get that urge to have them go all in.

Pierre-Richard Ducasse

PS: Don’t forget to subscribe. I promise I will not flood your inbox.

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Black People Swim?

Yes I am black and I can swim, barely.

As a child I never took swimming lessons but I love pools and the ocean. Over time I learned how not to drown. As an adult I took lessons to improve my strokes and endurance.

Now that we have children, my wife and I make it a priority for our kids to learn to swim. We are putting swimming on the same level as reading and math. We want to break the stereotype that black people don’t swim. (Yes, my wife knows how to swim, she is a Trini born in Canada 😂).

When our children are older and get asked if they know how to swim, we want their answer to be “Yes, Don’t You?”.

We want swimming to be like any regular thing they do. If they show interest we want them to compete and excel.

They already have a great example of swimming excellence in our family.

My cousin who like me can barely swim, recently had his 12 year old son cross the Saint Laurent River in 1 hour and 4 minutes.

(https://www.journaldequebec.com/2019/07/21/il-traverse-le-fleuve-saint-laurent-a-la-nage-a-12-ans)

Again HE IS 12 !! Félicitations Charles-Antoine!

This is to show that an inability doesn’t have to be generational. It is up to us as parents to encourage our children to try and do things we don’t know how to. Not just swimming but anything that is not considered cultural to us.

My kids may not cross the Saint Laurent like their superfish cousin but they definitely wont think it’s as impossible as my generation did.

Pierre-Richard Ducasse

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Kumon

My parents were both teachers. My wife is an early childhood educator. It is safe to say that in our house education is important and an early start is even more crucial.

Our son at the age of 3 showed interest in reading, writing and counting. While the canadian school system has its pros and cons, the curriculum of daycare, junior and senior kindergarten didn’t always challenge his interests in 123s and ABCs.

As a result we decided to keep him challenged by starting Kumon.

For those who do not know Kumon is a teaching/tutoring program that helps kids get an early start or helps struggling kids catchup and then get ahead.

For us it was a way to keep him learning and getting the academic challenge he wouldn’t be getting with school for another couple of years.

Almost two years in and the progress has been incredible. Kumons’ approach is fairly simple. Daily homework ranging from 5 minutes to 30 minutes per day. The program helps build discipline, consistency accountability and endurance. The best part is as a parent it removed alot of the guess work of trying to find a way to teach or find the material. It also removed the pressure my wife felt moving his learning along (teacher mom’s are so much more patient at work, trust me I’ve seen it)

Our daughter is 3 and will be starting her own Kumon journey as soon as she is ready. We definitely feel like this has been one of the best investment we have made so far.

The way you choose to give your child a head start is not important. What is important, is that you give them a head start.

Our choice was Kumon.

Pierre-Richard Ducasse

The Purpose Of Parents

September 26 is my parents’ Wedding Anniversary.

2019 gave them 39 years of marriage.

My sisters and I recently joined our parents on a trip to Jamaica to celebrate this milestone. It was the first time in years that we were all together for such an extended time. No spouses no grandchildren just us five. The original five. The week together got me thinking of how blessed my sisters and I are.

We were born in Haiti and moved to Canada in 1996. I was 11, my sisters were 10 and 6. We saw our parents sacrifice and move heaven and earth to give us the best life they could provide. Between going to school while working, career changes, moving from Montreal to Toronto, living with family (shoutout to the Bonostro’s and the Duval’s) our parents did their best to provide us with a better life. Just like our grandparents did for them.

During this trip I realized that we are truly the fruits of their labour. My sisters and I are well educated young adults with our own homes and five degrees between the three of us.(If you are doing the math yes I am the slacker with one degree). I am not saying this to brag but only to get to my point.

What is the purpose of a parent? Yes parents are there to raise their children with love, affection and instill values and worth. But I think the core of a parents’ job is to make sure that their child experiences a better life than they had. Parents have to balance dreaming their own dreams for their children and the dreams their children have for themselves. My parents managed to establish this balance that allowed my sisters and I to reach new heights and achieve things we wouldn’t have if they didn’t dream with us and for us.

This past week made me appreciate them even more than I ever did and made me reflect on my role with my children.

My job and purpose is to continue what they started. With the help of family and friends my job is to provide for my children, dream for my children and put them in a position to have a better life than I have.

With that being said I want to say thank you Manmie et Papi. With you two as my standard I feel blessed and already on the right path.

Pierre-Richard Ducasse

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