Posts Tagged ‘ Mad Men ’

Only From A Dream Can You Wake To Light

Friday, April 12th, 2013

2 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

Yesterday morning as Mommy came to your bed to wake you up, you made a special request:

“Mater Juice! I want my Mater Juice! Where’s my Mater Juice?”

It would take the rest of the morning before you yourself began to possibly consider that whatever exactly “Mater Juice” was, it was something you had dreamed about.

I assume it’s the kind of juice that Mater from Cars drinks; which I would assume is motor oil. I’m confident you’re not referring to tomato juice.

The last time I considered that you have dreams was back when you were just a newborn and I wrote a post called Funny Faces and Baby Dreams:

“He often slips in and out of sleep when I stare at him.  I try to imagine what he is dreaming about, as his face tells the seemingly same story every time.  The dream starts out with Baby Jack petting a friendly puppy (Jack always starts his dreams smiling).  Then a mean dog comes along and scares Jack and the friendly puppy (that’s when Jack has a worried look on his face).  Lastly, the dream ends with him drinking milk or pooping (as he either starts ‘rooting’ or grunting, accordingly).  What else would a baby dream about anyway?”

My understanding is that a dream is the unfinished processing of what the mind is preoccupied with. Therefore, your “Mater Juice” dream might simply be showing that in your recent obsession of monster trucks, you are now realizing you neglected Mater’s Tall Tales on our Netflix streaming cue. Also, with all the aftermath of your remaining Easter candy, Mommy and I haven’t let you drink any watered-down juice here lately.

In addition to Mommy and I learning about your dreams, we are also exposed to your playful imagination. Tonight as Mommy put you to bed, you proclaimed:

“I see a mouse. He’s dancing on the ceiling. And a man- he’s walking a bear.”

Or maybe that was simply you fading into a dream state while still awake.

Coincidentally in the midst of your leftover dreams and “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” sorts of visions, I just watched a very captivating episode of Mad Men (Season 5) called “Far Away Places” and I’m trying to process this quote from it:

“Only awareness can make your reality and only what’s real can become a dream and only from a dream can you wake to the light.”

In other words… the more you learn, the more you have to dream about, and the more your dreams reveal what unfinished business you have about what you have learned.

Tomorrow morning we should watch Mater’s Tall Tales while drinking watered-down juice.

You’re lucky to have me as your dream interpreter. Just imagine, “Mater Juice” could have just been written off as some random dream…

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Add a Comment
Back To The Dadabase

A Slap In The Face: Child Abuse Or Discipline?

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

A year and a half.

Back in February when I was doing some research as I wrote “4 Out Of 5 Parents Spank Their Kids” I read that slapping a child in the face can be considering a form of spanking.

I was never slapped in the face by my parents, nor could I ever imagine doing that to my son. To deem a face slap as a form of discipline seems illegitimate to me.

But is it because of the age and culture I am a part of?

The premium TV show Mad Men always does a good job of pointing out situations that are largely considered taboo today, but back in the 1960′s when the show takes place, were considered normal and acceptable.

I have noticed that in this show, children get slapped in the face as a form of discipline and punishment; sometimes even by an adult who is not the child’s parent. And therefore, we are led to believe this was okay for 1963.

Meanwhile, my wife knows a man who, without shame, admitted he slaps his children to discipline them. He is not from America.

So I wonder, as a Generation Y American dad, am I preconditioned to believe that slapping my child in the face is taboo? Or is this type of punishment truly as legitimate as spanking a child on their bum?

I am simply hosting this conversation. I would like for you to point out the double standards, both in favor and against including face-slapping in the same category as spanking.

Do you consider slapping a child in the face morally wrong, yet believe spanking your child’s buttocks is acceptable?

Why is a slap in the face somehow worse? Is it more psychologically damaging than spanking?

Does it make a difference whether or not it leaves a physical mark the next day? Is that what is considered crossing the line?

Why is there more of a taboo on face-slapping?

Why are you more likely to see a parent spank their child in public than slap them in the face? Is it because less parents slap their kids in the face or is it because those parents know they would be confronted by another adult?

If you witnessed a parent slapping their child in the face in public, would you do or say anything to them about it? (Imagine this being an episode of that show What Would You Do?)

Okay, go…

Add a Comment
Back To The Dadabase

Why This Dad Isn’t Watching Ben Flajnik’s Bachelor Season

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

13 months.

For the past couple of years now, I have consistently published my own recaps of The Bachelor, drawing in tens of thousands of views on my personal blog site, NickShell.com.

It made me laugh that I could make 300 people a day stumble upon my site when they Googled “Is Ali Fedotowsky Jewish?” Not only blogging about the show, but watching it every Monday night with my wife, had become a fun tradition.

This week, the new Bachelor season premiered featuring Ben Flajnik, the Slovak-Italian-German-English (but not Jewish) winemaker from California.

But the magic just wasn’t there for me anymore. Unlike previous seasons, it felt like the main focus was just on how ridiculous (and pathetic) the contestants could appear to be. It was like the show had merged with its sleazy cousin, Bachelor Pad, and all those trashy reality dating shows on VH1.

I guess I’m becoming more morally convicted about contributing to the exploitation of other people; even if they don’t realize or don’t care that the world is laughing at them, not with them.

A switch has flipped in my head. Is it because The Bachelor has (just now?) finally jumped the shark?

Not actually. My sudden disgust in The Bachelor got me thinking deeper. I realized that the underlying issue here is that I’m starved for redeeming value, not only in entertainment, but in real life.

I started thinking about the TV shows my wife and I have plowed through this past year on Netlflix. (We don’t have cable. We watched this week’s Bachelor episode online.)

They included Big Love, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad. In my opinion, all three are very well-written, well-directed, fresh, original, and premium quality entertainment. But just yesterday I realized something they all three have in common:

The protagonist cheats on his wife, she cheats on him, or they cheat on each other.

It made me start thinking about all the good songs we love to sing along to which are about someone getting cheated on. Yeah, good songs like “White Liar” by Miranda Lambert or “You Lie” by The Band Perry. In every genre of music, it’s common for enjoyable songs to be about infidelity.

I may sound like a Republican grandma from the Eighties, but I’m really tired of all this negativity in pop culture; especially when it comes to the way marriage is portrayed.

The truth is, I’m struggling right now to think of a good modern TV series that features a happily married couple who aren’t constantly (even though comically) cutting each other down. I miss Jason and Maggie Seaver from Growing Pains.

Here on The Dadabase, I have written several times about how dads are negatively portrayed on TV. But I failed to focus also on how negatively marriage is portrayed, as well. That’s just as big of a deal.

I miss the cheesy “musical moral moments” at the end of Miller-Boyett sitcoms like Full House, Family Matters, Step By Step, and Perfect Strangers where I was always fed a bite-size life lesson, teaching me to care more about others than myself.

Starting now, I am going to be deliberately seeking out entertainment (and real-life ventures) that have a high redeeming quality.

As part of her Christmas present to me, my wife agreed to watch the first season of Lost with me. She’s never seen it, but I’ve seen every episode.

Lost is the kind of thing I mean when I say “redeeming quality.” I love to see the moral struggles of the characters as they try to forgive others and themselves for the wrongs they have committed in their lives. I love that they ultimately become accountable for their actions.

I love to see a story actually go somewhere. I love to see people redeemed, not exploited.

Add a Comment
Back To The Dadabase

The Legend of the Happily Married Man

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Ten months.

I am the kind of person who will go to quirky extremes to accomplish a mission that I have set my heart upon. In the process, that may mean that I am seen as fanatic, arrogant, or simply removed from reality and relevance. This is because I believe that often in life, it’s the little things we take for granted that can ultimately throw everything off whack. So I pay very close attention to those seemingly insignificant details and live my life accordingly.

Therefore, I am not a husband who will ever be quoted as saying, “Well I can look at the menu, can’t I?” as a justification to “appreciate the beauty” of another woman. It’s one thing to acknowledge another woman is attractive when someone asks me, in general; but that’s not what I’m referring to.

I’m talking about being out at a public place, hanging out with other guys, and the conversation turns to the body of the 22 year old waitress.Or observing the way other male coworkers lose their focus every time the Jane Siegel of the office (a reference to the 2nd season of Mad Men) walks by. I simply refuse to contribute in those situations.I am a happily married man and that means something to me.

It means that I don’t need to try to answer any subconscious questions in regards to my ability to woo a woman other than my wife.It means I will respect the sanctity of my marriage and the integrity of my family; not letting my guard down, even on account of an innocent look or a thoughtless comment regarding another woman.

Why would I need to “look at the menu” when I’ve already got everything I want in my wife? Part of the positive re-branding of fatherhood involves a deliberate campaign to view every other woman simply as another woman- not an object of desire. A man I would aspire to be like is a man who respects his wife even when she’s not around. So that’s the kind of man I choose to be.

I wear a wedding ring. Therefore, that dominates the messages I send to other women. My conversations with them will accordingly be intertwined with mention of my wife and son; so that even if I didn’t have a wedding ring, the message would still be clear how much I value my marriage- and how not interested I am in looking at any other items on the menu.

Add a Comment
Back To The Dadabase

Putting My Paternal Instincts to Good Use

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Nine months.

My wife is without a doubt a very strong, confident, and independent woman. However, there are times when I need to take control of the situation, as I see signs of her becoming overwhelmed with daily events.

Most recently, I took control of our son’s inability to fall and stay asleep. My wife’s maternal instincts made it very difficult for her to try the “cry it out” method, so I used my paternal instincts and now, our son sleeps all the way through the night (7PM to 6:20 AM). And when I refer to my “paternal instincts,” I’m talking about my ability to strip away emotion for the purpose of practicality.

However, it would do me no good to always remain in “emotionless” mode.  Because a big part of being a leader is being able to truly understand where others are coming from; I have to be able to relate to them, emotionally. The word is “empathy.”  In order to be a good leader, I must make myself a humble servant who understands (or at least tries to understand) what it’s like on the other side.

Granted, I don’t want to be the President or a CEO of a huge corporation. But as a father, husband, and a guy who joins the work force everyday, there are constantly moments where I must use my leadership skills to be as proactive as the situation calls for.  And this all ties into my mission of positively re-branding fatherhood.  Because as I’ve said before, being a good father doesn’t simply mean “being there,” it means being both actively and emotionally involved in the lives of your spouse and children.

I remind myself how crucial it is to be cool, calm, and collected, as well as, to be direct, assertive, and respectable.  I even keep mental images in my head of both real and fictional people who I believe encompass calm-assertiveness, including but not limited to the following random examples: 2012 Presidential candidate Ron Paul, Don Draper (at work, not home) on Mad Men, Chris Harrison (as host of The Bachelor), Leonardo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (okay, so he’s not actually human), and perhaps the most calm-assertive man I’ve ever heard of, Jesus Christ.

Even as the writer of this blog, I believe in the importance of being calm-assertive. I realize that in the blog world, it’s important to be controversial and edgy in order to engage readers and gain a following.  Interestingly though, I have learned, especially here on The Dadabase, that often when I try to be controversial and edgy, my efforts typically go unread, uncommented, and un-“liked.”

What seems to generate the most interest is when I write positively and directly about parenting. That is what has gotten readers excited in both agreeable and disagreeable ways.  Positively parenting with a sense of authority is controversial and edgy.

I believe there are a lot of people out there looking for a positive and proactive outlook in the parenting blog world.  I want The Dadabase to be the obvious go-to blog for that crowd.  I want my blog to be both a safe and realistic environment for other parents.  And I plan to do this by being a calm-assertive leader of the blogosphere.

Add a Comment
Back To The Dadabase