Mouse vs. Cats – You Decide

Around 4:00 am, there was a lot of activity going on in our bedroom…under the bed. Instead of chasing each other, my cats were clearly after some other prey.  Very few rodents have ever managed to get into our house, much less survive a night with three cats on the prowl. One adventurous (or stupid) mouse decided to brave the gauntlet, and was now scurrying around my bedroom floor. I looked over the edge of the bed, and saw Claire lunge under the night table, emerge proudly with the wriggling little furball in her mouth, then trot off to the livingroom with her prize.

So now what? I could go back to sleep and let the cats do what cats were born to do — continue to hunt and play with the mouse until they killed it…and maybe ate it. But pragmatically, I didn’t want the mouse dying somewhere hidden, relying only on the odor of decay to reveal its whereabouts days later. (I’ve experienced that before. Trust me, it’s not pleasant.) And from a humanitarian standpoint, I didn’t want the cats to kill the furry creature (it is cute, despite the fact that mice are vile vermin).

I got up.

Claire had dropped the mouse on the carpet and was letting it try to escape over and over before she grabbed it again–just toying with it. The other two cats were waiting to pounce if it ran in their direction. I had the power to save the mouse. Its fate rested in my hands. I decided to catch and release. Using the tried and true method of throwing a plastic bowl over the mouse and sliding a piece of cardboard underneath, I scooped up the little guy and liberated him out the front door — much to the disappointment of the kitties.

It’s a big responsibility being given power over another life.  That person or creature needs to trust you will make the best decision. How many times have we seen the reminder from animal shelters that saving one animal’s life may not make a big difference, but it certainly makes a difference to that one animal? Sure, it’s a mouse today. But tomorrow it might be your pet, or even your spouse or parent.

And how many times do we feel like the mouse? All pathways seem blocked by insurmountable obstacles. What can we as little mice do?  We have to have faith that there is a bigger person with a giant plastic bowl who will shield us and ‘deliver us from evil’ felines. Sometimes we just have to let go and trust a higher power.

I believe I did the right thing this morning. And who is to say the little rodent won’t find its way back in the house, and next time I might not be around to help? Let’s hope it’s smart enough to stay outside. But that’s how free will works.

As my son finishes his last year in high school, my kids are frequently on my mind. They are a little bit like the mice. We protect them; we scoop them up before they get hurt. But in time, we also need to release them into the wild and trust that they, too, will make the best decisions for themselves. Every choice we make, from what to eat for breakfast, or what college to attend, to whether or not to save a mouse, has an impact on someone.  Some choices will have a greater, farther reaching impact than others. The opportunity to make decisions is a gift, and each outcome sets us along a different path.

What important decisions will you make today?





Untrim the Tree

discarded Christmas treeSome people take down their tree and decorations the day after Christmas. In their minds, the holiday is over and it’s time to move on. In years past, we have taken down the tree and ornaments on January 2nd. It always makes me sad, but a crispy pine tree raining sharp needles, and empty gift boxes by the fireplace somehow seem sadder. I justify the rush to clean by telling myself and my children that if we left the decorations up year-round, it wouldn’t be as special when next Christmas comes around (although there is a Mexican restaurant in San Antonio, Texas, that might disagree).

However, this year, life got busy. Suddenly, every day seemed filled with school exams, sports practice, play rehearsals, and lots of work. So the tree and decorations remained up. I thought I would never have time to put things away, nor would I want to. The extra time with the colorful Christmas lights was warm and wonderful. But then about a week later, the tree just felt wrong. It didn’t belong in the house in mid-January. The garland seemed dusty. It was time. And somehow, it was not as sad taking it down now because the time felt right.

Maybe I’ve been forcing myself to put away the holiday ornamentation too soon. Ironically, I’m usually the one to hang on to things for sentimental reasons. I mean, it’s not like there is some kind of official deadline. Heck, the Three Kings didn’t even arrive in Bethlehem until nearly two weeks after Jesus’ birth. What’s the harm in keeping the ornaments up a little longer? In various parts of the world, trees stay up until January 6th, Three Kings Day or Epiphany. The date marks the arrival in Bethlehem of the three wise men, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, after a star guided them to the site of the newborn Christ child. Some cultures celebrate the day with bonfires (burning the Christmas trees), caroling or “star singing,” feasting, and the giving of yet more presents. Shopping malls haven’t figured out how to capitalize on Epiphany yet, but give them time…

So this year was a blessing in disguise. I didn’t overthink taking down the tree. In fact, the foliage stayed green and fresh longer than usual. I let things unfold on their own, and it just felt right. This is a lesson that I hope to apply to other aspects of my life:  relax, let go, worry less, and everything in its own time.

As we are reminded by a popular Bible verse (or a song by The Byrds, depending on your perspective):

 “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven…
 time to keep, and a time to throw away…”

May the New Year bring you all you wish for…in time.

The Gift of a Child

There’s always that one moment on Christmas Day. As Karen Carpenter sang, “Greeting cards have all been sent. The Christmas rush is through.” The shopping for, or making gifts that I hoped my friends and family would love, is complete. All the other activities are done. Decorating. Baking. Holiday concerts. Parties. Wrapping. Unwrapping.  Assembling. Playing.

Then there’s that singular moment of quiet. Surrounded by torn wrapping paper, empty boxes, candy from stockings. That moment of peace and stillness when a family’s love is truly palpable, and we remember the meaning of the day. Two centuries ago, Christians were given the gift of a child — small, unassuming, yet life-changing.  Seventeen years ago, I was given that same gift (and again a few years later). My children have been the greatest gift I could ever receive. And they are the gift that keeps on giving.

Whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or just a family friend to a small child, I hope you can appreciate the gift that children represent.

  • My children are a built-in source of entertainment. I’m thrilled they inherited a humor gene. They make me laugh all the time.  This weekend, we were playing a board game where the players needed to complete popular advertising slogans.  Unfamiliar with the taglines, our kids substituted funny guesses. For Taco Bell’s “Run for the ____,” instead of “Border,” my son offered up “Bathroom” — which, if you’ve eaten too much spicy Mexican food, would be an apt slogan! On my daughter’s turn, she was given Nice ‘n Easy’s hair coloring’s slogan “The closer he gets___.” Instead of “…the better you look,” she suggested, “…the faster I run!”
  • We think we are here to teach them, but my kids teach me all the time. They reaffirm my faith in human beings when I witness their compassion for others. They teach me that I am stronger than I thought when I have to be strong for them. And sometimes, they teach me something new about my iPad — and for a techgeek like me, that’s saying something.
  • They are a gift of innocence and insight. If the world were run by children, we would all make friends quickly, forgive faster, and not be afraid to jump in with our whole hearts. Of course, we might also run with scissors, but that’s a small price to pay.
  • Children are a gift of patience. That might appear antithetical as it seems they can never wait — can’t wait for Christmas, can’t wait for their birthdays, can’t wait until they can drive, can’t wait until they graduate, can’t wait to grow up. But what they are really doing is helping us to be patient with them. As much as they are in a hurry to find their way and figure out who they are, we must be patient with them in order to guide them along the path to becoming the wonderful people they were meant to be.

Treasure the gift of children for they may not always be in our lives as they were when they were younger. Learn to let go, but always hold on to them in your hearts.

What’s With No Shave November?

This month, I noticed an exponential increase in scruffiness among my male friends.  The movement apparently started in Australia to raise awareness for men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer. Named Movember (“mo” for moustache), the event dictated that men would start with a clean-shaven face on November 1st, then cultivate the best-groomed moustache they could muster (no goatees, sideburns or beards allowed) by the 30th. It seems that American college boys have kicked this up a notch (or down, depending on one’s perspective) by growing whatever beard or moustache they can without regard to grooming, and the month has since been dubbed “No Shave November.” Sadly, it seems the cause-related aspect of the experience has been lost, and the event has deteriorated into a scraggly, facial free-for-all. Are these young men just looking for permission to be sloppy or lazy? And what about the ladies? Are they going “no shave” as well? What’s next? No bathing December?

If we’re going to give ourselves permission to be unkempt, I would much rather go broader. How about No Housecleaning November?  No Raking Leaves November? Or even No Laundry November?  And why limit ourselves to the eleventh month. Let’s spread this out. How about No Shoveling Sidewalks December (for our friends in the north)? No Resolutions January? And my personal favorite, No Income Tax April!

Maybe, if we pause momentarily from the stubbly frivolity, we can compile a list of No-s that can actually be helpful year-round.

  • No Ingratitude November – Especially during the month of Thanksgiving, we should make every attempt to be grateful for the blessings that we do have. Sometimes our personal troubles or business stresses cloud our vision, and it’s hard to be in a thankful mood every day. But remember that there are always those less fortunate than we are, and we should appreciate the blessings that we do have.
  • No Cruel Words November – The simplest, thoughtless words can be incredibly hurtful–even words said in jest. As my mother always said, “If you don’t have something nice to say, then say nothing at all.”
  • No Worrying November – This one is personally hard for me. I’m genetically predisposed to worry, but I’m making a conscious effort to not obsess on what might happen and to try to be more of a warrior than a worrier.
  • No Impatience November – Our patience is tasked every day, especially this time of year when people are rushing about preparing for the holidays. The lines at the stores may not move fast enough for you. Grid locked traffic delays your trip home. Take a deep breath and get centered. Look at your options. Can you shop online instead of in a store? Can you take a side street home? And if there’s nothing you can do, then there’s no sense wasting your valuable energy getting angry.
  • No Self-Loathing – As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” And if you’re the one criticizing yourself, you’re doomed. Lady Gaga (possibly the polar opposite of Eleanor Roosevelt) sings, “I’m beautiful in my way ’cause God makes no mistakes…Don’t hide yourself in regret. Just love yourself and you’re set.”

So this month, and every month, just say “no” to negative thoughts and actions. And if you insist on growing a wild beard well into December, let’s just hope your name is Santa Clause.





Four Ways to Deal with Embarrassment

“Man is the only animal that blushes — or needs to.” — Mark Twain

Whatever your political leanings, if you have a compassionate bone in your body, you have to feel (at least a little bit) for Texas Governor Rick Perry and his massive brain fart during a recent political debate when he completely spaced on the name of a government agency he wanted to eliminate. If it were me, I know my heart would have been pounding, the blood rushing to my face and my palms getting sweaty. One could make the case that such a gaffe is unforgiveable for someone who wants to be the leader of the most powerful country in the world. But putting that aside for a moment, it was a distinctly human — and humiliating — moment, and we’ve all been there at one time or another — granted, not in front of television cameras and millions of viewers and potential voters.

In college, while I was still a music major, I had to participate in a piano jury. It is as intimidating as it sounds. I was not judging my peers, no. A panel of music professors was judging me. I had to perform a piece by Haydn in three movements. In the middle of the third movement, I, too, had a shut down of the synapses. Although I had played the piece perfectly many times, the muscle memory in my hands failed me, and I complete blanked. All I could do was apologize, look sheepish, and leave the stage — face flushed, heart pounding. At least I didn’t have to relive my humiliation on national television over and over.

Embarrasing moments can range from the catastrophic to the everyday. There’s the tripping-on-the-sidewalk-and-hoping-no-one-sees scenario. I’ve done that, too, but with an armload of papers. Believe me, when hundreds of sheets of papers go flying, someone sees it. I’ve also, yes–this is true–slipped on a banana peel. What is it about banana peels that are so darned funny? Even in a scene from this week’s episode of The Big Bang Theory sitcom, Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler mentions that one of her “test monkeys slipped on a banana peel and broke his neck. It was both tragic and hysterical.” I guess you had to be there. But it’s funny. So back to my banana peel story. It was on my kitchen floor. All my family members deny culpability, and I don’t think the peel was abandoned on purpose. However, the fact remains that I slipped on it and ended up flat on my back. After my family confirmed that I was not physically injured too much, they had a good laugh–somewhat at my expense. And I had to admit (after applying ice to various parts of my body) that the circumstances were funny. Really. Who slips on a banana peel?

I’ve found there are ways not to deal with embarrassing situations (i.e. get upset; dig a hole, crawl in and never come out; sue someone), and there are four strategies that I’ve found helpful:

  1. Laugh about it. It’s important to be able to find humor in awkward circumstances, even our own. It diffuses the discomfort and you become part of a community of people who are all laughing together instead of it being you vs. them.
  2. Own the situation so it doesn’t own you. Working as stage manager at a concert one night, my son was asked to place four music stands on the stage during the concert. He was not given specific directions, so he spaced the stands evenly across the stage. While the audience waited, the orchestra conductor instructed him to push them all together. Again, without clear direction, he grouped the stands together, but not in the location where the conductor wanted them. Finally, on the third try (with clear direction this time), he positioned the stands in the right place. During the awkward silence from the audience, he faced the crowd and took a dramatic bow…and received thunderous applause. He could have sulked off the stage feeling scolded, but instead, he empowered himself to own and enjoy the moment, and the audience ate it up.
  3. Accept it and move on. There are times when the best thing to do is to not make a big deal out of it and move forward…like when you get sick to your stomach in a public place. And chances are, unless you are George Bush, Sr. becoming ill on the Prime Minister of Japan, no one will remember it.
  4. Learn something from it. I learned never to wear stiletto heels while carrying reams of paper and walking on cobblestones.

Governor Perry choose option #2. He chose to own his situation by posting on his website the survey question “What part of the Federal Government would you like to forget about the most?” What are some of your embarrassing moments, and how did you handle them?

The Wisdom of Edna Mode

Edna Mode from The IncrediblesI had a nightmare. Not one of those appearing-naked-in-public dreams, but almost as bad. I had been cast in some sort of musical theatre production. That should be hellish enough…but it was the first day of rehearsals, and I hadn’t learned any of my songs or dance steps. I had to go to the director and admit to her that I wasn’t prepared. It was awful. Then I heard the voice of Edna Mode (the diminutive, fierce fashion designer from The Incredibles) ringing in my ears, “Darling, luck favors the prepared.” And she is right. Being prepared is empowering. It removes fear from potentially new situations; you are ready for whatever may come your way. That’s why first responders conduct rescue drills over and over and over. And it’s the motto of the Boy Scouts, who claim to be ready for anything.

As I tried to shake off the fogginess of sleep and the humiliation of the dream, I thought more about Edna Mode and realized that she has several pearls of wisdom to share:

  • “I never look back, darling! It distracts from the now.”  All we have is today…right now. We can’t go back and change the past, and we can’t touch the future. Carpe diem. Make the most of life right now. I have a family member with dementia; she doesn’t always remember the past, and we never know what her tomorrow will be like. All we can do is try to give her some happy moments now. Tell the special people in your life that you love and appreciate them. Give extra hugs.
  • “Supermodels. Feh! Nothing super about them… spoiled, stupid little stick figures with poofy lips who think only about themselves.” For too long, our society and the media have been obsessed with an unrealistic image of beauty.  As a parent of a teenaged girl, I find it refreshing to see that the world is starting to realize that we aren’t all 6′ 2″, 120 pounds and Photoshopped. As Christina Aguilera sings, “We are beautiful in every single way.”
  • “Men at Robert’s age are often unstable…prone to weakness.”  Anyone out there married to a middle-aged man? Enough said. (Just kidding, honey. My hubby continues to amaze me with his fortitude every day.)
  • “No capes!” I just like saying it. But in truth, capes are impractical. Even those with the little slits for your hands. Have you ever tried to carry a purse or drive a car while wearing a cape? Seriously. Edna knows what she’s talking about.
  •  “Yes, words are useless! Gobble-gobble-gobble-gobble-gobble! Too much of it, darling, too much!” Here’s my pet peeve for the day: people who talk and talk and talk about problems but don’t take any steps to fix them. If they spent half the time doing something as they spent talking, the world would be a happier place. And on that note: “Go, confront the problem. Fight! Win!

“And call me when you get back, darling. I enjoy our visits.



How to Recenter Your Wobble

I was home alone. I thought someone had broken into the house. Thumping and banging. Then I realized the alarm system would have alerted me if a door or window had been opened. So logically, my imagination jumped to ghosts. In the basement. More thumping and banging. This is where the horror movie zooms in close on the frightened girl, and the audience yells, “Don’t go in there!” But I surprised myself and went to investigate anyway. It was…the washing machine. I found it on high spin-cycle, walking its way across the floor, thumping, banging and wobbling.

My load of laundry had included some bath towels, and they had all clumped to one side causing an imbalance of weight in the drum.  The centrifugal (or is it centripetal? I always get those confused) force threw the clothes out of their neat circular orbit into more of an ellipse, and hence the banging of the inner drum against the sides of the washing machine.

We all feel this way sometimes. Problems weigh heavily on us, and they throw our lives off center. We get a wobble that may start small, but then it begins to feel like we are spinning out of control. The solution? Getting balanced and centered.

So what does it mean to be centered? It involves finding a peaceful balance to life, a clarity of thought, and keeping stress in check.

How do you do that? Here are some thoughts on recentering:

  • Rearrange the bath towels.  Think of stress as the towels. Health problems. Financial issues. Emotional turmoil. You can’t remove them from the washer (they still need to be cleansed), but you can rearrange them. Don’t try to tackle them all at once.  Prioritize the items that need addressing and try to keep things in perspective.
  • Remember the Serenity Prayer: accept what you can’t change, change what you can, and know the difference between the two.
  • Take a moment to calm yourself. Take a deep breath. Meditate. Pray. Or whatever you call it.
  • Remember that it could be worse. As Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata reminds us, there will always be “greater and lesser persons than yourself.” As bad as things might seem at the moment, there are always others who are suffering more than we. Count your blessings.
  • Do for others. Focusing on helping others will help get your mind off your wobble, and you’ll feel better.
  • Take a little “me” time:  listen to a great song, or if you have a couple of hours, watch a favorite movie on DVD.
  • Get some exercise. Even a walk around the block can clear your head, and exercise is good for tackling a multitude of wobbles.

And remember that wobbles aren’t the end of the world. They’re just temporary. Be a Weeble. Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.

Close Your Eyes and Leap

As the lovely green Elphaba sings in Wicked, sometimes you have to trust your instincts, close your eyes and leap.  Parenthood is a lot like that. I’m always amazed at our animal kingdom friends who just know what to do when becoming parents. Clean. Feed. Hunting lessons. The first thing Mommy animals do is cut the umbilical cord. Bird parents push their babies out of the nest and force them to fly on their own. I think that’s the last thing humans do. At least that’s true for me. Today, my son started the first day of his senior year in high school. Ever since he got his driver’s license, he’s been gnawing at that cord. And as much as I’ve been trying to give him his freedom, I can’t help but want to wrap that cord in industrial strength duct tape.

For almost two decades, we’ve been cleaning, feeding, teaching — maybe not to hunt — but to walk, talk, work hard, be kind to others, be aware of stranger danger, learn good manners, stay clean. At some point, I think kids wriggle out of our arms and just take off on their own when they’re ready (unless they are the kind of offspring who still live in our basements at age 40, drink beer and play video games all day). And we have to trust that we have done all we can without an instruction manual to groom them into good human beings.

I think we have done okay. Last week during Hurricane Irene’s descent upon the east coast, our local high school was designated as an evacuation shelter. The first thing our son did was to call the Red Cross to see how he could volunteer to help at the shelter. And today, our daughter said she saw a new girl at school sitting by herself at lunch; so she went over to say hello and be a friend. It’s moments like these that make my heart swell and help me to forgot about all the times when they leave wet towels on their bedroom floor (daily), or put an empty milk carton back in the refrigerator (sometimes).

When my son goes to college next year, I will do my best not to be one of those helicopter parents who hovers, albeit electronically, waiting to catch him if he falls, or trying to guide his every move. My parents were great at letting me find my own way. In fact, when I got my first car, my Dad handed me the yellow pages (no Google back then), and said “Go get yourself some auto insurance.” My plaintive response: “But I don’t know what to do.” Stern Dad retort:  “Look up auto insurance companies, call them and ask questions. You’ll figure it out.” It was painful push out of the nest, but he was right; I did figure it out. And my kids will figure out the answers to life’s questions as well. I need to trust my instincts and realize that they are both ready to defy gravity and leap into adulthood.

But if they want to call, email, IM, text or Skype from time to time, I’ll be right here.

Benefits of a Down Economy

smiley face among frownsReally? Yes. Sure, it’s been a tough couple of years, and no one’s certain when things will improve. But I’ve always been a glass-half-full type of person. And while you might think my glass is full of it, I’ve found some good has come out of this economic down turn.

Here are some of the benefits I’ve seen:

  • We cook dinner at home more than ordering in or going out to dinner.  Our entire family prepares meals together in the kitchen, and it’s fun. We are also challenged to try new recipes (because honestly, who wants to eat the same thing every night). And we’re eating healthier because our food isn’t processed and packed full of preservatives. Here’s a recipe we enjoyed this week: zucchini fries. I doctored them up by adding garlic powder, onion powder and seasoned salt to the batter. Add a dash of cayenne pepper if you want them zesty. (Oh, and if you forget to check your garden everyday and your zucchinis grow to the size of the Goodyear blimp, fear not. Even the big, fibrous zucchinis make good fries.)
  • We’re spending more quality time as a family. Yes, going to a themepark can be fun, but family walks give us great time in the fresh air to genuinely connect and talk with each other.
  • We’re saving money by borrowing DVDs from our library (you can’t beat free). Our library carries new DVD and Blu-Ray releases. We can check out a film, and if it’s bad, we don’t feel compelled to stay for the whole movie because we just shelled out $15 for a ticket and popcorn. If it’s a loser, we press Stop and we’re done. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve watched a DVD and thought to ourselves, “Glad we didn’t waste money to see that in the theatre.”
  • And speaking of popcorn, stove-popped popcorn is less expensive, doesn’t contain all the preservatives of microwave or movie theatre popcorn, and my kids think the whole retro concept of popping corn in a pot is cool.
  • We have become more resourceful. We are making our own concrete pavers to redo the patio. We are saving about 90% in materials — yes 90%. And we’re getting plenty of exercise. The paver project is a mammoth undertaking and will deserve a blog post all its own.
  • People are helping each other more. They are more giving of their time — a valuable commodity — when there are fewer funds to donate. We are realizing that we’re all in this together, and working collaboratively is the best way to get through it.
  • We have a greater appreciation for things that are truly important. It’s not the material things. Granted, they can make life more convenient or comfortable. But if I’m not healthy enough to enjoy these things, or I don’t have my loved ones with me to share them, then they become meaningless.

A positive attitude makes all the differences and gets me through the day.  My optimism irritates some of my more negative-minded friends, but I don’t care. Smile and wave. Keep the faith. Economies run in cycles. This too shall pass.

Post a comment and let me know what benefits you’ve seen.

A Mom’s Perspective on Fatherhood

baby holding finger

"Pull my finger."

When our first child was born, I had not had any prior experience with babies. Zero. Zilch. Nada. I had never babysat as a teenager nor held a friend’s or relative’s baby. Like Prissy from Gone with the Wind, I didn’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ no babies. So despite reading stacks of books on “what to expect,” I still felt woefully unprepared. The doctor asked my husband if he wanted to cut the umbilical cord. Hubby declined. And I’m glad he did. It wasn’t just the skeeve factor, but it was somehow symbolic to me that he did not want to be the one to sever the tie between me and our son.

The doctor placed our swaddled son in my arms right after a brief clean-up, and my husband and I just looked at him. And at each other. And so it began. Hours of crying, agitation and squirming uncomfortably…and our baby fussed, too. In hindsight, it wasn’t that bad. It’s just that every time our son cried, we weren’t sure what to do. We learned to go through a list of possibilities. Wet diaper? No. Hungry? No, he just ate. Bored? Maybe. Just needs holdies? That’s it. This time.

As a boy, my husband had helped to take care of his younger cousins, so he had had a little experience in these matters, and that gave me a world of comfort. But even without that background, I think my spouse would just have known what to do anyway. We joke in our house that it is Dad’s job to know everything, but it’s Mom’s job to always be right. It’s an arrangement that seems to work well for us.

So together, we got through the birth of our baby, weathered several years of  our son’s stormy health (he’s strong and healthy now), and even had a second child, a beautiful baby girl. By the time the second child comes around, parents are more relaxed and confident. My hubs still did not cut her umbilical cord, but our newly swaddled baby was anything but foreign to us.

More than a dozen years have passed since then; our kids are teenagers. Observing our many friends who now have children as well, I’ve learned that there are as many different styles of fathering as there are fathers.  A recent survey among 10,000 fathers with children under 18 identified five main types of Dads (in order of prevalence):

  1. The Partner Dad (25% of respondents) who works with his partner to accomplish tasks. Free time is considered a luxury and is spent viewing television.
  2. The Durable Dad (25%) leads by example, puts family first and imparts more traditional values.
  3. The Renaissance Dad (19%) strengthens the family through learning and makes sure the family has dinner together every night.
  4. The Leader of the Pack (17%) is status-oriented, ambitious, and instills those values in his children.
  5. The Hip Pop (14%) tries to be a friend and a parent.

My husband is part Partner, Durable and Renaissance Dad.  Definitely not Hip Pop. We both have a strong belief that parents should not be their children’s friends. We have a great relationship with our kids and truly enjoy spending as much time with them as we can. But we are not their friends. We are their parents. And what we say goes. That doesn’t work when parents and children are friends…and those parents wonder why their kids won’t listen to them or respect them.

Mostly, my husband is more of a “Pull My Finger” type of Dad, infusing a sense of humor into daily, family life. It’s one of the many reasons I love him and why we have been together all these years. Does he embarrass our children sometimes? Sure. But that is a father’s right. And on the day when our children become parents (hopefully many years from now, after marriage), they, too, will experience the joy of doing the same for their kids. Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there.