I’m always looking for fun activities to do with the kids after school and on weekends. It can be difficult, though, because it’s hard to come up with things a 1-, 3-, and 6-year-old will all enjoy. My wife was out of town for a few days recently and, suddenly, the need for fun (time-killing) activities felt even more urgent. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been a stay-at-home father for more than six years so I’m as equipped as anyone to solo parent for a few days, but really, no one is suitably equipped for this. To make matters worse, my 6-year-old has gotten really interested in Minecraft … [Read more...]
Maybe you've read the best-seller, The Dangerous Book For Boys -- a collection of tongue-in-cheek advice for boys on topics such as how to climb a tree, build a go-kart and grow a crystal. If you have (or haven't), you can now watch the television series based on it. But first, you should listen to our latest Modern Dads Podcast featuring one of the show's young stars, Gabriel Bateman. The series, debuting on Amazon Prime March 30, follows the McKenna family as it copes with the untimely passing of patriarch Patrick (Chris Diamantopoulos), a whimsical inventor who touched the … [Read more...]
I found myself looking at this pair of shoes left in front of the sink in our bathroom last week, and I had an awful moment of enlightenment -- one of those moments when a dad is forced to realize his kids are growing up. Those shoes fit snugly on the feet of my 12-year-old son. As I stood there looking at them, I could almost see him standing there looking into the mirror. I could almost see him doing any number of the routine mundane tasks he does standing in that spot, that spot now marked by his very empty shoes. Before I knew it I was imagining him doing other tasks in front of that … [Read more...]
The stories are everywhere — women (and a few men) speaking their truth to abusive male power as the #MeToo movement rolls on. As the parent of two teen daughters, I am glad much light and sound are finally being shed on this topic. But it remains challenging to talk about at home in ways that balance how to promote healthy romantic relationships and avoid toxic ones. The one word I keep coming back to? Boundaries. As my wife and I discuss with our daughters the ongoing media stories about sexual misconduct, we try to focus on the need for self-boundaries — e.g., physical, emotional and … [Read more...]
Raising a child requires the patience I can only imagine the bar patrons in Cheers had for Woody. You love the guy, but if he sings that "Kelly song" again you’re going to jab a fork in your eye. I’m just a dad; just a regular guy who still craves time to himself. I would love to go wherever, whenever. I do not miss going out all of the time, but I do miss going in to renew my vehicle registration without having to explain to my oldest son why pancake mix is not something to put in your pockets whilst trying to block my youngest son from eating it off of the ground. Frustration builds over … [Read more...]
The greatest tool you can use to help your children grow is something they can't cram for to pass a standardized test. It’s creativity.
Creativity affects the way we learn and grow. It can be applied to any subject and teaches us that, even within rigid structures, you can find freedom of movement to make something new. And creativity is heavily employed and deepened in others by exposure to art, music and literature -- the fine arts.
Show children a painting and ask them to tell you what it is … [Read more...]
“Just let them play,” I said, loudly. “That’s a good idea,” snapped the referee, staring me down from the baseline. I was in the front row, mid-court, and everything was a blur save the anger on his face and the echoing whispers of my wife begging me to stay quiet. She was probably right. A moment earlier, the crowd buzzing with confusion, I had turned to those seated behind me, a collection of parents from both teams, and shared my feelings on the call that had been made. I had been loud then, too. It was the 6th grade boys basketball championship. A player on my son’s team had just … [Read more...]
Son, We haven’t met and yet I’ve held you as close as I can. Even though our eyes haven’t locked, you still have me wrapped around your little finger. You might have heard my voice already but have no clue who it is. I am someone who will play a rather significant role in your life. I am your dad. That’s right. That guy with brown eyes, strong arms and a loving heart. That guy who looks like he knows what to do when it comes to parenting but yet it is obvious he really has no clue. I’m the guy who enjoys watching baseball and reading a good book. I’m also that guy who will get down … [Read more...]
My hometown in Ohio had what I thought was a heartwarming story a while back about preschoolers who were upset with fracking in the state's only national forest. So they sent drawings to officials involved in the process to be included in the public record. (A chilling testimony for the future, if you ask me.) It was a great piece on young minds caring about the world. Then I read the comments. I wasn't surprised that many people leaving messages blamed the parents for brainwashing. Or worse. They painted the preschoolers in the story as innocents who could not possibly understand the … [Read more...]
As a professional full-time gay man, I'm obligated to write about the Netflix's recent reboot of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. I sat down with my husband recently to watch the first episode, and after I did, I had a few thoughts. My first thought: I hated it. I'll back up a bit. The original series aired on Bravo from 2003-2007: a kitschy and colorful little show in which five fabulous gay men kidnapped a slovenly straight dude and taught him the ways of the Gay Force. The gays would give the straight slob a makeover: a cool haircut, some better outfits, tips on healthy eating and … [Read more...]