The Glorious Return of Beer Fire!

Setting up for Beer Fire!
Setting up for Beer Fire!

A few years ago, my friend and neighbor, Francesco, started inviting dads from our neighborhood to small social gatherings at his backyard fire pit to talk and have a few beers. We now call these meet-ups “Beer Fire.”

I love Beer Fire, and see it as a possible solution for the persistent problem that we busy working dads don’t often develop networks of friends to share their experiences with. As such, my second-ever blog post extolled the virtues of Beer Fire, and a good chunk of Chapter 12 of my book, The Working Dad’s Survival Guide, describes the benefits of informal dad networks and fun social time that Beer Fire and similar gatherings can foster. From my book:

Beer Fire is awesome– it’s relaxing; it’s fun, and I always learn a little something from everyone I talk to. For example, a neighbor and I discussed how much allowance is appropriate for our kids and how many chores our kids needed to do to earn it. In another conversation, I learned about local swimming and fencing programs. I even helped a dad develop a strategy for asking his boss for more work flexibility. The beer was pretty good, too….

Part of the success of Beer Fire is that it is not a formal group. No one distributes an agenda ahead of time, and the conversations flow organically. Yes, we talk about cars, sports and women. But, because the attendees are mostly of the same age group, live locally, and have kids of around the same age, the conversation naturally gravitates to what we all share in common – our careers, our kids, and how we try to juggle it all.

Another part of Beer Fire’s success is that it is represents a “guys’ night out.” We’re not a John Birch Society, the Little Rascals’ “He-Man Woman Hater’s Club” or Al Bundy’s “No Ma’am” group (from “Married with Children”). No drum circles or hazing rituals for us. However, I think it is important that Beer Fire is a comfortable place just for guys. This allows folks to open up a little more, and to discuss family issues more readily. I think that because even today’s modern dad sometimes sees “family issues” as a primarily women’s concern, we self-censor our discussion when moms are around. “After all”, we may think to ourselves, “my wife has an even tougher juggle than me. What right to I have to complain?”

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On Underhand Free Throws and Work Family Balance for Dads

Rick Barry shot underhand free throws. (creative commons)
Rick Barry shot underhand free throws. (creative commons)

Rick Barry shot underhand free throws. What we working dads can learn from this example.

One of the oddest things about world-class NBA players is that some of them are terrible free-throw shooters. Free-throws should be one of the easiest aspects of the game- the shot is always the same distance and no one is trying to guard you. Even so, some great players, mostly big-men such as Shaquille O’Neal, DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard, make less than 50% of their free-throws. This means fewer points and a reduced chance to win. In fact, opposing teams have made a habit of intentionally fouling poor free throw shooters near the end of close games, often resulting in the player having to be taken out of the game during crunch-time, hurting their teams chance at victory. The term for this was called “Hack a Shaq.”

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

In fact, there is a better way to shoot free throws than the typical overhead technique. And every player who makes less than 65% or so of his free throws should use it. But they don’t. Why?

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Q&A with Author Joe DeProspero on the Pain and Humor of Fatherhood

JoeDJoe DeProspero is the author of “A Punch to the Groin: Painful Tales of Fatherhood.” I really enjoyed his honest and funny memoir of fatherhood. Joe was nice enough to answer a few questions about his book, the importance of self-care and the challenges of being a busy working dad of three.

Your book is really funny. And it also reveals pretty personal (and not always attractive) details. Did you have any concerns about writing so honestly? Did your wife?

Not really. Ever since I was a child, writing has been cathartic for me, a way to make sense of the thoughts swirling in my head, no matter how unflattering. I’ve found that my  readers connect more deeply with my writing that is intimate, so it’s mutually beneficial for me to be honest. Also, at this point, I have a fairly good sense of what my wife is comfortable with me putting out there. I’m the one who appears incompetent in the book, so I think she was fine with that.

My favorite chapter is “Keys to not favoring your first,” about our tendency to go overboard for our first kid and take a more relaxed approach with the second. Could you tell us about that chapter, and about how successful you’ve been at not playing favorites?

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My Christmas List for Working Dads

As 2016 winds down, here’s my Christmas List for Working Dads: All I want for Christmas is… That you all have a restful and fun day with those you love on Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, or any other holiday event you celebrate That those in your family recognize how hard you work at work to … Read more

Work-Dad Success? Here’s some advice

How can we achieve work-dad success? My latest article, “12 Work-Life Balance Tips from a Working Dad” was just published in Success magazine. In it, I describe some research from Boston College’s New Dad studies and provide some advice for dads trying to juggle career success with being a great dad. Click here or on … Read more

Pokemon Go is Fun for Dads and Kids

Having fun with my son and Pokemon Go
Having fun with my son and Pokemon Go

Gotta Catch ‘Em All!

I admit I can sometimes be a contrarian. I’m normally that guy who complains against the latest fad. But I’ve come to embrace Pokemon Go and enjoy playing it with my son. I think it is a great game for dads and kids to play together.

Nick had heard about the game and wanted to play. He’s too young for a cellphone, so I downloaded the app to mine. Now, we spend time walking and catching Pokemon together. We spend time online learning about the different Pokemon strengths and weaknesses. We plan out how much candy and stardust (just go with it) it takes to evolve that Poliwag into a Poliwhirl.

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Solo Parenting Time is a Gift, Not a Burden

Occasional solo parenting, right from the start, helped strengthen our bond
Occasional solo parenting, right from the start, helped strengthen our bond

As you might have deduced from my lack of blogging, this has been a crazy summer in the Behson household.

I traveled to a conference in DC and then almost immediately flew off to London for a family vacation. Then, Amy and Nick flew back home, while I continued on for a faculty retreat at FDU’s study abroad campus in Wroxton, England.

Then, Amy directed and performed at the Depot Theatre in Westport, NY, right along Lake Champlain in the Adirondack Mountains. While she was performing about 4 1/2 hours away, I was the solo parent for Nick during the week, and then we drove up to spend long weekends with Amy. Whew!

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Three Types of Working Dads: Which Are You?

New research shows there are three types of working dads. Which are you?
New research shows there are three types of working dads. Which are you?

According to new research from Boston College’s Center for Work and Family, there are three types of working dads.

In this post, I’ll describe these three categories, how BCCWF developed them, and share some quick thoughts. I’ll even have a poll to see which category you fall into, and a request to share your story.

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