We’re a bit late with our City Dads Group “best of 2021” post because, you know … parenting happens.
And then there’s that pandemic thing we still have to contend with. Despite it, many of our 40+ chapters did start to return to hosting in-person events in 2021. We even successfully coordinated our first National Dads’ Day Out before the latest surge and Omicron variant took hold.
If you didn’t notice, we upgraded our website in June 2021. After seven years, it was needed — especially for the vast majority of you who visit via mobile devices. We hope the cleaner navigation will lead you to reading and sharing more of the great content we offer. Especially sharing. There’s plenty of dads (and moms) who need to hear these parenting stories.
Speaking of those stories, let’s re-introduce (or perhaps, introduce) you to some of City Dads’ best of 2021.
Biking, swinging, parenting
Columnist Vincent O’Keefe never fails to entertain, if not enlighten, with his writings. Whether he’s simultaneously bonding and battling with his daughter over the car radio or finding parenting wisdom while picking peaches. He finds the perfect metaphor for the parenting experience in First Bike Ride: How the Invisible Hands of Parents Guide Children’s Lives:
A parent’s hand letting go of the back of the child’s bicycle seat is symbolic of so many weanings that take place throughout a child’s upbringing. A child’s first independent bike ride is also one of those moving-away-from-parents milestones that begin with crawling across your floor and end with driving away from your home. In each case, both parents and children have to let go of their fears and have faith in the universe.
Christian Lemon has a such relaxed tone to his writing, it’s no wonder he is uber-tolerant of unruly kids on his plane and those who practice parenting one-upmanship. That makes it all the more surprising that he, like many men, is not at ease making friends. That’s until his new home’s yard becomes the focal point of the neighborhood in Swing Best Way For Neighborhood Strangers To Become Friends:
It felt like the swing was the town square of our cul-de-sac. It provided a non-verbal invitation to all to gather. What may have just been a wave from across the street became an impromptu hang out for all. The kids would play, the adults would chat. …
[Because] we dads … we need something. A point around which to rally. Our swing has become this point. Guys can walk over because something is happening. Somehow this rope, which I’ll never replace (because it’s way, wayyyy too high), and this tiny plastic seat transform into an easy ice breaker. No one has to come up with a topic. … Total strangers immediately have something to talk about.
Wisdom of the child
Our writing crew has received a transfusion of new blood in 2021 not just with new authors but with dads of babies and toddlers.
Christopher Mannino writes fantasy fiction for children and adults when he’s not getting parenting tips from Bluey with his little ones. Both experiences probably contributed to this masterful opening to Embrace Your Child’s Interests to Learn Something About Yourself:
I don’t really like my son’s friends. Not at all. I don’t like their music or their lack of manners. Still, I relented when he asked if he could just take one more ride with them before coming in to dinner.
I definitely didn’t want him to give them rides. Yet, I sighed and stood there, watching my 5-year-old boy hold his friends tight in his lap, taking them one at a time down the slide. He laughed, and I was glad for his joy. One by one, they slid.
All 27 of his friends.
All 27 cicadas currently residing in his bug house.
And, for the record, I hate bugs.
Jamar Hudson welcomed his second child, and first daughter, into the world only a few days ago. This year, we look forward to reading about how this works out for him the second time around, especially given his initial apprehensions about raising a girl and concerns that Shouldn’t I Be More Excited About Our Second Baby?:
This has been bothering me for some time. I should be jumping for joy, right? After all, I’m about to be a girl dad. I even told my wife I felt like I wasn’t holding her belly as much as I did the first time around. She’d definitely noticed. The excitement is there, but it’s not where I feel it should be. And where it should be, I’m not exactly sure.
Bookends and notables
Two of our regular City Dads Group contributors have put out books in recent months, but that didn’t stop them from sharing their insights — humorous and serious with us:
- Shannon Carpenter of our Kansas City Dads Group had his first work, The Ultimate Stay-at-Home Dad: Your Essential Manual for Being an Awesome Full-Time Father, (we reviewed it here) published. When not publicizing it everywhere he could, he offered up witty replies to people who question what he’s doing with the kids in Babysitting the Kids? Not This Dad with Snappy Comebacks at the Ready.
- Vernon D. Gibbs II offered up his second illustrated children’s book, I’m Dreaming of a Brown Christmas, to the book buying public. For our readers, he reflected on how a series of unfortunate events saved his family’s life in Point of View Turns Family’s Bad Luck into Nothing But Good.
Guest writer Johnathon E. Briggs told us about getting his fractured family back together, despite COVID and years of parental separation, in Family Portrait 46 Years in the Making as Son, Parent Reunite.
For Pride Month in June, we were fortunate to have a guest post from artist/graphic designer/blogger Brent Almond about how to Be Reliable Ally to LGBTQ Families with These Tips.
Meanwhile, frequent contributor Tobin Walsh is deep in the throes of teendom with a couple of his kids. It’s not more hairy for him in Teaching Driving Requires Dad to Watch His Blind Spot.
Modern Dads Podcast returned in 2021
For those who prefer to read with their ears, the Modern Dads Podcast returned after a long hiatus to offer these popular interviews:
- Optimistic for some return to normalcy in 2021, Barnard Center for Toddler Development Director and How Toddlers Thrive author Dr. Tovah Klein discussed what our youngest kids need as we exit the pandemic. We talk about what our children have gained, how we can thoughtfully help our kids return to camp and school, and the gift that screen time has been for frantic parents.
- Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg, director of the Center for Parent & Teen Communication director, took it the next step farther discussing the needs of tweens, teens and their folks following the winter COVID surge. He helps us think about what our kids have gained, lessons to take forward, and how to open the lines of communication.
- City Dads blog contributor Vincent O’Keefe talked to fighter pilot and counterterrorism expert turned school leader and author Dr. Marisa Porges about her new book, What Girls Need: How to Raise Bold, Courageous, and Resilient Women.