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Canadian Dad Podcast - Mike Reynolds

Canadian Dad Podcast – Ep. 5 – Children’s Author, Mike Reynolds

This week I spoke to father, children’s book author, podcaster and writer, Mike Reynolds from PuzzlingPosts.com. We discuss Mike’s weekend at Beau’s Oktoberfest and I give plenty of love to the organizers of the Blissdom Canada conference, where I was a panellist during a podcasting session this past weekend.

Mike talks about his children’s books, “Daddy, Fly” and “The One Green Dinosaur”, that he co-wrote with his young daughter. He also talks about other ways to be creative with your kids and how great their little minds truly can be.

Don’t forget to say hi to Mike on Twitter,@PuzzlingPostDad

Enjoy the Show!

Father Son

I Still Remember

I rubbed my daughter’s back last night as she cried in her sleep and wondered how many times you did that with me. I can still remember climbing in to your bed when I would get scared and have vowed to never deny my children that luxury.

I think about how proud you must have been when I scored a big goal or made a nice catch. My kids do those things now and my heart swells with pride. Some people say not to over praise your children but I can never seem to stop myself. I wish I’d had the chance to trade these stories with you.

I remember how cool and calm you were when I’d get hurt. I channel that energy now when I see my children in pain, even though I am filled with nothing but panic. I’m guessing this is what all parents feel.

I wish I could ask you silly questions, like whether you smiled the way I do when we coloured nonsensical pictures for you, as my children do for me.

I still see the effects of the work you did to make our community a better place to live and hope I can live up to your level of commitment. There are so many times where I feel like I don’t have the energy and wonder how you accomplished all that you did. Because of you, I work harder so that my kids will see me as a difference maker someday.

You let me be my own person and make my own mistakes, while also giving me the chance to make up for those mistakes without violence or rage. Like the time I “borrowed” that money of your dresser… I’m still learning patience and I wish I had you here to tell me that it gets easier.

I remember a lot great times, which is what I hope for my children when I am gone. Even when I think about the tougher times, I find so many lessons that I can apply to my parenting today.

There are so many things I never got to say to you, so instead I make sure to say them to my children every single day.

Although you may not be here to lean on, I am doing my best with what you left behind so I can be the kind of father my children deserve. The kind of father I had in you.

Bike Riding Training

The Greatest Bike Riding Teacher Ever!

He ran up and hugged me tightly. “Daddy, you’re the best bike teacher ever!” he exclaimed, his voice filled with pride. Up until that moment, I had managed to contain my emotions solely to a prideful glow, but this kid always seems to find a way to push me outside of my comfort zone. Today’s moment comes courtesy of him learning to ride his bike, without training wheels, in under an hour.

The truth is, teaching a child to ride a bike has little to do with the teacher. I was essentially there for moral support and to follow along behind him, holding his seat as so many Hallmark cards would imply. He is the one who did all the work and my heightened emotions came from watching his pride in himself rather than being proclaimed World’s Greatest Bike Teacher, although it does have a nice ring to it.

This is just one of many obstacles he will hurdle in his lifetime and watching him have pride in the things he accomplishes has been helping me renew my own sense of pride in the things I have done recently. It’s so easy to get lost in routine to the point where you feel like you are just going through the motions of life. What my kids have taught me is that you are never too old to learn something new, and in the case of my children, I’m learning to become a teacher, mentor, disciplinarian and role model, all at the same time. This has opened my eyes to all the other things I want to accomplish in my life and has encouraged me to start going after those dreams.

Funny the effects children can have on our brains.

Zach Rosenberg

Get To Know Zach Rosenberg!

Do you know Zach Rosenberg? I recently realized that I spend an awful lot of time talking about me and my family on this blog and wanted to get back to featuring the great works of some of my dad blogging counterparts. So, today, I wanted to just write a couple lines about my friend, Zach Rosenberg, who writes a blog called 8 Bit Dad. I have written about Zach Rosenberg and 8 Bit Dad in the past but have since become friends with Zach and Brian and wanted to share a couple of the cool things they have been up to since.

As big advocates for the equal portrayal of fathers in the media, Zach recently put together one of my favourite posts to date entitled, “Observations on Dad-Bias in 140 Commercials from 2013″, where he watched and scored 140 commercials that featured fathers. The research, and findings, were amazing and were even featured on Adage.com!

If you are looking for a fun site that is a strong advocate for fathers, I urge you to stop by 8 Bit Dad to check it out!

Days Inn Dad Ad

Days Inn Canada Falls Short With New Dad Ad

I have been a part of the online dad community for a little over two years now. In that time, I have learned to value my contributions to my family and have become a far better and more attentive father because of it. I have also become more aware of the way fathers tend to be portrayed in the media and have even been fortunate enough to be a part of a community that is striving to, and has succeeded in, changing the dumb dad stereotype. In fact, according to a recent extensive study by 8 Bit Dad’s, Zach Rosenberg, fathers are being portrayed in a more engaged and positive light, more and more every year.

Unlike my American counterparts, however, it is extremely rare for me to see a commercial where the dad is being portrayed in a negative light. That changed this week after I saw the new commercial from Days Inn Canada. The commercial shows a sad child sitting alone in his room, wishing his father was there with him to read his bedtime story. It then cuts to the father, who is excitedly lounging alone in his hotel room, and sings the line, “And on the brighter side, dad’s watching mixed martial arts”. It gets worse from there but this is about the point in the commercial where I checked out and thought of a million different scenarios they could have gone with that would have made this commercial a viral sensation. First and foremost, why not have the dad reading to the kid over the internet and showing the love that I know most dads feel for their children. That would have been something I would have been proud to get behind and shared immediately. It would have even been enough to get my future business, at least once. And look, I’m all for Me-Time, as we all need it, but mixing it in with the sad child just made it look like the dad was happier outside the house than in it.

Not that fatherhood has ever been the way that the Al Bundy’s of the world would have you believe, but things are different now than they used to be. For a father to be a more engaged member of the overall household and child raising duties is not the exception anymore, it’s the norm. I’m sure Days Inn Canada thought this was harmless fun and others may see this as me being a whiny dad, but I think it’s important for them to know that it’s okay to go against the stereotype and to create a new mold.

What are thoughts on the commercial? I know we all see things differently, so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

All this said, I would love to invite Days Inn Canada to have a conversation with us dads, so we can talk about what our version of fatherhood looks like for future commercials. In the meantime, I invite you to take a look at how the face of fatherhood has changed in just the last 1000 days. Video is courtesy of the folks at the Dad 2.0 Summit.

I’m not the only one who feels this way. Check out these posts from Buzz Bishop from DadCamp and Justin Connors from Life in 140.

Hank Azaria Fatherhood

A Glimpse Into The World Of Celebrity Fatherhood

Let’s get this out of the way, I was paid to post the trailer for Hank Azaria’s web series, “Fatherhood“. I’ve always had a fascination with celebrity culture and thought this would be a fun glimpse into what being a celebrity dad was like for Hank. What I wasn’t prepared for was that I would watch one episode and then immediately plow through the whole series in one sitting.

I watched intently as Azaria interviewed other celebrity fathers, such as Mike Myers, Kevin Bacon, Rainn Wilson, Tim Robbins, Jim Gaffigan and many more, and listened as they talked about what fatherhood meant to them and shared the lessons they have learned to date. I don’t know why I was surprised to hear that their version of parenting sounded a lot like mine, I guess the money throws me off, but it was definitely refreshing to hear.

My favourite parts of the series are the interactions with Azaria’a parents, and more specifically when his father talks about the difference in the household priorities from his generation to ours. My takeaway from this web series was less about the lessons and more about the importance of the celebrity dads sharing their experiences and showing others that it is okay to talk about your feelings and experiences as a father.

I was only paid to share the trailer and not to talk about the show, but it struck me as something that a lot of people, especially dads, would enjoy. You can catch all the episodes over at AOL.

Lego Dad

Lego Captures Fatherhood Beautifully

For those new to the site, from time to time I like to feature commercials that portray fatherhood in a positive light. This tradition has actually resulted in one of my most inspirational moments as a blogger. This past week, I was introduced to a new commercial from LEGO® that captures everything I love about being a father, and I wanted to share it with you all.

The commercial is a simple yet very effective look at everything being a father means to me. LEGO® are the latest in a line of companies who have shifted the way they are marketing to families, specifically fathers. From Tide and Downy to Clorox and Dove Men+ Care, it seems like the days of the bumbling, useless dad are fading quickly and I’m excited to watch the new trend unfold.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this commercial and the new trend of the modern father being represented in a more caring and competent light.

John-and-Captain

Dad Blogs Exposed! ~ Ask Your Dad

Welcome back to another exciting episode of Dad Blogs Exposed! This week I am talking to blogger extraordinaire and funny man, John Kinnear, from the blog Ask Your Dad. Here’s what John had to say about blogging and fatherhood.

CD: Why did you start blogging?

JK: I started blogging at the urging of my wife. I have been writing since before I can remember, but most of it was filed in various shoe boxes and stored in the garage. After I got married and had a kid, my wife urged me to share some of the writing I had done with our friends and family through a blog. It grew from there.

CD: What can people expect from your blog? Do you have a specific goal or do you write whatever you feel?

JK: I hope that people can always expect a laugh. I try and stay funny whenever possible. My kids make that pretty easy. I don’t really have an agenda per se. I do have a rule that I try and follow. I try not to give advice. I just talk about what has and hasn’t worked for me, and if people can laugh at it while finding pieces here and there that help them through their own parenting journey, then I think that is awesome.

CD: What has been your biggest challenge as a father?

JK: Two things. Putting my phone away. Letting go of fear.

CD: What one piece of advice can you give to a new Dad?

JK: Decide what kind of dad you want to be before your kid arrives, and then work every day to fail less. I fall short of being the dad I want to be every single day, but my kids don’t see that. They don’t see the ideal dad that I see in my head. They see me. They see me trying. And that matters more than what I see.

CD: Do you have any long term goals for your site?

JK: Not really. I have long term goals for my writing, but not necessarily my site. I’d like to write a book or five. Not necessarily short form or memoir like I am doing now, but something with a bigger story to it. I haven’t found that story yet, but I am toying with one that revolves around teenage Frankensteins that fall in love and then get to go to a magical wizard school where they are selected to fight other classic movie monsters in an arena death match. You know, something simple that will relate to a larger audience.

CD: What is your social media weapon of choice and why?

JK: I enjoy Facebook Pages a lot. I’m on Twitter and I dabble on Google+, but most of the conversation outside of my blog takes place on the Ask Your Dad Facebook Page.

CD: How has blogging affected your life?

JK: Ha. Someone actually recognized me the other day. This really pretty lady and ran up, gave me a hug, and thanked me for a post I wrote. That will probably never happen again, but I felt pretty good about it as soon as I was able to get my wife to stop punching her in the face. Kidding… Stevie, my wife, thought it was just as cool as I did. Speaking of my wife, I think that is the other strange, and a little unfortunate way that blogging has affected my life. I get way to much credit and she doesn’t get enough. (My opinion, not hers.) The truth is, out of the two of us, Stevie is the parenting rock star. I’m an active and engaged dad, but she is a freaking jedi-ninja-parent. If I am a practitioner of good parenting, then she is the alter at which I worship. But even with her level 99 mom skills, at the end of the day, we both just try and fail less.

I would like to thank John for his time and hope you will take some time to check out the Ask Your Dad Blog. You can also find John on Twitter and Facebook. Later!

john-and-stevie

mckeevers 2012

Dad Blogs Exposed! ~ Always Home And Uncool

This week on Dad Blogs Exposed, I had the chance to talk with Kevin McKeever from the blog, Always Home and Uncool. Kevin’s stylings can also be found over at Dadcentric. I had the opportunity to meet and share a stage with Kevin at this year’s Dad 2.0 Summit in Houston, Texas and was once again blown away by the kindness of a stranger. Kevin is effortlessly funny, or at least it seems effortless, and I’m glad to now call him a friend. Unless he takes the effortless thing the wrong way, in which case he was a fine “former” friend.

CD: Why did you start blogging?

KM: After being laid off from my job, I had to do something to prove to my wife that I didn’t spend all day at home surfing the Internet for revealing photos of Kari Byron from “Mythbusters.”

That and, after not writing regularly for six months for the first time in 20-odd years when I was a reporter or corporate communicator, I just felt the need to start putting something into words again for my own sanity’s sake.

CD: What can people expect from your blog? Do you have a specific goal or do you write whatever you feel?

KM: I mostly tell tales about my goofy self — as a dad, as a guy, as a man befuddled by the world around him. Sometimes I have a fleeting celebrity encounter, sometimes I shed a tear or two, but mostly it’s about me trying to make sense of my wife, kids and dog.

CD: What has been your biggest challenge as a father?

KM: Avoiding the ol’ “well, back in my day …” routine with my kids. Civilization advances and changes, and you can’t live in your past no matter how comfortable it may be. I try to adapt and grow with my kids not because I want to be the cool, hip dad but because I want to stay involved in their world. Nevertheless, I never bothered figuring out all that Pokemon stuff when my boy was young. What the heck was that about?

CD: What one piece of advice can you give to a new Dad?

KM: I’ll give you two.

a) Don’t panic. If you panic, all is lost. Keep your wits about you and you’ll survive it.
b) Don’t listen to me.

CD: Do you have any long term goals for your site?

KM: Dude, I don’t even have plans for lunch. Speaking of which – Hooters?

CD: What is your social media weapon of choice and why?

KM: I’m on Facebook because that where I seem to best be able to keep up with the people I care about. I have Google+ account which I’m starting to use some, and Instagram is nice, but I tend to post all that stuff on FB now that it’s integrated. Pinterest? No interest, but that’s me. Your mileage may vary.

CD: How has blogging affected your life?

KM: I’ve meet some truly great and generous people, online and IRL, through blogging. The support my family has received from complete strangers and Internet-only acquaintances whenever we have sought help to raise awareness or money to support research into Juvenile Myositis, a rare autoimmune disease my daughter has had since age 2, has been heartwarming and, frankly, unbelievable.

Huge thanks to Kevin for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer the questions. I hope you’ll take some time to check out his site and say hi for me. See you next week!

On Finding The Missing Piece

Missing Piece

You can never be truly prepared for fatherhood. Even after having one child, I had no idea how a second was going to affect my life. As it turns out, my children have opened my eyes to a world that I had been sorely missing. The following is not a commentary on whether people with children are happier than those without, but more of a look at how my children have changed the way I see the world.

Here’s the thing, before my wife and I became parents, I was very happy. I had a good job, played in a rock band, often stayed up late and we had lots of quality time together. I still couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was missing and it wasn’t until becoming a father that I found the missing piece. Passion. I’m not talking about the passion for loving my wife or my family, which has always been and will always be there. I’m talking about being so passionate about something that you can’t imagine doing anything else but leaping towards it and hoping you don’t plummet to the earth.

My passion, as it were, is in trying to make a difference in the world. I’m not talking about creating world peace, as nice as it sounds, but instead I’m talking about a passion in trying to make a difference in people’s lives, one person and one day at a time. Not just giving money, food or clothing either, but in just giving people a reason to smile day in and day out. I have my children to thank for this and the reason is simple; every time I look at one of them, I think to myself, “what kind of man do I want my children to learn from and remember?” My father left me with amazing memories and I hope to do the same for my children.

When I started writing about my adventures in parenting, I thought it would be a fun place to share funny stories and pictures. I had no idea that it was going to alter the way I think and feel about almost everything in my life in the way it has. I feel like a completely different person than I was just five short years ago. I am not afraid to share stories about my issues with anxiety, my fatherhood insecurities or my hopes and dreams, because I don’t want my children to bottle up their emotions in the way I used to. That’s not a shot at my parents either because they were always there for me, it’s just the way I was.

They have pushed me at every turn to want to be a better man, father and human being, and I intend on using that drive to become the best role model I can possibly be for them. This is where my new found passion comes in. Life can be hard, and not only is there fulfillment in taking the time to make someone else’s day, but in my experience at least, I’ve never been happier in knowing that I have the power to make others happy. My hope is that I can inspire my children to want to inspire others and I will keep fighting for that as long as I am here.