Posts Tagged ‘ science ’

What Scientifically Makes Kids Happy, Part 3: Love From Dad

Friday, March 21st, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Continued from Part 1: Optimism and Part 2: Less TV Time.

Dear Jack,

In the past two letters, I shared with you what makes kids happy, from a scientific viewpoint. I’ve really enjoyed learning about this stuff.

Today’s letter is obviously particularly relevant to you and me.

I will admit, if this information weren’t scientifically backed up, what I am about to say might sound totally biased, but I read all about it an article in LiveScience, as well as seeing it referenced in “The Science Of Raising Happy Kids” infographic at the bottom of this page:

“Feeling loved by dad was even more important for kids’ wellbeing, happiness, and life satisfaction than feeling loved by Mom.

The most effective dads listen to their kids, have a close relationship with them, set appropriate rules, and give freedom when it makes sense.”

Maybe I’m alone here on this, but there are certain days when I feel like I don’t really matter so much; that I’m a chauffer and a dishwasher… like I’m a stage hand.

Your emotional attachment to Mommy is so obvious. As for your emotional attachment to me, the dad… not quite as obvious.

For most of my life I had functioned in a way that I needed confirmation that I was doing things right in order to feel confident.

However, I’m past that point in my life. That started changing about the time I got a real job… but even more so once I became your daddy.

But obviously, it’s still encouraging to learn that you feeling loved by me is an important of your wellbeing, happiness and life satisfaction.

It helps me to be more positive of a person, which is something I’m working on, to know that the things I already do (listen to you, have a close relationship with you, set appropriate rules, and give you freedom when it makes sense) are actually paying off.

Hey, I won’t argue with science.





Infographic featured courtesy of Happify:

Read the entire What Makes Kids Scientifically Happy series:

 Part 1: Optimism

 Part 2: Less TV Time

Part 3: Love From Dad

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What Scientifically Makes Kids Happy, Part 2: Less TV Time

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Continued from Part 1: Optimism.

Dear Jack,

Every parent has their own set of subconscious rules that they personally are sensitive to, while other parents may not be as concerned.

Something in particular that I personally am very strict about is your TV time.

My stance was always that I didn’t want you really watching any TV until you were 2 years old, as I believe it interferes with personality development and attention span.

However, you’ve been older than 2 for nearly a year and a half now…

I actually enjoy the fact you are now old enough to legitimately watch TV, per my blessings.

However, I didn’t know what the official cut-off point should be. I just knew it bothered me for the TV to be on in the background all day (because I believe the studies that show that excessive TV time is linked to lowering a child’s IQ), and/or for you to watch more than one movie on the same day.

Well, now, thanks to a recent study from the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology, in Barcelona; the “official cut-off point” is 90 minutes a day of TV:

“For the study, Marinelli’s team questioned parents of slightly more than 1,700 preschool and school-aged children about the time their kids spent watching TV and sleeping (including napping) each day. The preschoolers were 2 and 4 years old at the study’s start, the others were 6 and 9.

The researchers found that children who watched TV for 1.5 hours or more a day slept less than kids with less TV time. And as viewing time increased to more than 1.5 hours a day, sleep declined even more.”

More than 90 minutes of TV equals less quality sleep time. I buy into it.

For me, this “90 minute rule” is something I plan on taking seriously from here on out.

The studies featured in the infographic ”The Science Of Raising Happy Kids” point to this concept as well, claiming that teens show higher signs of depression for every extra hour of TV they watch.

In essence, your sense of well-being is and will be affected by how much TV that I let you watch each day.

The biggest temptation is on the weekends. It’s easy a lot of the times to have the TV on in the midst of all that we have to get done.

We really do try to get you outdoors as long as weather permits- but when we don’t… Netflix always has something you’ll like.

(I wonder if anyone else besides our family has memorized the theme song of Trotro?)

But again, I like the “90 Minute Rule.” It keeps things simple for me. I like having structure like that.

With being your dad, I don’t exactly have a set of rules to go by. This helps.





Infographic featured courtesy of Happify:

 Read the entire What Makes Kids Scientifically Happy series:

 Part 1: Optimism

 Part 2: Less TV Time

Part 3: Love From Dad

Add a Comment

Tags: , , , , | Categories: The Dadabase

What Scientifically Makes Kids Happy, Part 1: Optimism

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

As I was driving you to school one day last week, a lady in an SUV was driving towards us in the opposing lane. I saw her smile at us, just in a friendly way as if to say “good morning” to random strangers, so I smiled back.

But as she got closer to us, I realized she was only squinting at the sun.

It didn’t make a difference though. I had already received a feeling of “the world is a good place” from her because I perceived that another human being was making an attempt to brighten my day.

I think that was around last Thursday- and it’s weird, because since then, I have been making a more conscious effort of being more of a giver and less of a jaded critic… or as Gandhi put it:

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Yeah, I’ve seriously been trying to do that. I’m beginning to be the guy at work who is going around sincerely asking people how they are doing and asking about what’s new in their lives- with no intention to tell them anything about myself.

I’m remembering to smile even when no one is looking, but especially when people are looking. I’m reminding myself that “being nice” is more than just not being rude; it’s going out of my way to positively affect other people by actions and attitude.

What if I’m the best news that happens to them all day?

Before, I basically just said hi and kept walking.

It just so happens that a few days ago I came across this infographic (featured below) called “The Science Of Raising Happy Kids,” which explains a lot of cool things, some of which I’ll be talking about soon.

As for today, though; one of those things is the importance of a parent being an example of optimism to their kids.

Whether or not you end up having a sunny outlook in life is actually determined in part by how you see me, your parent, react to things beyond my control.


You live with me. In theory, you may even know me better than I know myself.

So you have been a witness to my streaks of pessimism, which can have an effect on you. This is me beginning to make a deliberate effort from here on out to be more optimistic.

Because I’m seeing now it actually matters scientifically, according to the studies this infographic is based on.

I needed to be reminded of that. Perfect timing.

This is me trying to be the change I wish to see in the world. I am more likely to be an example of optimism to you if I’m already that way to everyone else in my life anyway.

So much for the glass being half full. I say, “Hey, it’s totally full.”

It’s full of chocolate almond milk, just the kind you like. Even when you’re being a slightly sneaky little rascal!





To be continued… See Part 2: Less TV Time.


Infographic featured courtesy of Happify:


Read the entire What Makes Kids Scientifically Happy series:

 Part 1: Optimism

 Part 2: Less TV Time

Part 3: Love From Dad

Add a Comment

When Kids’ Messes Are Really Deconstruction Learning Exercises

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

17 months.

Jack is finally learning how to actually play with his Lego-like blocks. He likes to see how tall he can build his tower or sword or lightsaber or whatever it’s supposed to be.

But for Jack, it’s just as much fun to tear down and break apart as it is to create.

For the past couple of weeks now, I have noticed that during his playtime, he likes to make messes… for fun.

It’s been nearly a decade since I took a Child Psychology class back when I was in college, but I have to assume that right now my son is working out the engineering part of his brain.

He is teaching himself how to deconstruct things so that he can rebuild them.

My wife told me that Jack likes to abruptly swipe all his bath toys off the tub’s ledge into the water, only to carefully place them back in order.

I’ve said it before, but I truly think Jack is going to be the opposite of me when it comes to his motor skills. He will be a clear-thinking, math and science guy; whereas I’m a deep-thinking, abstract, communications kind of guy.

That’s a good thing. We’ll have plenty to learn from each other.

Of course, that’s not to say that Jack won’t end up being a very sociable little boy, because it’s seems to me he already is.

Yes, I could have allowed myself to become annoyed when Jack started his new daily game of emptying his six different toy caddies in our living room.

But I just remind myself that my son that is becoming his own mechanics teacher.

I can’t believe I just now thought of this, but why am I cleaning up his toys when playtime ends? After all, I shouldn’t deprive him of the very valuable reconstructive lesson of placing his toys back where they belong.

He’s not a baby anymore. He’s a lightsaber swinging toddler who is sure to get better math and science grades than I ever did.




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Intelligent Design: Love from a Scientific Perspective

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Nine months.

If we were restricted to only see the world in terms of science, where would love fit into that picture? I guess it could be said that love, along with all other human emotions, is ultimately necessary for not only procreation but also the desired human interactions that help move us forward as a society. Carpenter ants and sea horses do not need to feel anything emotionally in order to survive and multiply, but we humans, being much more complicated, are not devoid of personalities or the need to feel needed by others. We need love.

So somewhere in the evolution from fish to ape to man, love randomly showed up in the genes and proved to be fit for survival? It sounds pretty miraculous to me…

That’s why, along with the Jewish actor/political commentator Ben Stein (The Wonder Years and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) and the Christian actor/evangelist Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains), I am a devout advocate of Intelligent design.

In other words, I reject the popular and politically correct theory of evolution and/or The Big Bang Theory. Instead, I believe that man was literally created by God, from dust, as it is explained in the book of Genesis- in six literal 24 hour days.

What about dinosaurs, though? After all, men could not have survived alongside vicious, giant lizards.

Interestingly, The Book of Genesis explains that in the beginning, God gave the herbs and plants for the people to eat. It wasn’t until ten extremely long generations later (people lived centuries long back then) when Noah and his family exited the ark that God told mankind A) that animals would begin fearing man and therefore, B) that people should now starting eating animals as part of their diet.

Therefore, I believe for ten long generations, people and animals of all kinds coexisted, all living on a vegetarian diet. Radically, I believe the world is around 10,000 years old; not millions or billions. That’s just the Cliff Notes version of Intelligent design. Feel free to read another blog post I’ve written on it; or google “Intelligent design” to learn just how “out there” I really am.

Simply put, I believe that love is just simply too miraculous to have randomly showed up on its own. I believe that love did not evolve, but instead was created and given as a gift from God to man; so that man would share it. For me, thinking about love from a scientific perspective only points me to one simple idea: love is part of God’s intelligent design.

The love I share for my wife and son comes from God; not chance.

Unexpected Bonus!

It has never been more appropriate than right now for me to give away a free copy of the brand-new, just released, children’s book, Smack Dab in the Middle of God’s Love.

The book seems to encompass the artistic sophistication of a classic Caldecott Medal winning book along with the multi-ethnic oneness of Sesame Street. It’s a nostalgic return to the good children’s books I read as a child growing up in the Eighties, but with a modern accent. I believe this book would especially be ideal for parents who have not yet raised their children in a particular religious household, but who are now more interested in doing so; the book would serve as a great transition into teaching them about God’s love.

Now, as to the one lucky winner who will be mailed a copy of this book, just be the first person to leave a comment on this post telling me how many weeks old my son Jack was when we gave him his first haircut. Make sure you send me an email ( with your name and mailing address so I’ll know where to mail it.

Need a hint? Use the search box on the right side of this screen.

Excerpt from the back cover of Smack Dab in the Middle of God’s Love:

“Willie Juan and Ana’s home is always full of neighborhood children, laughter, and love. One day, while enjoying Ana’s most delicious sopapillas, Willie Juan asks a most curious question:

‘Little friends, what is one thing you think Abba will ask you someday when you are in heaven?’.

Through their answers, Willie Juan’s guidance, and a few giggles, the children learn that God cares about the details of their lives and that all good gifts- from hummingbirds to homemade sopapillas- come from Him.

This book will help kids discover how deep and wide and endless is the love of God. A love so BIG that no matter what, they will always be smack dab in the middle of it.”

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