Connect with Your Children–and Re-Connect with Your Childhood

Now Streaming - Dads Heirloom Edition

Disclaimer: I’m part of the Netflix Dream Team, but I’d been an active (okay. somewhat obsessive) Netflix user for years before.

speed racer 1960sWhen I was growing up, my parents were very much against television and limited my sisters’ and my consumption to PBS–at least when they were home. But the second they were out the door, the three of us would watch anything but PBS. And, like most people, we developed some faves that unwittingly became part of our DNA.

vertigoMy sisters were more interested in animated shows: Speed Racer, Casper, Scooby Do, Richie Rich, Tom and Jerry. But I was more into live action: Superman, Batman, The Three Stooges, Star Trek, The Prisoner, The Avengers. And, wherever I could find it, Hitchcock. Lots and lots of Hitchcock. But whatever we watched, it was inside a “fort” we built by throwing blankets over the back of the couch and some dining room chairs. And let’s not forget the Jiffy Pop. (The folks at Netflix just sent a fancier version of the couch/chair fort, which I’m planning on breaking out when my daughter gets back from sleep-away camp. Or I may try it out for myself, just to be sure it works.)

So when my kids got old enough, say around age five, I started them on Hitchcock and everything else I loved. And, not surprisingy, they came to love (most of) it too. We did (and still do, even though the kids are older) a lot more than just watch. We talked about the plots, the characters, their motivations, the choices they made, and what we might have done differently–or the same. At one point I had an epiphany about my parents’ insane fixation on PBS: It wasn’t the network itself; it was actually all about the “educational” content of the programs. And even though I rebelled against their TV preferences, I feel that I’ve passed my parents’ general philosphy on to my kids–but in a much more open-minded way: There’s something to be learned in almost everything (even The Three Stooges).
[Read more…]

Working Dad’s Survival Guide + How Work Culture Fails Dads

Scott Behson, author of The Working Dad’s Survival Guide.
How to succeed at work and at home.
Issues: Getting your work and family priorities figured out; negotiating workplace flexibility; paternity leave; uncovering and protecting family time; staying connected when you only have a short amount of family time; building your fatherhood network.



Josh Levs, author of All In.
How our work-first culture fails dads, families, and businesses.
Issues: The parental leave battle; the struggle between work and family; Dumping the “doofus dad” stereotype; challenges of being a military dad; dads’ changing priorities; the overall importance of fathers in children’s life.

Last Minute Father’s Day Gift That Could Save Dad’s Life

heart attackFor the dad you’d like to have around for a long, long time: Preventive Heart Attack Screening

Every year, more than half a million Americans suffer a first heart attack, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And more than half of those first heart attack victims die within an hour. Fortunately, about 80% of those deaths could be prevented with early detection and aggressive treatment. If your dad is 55-75, have a heart-to-heart talk and encourage him to learn about the dangers of plaque buildup in the arteries and get screened. Experts recommend one of two non-invasive tests that can detect problems and give dad’s healthcare provider an opportunity to get dad to take steps to reduce his risks: Calcium Scoring CT Heart Scan and Carotid Intima-Media Thickness (CIMT) Ultrasound. Prices vary and may or may not be covered by your insurance, so check with your provider. That call could save dad’s life.

Last Minute Father’s Day Gift for Neat Freak Dads

dyson v6 absoluteFor the neat-freak dad: Dyson v6 Absolute (Dyson)

You might think your vacuum is fine, but unless you have a Dyson V6 Absolute, it probably isn’t. Most vacuums will either pick up tiny dust or the biggest stuff, but not much in between. This one, well, this one is amazing. It’s only five pounds and cordless, two features that might make you think it’s not very powerful. But you’d be wrong. The Absolute has two heads, including a soft, non-scratching roller so it can handle everything from wood to carpet. It also has a clear canister that’s easy to empty and lets you see all the junk you’re vacuuming up, which makes it easy to retrieve those LEGO pieces. And HEPA filtration cleans a lot of allergens out of the air. Runs for 20 minutes on a charge. $600.

Last Minute Father’s Day Gifts for Gamer Dads

nintendo 3ds xlFor the dad who takes his entertainment on the go: Nintendo 3DS XL (Nintendo)

Nintendo’s new-and-improved 3D XL system (called, simply enough, 3DS XL) sports more gaming power, faster hardware, and even a few new buttons for more precise control. These include a new c-stick (a smaller, flatter joystick) and two shoulder buttons, which is awesome. There’s also a new face-tracking feature, which gives you the full 3D experience without you having to be right in front of the console. That makes the 3D more realistic and the picture much sharper. $200.

assassin's creed chronicles chinaFor the gamer dad (to be used only after the kids go to bed): Asassin’s Creed Chronicles: China (Ubisoft)

We’re long-time fans of the Assassin’s Creed series, with its intricate plot that weaves through time, the mysterious assassins with their awesome hoodies and incredible skills, and the incredible action adventure game play. In a nutshell, it’s assassins vs. knights. But it’s really much more complex than that, as each game in the series feed into the next. The game style of Chronicles China is markedly different from most games in the line, as this is a 2.5D platformer, where jumping and doing all things assassin is a blast, intricately detailed, and wonderfully illustrated. This is the first in the Chronicles trilogy; India and Russia will follow. China rated T for teen and is a tad violent. Prices vary.