Keeping an agenda is a very simple and effective way to keep track of things you need to do. You make plans, and you write them down on the date for which they are meant to be finished. This way you can select any day and see what needs to be done on that day, because all the plans you made in the past are written down of the day the plan was for. Logical.
Well, it seems that the logical way of using an agenda is not so logical after all. Our kids are learning something different on their school. All their tasks and appointments are written down on the day they initiated, with an indication for what day they are for. For example, the entry for today could be: ‘Tomorrow read biology page 64’, ‘Next week, on Wednesday, exam language’. The result is an, as I see it, useless agenda. Every day you need to look back for one or two weeks to see if there are any tasks for tomorrow. A terrible way of using an agenda, and a terrible thing to teach the kids.
Alan used to have a little crab as a pet. He kept it in his room in a nice crab environment with crab toys, water, plants, and some dirt so she could dig a nice hole. Sadly she kept getting older and older, and when we returned from our last trip she had passed away. To bad. Alan was in favor of getting a new pet, en we started to investigate. A walking stick seemed like a good idea, or maybe a new crab. Maybe even a hamster. The crab was nice but it spend most of its life inside its little hole in the ground. Only to come out to quickly get some food. The care for the little animal was also quickly allocated with Alan’s dad. That needed to change.
Searching for a new animal I also passed for a toy store. I hoped to find maybe a robotic fish, or something similar. Then I noticed the tamagotchi eggs. Maybe this could be interesting. The technology is from the last century, but if it’s fun, it’s fun. For Alan is was the perfect gift. He was so happy. His thoughts of any live animal disappeared immediately, as he started feeding and training the little digital animal. The animal also had a small game, and could be disciplined. The best part was that Alan could take it wherever he went. A great gift for sure.
The stress! We can feel the tention at home, the excitement. All these emotions, and the match is still a few days away. For Alan it does not matter. His spirit is up! High up, his thoughts are of victory. He is focused on only one thing. Every night we train football. Every visit to the park we need to bring a football. Every visit to a park with an area with grass we need to take Alan’s special football shoes. On wednesday is his first official match with his new team ‘Formento’ against another team!
He is sooooo excited, it look like it is a contagious feeling. We are all cheering for him of course. We all hope Alan’s team will win, but if for some weird reason this is not the case, that for sure we will be able to find some outside reason. A bad field, the ball was too soft, foul play by the other team, maybe missing a star player?
The soccer gene is completely lacking in my. Father Kees and mother Nel were both soccer trainers with various youth teams at VVSB (The local team from Noordwijkerhout). My brother Bert was also a player. I was sometimes forces to visit the games and watch, but I prefered to spend my time picking grass for my rabbits. The game was not interesting to me, and I still don’t care for it.
Well, the gene is back! Alan has a love for the game that amazes me. Alan is part of the Las Palmas youth team of ‘Atleti Formento‘. Now, every night we play a game of soccer in the hall (with a soft ball), every visit to the park he spends playing football with the kids there, every weekend we go to the park what Alan tries out his new soccer shoes. Once a week he goes to training.
We are taking a short break and we’ll be going to la Gomera for a couple of days. We leave by plane on tuesday and return home on thursday. A short trip but very welcome to break up our daily routine.
We will be going with a few friends and at la Gomera we rented a big car for 7 people where we can all just fit. In addition to a big car we also rented a big house, hopefully with a garden so we can maybe even have a bbq! It will be quite the adventure. Of course there is also a big celebration! It is Alan’s birthday, so there will be a great party.
I will become a coach. The date we have to focus on is Saturday the 19th. The event is the Kids Race 2022, in Maspalomas. Alex and Alan will have to perform then. Alan will run 300 meters, and Alex needs to cover 1000 meters. The kids have developed some nasty habits for the weekends where they quickly get bored, and often the situation deteriorates rapidly into fighting. I hope to change this behaviour by focussing on something physical in the mornings. We will do a couple of training sessions, just like the real deal.
Usually we go to these running events without any preparation. The distances are so small that the kids can easily run them, and just participating is much more important than actually winning. This time I want to try and get a good result. Finish in the top 10. We need to approach this professionally. Evaluate the distance. Find out a good speed. See how much sprinting they can do. We have two weekends to prepare and train. If we go on Saterday and Sunday we have 4 sessions available. If they both try their distance twice it should be more than enough preparation. If they train in the morning they don’t even need to change their weekend routines (hopefully with less fighting).
Warming up. Walk to Romano (the track), do some jumping, some stretching, maybe a few push ups.
Review the track. Walk the entire distance, and discuss the optimal approach to running the distance in a good/easy/fast way.
Alan: 300 meters. First a small candy for some extra energy. Start running normally the first 220 meters, and finish with 80 meters superfast. Drink water and relax/rest. Do this twice! I will measure the time.
Alex: 1000 meters. First a small candy for some extra energy. Start running normally the first 300 meters, then slow down a bit for 300 meters to regain strength, then another 300 meters normally and finish with 100 meters superfast. Drink water and relax/rest. Do this twice! I will measure the time.
Cooling down, a few jumps, stretch, discuss results, walk back home.
The results really are not so important. If the kids have a good time that is the only important thing. The preparation is more meant to stimulate the kids and to prepare them a bit. If they reach their goal of finishing with the first 10, well, thats great! It will boost their self-esteem, which is great. If they just finish that is also great. They will have prepared for something, and gave if their best try. This is also something to feel good about.
Alan is just five years old, but that is enough to have some very clear ideas. He also has a bigger brother that serves as a perfect example. When Alex takes flight with a paraglider, it is clear that Alan will do exactly the same. Alan flew up to over a kilometer high, passing right through the clouds. Then flew around for a while checking out the scenery and went back down to earth for a very smooth landing.
Preparation, equipment check, double check, patiently waiting for a breeze, take-off, flight, journey into the clouds and, very important, the landing were anxiously watched by Alan’s parents, but Alan also had some very special attention! The instructors daughter (already an experienced para-glider herself), who made sure everything was okay and Alan was in good hands :).
After Alan’s journey he told us he had a great time, but once his flight outfit was removed he almost ran to a nearby almond tree to pick some Almonds. It made me suspect that Alan was still a bit to young to realize the value of this experience. Something which was clearly different with his bigger brother.
Alan’s flight resulted in a great experience for him, and some great photos and videos for us. If you want to float across the valley on El Hierro you can do it with Ondrej from Fly El Hierro. A massively experienced professional who provided a great experience. Highly recommended when jumping with kids!
Alan is 5 years. He is growing up very fast. Today we had a big party! Complete with masks we went to the crocodile park where we celebrated Alan’s birthday. We had a great time and Alan even got to hold a crocodile. After the croc-holding we had cake and presents!
This year the sint will have quite a boring birthday. There will be no parties and no gatherings. Still we seem to have gotten lucky and we received a letter from the Sint.
Dear Alan, Alex and Dario,
This year I am forced to celebrate my birthday a bit differently. Normally I go to hotel Barbacan in the south to celebrate my birthday with all the Dutch kids, but this year my plans for Sinterklaas have changed quite a bit.
This year I will stay at home, but I sent out my helpers to bring presents to all the kids that have been good. I have included a letter for you guys. I hope that Alex can help you if something needs to be translated to Spanish. All the kids that have behaved well last year will receive a gift, and in your case you have all been pretty good.
Alan, I want to congratulate you with your birthday tomorrow. I have been told that you started playing the piano this year, and that you are really trying hard to do a good job. This is really great! I love piano music and I am happy you started to learn how to play the piano. Your teacher told me you also started reading, and you are doing very well. Very good Alan! I would like you to think about this. When you get bigger people will start to expect more from you. Keep trying to do your best, and try to avoid fighting with your brother all the time.
Alex, this year you broke both your arms! That must have been a terrible experience. I’m happy your arms are slowly getting better but I would advice you to tke things a bit slower and be a bit more careful. I hear you are doing very well at school. This is super important for your future, and I hope you continue to do your best. Please try to not get angry when your parents tell you it is time to stop playing with your tablet.
Dario, you did very well this year. I am very happy with your school results. I have also seen a couple of your drawings. They looked very good and I thing you should keep drawing. Please try to be a bit more organised at home. Cleaning up your stuff after playing will keep your new house nice and clean.
I have one more piece of advice for all three of you. You keep getting bigger and are growing up really fast. One thing important about growing up is realizing that your actions have consequences. Whatever you do can effect your family, your friends or your surroundings. You should try and be aware of the effects you have, and you should all try to behave in a way that makes the effects positive for yourself and for others. Fighting and getting angry will never get you good results. Try and think about this, because this is what is important in growing up. In the end helping others will make things easier for yourself.
I can see that you are all doing very well. This makes me very happy. Next year I really hope to see you personally, and I hope this year you are happy with your presents.