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:
So much for “love sweet love”
Periodically, Fathers, Work, and Family will feature a guest post from a working dad relating some of their experiences, struggles and advice. In this way, we can all benefit from multiple perspectives and start building a community on this blog. If you’d like to participate, please email me (you can find the email here) and we can discuss what you’d like to share.
The first installment in this series comes from my good friend (and more importantly, loyal blog reader), Neil Cohen, who also has an great blog of his own, Man on Third, to which I highly recommend you subscribe. Enjoy.
“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.
(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:
Doctors and nutritionists have a saying, “it doesn’t really matter if you take vitamins, but it matters if you live your life like someone who takes vitamins”. Basically, people who take vitamins also tend to eat better, exercise more and think about their health on a daily basis- and this is what leads to better health. The research on the efficacy of vitamins is inconclusive at best, but the evidence for these other healthy practices is rock solid.
Similarly, there’s lots of advice and research from psychologists, especially those who study adolescent well-being, asserting that families who eat dinner together gain a wide variety of benefits from doing so. From an excellent Time Magazine article by Nancy Gibbs:
From the incredibly funny book, Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown, that my Star Wars-obsessed son bought me for Father’s Day. Some hazards of taking your son to work with you (especially if you work for the Dark Side)… May the force be with all of you this weekend. Thank you for your … Read more
My friend and neighbor, Francesco, who is a terrific dad, (and, more importantly, a loyal blog reader!), has a semi-regular tradition of inviting his local guy friends to hang out by the fire pit in his backyard with a cooler full of beer. We’ve come to calling this brilliant innovation BEER FIRE! (and I maintain he be nominated for the MacArthur Genius Grant for this revolutionary idea)
Beer Fire usually consists of 8-10 forty-something guys, most of whom are balancing interesting and rewarding careers with the rigors of being fathers to young kids, simply getting a chance to relax, hang out, swap stories, have a few beers, and get to know each other.
Beer Fire is awesome, and I have benefitted greatly from attending- it’s relaxing; it’s fun, and I always learn a little something from everyone I talk to.