You know how it goes: Even the smallest disagreements with your teen can turn into yelling, doors slamming, feelings hurt and evenings ruined. But there’s a trick to preventing these regular altercations from escalating. Ask your teen if they actually enjoy what’s happening during the fight. Most of the time, they don’t feel good about it, so they’ll redirect their anger before it gets out of hand. Let me break down how this works to end any argument. End any argument with this question The ultimate phrase that will end any argument in its track is, “Do you like where this is … [Read more...]
If a near-death experience goes unnoticed, did it even happen? Yes, I can confirm, and for that we should always be grateful. I can explain. Recently, as I drove around my oldest daughter’s college campus, my mind returned to one of the best — but what could have been one of the worst — days of my life. It was just over 20 years ago, a few years before my wife and I started a family and I became a stay-at-home dad. At the time, I was excited about my new job teaching English at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Another comfort I enjoyed that day was our new leased car: a … [Read more...]
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...]