The Electronic Monster in My Pocket

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Every time we go to a school event, I’m struck by parents glued to their phones.

The other day, I watched a parent sitting in front of me flip through their cell phone’s menu screen. Aimlessly. No doubt with a delightful internal monologue:

“Which app do I choose? I haven’t played Clash Royale in ages. Ah, don’t make eye contact! They might want to talk!!”

The introvert side of me gets it. The phone provides a safety blanket against scary “stranger” conversations. As a parent, as a dad, I wonder what the kids see though. Do they see parents:

  • Distracted/not present in the moment?
  • Displaying the same electronic habits at home?
Put it down.

The screen is so magical!

I know that being in a crowd of people we don’t know can be intimidating. I know that it is easier to escape into a phone, look important, and ignore those around us. But at what cost does our escape come at? What are we modeling for our children when we can’t even put down our phones for a moment?

I’m not trying to sound judgmental nor make others feel guilty. I’ve used my phone to ignore people many times. The thing is, I want my son to know that he is important. That I can be present in the moment. No matter how hard or uncomfortable that might be.

When You Don’t Have The Feels

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I’m not sure I knew what to expect when my son was born. Years of watching television and film had distorted my thoughts. Scenes where the happy couple, wife exhausted, cry and share this new family bond were the norm. Right?

Now I know that my son’s birth experience wasn’t typical. He was born early. My wife had to have an emergency c-section. I was more worried about her than my son.

About the time they pulled him out, she started to feel dizzy. The doctor’s weighed Wyatt and then rushed him out of the room. No emotional moment here. My wife and I were alone, again.

If I could tell expecting dads one thing:

Do not beat yourself up if you do not experience this grand moment of feeling. That insta-bond/love singing from the highest heavens moment doesn’t happen for everyone. And that is okay.

Took me awhile to overcome the shock of being a dad. My wife and I were no longer alone. The little dude’s screaming confirmed this.

Love often takes time, so do not feel guilty when you don’t have the feels. They’ll come.

Innocence Doesn’t Have To Be Lost

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A few days after ordering curriculum for homeschooling–yes, we are doing it!–, the boy came home from school:

“I learned the word for the middle finger today.”

“What word is that?”

He proceeded to utter the f-bomb, which actually sounded funny coming from his mouth. After I finished laughing, I reminded myself that I am the parent. Time to put the serious face on.

We talked about how cuss words have no power of their own; about how our American culture gives them power. How there are some words we do not say in our house. This is one of those words.

Relaying this story to friends and family, I heard, “I’m surprised that he did not learn this word sooner.”

As if children learning cuss words, at a young age, is a natural occurrence. A sort of twisted cultural rite of passage.

Loss of innocence will happen, is that what we are saying?

My own childhood, as a homeschooled student, taught me that we do not have to accept what is “normal”. There is always another way.

Yes, childhood innocence will fade away. Growing up does that. Yet, we do not have to accept the norm. We can dodge, we can roll, we can allow kids to be kids.

Our job, as parents, is to help our children process and navigate the world. That world does not have to be dirty nor uncouth.

What has happened does not have to be what happens. Innocence doesn’t have to be lost.

Traveling Back to the Media Past

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Edward Kenway, protagonist of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, is an unlikable gent.

Redeeming Qualities: ZERO.

I first encountered him when playing Black Flag on the PlayStation 3. The game somehow failed to capture me back then. Nearly five years later, I’m loving the game on the PlayStation 4. Well, everything but Edward. Here is to hoping that there is a redemption arc of sorts.

In another blast from 2013’s past, Tabitha and I started watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. I remember starting this series, back in the day, and not liking it at all. Tone felt off, writing too earnest, etc. This time around, we are enjoying the popcorn action.

Which brings me to ask:

Is there a media series that you passed on originally but later came back and loved?

On Man Colds, Of All Things

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Man colds suck.

The snot. The fever. The inability to breath. 

Rest is required.

Lots of rest. 

Which means a day off from work.

Especially if your kid is in school.

Ah, silence.

This is how my nose felt last week.

The TV is all yours. The couch comfy and inviting.

Never mind that you feel like death itself has come. Your friends Netflix and video games have arrived for a visit.

You like them.

A lot.

Frantic levels of new Shovel Knight content rule your day, in-between the naps. 

Glorious naps.

Man colds are real.

Terrible, nasty, super cold-like experiences. 

But a sick day, is a sick day; and rest is rest. 

So why not enjoy it? 

And relax like the best.

From Across the Net – “Owlboy: A Reflection on Friendship

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Over at Gamechurch, M. Joshua Cauller writes about friendship in Owlboy. I really liked this:

“The constant teleporting-in occurs thanks to your magical device, but the shock of being instantly teleported into a violent scenario takes trust. You see that trust grow…”

You can read more here

Can you imagine the trust it would take for you to allow yourself to be instantly transported anywhere? Knowing that each time you were transported, you’d be thrust into a dangerous situation? Talk about loving someone enough to die for them.