The End of the Dumb Dad Era

There's a great article in the Washington Post today from author and stay-at-home dad Chad Prevost that's worth reading, "Why this is the end of the dumb dad era." What resonated with me was this passage:

"No, the domestic hemisphere is not for the faint of heart. Not just because it’s hard. It is definitely another job, but it’s also often humble work, tending to others and scheduling your life around their schedules, while remaining engaged enough to be emotionally present for your kids. There’s little external reward, and for many smart and driven people, even when you do it well, it’s not enough."

That is right on the money

One of the most common responses I get from people (both men and women) when I tell them I stay at home is usually something like "Well, that's definitely a hard job," or, "I could never do it." But I'm lucky we can afford to make the decision to have a stay-at-home parent in the first place, and the truth is the tasks themselves aren't that difficult. However the responsibility and selflessness that it takes to get the work done makes the job pretty tough some days. 

So I usually respond by saying, "Well, it's the job that needs to get done."

Why this is the end of the dumb dad eraChad Prevost [Washington Post]

Tools of My Dad Day: Waze for the iPhone

Since my kids have gone back to school I've been giving a lot of thought to the tools that I use every day. This is the first in (maybe, hopefully) a series of the things that make my weekday life easier. Not all of them will be unique or even particularly special, but each of them make my day easier.

[Waze for the iPhone]

This app is what I've always wanted out of a turn-by-turn direction app on the iPhone, and it's not because it gives me directions. Waze helps drivers get around traffic by monitoring other Waze users on the roads and then suggesting alternate routes. The more drivers using Waze, the better all the users know how traffic is in real time. Trust me, it's awesome. Drivers can also report things like police speed traps, accidents and road construction giving other Waze users information on what is happening on the roads. When driving to and from school for my kids, it's proven invaluable.

There are loads of other location based features (like finding cheap gas) and there's a growing community of users trying to make the app better for everyone. I can't say enough good things about it, plus it's free to download and use.

Download Waze for iPhone at the iOS App Store

Amazingly Awesome Disneyland Time-lapse Video

Thanks to my GoPro I've started enjoying making time-lapse videos. I've tried to take time-lapse in Disneyland (I even managed to make one in the car on our way). But with over 30 thousand images and a year in the making, this video really sets the bar high - and provides some pretty awesome inspiration.

 

Kids Need More Video Games, Not Less

[This is a post I originally wrote for one of my other sites, Gentlemen of Gaming. But it applies just as much to Modern Day Dad, so I thought I'd include it here too.]

 

Those of us who play video games regularly already know that, aside from entertainment, video games can have other (often unintended) benefits. And while I'm not really sold that playing Just Dance 3 on the Wii should really count as exercise, there are skills to learn and practice while playing games.

So if you've been wanting to get an XBOX 360 for the living room and still can't convince your wife, send her a copy of this article a friend sent me recently, Kids and video games: Why children should play more [Venturebeat.com]. Video games can promote cooperation, teamwork, problem solving, planning and thinking "outside of the box." 

"...The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) states that kids actually need more, not less, video game play as a result. Citing games’ ability to prepare workers for the increasingly competitive global job market, the organization says that games promote strategic thinking, interpretative analysis, plan formulation, and ability to respond to change."

Despite what many parents may think (and what many bloggers may, ahem, blog about), not all video games are violent. In fact, the vast majority are not. And when you compare playing a game to more passive forms of entertainment like watching television, the differences are easilly contrasted.

I just wish this research existed when I was twelve.

The Ten Best Disney Princess Songs

Cinderella_Red_Hair_Girl

A friend of mine on Facebook recently posted that he found himself downloading princess songs, and that he never thought he'd find himself doing something like that. As the father of two girls I have also gone through the princess phase, and his post made me realize that there are in fact a lot of really good songs associated with "princess movies". It also made me realize that I know just about all of them by heart.

So here's a list for you Dads of daughters that are just starting to love princesses. And like I commented back to my friend on Facebook, enjoy it now because by the time you realize how awesome it is, it's almost over.

[A quick note about the list: This list is of Disney princess songs. While I'm sure I'm probably missing a princess with a song not related to a Disney movie, none came to mind.]


10. "Some Day My Prince Will Come" - Snow White
I wanted to leave this one off of the list because the sentiment is pretty much the exact opposite what you want to teach your young girls. But it's a classic that just about everyone in the US can sing part of (or at least hum), so I'm just going to ignore the obvious and remember that the movie came out in 1937 when the world was a very different place.

9. "Something There" - Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast is really more like a Broadway musical than a movie, and this song is one of the best. But the best part isn't even in the soundtrack recording. It's at the very end of the song when Chip says "What's there, Mama?" My kids say it every time they hear it.

8. "Just Around The River Bend" - Pocahontas"
Colors of the Wind" is also a good song, but the best of the bunch is the song that explains who Pocahontas is. She's kind of an under-appreciated Disney princess, but this is a great song. It's also put to great use in the new World of Color show at Disneyland's California Adventure theme park.

7. "A Whole New World" - Aladdin
This princess song duet is probably sung more by Aladdin than princess Jasmine, but it's a great song from a great movie. It also is my go-to song to sing to my girls when I really want to embarrass them.

6. "I'm Wishing / One Song" - Snow White
This is the best from Snow White, if only for the incredibly odd transition when the Prince comes in at 1:30 with, "TODAY!!" It's still a really well written song, and feels like a time machine when you hear it.

5. "So This Is Love" - Cinderella
Cinderella is the first princess my oldest daughter really fell in love with. And every time I hear this song all I can think of is her watching it, glued to the television and saying afterwards, "It's so beautiful!"

4. "Almost There" - The Princess and the Frog
This song is the exact opposite of "Someday My Prince WIll Come" for all the right reasons. It's not a ballad, but like many of the others in this list it defines who the character of Tiana is. She's a young woman who is working hard to find happiness in her life. But she's going to get it through her own hard work and on her own terms, not from some prince who is going to give it to her. Princesses, welcome to the 21st century.

3. "Part of Your World" - The Little Mermaid
This song is the best modern (post Sleeping Beauty) princess song there is, and it might be the best Disney song in the modern age.  It's superbly performed, superbly written (both music and lyric) and holds up to any of the classic Disney song masterpieces.

2. "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" - Cinderella
The classic Disney princess song from the classic Disney princess movie. On other lists this song would likely be at the top, and it's not hard to understand why. It's so pervasive, that in the Disneyland Hotel the guest rooms have the opening line on the throw pillows on the beds, and the song plays in music box fashion in the nightstand to twinkle lights in the headboard.

1. "Once Upon A Dream" - Sleeping Beauty
This is in my opinion the best princess song there is. The lyric was written by Jack Lawrence based on a melody from Tschaikovsky. As the story goes, Walt Disney had scrapped the score for Sleeping Beauty that Sammy Fain and Jack Lawrence had been working on and just wanted a song based on Tschaikovsky's melody. The music is of course eternal, but the lyric is near perfect.

"But if I know you / I know what you'll do. / You'll love me at once / The way you did once / Upon A Dream."

 You can't turn a phrase much better than that.

Modern Day Dad On Pinterest

Moderndaydad_pinterest

Not one to deny myself a good old-fashioned Internet fad, I've started some Pinterest boards for Modern Day Dad. I've decided to try to keep my boards relevant to the types of things for parents, kids and dads that I've written about on this blog over the years. There will be some things that I've written about before that I still love, and new things that I've never mentioned before (like the Facebook "Like" and "Dislike" stamps in the picture).

Anyway, you can check out and follow my Modern Day Dad Pinterest boards here.

If you'd like to check out some of the more personal stuff I'm pinning too (some related to parenting but not all) I've started a personal board as well.

Failing at 12 Is Better Than Failing at 42

"We need to become velvet bricks," Elmore says, "soft on the outside and hard on the inside and allow children to fail while they are young in order to succeed when they are adults."

via www.huffingtonpost.com

Despite the sensational headline ("Are We Raising a Generation of Helpless Kids?") this is a good article and as parents it's something to be mindful of. I try to praise hard work over "smarts," but letting my kids fail on their own (especially in school) is proving to be more difficult than I thought.

Kids aren't the only ones who have to keep trying hard.