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Sens Experience Hockey

He Shoots, He Scores!

I watched in awe as a child skated, untouched, through an entire team of 5 and 6 year olds. With one kid to beat the puck slid off his stick and into the corner. He chased after it along with every other child on the ice, as 6 year old hockey players do. Every child, that is, but one. There, standing in front of the net with his stick dutifully on the ice, was my son.

It’s his first year in hockey and the learning curve has been steep. Because of his age, most of the kids he is playing with have already played for a season or two, so he has some catching up to do. I volunteered to be an on-ice helper so that I could encourage him to keep at it, and also because coaching seems to be in my blood.

On this particular day, his team was playing in their first game of the year. This wasn’t any regular game, though. They were playing on the same ice as the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, taking part in a special program the team runs for minor hockey players. The stands were filled with excited parents, grandparents and friends. We had a referee, scorekeeper and announcer to give the game a very real feel to it. They even played the national anthem before we started, which was one of my favourite parts of the experience.

It’s tough to teach a 6 year old how to play hockey, especially when he has never played before. There is only so much information they can take in at one time so you have to pick a couple things and focus on them. The one thing I tried to explain to my son before the game was that if he saw a flock of kids all chasing after the puck, that he should get into the open and put his stick on the ice. Much to my surprise, he actually listened to me.

There he stood, in front of the net, puck on his stick, and a flock of puck hungry 6 year olds skating right at him. He lifted his head and fired the puck as the crowd crashed into each other in front of the net. The next few seconds were a blur. I wasn’t sure what had happened until I heard the announcer call out my son’s name as the goal scorer and it literally took everything in my fatherly heart to react like a normal human being, as opposed to jumping on to the ice like my brain was suggesting.

I am not telling this story to brag about how my son scored a goal. Okay, maybe a little. I think I was surprised at how proud I was in that moment. I’m always proud of my kids but in this case he was rewarded because he listened to my advice and that felt good. His first words upon returning to the bench were, “Dad, did you see my goal? I did what you said and just shot it!”. It was one of the first times I truly felt like I had earned credibility as a father in his eyes.

I have no delusions of my son being a superstar hockey player. Frankly, I fear I have blessed him with my lack of height, which is usually a deal breaker for a lot of sports. I am just really proud of how hard he tries when he is out on the ice. I haven’t seen him invest in something like this before and it gives me a lot of joy to see him smiling even while he learns.

Canadian Dad Podcast The Trews

Canadian Dad Podcast; Ep. 9 – John-Angus MacDonald from The Trews

I had the very cool opportunity to chat with John-Angus MacDonald, who is the guitarist for one of my favourite Canadian rock bands, The Trews. John-Angus is a new father and I was curious to hear how his rock star life had changed after his son’s birth.

Before we talked father, John-Angus was gracious enough to answer a bunch of my rock and roll questions. I’ve always been fascinated by rock stars and everything that goes on behind the scenes in the rock world. John-Angus shares his mindset before and after a show and talks about The Trews’ new self-titled album.

One of my favourite parts of the interview is when J-A talks about how they treat each new album as if they are re-applying for their jobs. I also get the back story behind the band’s name and how they started out as a band named, Trouser.

We close out the interview by talking about fatherhood and John-Angus shares his hopes for himself as a father and talks about whether he’ll encourage his children to pursue a musical career. I had a blast talking music and fatherhood with John-Angus MacDonald and highly recommend their new album to anyone who loves rock and roll!

For more info on The Trews, their tour and their music, you can visit www.thetrewsmusic.com.

Dad Kids Goofy

Fatherhood

“Daddy, can I have ice cream?”, my 4 year old daughter asked, at ten in the morning while in the checkout line at Costco.
“Hmmmm, I guess so”, I replied. She was home from school because of a fever the previous day, so I figured we could both use the treat.
“HOORAY! You’re the best daddy ever!!”, she shouted as she hugged me in the middle of the store.

While I’m not sure that most people would award me the “Best Daddy Ever” trophy after feeding my child an ice cream cone at ten in the morning, it certainly made me feel special. Plus, no one else knew why she screamed that, so I just pretended that I bought her a pony or something. The point here is that as each day goes by, I get a greater sense of how lucky I am to call myself a father to these two amazing kids.

There are so many times in the day that I catch myself awestruck with their many quirks and qualities. Even the smallest things can strike me in a way I hadn’t anticipated. Hearing my daughter sing along to a song when she thinks no one else is around, knowing that if she saw me she would surely stop. Watching my son bond with his new hockey teammates in a setting that would make most adults cringe with fear.

Life can be friggin’ hard, man. You have to worry about money, time, health and everything else that being an adult and parent brings. Being a father is the thing that saves me from my own mind and lets me focus on the fact that there are two little people that need me to be a man for them so they can grow into their full potential. How can you think about financial struggles when your daughter wants to shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it off, shake it off? Who has time to beat themselves up over skipping a workout when you and your son are engaged in an epic Pokemon battle?! Not me.

Any time I lose focus on what’s important in life, my kids are always there to remind me with open arms, and for that I feel extremely lucky.

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.