Giving Thanks For Thankful Kids

I’ve got lots of things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. And on the list—wedged right somewhere between “a roof over my family’s head” and “a set of working toenail clippers,” I’ll give thanks that my kids are thankful.

Oh, they’ve never been particularly demonstrative about it. Sure, I’d love to hear them say—on a daily basis, preferably—”Thanks, Dad, for being you,” and commit to hiring a private nurse to care for me in my dotage.

Bill Cosby and Wrestling with Our Flawed Role Models

Jim Gaffigan and I have more than a few things in common.

We both like delicious, heart attack-inducing hamburgers. We both know some people who are Catholic. We’re both dads. It’s like we were separated at birth or something.

Also, we have both read Bill Cosby’s book on fatherhood called, aptly, “Fatherhood.”

Gaffigan admits to as much in his recent book (also aptly titled), “Dad is Fat.” And I’m admitting to as much here. I’m using the term “admitted” due to the recent renewal of (and additions to) allegations against Cosby, allegations of rape.

Middle School: One of the Most Turbulent Times in a Parent’s Life

It is amazing to me with our society today that any parent (or kid) survives the troubling middle school years. It is also amazing to me how each child is different. All three of my kids faced middle school differently and how they re-acted to those years was unique to their own personality. I can tell you that this can be a very hard time on a parent and the child. Middle school is rough and will drive you and them to the breaking point, if not give you a forceful push over the edge.

How to Avoid Raising a Stuff Monster

It starts innocent enough. Begging for things in the grocery checkout aisle. A Christmas wish list that gets a little longer each year. Pleading for the latest video game, fashionable clothing item, or electronic thingee. And, as parents, we like to give good gifts to our children so we oblige — and maybe a little too frequently.

But before you know it, you have a home of Stuff Monsters, kids who value stuff as much — or maybe even more — than the people and relationships around them.

Dads and their Little Mermaids

Disney’s The Little Mermaid turns 25 today. That’s pretty old for an animated fish story. Even the best aquatic animals can get a little, um, ripe after a quarter-century. But for me, The Little Mermaid has held up surprisingly well—and part of that is because of its love story.

No, not the story of mermaid Ariel and her land-bound beau, Prince Eric. Rather, the story of Ariel and her father, King Triton.

For those who haven’t seen The Little Mermaid for a while or (gasp) have never seen it, the gist of the story is this: Ariel, a headstrong 16-year-old mermaid with a pretty voice and a fascination with all things dry, falls for a handsome prince.

3 Conversations You WILL Have With Your Young Child

Young children are underrated as conversationalists.

It could be because they’re often hard to understand. (Diction isn’t their strong suit.) Or, maybe, it’s because they have a hard time staying focused. (First they’re talking about their new best friend and then before you know it they’re in outer space zapping unicorn-shaped aliens with paintball-blasting whoopie cushions.)

Those may be real barriers to conversation at times, but the fact remains that many children (if not all) flat out love chatting up a storm with their parents.

Advent? Already?!

Can you believe it’s almost Advent? Yeah, Advent. You know, those precious 4 weeks leading up to Christmas. Unbelievable.

Now, you may be thinking, “How do you know it’s almost Advent?” Well, it turns out that I work at Focus on the Family, and we’ve been promoting this thing of beauty: Thriving Family 2014 Advent Activity Calendar: Journey to the Manger.

How awesome is this thing? It’s a complete (and completely free) family activity for each day of Advent.

Child-like Excitement

When I travel, I love to people watch. Whether it is a short or long layover I have to endure, I try to stop and check out my fellow travelers. I honestly don’t think you can find a better slice of our world today than by watching the movement through an airport concourse. Preppies, jocks, knuckleheads, weirdos, businessmen, foreigners, regulars and newbies….this airport has them all.

This week while I was traveling, I once again spent some time at the airport gallery and noticed that there is one kind of traveler that I love to see more than any other, kids.

When Your Child Has a Mental Illness

About a year ago, Creigh Deeds was nearly killed by his own son. He was feeding his horse when it happened

“Morning, Bud,” he told his 24-year-old boy, Gus.

“Morning,” Gus said. And then the blade hit.

It struck again and again—through his chest, his right arm, his face. One blow nearly cut off his right ear, another hit his eye socket. “I’ve got no feeling in the right side of my face,” he tells Stephanie McCrummen of The Washington Post.

Do You Know Why You Get Angry?

I can’t pretend to remember (or know) all of the things I’ve been angry over. If you’re a dad… or a mom… or a human being, then I’ll hedge my bets and wager that you probably can’t either. I know I’ve been angry, but I don’t generally remember why.

I was really angry with my kids just mere hours ago and, this time, I know why. I can remember. I was angry because I wasn’t getting my way.