The words of recently deceased, Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison had a huge impact on my life —first as a student, then as a parent. In graduate school, much of my research focused on her powerful novels — especially Beloved — that explored slavery and its aftermath. Later, as a stay-at-home dad, I saw her appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and once again her words hit me hard. During that appearance, Morrison captured the nature of a parent's unconditional love: “It’s interesting to see when a kid walks in a room, your child or anybody else’s child, does your face light up? That’s … [Read more...]
Think back to your childhood neighborhood. Beyond the memories of family and friends, what is your warmest recollection about the neighborhood itself? I was lucky enough to grow up in a neighborhood that featured two elderly women called “the Candy Lady” and “the Sucker Lady.” In elementary school, my buddies and I learned that they lived a couple of blocks away, next door to each other. Near their back doors they kept a bowl of wrapped candy and suckers, respectively, for kids to enjoy. Each time we rode our bikes to their houses, we couldn’t believe the treats were there again, like a … [Read more...]
Growing up, there was the constant pop of a baseball hitting a mitt, both mine and my father's, coming from our backyard during the spring and summer. Many times we'd lay bases on the green grass as if to recreate the plays of an actual game. I can recall many a Game 7 of the World Series being won by either striking out the final batter with a high fastball or by the ever elusive walk-off grand slam.
My father coached me from T-ball up through high school, except for one year. It was a source of much frustration for him because, … [Read more...]
onr “I feel important.” That was my younger daughter’s surprising answer to a mundane question. I had been wondering why she liked her job as a hostess at a busy restaurant so much, especially since it was her first “real” job as a teenager beyond watching kids or walking dogs. Frankly, I had expected the job would not appeal to her. I was wrong. But shortly after she announced this surge of self-esteem, I remembered my own first real job as a teenager beyond mowing lawns or shoveling snow. My employment history began one summer at a grocery store in my hometown where I bagged … [Read more...]
Working from home -- especially when you have children around to also care for -- requires a certain self-discipline, but even the most organized and motivated of us can falter at certain times of the year like the winter holidays or the summertime. I speak from personal experience. Since I left my old office job to become a full-time dad who works from home, optimizing time has become essential. I've found the best hours to work are in the morning when the boys have school and at night after they go to sleep. Today's smartphones work almost as well as laptops do so I sometimes squeeze in … [Read more...]