Welcome to Fox News!
Your lead guide and owner of Smiling Fox, Kodie, here. I’d like to extend a warm thanks for visiting this page. In my blog posts, you will learn more about myself, who I am and why I was motivated to start Smiling Fox. I will also be posting information about topics that affect kids and teens, including divorce, separation, anxiety, technology and emotional wellness. Finally, you’ll see posts that focus in on the two areas I am passionate about; Meditation (in all its variations) and Men (Dads, Grandads, Dad-figures and male role models). But first…
A subject I could talk about endlessly…me!
I was born in the small WA country town of Broomehill, population 300. I had a mum, a dad and three younger brothers. Growing up, I always felt like the odd one out and it seemed I often had different values to my family – isn’t that always the case!! My parents separated when I was 15 and being the eldest, I think it affected me the most. I was often the runabout between the two of them when they didn’t communicate, and I had a lot of anger towards my dad who was often rude and unforgiving towards my mum.
I experienced social anxiety in my early 20’s and often felt grossly uncomfortable in social settings. I didn’t share my experiences with friends and family and often felt anxious and alone. It was only in my late 20’s that I started getting regular counselling, and in my early 30’s that I started using meditation to calm my emotions and gain perspective on my life.
I’ve had an awesome life so far, with a bunch of experiences that I never would have dreamed of. When I was 21, I moved to the Northern Territory and lived on the Tiwi Islands for 4 months, working as a remote Art Worker for an Aboriginal art centre called Tiwi Design. Living remote with Indigenous people was a life changing event, and I ended up spending 7 years in the Kimberley and Northern Territory, completing a degree in Aboriginal Studies and working in some of the most remote art centres in Australia. I got to experience law and culture camps, go 4wheel driving on red desert dunes, eat my fair share of bush tucker (ever had goanna cooked on an open fire?!) and really grow an appreciation for our country and the people that live on it.
Being a southern girl, I eventually moved back home and have settled (for the time being!) in Bunbury, WA. I have a partner and family here, and have recently finished my degree in Education. It almost goes without saying, but one of the main reason I love “down south” is the natural diversity in its land. I love the bush, especially after heavy rain, but now that I date a surfer, I can also say I love and appreciate the coast (and I’m slowly getting my surf lingo down- packed!)
So why Smiling Fox?
I’m an incredibly deep thinker (read: 100% total over thinker) prone to a lot of self-reflection. I always knew working with kids and families was important to me, but I just didn’t know how to make that work for me. I am annoyingly independent and hate working in a team (but love collaboration). I hate chaotic environments and needlessly busy people and believe that the way our society is currently structured leads to our (and our kids) needs often not being met.
I competed an Education degree thinking that was the key, but after a few pracs knew I couldn’t be happy in a busy classroom. I also worked out it was not teaching the curriculum that I was passionate about, it was social and emotional journeys of kids. Their friends, feelings and family.
Because of my diverse work background, I decided to forge my own way and create a tailored service for kids and teens that didn’t take 6 weeks of waitlisting to get into. One that didn’t try to label and analyse their behaviours and stick them in a box. I wanted to create a service where I worked with one child at a time and worked to their timeline. Moved as slow or as fast as their needs demanded. Build a relationship above everything, by becoming a peer (or mentor) to them and providing an alternative set of views and experiences that might appeal to kids. I also wanted to use meditation with every child that I worked with.
I have found meditation to be the easiest, quickest and cheapest tool to use when it comes to managing my own anxieties. I practiced mediation daily for one year and it got me through a tricky year with a lot of changes. I still use meditation, because life is crazy hey!! Life is so chaotic and unpredictable and stressful, even those with the best intentions struggle. So meditation does feature in every guidance session with kids, but they get to choose when and how often it will be used.
Yep, I get that it’s a little strange for an unmarried woman with no biological children of her own to be focusing in on dads and kids.
Before I moved to the N.T, I dated a single dad. We had been friends for years and I knew him before he had a child. We’ve now been friends for over 15 years and often he shares with me his experiences of trying to find support for himself and his son whilst reeling from the after-effects of a separation. At the time, he also had friends going through the same stuff, and I began to notice a trend. Dads in my hometown were sitting around in their backyards, feeling angry and helpless at what they could do.
Then their kids grew older. They started experiencing the stresses many kids these days face (anger, anxiety, depression, confusion). Their dads started seeking help from GP’s, counsellors, behavioural therapists but it all took so long. It was a complicated process, and they found it hard to fit in with parenting and life. Men that I spoke with wanted an accessible service, a peer for their children that didn’t take months to get into. Just a little added support to get them through each week. They didn’t care about a diagnosis, they just wanted help.
My current partner has children of his own as well, and although his situation is quite different to my friends, he still has friends who are in a similar situation to where my mate was 15 years ago. I don’t see it going away. So I created Smiling Fox especially as a service for dads. What’s interesting now though, is that I regularly read about just how important dads are to their kids. They never stop being important. Even if that father is not in regular contact with his kids, or children only have a father-figure (such an uncle or family friend), their self-esteem grows, their academic outcomes improve and their relationship with others grows. GO DADS – you guys rock.
Bye, seeya later!
But that’s enough for the first blog post. If you’ve read through the whole thing – woohoo! You rock too. Finally, I wanted to say – comment, criticise, talk! This blog is a place for discussion and differing views. Throw your opinions up here and if you’re located in Bunbury, ring me up for a cuppa and let’s get talking!