Archive for the ‘ Must Read ’ Category

I Never Saw Myself As A Non-Spanking Parent, But…

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

Back before you were of disciplining age, I was no skeptic of parents who refused to spank their child; in fact, I passionately mocked the idea of discplining without spanking.

I vehemently disagreed with Super Nanny’s approach.

“Time out? Yeah right. Like that does any good,” I would think to myself.

I believed that “non-spanking” was part of a liberal media agenda which led to uncontrollable children and even, overall, a higher crime rate for the adults who were not spanked as kids.

Then I changed my mindset. I stopped looking at opposing groups of people as “wrong” or “right,” based on their opinions. I stopped feeding into the polarization of America, based on our divided cultural leanings and preferences.

(Even to the point I now think Republicans and Democrats are equal. I realize it’s heresy to both sides to say that, though.)

But it’s true that I use to totally stereotype parents who didn’t spank their children.

I assumed that if a parent didn’t spank their child, they definitely didn’t effectively discipline them. Or it meant, in theory, they didn’t really discipline them at all.

Something that always kept me close-minded to the concept of discipline without spanking is a Bible verse (Proverbs 13:24) that I had always interpreted in a preconceived way:

“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”

I always took that to mean “the rod” (or the paddle, etc.) exclusively equalled discipline. In other words, I thought it would be impossible to properly discipline a child without ultimately resorting to spanking. But now, I read that verse differently:

My interpretation is, “It’s better to spank your child in an effort to discipline them, than to not discipline your child at all. But the main thing is, that you do discipline your child- not necessarily how you discipline them.”

Therefore, I totally don’t care how other parents discipline their children. I used to, but I’m way over that.

What I do care about is how I discipline you. And for Mommy and I, that means not resorting to spanking. For us, that’s what we feel is right for our family.

Again, I have completely neutral feelings about how other parents discipline their kids. I have no time to think or care about that. None of my business or concern. Complete Libertarian approach.

What got me thinking about this is that a couple of days ago another blogger on wrote an article and posted a video that I totally agree with:

The video explains 5 alternatives to spanking that Mommy and I apply:

1. Ignore attention-seeking behavior.

2. Pay attention to good behavior.

3. Redirect your child.

4. Teach consequences that make sense.

5. Use time-outs for serious offenses.

I love you, therefore I discipline you. I just happen to be one the parents who believes spanking is not the most effective long-term way to carry out that discipline for my own child.

That doesn’t make me a better parent in any way, but it does make me a version of myself I had never seen myself becoming, before actually becoming a parent.





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I Am The Childless Creepy Guy In The Men’s Restroom

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

2 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

Over the weekend Mommy and I took you to the pool, just in time for the weather to turn overcast, therefore demotivating us from our desire earlier that morning to want to go swimming in the first place.

Being a guy who drinks a minimum of 3 liters of water a day, I naturally had to disappear for a minute or so, soon after we arrived,  as Mommy helped you get your feet acquainted with the cold water in the kiddie pool.

As I made my way to the men’s restroom, I saw a woman standing in the doorway.

Actually, “standing” is not a good word to use. “Anxiously pacing, rocking back and forth, biting her fingernails” would be the way I would like to describe it; because that’s clearly how I remember her.

Turns out I was only steps behind the woman’s 11 year-old son as he walked into the restroom. I’ve been in a similar situation before, so I braced myself for the 90 seconds of awkwardness that was about to unfold.

Right in the middle of the boy trying to do his thing, in the stall next to me, I heard the mom yell (and I mean yell) into the restroom:

“Ethan? Ethan! Are you okay in there? Ethan?”

 Of course, in his embarrassment, he delayed answering right away.

So again, his mother screamed, “Ethan? How is everything? Are you okay in there?”

This time he managed to murmur a “yeah” just loud enough for her to hear.

The boy and I were in perfect syncopation. As we washed our hands side by side at the sinks, I wanted to say, “Hey man, sorry about what’s going on right now. I know you feel embarrassed by what’s going on. Plus, I know you know I’m just a regular guy, not a creep. In fact, I have a wife and a 2 and a half-year old son just down the hall. I want out of this situation just as much as you do.”

But I didn’t say a word or even look at him.

It was a long 90 seconds, but it finally came to an end as both the boy and I left the restroom at the same time, with the boy’s mother waiting for us there at the door with a very worried look on her face.

This story isn’t about the mom who I am making out to be a wee bit overprotective, or the 11 year-old son who I am making out the be the embarrassed victim of that wee overprotective mom.

Instead, this story is about me; the random guy who just happened to walk into the restroom the same exact time as that boy.

The way I see it, there’s nothing I could have done or said differently to the boy or his mom to help the situation; that would have only made it worse.

So I guess what I am saying is, sometimes as a grown-man entering a public restroom without his own son in tow, I just have to  be okay with certain assumptions being made about me.

In other words, sometimes I just have to let 90 seconds of awkwardness happen, like they did just a few weeks ago at the city park.





Photo: Men’s Restroom Sign on Black, via Shutterstock.


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The “Just Checking” Cheerios Ad, Minus The Racist Trolls

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

2 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

A lot of buzz has been going on over the past week or so about the “Just Checking” Cheerios Ad.

On May 28th, Cheerios released an awesome 30 second ad on YouTube; I’ll get to the awesomeness of it here in a minute.

First, I have to teach you about what are called “Internet trolls.”

I really like Wikipedia’s definition of them:

“In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtrl//ˈtrɒl/) is someone who posts inflammatory,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[2] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[3]

So, Internet trolls laced the comments section of the Cheerios ad with hateful messages of racism.

As you’re about to see in the ad, a biracial family is featured. The Internet trolls used this as a target to upset people… and unfortunately, they were very successful.

They were so successful that the comments on the ad have since been deleted. Plus, no one can leave a comment on the ad anymore, because of the Internet trolls’ success of basically making it seem like America is full of outspoken racists.

I choose to believe that while America can be awkward about differences in race, as I know I tend to be because I fear asking questions about other races and cultures, because I might seem uninformed, unexposed, and accidentally racist, I just don’t think there are not truly enough outright racists in our nation to shut down the comments section on a Cheerios ad that features a biracial family.

(Also, see To Be Colorblind, Racially Speaking…)

But I do believe that America has enough select sick people to cause a riot on the Internet. They knew the masses would be angered. They knew that the overwhelming majority of Americans are not racists and would get quite a rise out of the trolls’ racist remarks.

Unlike the traditional racist who is very ignorant yet extremely focused on hating a certain group of people, Internet trolls are careless about who they indirectly hate. I don’t know which is worse…

Okay, I told you that the “Just Checking” Cheerios ad is awesome. Here it is:

As a daddy blogger who is extremely focused on spotlighting ads, TV shows, and movies that feature dads in a positive and active role, I love (!) this ad.

I noticed that the acting is superb. It’s so believable and candid, that I actually caught myself thinking, “What a cool family.”

Then I reminded myself they’re just actors.

This ad is fresh, funny, and promotes good health. And for the fact that you eat Cheerios in a plastic baggy every morning on the way to school, I can even say that we honestly support the product they’re selling.

That doesn’t happen very often in this health-nut family you’re a part of.





P.S. Beware of Internet trolls, even in the comments section of this, too!


Photo: 3D Cute Furry Monster, via Shutterstock.

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To Be Colorblind, Racially Speaking

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

2 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

As you commentate in the backseat in regards to the people you see on the sidewalk or driving the cars next to us, I’ve officially learned the language of “2 and a half year-old.”

I’ll hear you say, “Look at that brown man. Where’s he going?”

Or, “What about that yellow woman? She drives a truck?”

Though I was pretty confused the first several times because I was looking for the wrong physical traits, I eventually realized that when you refer to a person’s color, you’re simply talking about what color their shirt is.

At age 2 and a half, you evidently don’t see skin color like the way I’ve been conditioned to as a 32 year-old man who grew up in Alabama.

Knowing about all the segregation that took place just a couple of decades before I was born, I was constantly aware how horrible judging a person on their skin color was.

The good news is, I don’t think you’ll have to deal with this problem as much as I have throughout my life. When you were born, the American President was of both English and Kenyan descent; or as he’s often referred to, “America’s first black President.”

You were born into the least racist point in America’s recent history. (Right?) I don’t think you’ll ever be forced to see the difference in skin color the way I have throughout my life.

It’s tricky for me. I never want to make it seem like I’m truly “colorblind,” because then it takes away from the value of a person’s ethnic heritage and culture.

I suppose at some point, you’ll notice the different shades of brown that all of us human beings have; just like the way you notice what color shirts we wear.

Until then, I envy your innocence.




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Stereotype: Boys Like Playing With Sticks And Mud

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

2 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

You should know: There’s this stereotype that little boys like playing with sticks and playing in the mud.

As if you really are so magnetically drawn to finding ways to get dirty and make messes; whether indoors or outdoors…

As if every time I take you to the park during my lunch break, you bypass the actual playground so you can collect sticks to throw them into the water and “make soup…”

As if you were predestined, and even hard-wired in your DNA as a little boy, to be so predictable like that…

Oh, snap.

Actually, all those things are true about you.

In fact, you sort of slipped on that rock and fell in the water; getting your whole left foot wet.

That’ll be our little secret. I cleaned you up good enough that no one seemed to notice by the time I took you back to school.

I also won’t mention the part about (or show the pictures of) you running from one end of the park to the other with your stick raised in the air like it was helping you fly.

After all, you had your cool skull-and-crossbones sunglasses on. Or, as I considered them in that moment, your “safety goggles.”

It’s funny to me that during our Friday afternoon tradition of going to the park, you never really look happy: You look pretty serious most of the time we’re there.

But I know the value of “serious” Daddy/son play time. You and I need regular time together in which words are not necessary; just primitive caveman stuff.

Yes, technically, you’re playing; but specifically, you exploring and experimenting with nature.

I guess your theory is this: If the good Lord intended for us to play with toys, He wouldn’t have given us sticks and mud.









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