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Fatherhood in the 21st Century

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Archive for April, 2010

For a long time now I’ve had the idea of putting together a huge list of songs for Dads to listen to. A while back I posted a few YouTube videos of songs that I liked, but that wasn’t enough.

My musical tastes lean toward country; although I like songs from almost every genre, I don’t really listen to other types of music on a regular basis. So, I’m turning to my readers to leave comments here and share your favorite songs about being a dad. They could be father-son songs, father-daughter songs, songs about being a dad, songs about kids, whatever. Basically, if you think it has absolutely anything to do with being a dad, tell me about it.

I will leave all of the comments up, but I’ll also aggregate the responses and put together a post in the future with all of the songs.

To top it off, for every comment that I get on this topic, I’ll donate $2 to the National Fatherhood Initiative.

Thanks, and have a great day!

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

I’ve always liked to think of myself as a very child-like person, thinking that this was preferable to being called childish. Of course, I don’t throw temper tantrums in Wal-Mart or throw food all over the table when I go out to a restaurant – it’s just that I try to view the world in a way that is a little simpler, a little better than perhaps it really is.

Of course, that level of thinking isn’t something that I always achieve; there are plenty of times when I get bogged down and stressed out. I think about responsibility and cleaning the toilet and balancing my checkbook just like you do.

Adora Svitak is a 12 year old girl from Washington state who recently gave a presentation at the TED conference on the topic of being childish – “What Adults Can Learn From Children”. She did an amazing job, and I’d like to share the video with you:

Thinking like a child alone can not solve the world’s problems. Even the best ideas still need to be executed properly, and that usually requires an adult’s knowledge of the way that the world works, an adult’s money, and an adult’s contacts. However, there are probably dozens of situations in my life where thinking more like a child would help me solve a problem, get more enjoyment out of my day, and smile just a little bit more before I go to sleep tonight. How about you?

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs
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I’m told I have a unique view of the world by many people. I try very hard to listen to alternate points of view, and I read people like Seth Godin and Tim Ferriss. To me, my view isn’t really unique, it’s just different from the mainstream.

It comes as little surprise to those same people that I have some different views on parenting. For example, Nick is quite stubborn, and I really like that. Yes, it makes my job as a parent harder, but I think a stubborn streak will serve him a lot better in life than subservience. I try to reason with Nick and talk to him in a normal (read: not baby) voice as much as possible. I get a lot of raised eyebrows, but I think I’m doing the right thing.

On Saturday, I was faced with a parenting dilemma. We had purchased a kite the day before, and we were intending to make it fly that afternoon. Mom had made a request: clean up the living room before we go out. Ordinarily, I will pitch in to pick up toys as long as Nick is doing something as well. Today, he decided that it was more fun to roll around on the couch. Mom was getting frustrated, and the point was fast approaching where we should start laying down the law by taking toys away if he didn’t listen. Instead, I chose an alternate method. I played stubborn.

I kept asking him to clean up his toys. Every time he left the room, I followed him and turned him back towards the living room. I shut every door upstairs so that he had no escape, and I blocked the areas of the living room that were clean.

This went on for about 45 minutes. I know – a really long time. I would ask, he would ignore. I would ask, he would try to run. Then, something strange happened. He sat down in the middle of the mess and started to cry. Then he stood up, picked up his toys, and put them all away. On top of that, he was a perfect child until he went to sleep for his nap. He listened, came when called, and behaved well.

I view this as a parenting victory – I think that my actions reinforced who was in charge and enforced the rule that he needs to listen to his parents. Still, I know there are a lot of people who would say that 45 minutes was WAY too long to wait, and that he should have had a spanking and grounding after being told twice.

What do you think? Did I do well, or was I a pushover? What methods do you use to get your toddler to listen?

In February I decided that I really had to do something to get into shape. Well, that isn’t exactly correct, because I do have a shape right now, but it’s sort of round and flabby as opposed to flat and rigid. Perhaps I should say that I decided that I really had to get into BETTER shape.

A long time ago I started a running program and I really enjoyed the time spent out on the streets, pounding the pavement. Eventually winter and snow and ice came to my city, and the running stopped. I had every intention of running in the snow, but come on -40 is COLD. Spring came, and I reverted to my other favorite physical activity: killing zombies on the Xbox.

In the beginning of March I made the decision to enter a local 5k race that was going to take place at the end of May. I paid my registration, and started thinking about how best to train. I decided that I would blow the cobwebs off of the elliptical trainer in my basement, and then follow the couch to 5K running plan. I’ve been pretty good about using the elliptical, but Monday marks the day that I have to get out my running shoes and start hitting the pavement again.

So Dads, if you have any encouraging stories to share with me, I would love to hear them. And on Monday if you feel the ground shaking a little, it’s just me punishing the streets in front of my house.

Happy Easter!

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs