Join Daddy Brain on the Radio!

Join me today @ 5pm (CST) on Wisconsin Public Radio, for an hour-long discussion on giving your kids one of the greatest gifts of all. It doesn’t cost a dime, but it lasts a lifetime. What is it? Their own voice. 

You can listen in from anywhere in the world by clicking here and adding Wisconsin Public Radio’s Ideas Network to your iTunes, Windows Media Player or RealPlayer. It takes about 30 seconds to download the station. Then, just double click the icon on your desktop to automatically add to your playlist.

The show gives listeners opportunity to call in, be heard and be part of the conversation. Just dial (800) 486-8655.

If you’re local to Wisconsin, you can also listen in on any of the following stations:

– WHA-AM 970 Madison
– WERN-FM 88.7 Madison
– KUWS-FM 91.3 Superior
– WHRM-FM 90.9 Wausau
– WHAD-FM 90.7 Delafield/Milwaukee
– WPNE-FM 89.3 Green Bay
– WLSU-FM 88.9 La Crosse

I hope you get a chance to tune in!

And remember, you are not alone…

Great Gift Ideas: Give Your Kids Your Guts

Alright, I’m not speaking literally about your actual guts. Or am I?

Your kids may not agree with you, but it’s not about the toys you buy.

It’s not about what you do with the kids, how much money you spend or where you go. It’s about the quality of the time you spend together — being present and embracing the gift of each moment — even when it might seem mundane on the surface.

It’s about giving them your love, your attention and your respect.

But it’s more than that — it goes beyond words or individual pieces of yourself. It’s giving them your “guts.” And it takes guts to be open enough to give your guts. To lay it all on the table, so to speak.

Your legacy as a dad, the positive impact you make on your children’s lives, has little to do with things like presents, fancy vacations, the size of your TV and other possessions or “outward” things. These are trivial, they’re just things.

What’s important is who you are as a dad, and the improvements you make within your self along the way  how you “upgrade.”

When all is said and done, when your kids are your age, they might vaguely remember the X-Box 360-Version2-Millennium-Titanium-Edition, and how cool the games were. But if we do it right, they’ll look back and clearly remember that we took more than good care of them. They’ll remember that we empowered them. They’ll realize that some of those times we denied them something (like a toy — NEVER deny hugs or love), or held them responsible for their actions, we actually gave them something far greater in return.

And if we do our job really, really right they’ll be better (and happier) human beings for it.

And remember, you are not alone…

Dads Are Not Second-class Parents, Part 2: And Then There’s Dad

And Then There’s Dad
by guest blogger Tom @ Being Michael’s Daddy 

While I have not personally been dismissed as a second-class parent simply because I’m a male, I am not at all happy with the common illustration of fathers in the media.

It really bothers me that husbands and fathers are most often portrayed in television commercials as helpless, clueless, bungling goofs.

I did an informal study of television commercials during prime adult viewing hours over the last week, and found that out of thirty-seven commercials featuring husbands or dads, thirty-two of them depicted these men negatively.

Not that they were shown to be bad men, but were shown as a loveable oaf at best, or a slacker and a burden on his wife, or somewhere in between.

There’s the sleeping, stubble-faced doofus in the Windex commercial who gets up and crashes into the plate-glass window that he presumably didn’t clean. Or the doughy, “might as well be another kid” husband in the refrigerator commercial who’s calling out to his wife because he can’t find some critical food item. And then there’s the FluMist nasal spray commercial in which the father bumbles his way through dressing his kids in summer clothes, sending them out in the dead of winter.

This is neither a fair representation of the truth, nor is it an image we want to continue to uphold. Like it or not, life imitates art. This includes television commercials, which are specifically designed to make a lasting impression on people.

What boys see depicted as role models for men, they will come to emulate. What girls see depicted as role models for men, they will come to expect. The cycle is self-sustaining.

Staying on this course, we’ll eventually see a generation in which the men are spineless and pathetic, and the women expect no better from them.

What needs to happen, aside from the TV being switched off, is that men need to pick up the mantle of leadership, integrity, perspicacity, strength and guts and raise their sons likewise. Men need to treat their wives and daughters well, behaving like men.

A man is a leader. A man is strong, determined, decisive and capable. A man can be tender and gentle when he needs to be, but he stands for what is right and protects his own.

He doesn’t have to be a bombastic despot, a slick, lecherous womanizer or a buckskin-wearing mountaineer in order to be a real man. He just needs to have his priorities straight, his resolution firm, and genuine love for his wife and family.

Of course, it’ll be a lot harder for the ad agencies to come up with clever commercials if they can’t pick on the easy target. But they change their tactics to match the market. So let’s make it our goal to change the market.

– – – –

Many thanks to Tom for submitting this article. Click here if you’d like to learn more about the series, submit your own story, or view other dad’s stories.

And remember, you are not alone…

Additional Dads are Not Second-class Parents Articles:
– Part 1
Part 3: A Divorced Dad’s Perspective
Part 4: Dads Need Help Too
– Part 5: Perceptions & Paradigms
A Question for Dads: Have You Been Treated Like a Second-class Parent?

Where’s the Dad in Toy Story?

Family Blogs
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Being Grateful Makes You Full of Greatness…

Thanksgiving week always brings about talk of what we’re thankful for in our lives.

Of course there are the basic answers like family, friends, food, a place to live, indoor toilets and any opportunity to eat massive amounts of pizza from NY.

The other day, as I tried to go beyond my usual list of things I’m grateful for, my thoughts turned into a question…

What are the results of being grateful vs. the results of being ungrateful? What are the different “side effects” or manifestations that occur on a physical, emotional and a cognitive level?

To clarify, when I say “ungrateful” I mean active complaining or ingratitude — in other words being negative.

“What you are thinking about, you are becoming.”
                                                 – Muhammad Ali

When we’re being ungrateful, we’re keeping in mind something that we’re not happy about  something negative, unwanted, bothersome or just plain annoying.

In this state of being, we get stuck in the mucky-muck of negativity. We use our energy dwelling on something we’re unhappy about instead of using that same energy to find solutions. And in doing so we help solidify what we’d really like to change.

When we’re grateful, the outcome is very different. We’re being positive, freeing up & refreshing our energy to move forward instead of holding ourselves back. Sure, there may be things we’re not happy about, but when we’re focusing on something positive, we’re letting go of being negative about something else.

I’m not saying to pretend to be grateful for something that just plain sucks. But why not think about something that doesn’t suck? Why not make a plan to make that particular issue less sucky, instead of just dwelling on it? Are humans so driven to misery that we can’t do this simple thing?

Muhammad Ali said it so beautifully. What we think leads to what we speak. What we speak leads to how we act, and in turn the reality we create.

There was a time when I was so unhappy with my job that I became physically ill and almost died. I was so ungrateful for everything good in my life that my personality became very negative, my soul spiritless. And in turn my body started failing me (I had Crohn’s Disease).

Getting sick turned out to be one the greatest gifts of my life. It woke me up (which was my body’s intention in the first place) and empowered me to make the changes I needed to make.

Although I am aware of the benefits of being grateful, that doesn’t mean I always am. It’s a constant battle to remain mindful about my thoughts (no pun intended).

I’d like to leave off with a question:

Can you allow yourself to be greatness? I’m not talking about ego here, but the greatness that comes with being grateful, positive and true to who you really are.

Anything is possible. The simple choice of being grateful just might change your life.

And remember, you are not alone…

Related links:
The Road to Nowhere: It’s Not Too Late to Recreate Your Reality
The Magic Quarter: Creating Your Own Reality
Anything is Possible
Out of Energy. Out of Time. Out of Luck?
Can You Let Go of the Need for Control? The Sedona Method, Part 3

New York Times Highlights Moms, Dishonors Dads

In today’s New York Times, there is an article nestled into the bottom half of page one that reads:

“To Buy Children’s Gifts, Mothers Do Without”

The article goes on to describe how moms are making sacrifices this holiday season, and how the mom highlighted in the article “will go without the designer jeans she covets this season.”

What about dads, you might ask? Don’t we count? Don’t we sacrifice?

“In this economy, nearly everyone is forgoing indulgences, and many fathers will no doubt sacrifice this year to put toys under the tree. But figures suggest the burden is falling most heavily on women, particularly mothers…”

Let’s take a look at said statistics: women’s apparel was down 18.2% this October compared to last October, while men’s apparel has only decreased 8.3%. Notice these numbers are generalized to men and women, not moms and dads — so technically they are meaningless…

In a survey, “61% of mothers said they would shop less for themselves this year, compared with 56% of all women and 45% of all men.

All men? Nowhere in the article is there mention of what percentage of DADS said they would shop less for themselves. Apparently dads have been lumped into the “all men” category.

Once again, nobody bothered to ask dad. Of course it’s not really about the numbers, it’s about the lack of equality and respect dads experience. The fact that the survey taken didn’t bother to include dad’s spending trends is just a cheap way to put “mom” on a pedestal. Honestly, I am sick of dads being treated like second class parents (in case you didn’t notice). 

I can tell you that I don’t buy anything for myself anymore. This year I got myself a new winter hat and a scarf for when I shovel the inevitable & immense amounts of snow that will befall the frozen tundra that is Wisconsin.

More importantly, what about the dads & moms who go to work every day, sacrificing time away from their kids? What about the hours upon hours that we miss, that we can never reclaim? I’m sorry, but not being able to buy a pair of “designer jeans” doesn’t come close to what I sacrifice EVERY DAY as a working parent.

Not to mention the parents that sacrifice eating meals so there’s enough food for the kids. And what about the families who can’t even feed their kids three meals a day?

The article quotes the featured mom, Kristen Hunt, as saying “I want her (Kristen’s daughter) to look back and say, ‘even though they were tough times, my mom was still able to give me stuff.'”

What kind of message is this? On the cover of the NY Times no less?

Is giving kids “stuff” really what we want them to remember?

I would prefer that when my kids look back, they remember my spending as much time with them as I possibly could. The gift of my time, my attention and my listening to (and respecting) my children is what is most important — not an X-Box 360 or a Wii that will eventually become a dust collector.

Sure, my wife and I got the kids some “stuff” for Christmas. But it’s not the important stuff, or the stuff of fond memories  its just stuff.

During the holiday season, it certainly is timely to run an article on finances and spending, especially with what our world looks like right now. But if you’re the New York Times, get it right. Do your research and provide appropriate survey numbers for both parents, not just for the ones who don’t have a penis.

The real story here is not about money or toys. It’s about how these tough economic times are the perfect opportunity for parents to share the greatest gift of all with our kids — ourselves. 

And remember, you are not alone…

The Road to Nowhere: It’s not too late to recreate your reality

Those of us old enough to remember the band, The Talking Heads, know that this is the title of a fantastic song. But what about the roads we travel each day? The path that we’ve carved out for ourselves, or the one that we unwillingly walk because it’s the only one we see?

I often feel mixed emotions about my existence. On the one hand, I have a beautiful family that brings be great joy and offers me unconditional love. I am so grateful, and I feel there’s nothing more special or important than my wife and kids. On the other hand, my wife and I have been facing health issues, and like most “middle-class Americans,” finances have been tight. Although I believe (spiritually and in my heart) that there is always a solution to every situation, my thoughts often wander into feeling that there’s nowhere to turn.

The road I’m traveling feels like the drive that never ends, with no relief in sight. Or so it seems. And although I think most parents face this same dilemma, that doesn’t make it right, normal or particularly sane.

I believe that we create our own reality. I’ve written about it many times on this blog, including posts on Anything is Possible; The Magic Quarter: Creating Your Own Reality; and Positive Energy: Life Changing Energy.

How does creating, or recreating, our reality work?
For those of you who haven’t heard the concept before, it’s basically about being mindful about what you’d like to bring into your existence. Think and speak about what you would like to manifest in your life and it will come. It also involves action — doing your part — to help the manifestation occur. There are a bunch of books on the subject that will explain it to you better than I can (see a brief listing below), but that’s basically it. Think, speak, do — and eventually it will manifest.

I’d like to clarify that sometimes “doing” has nothing to do with what you’re really doing. It’s about who you are being in relation to what you’re doing that’s important. Doing will keep you busy, but it’s stagnant. Being is dynamic, and is a much more powerful way to live.

In a very direct way, how you change your child’s diaper is related to changing your life. Are you happy to do it? Or complaining because the poop stinks and you’re running late, and you didn’t get a restful night’s sleep? In life, do you take action on what needs to be done to better your existence, or do you let fatigue and lack of time (difficult reasons to overcome) stop you? It’s all about being true to who you are no matter what you are doing or where you happen to be. The more positive we are, the more positivity we attract into our lives. This is no easy feat, but if we can pull it off we become like a giant magnet, attracting our desires. The bigger the magnet, the faster we create. This is how we accomplish great things.

Otherwise, we’re on a road to nowhere.

And remember, you are not alone…

Recommended books on creating your own reality:
– Conversations with God, by Neil Donald Walsh
– Spirit Healing, by Mary Dean Atwood

Related posts:
Out of Energy, Out of Time, Out of Luck?
The Magic Quarter: Creating Your Own Reality
Anything is Possible