(insert number) Lessons About Fatherhood I Learned from (insert tv show/movie)

As you can imagine, I read a lot of parenting blogs and websites. If you visit enough of these sites, you will quickly come across posts like “X Things I Learned About Parenthood from Y,” with Y usually being a popular tv show or movie.

You can learn a lot from fictional dads!

There’s no surprise why these are popular: they are fun to read, fun to write, are universal and accessible for a wide audience, and VERY clickable. When a movie becomes a phenomenon, that rising tide lifts all posts- witness the thousands of Frozen-related blog posts last summer- I bet the readership numbers were also really high. Also, because people will be making Google searches for Frozen or Star Trek or the Goonies or even Leprechaun 3 probably forever (especially when the sequels and remakes come out), these posts tend to have a long tail. (Heck, the awesome Jeffrey Brown has made a career of this)

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Friday Humor: What People Think Telecommuters Do…

what people think i do telecommute
What People Think Telecommuters Do

This is my first attempt at a meme–feedback is appreciated. Have a great weekend!

Next week, I’ll run an article about 3 common forms of work flexibility and a Q&A with the author of a great new parenting book.

Calling a Time-Out on Fantasy Football

You’re serious about spending 20 hours a week on a non-work, non-family activity that causes stress and borderline psychotic behavior? Just say NO! With football season fast approaching, it’s time to revisit the dangers of “The Fantasy Football Time Suck”

Time Suck– (n) Something that’s engrossing and addictive, but that keeps you from doing things that are actually important, like earning a living, or eating meals, or caring for your children. (from UrbanDictionary.com)

Enjoy football, but don't let it ruin your life! photo credit: BabyBare11 via photopin cc
Enjoy football, but don’t let it ruin your life! photo credit: BabyBare11 via photopin cc

Sharpening the Saw

The greatest challenge we face in being both a good provider an a present father is that there never seems to be enough time in a day. Our jobs and careers demand our time; our kids need a lot of us, too.

It is also hard to find the energy necessary to be a great dad. Stress and time demands rob us of energy and prevent us from being relaxed and present.

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Fathers, Work and Family Spring Cleaning: My Non-Work-Family Writing

It is a BEAUTIFUL Spring day here in New York, a perfect day for Spring cleaning! Please indulge me as I air out some of my non work-family related writing for you this weekend.

I'm not just a work-family writer. Good Men Project has given me the opportunity to branch out
I’m no longer just a work-family writer. Good Men Project has given me the opportunity to branch out

One of the things I am very grateful for is the chance that the great online men’s magazine Good Men Project took on this humble unproven blogger. They have given me a forum to write about work-family issues to a wider audience, but have also pushed me to stretch my writing muscles and write on a few other topics- LOVE, HUMOR, and SPORTS.

I’d like to share some of these with you today. So with gratitude to editors Justin Cascio, Robert Duffer, Gint Aras (check out his excellent novel), Liam Day and publisher Lisa Hickey (read her incredible first-hand account of the Boston Marathon bombings, shrapnel and all), here are a few pieces.

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Introducing Nick to Star Wars

19 Dad Bloggers were asked the question “When/How To Introduce Your Kids to Star Wars?” You can read the entire piece here. Here’s my entry:

Star Wars has been a great bonding experience for me and Nick!
Star Wars has been a great bonding experience for me and Nick!

I’m a planner by nature, and I think the world is in a rush to have our kids grow up too fast. So, I delayed Star Wars until Nick was 6 (he’s now 7 ½). I LOVE Star Wars and wanted him to love it too- I figured premature exposure may ruin it.

What pushed me over the edge, despite my hesitations, was when I was called to do a customer focus group for some unknown product. It turns out the focus group was to get reactions to new Lego Star Wars products (awesome!), and the room was full of Dads about my age with kids about my son’s age. Almost all of them had shared Star Wars with their kids by then, and especially extolled the virtues of the Lego Star Wars video game.

The next day, I showed Nick some you tube clips- as a way to gauge his interest (through the roof), expose him to characters (he instantly was head over heels for Darth Maul!), and talk about basic plot points. I figured this would make the movies easier for him to understand and enjoy.

It worked!

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Fantasy Football: “Time-Suck” to Avoid #2 (or, Cam Newton shouldn’t be ruining your life)

Time Suck– (n) Something that’s engrossing and addictive, but that keeps you from doing things that are actually important, like earning a living, or eating meals, or caring for your children. (from UrbanDictionary.com)

Don’t let this take over your weekend!

Perhaps the greatest challenge we all face in being both a good provider an a present father is that there never seems to be enough time in a day.  Our jobs and careers demand our time; our kids need a lot of us, too.  It is really hard to find the time.

It is also hard to find the energy necessary to be a great dad.  Stress, time demands, etc all seem to rob us of energy, and prevent us from being relaxed and present.

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Michael Lewis on the State of Modern Fatherhood and Work-Family Balance

Michael Lewis may be the best non-fiction writer working today.  From his business-related books (Boomerang, Liar’s Poker, The Big Short) to sports-related books (Moneyball, Blind Side; both GREAT books but WAY over-rated movies), he always nails his subject with both intelligence and humor.

Michael Lewis' memoir on fatherhood, "Home Game" contains his typical wit and wisdom
Michael Lewis’ memoir on fatherhood, “Home Game” contains his typical wit and wisdom

While introducing his highly-recommended memoir, “Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood”, Lewis writes:

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Golf: “Time-Suck” to Avoid #1 (or, the post in which I piss off half my readership)

This article was republished at the Good Men Project online men’s magazine.  Follow this link to the article.   Time Suck– (n) Something that’s engrossing and addictive, but that keeps you from doing things that are actually important, like earning a living, or eating meals, or caring for your children. (from UrbanDictionary.com) Perhaps the greatest … Read more

On Work and Fatherhood Priorities (with Bill Bryson and Ferris Bueller)

How could I turn down a chance to play catch with him? Work can wait.

Bill Bryson is my favorite author, and puts my writing skills to shame.  His humorous travel writing (e.g., In a Sunburned Country, A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson’s African Diary, Neither Here Nor There), memoirs (e.g., The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, I’m a Stranger Here Myself), and science/history books (A Short History of Nearly Everything, At Home) are all fantastic.  He may have written the best passage about Fathers, Work and Family that I have ever read.   The following is excerpted from “On Losing a Son (to College)” from Bill Bryson’s book I’m a Stranger Here Myself, 1999:

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My Review of NBC’s “Guys with Kids” (or this is the best our culture can do? Really?)

Gratuitous Father-Son Picture

“Dad as doofus” humor is the backbone of many TV sitcoms, as has been since the very beginning.  Unfortunately, the “batting average” for this easy type of humor is not very high.  There are a few home runs (Homer Simpson or Michael Bluth), some clean singles (Ray Romano, Bill Cosby, Tim Allen, et al), and lots of strikeouts (George Lopez or anyone on “Yes Dear”).  And I am not the first to speak out against the lazy TV stereotype of the clueless dad.Very few shows have taken a nuanced look into modern fatherhood and the work and fatherhood conundrum most of us face- “Up all Night” and “Parenthood” are two current shows that do this (I’m sure there are more, but, who has time for lots of TV?).  Considering all we committed, working dads are dealing with, the time seems right for a smart, incisive comedy commenting on our issues.

“Guys with Kids” is not that show. 

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The Onion and Death Star Day-Care: Friday Fathers, Work and Family Humor

(photo from Kalexanderson’s incredible set of Stormtrooper Father and Son photos, used in accordance with user agreement)

What’s a stormtrooper and father to do?  It must be very hard to balance work and family when working in the Death Star.  In response to this, Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader have, according to The Onion (the greatest humor and satire site in the internet), opened on-site day care.

Read all about it here:

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