Lego Star Wars and #RoarForChange

“Is Chewbacca going to be there?” he asked, his eyes wide with expectation.

I smiled and shrugged my shoulders.

“We’ll have to wait and see,” I said with a wink.

He smiled back but didn’t ask again. I could tell that he knew to expect to meet the large Wookiee from Star Wars but he was apparently content to let some degree of suspense continue to build.

We held Eitan out of school on Friday. It was May 4th, the unofficial holiday of the Star Wars movie franchise1 and I’d received an invitation to attend an event in Manhattan with Lego and Star Wars. I didn’t give Eitan much more information than that – partially because I wasn’t sure what to expect – but he didn’t ask for much more. He knew that he wasn’t going to school and that he was coming into the city for a special trip with me and that was enough.

We got to the event a bit early. The PR people were still setting up for the day and there wasn’t much to see yet. Eitan burned off some energy in the meantime running around Bryant Park and we borrowed a Ping Pong ball from two nearby players so that we could hit it back and forth with our hands on an empty table. The air was thick with humidity and felt more like mid-July than early May. Eitan broke a sweat quickly and his young legs began to falter sooner than they would have in even slightly cooler weather. We walked over to Times Square to walk through an air conditioned store for some relief before sitting on a bench outside for a snack.

As we turned back onto 6th Avenue, I saw what we had been looking for. A rope queue had been set up, as well as two backdrops displaying Star Wars and Lego backgrounds. I could see a tuft of brown fur just over the taller screen and didn’t bother to hide the smile that spread quickly onto my face.

“I think I see someone,” I said, squeezing Eitan’s hand a bit.

Family Chewbacca“Really? Who?” Eitan asked excitedly.

I didn’t answer, preferring to allow Eitan to see for himself when we arrived.

We finally got close enough to the display for Eitan to get a better look. Standing in front of him was Chewbacca, the six and a half foot roaring Wookiee from the movies. Eitan grinned broadly and looked back at me, his eyes twinkling with delight. I picked Eitan up so we could take a picture with Chewie and he shook the Wookiee’s paw, the smile never leaving his face. At the PR rep’s prompting, I let out my best Wookiee roar and Chewbacca patted me on the back, apparently impressed. I asked Eitan if he wanted to try but he shook his head shyly.

We stepped back to allow other people to take their pictures and I drew Eitan’s attention to the odd looking pedicab that had just pulled up next to the curb. I explained that Lego engineers had assembled thousands of Lego bricks and attached them to the pedicab to make it look like Chewbacca and Han Solo’s ship, the Millennium Falcon. He listened with awe and began begging me to take a ride. I told him we already had an appointment and he began jumping with glee, unable to contain his excitement.

Lego MFTrudy and Shayna arrived shortly afterward and we were all able to board the “Millennium Falcon” together. Our driver accelerated to hyperdrive as we traveled through midtown traffic, avoiding nearby “ships” and “asteroids” (read: potholes). He committed fully to his role, making references to the characters in the Star Wars movies and puns based on the story and the sights we passed as we navigated the New York City streets.

We disembarked from the “Falcon” after the ride and Trudy and I thanked the Lego and Star Wars public relations representatives for the invite. Eitan gave Chewbacca one last hug and, although Shayna was not interested in any physical contact, she spent the rest of the day pointing out “Too-back-a!” anytime she saw him on clothes or in stores. We wished the crew a happy Star Wars day and said our obligatory “May the Fourth be with you” to everyone we met that day.


I was not compensated financially for this post; we received advance notice of the Lego Millennium Falcon and an appointment for a ride around Bryant Park, plus Eitan was given a free miniature Lego Millennium Falcon model. The opinions here are, as always, my own.

The event was coordinated as a partnership between Lego and Star Wars as part of the Roar for Change movement. Roar for Change is a global challenge from Lucasfilm and Star Wars: Force for Change that supports UNICEF’s lifesaving work for children around the world. Between May 3 – 25, 2018, Star Wars: Force for Change will donation $1 to UNICEF for each public post, like, or share on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter that includes #RoarForChange. It’s obviously too late to ride the “Falcon,” but please watch the video below for more information and post on social media using the hashtag #RoarForChange to boost the total donation to UNICEF.


1. Fans started the “holiday” because of the punned phrase, “May the Fourth be with you.”

RAD Girl Revolution

“You can’t be what you can’t see.”

That’s the slogan for RAD Girl Revolution, a new children’s book created by two mothers from my neighborhood, Sharita Manickam and Jennifer Bruno. Like many modern parents, they were disappointed with traditional portrayals of gender roles in children’s books. It wasn’t just the “knight in shining armor” and “damsel in distress” tales that concerned them; it was the idea that astronauts, fire fighters, business people and a host of other professions were almost always characterized as men. Despite the increasing prevalence of girls empowerment programs across the country and a rising presence of similar slogans on clothing targeted to young girls, Manickam and Bruno kept coming back to the same bottom line: if girls couldn’t point to women in specific roles in society, they would have a much more difficult time visualizing themselves in such a position.

To that end, the authors created a book that shows girls dressed as members of professions where women are traditionally under-represented. Bruno staged photographs of young girls for each page, from judges to police officers to CEOs. Each photograph is accompanied by a short rhyming poem to make the picture more accessible to a young child’s imagination. The book is cute on its own but it’s message elevates the project to a more meaningful level.

 

 

I’m excited about RAD Girl Revolution for obvious reasons, of course. My daughter is about to turn two and I want to make sure that she grows up believing that she has every possible opportunity available to her. She won’t be able to be “anything she wants,” of course; her genetics are likely going to prevent her from being a professional athlete, for instance. But I would prefer that DNA prevent Shayna from reaching a certain goal, as opposed to an arbitrary glass ceiling imposed by the society in which she lives.

The other reason I’m excited, though, is less obvious.

A few months ago, I wrote a response to a Time Magazine article about toxic masculinity and the differences between the ways parents approach raising sons and daughters. Essentially, girls continue to be encouraged to speak about their feelings and experiences, while also receiving increasing pushes to pursue their dreams, no matter how far fetched. Boys, on the other hand, are still consistently pushed into traditional male-dominated fields and often face criticism for choosing a different path. Girls who want to be doctors are empowered; boys who want to be nurses are ridiculed.

Admittedly, RAD Girl Revolution is not going to solve the issue of traditional views of masculinity pushing young boys into the same typical fields. And it shouldn’t; its main focus is on improving girls’ status in society, a noble cause in its own right. Redefining masculinity is a process that has to start with training sons to think differently about women and girls, as opposed to training girls to stand up for themselves against boys and men.

But that is exactly the other reason I love this project: Trudy and I will buy this book for Eitan as much as for Shayna. We want Eitan to grow up believing that girls and women belong in every profession as much as he does. We want him to understand the different perspectives that women can bring and the value of including input from different sources when solving problems and developing programs. He needs to believe that the assumption that a girl would be unsuitable for a job simply because of her anatomy is not only inaccurate, but harmful. Girls may not be able to be what they can’t see, but boys can’t visualize other possibilities if they don’t see them either.

I hope you’ll join the RAD Girl Revolution with us by contributing to its Kickstarter account and following its progress over the next few months. For more information, please visit the project’s Facebook page, follow RAD Girl on Twitter and Instagram, and check out their recent news spots on PIX11 News, NY1 and amNY.

New Year’s Non-Resolutions

The end of the year tends to spur people into becoming reflective. I’d argue that I tend to be fairly reflective most of the time anyway but there is something about the end of a year and the start of the new one that makes me think on a slightly broader scale. I live much of my life focused on the present; what tasks need to be completed, why are the kids crying, how do I get from point A to point B, etc. There are so many small fires to be put out that I sometimes forget about finding ways to stop them from starting in the first place. That is what this time of year is for: taking stock of where we were and what we’ve done and making decisions and plans for the coming year.

To that end, I thought of a few things I have in mind for the coming year. I’m not going to call them resolutions; I find that word has become too closely associated with fixing the pieces of ourselves that are “broken” and that’s not how I see myself. I have my share of flaws, to be sure, but there is a major difference between being imperfect and being broken. In that vein, I was looking for ways to build on the foundation that already exists, rather than making sweeping changes or starting from scratch. To use computing terminology, I want to upgrade the current software instead of repairing faulty wiring or installing an entirely new operating system.

One more thing: the tweaks I mention below vary in their degrees of importance. (There’s a reason I’m calling them tweaks.) It’s much easier to maintain slight adjustments over the long term than it is to keep up with large scale changes. I’d rather commit to smaller shifts that are more realistic than come up with loftier goals that set me up for disappointment.

And so, without further ado, I present my 2018 Non-Resolutions.

1. Stop the Hoarding

Let’s be clear: I’m not a hoarder. I don’t obsess with acquiring new things and I have no problem getting rid of garbage and junk mail that come into my apartment every day. Show me something I haven’t used in three years and I’ll throw it out without batting an eye (usually). What I do have a problem with is that I make piles. Piles of receipts, piles of electronics chargers, piles of papers that I may need but I’m not entirely sure. I make these piles because I don’t know where something should go immediately or because I’m just putting it down and intending to put it away later (which, of course, I never do).

2018 Non-Resolution: no more piles. If something is out, I’m going to put it away immediately. No more putting things down and “coming back to it.” I’ll have a specific spot for things I’m not ready for yet and make sure that it’s empty before I go to bed each evening.

2. Better Quality Family Time

A few nights ago, Trudy and I were watching television,1 which is not exactly a rare occurrence for us. Most of our evenings end up with the two of us sitting on the couch and watching a show while also scanning through social media feeds on our phones or doing work on the computer. This particular evening, though, ended differently. We had put away our phones and were actually sitting right next to each other, as opposed to near each other. We were both fully present in the moment2 and we were only focused on the show and each other. It was just… nice.

2018 Non-Resolution: focus on one thing at a time. Watch the show and nothing else. Be with Trudy and nowhere else. Play with my kids and be present with them. Leave the phone aside and keep my attention on the people I’m with so I can get more done and enjoy being with the people closest to me.

3. Keep on Writing

This is a harder one than it may seem. There are times when the words just flow out, when I have the entire post formulated in my head before I even start typing. Then there are other times, though, where I start and stop numerous times before finding an opening that seems to stick. I’ll be the first to admit that some posts are “better” than others – more creative, more heartfelt, more meaningful. It depends heavily on the subject matter of the post. But, no matter how the post turns out, I know that I feel better about myself when I can publish new posts consistently.

2018 Non-Resolution: keep the streak going. I’ve published a new blog post in nine of the last ten weeks (I took Thanksgiving week off) after having gone through a four-month dry spell. I’ve been feeling more confident about my work and my ability to find the words to describe my experiences. I need to make sure I continue my progress.

These are a few of my non-resolutions. Feel free to leave some of your own in the comments section, whether they’re significant life-altering moves or little adjustments to make your daily routines go more smoothly. Either way, I wish all of you a happy and healthy new year. May 2018 bring all of us more laughter than tears, more successes than setbacks and more love than heartbreak. Oh, and of course, plenty of writing material.

Happy new year.

 


1. For the record, we were watching The West Wing. We never watched the show when it was airing and we started binge-watching it around Christmas when our current shows were on winter break.

2. I mean, as much as one can be when watching television.

Compassion For a Military Man

I was sitting at the dining room table with my father when I said it.

We were playing backgammon while Trudy and our relatives were sitting behind me in the living room, watching television. I could see the steam rising from the cup of tea he had just poured himself. My tongue was still tingling from the single-malt Scotch sitting in front of me. I smiled as I took my turn; I was about to beat my father handily for the second straight game. Then, while my father was getting ready to roll the dice, I blurted it out.

“Tell me some Grandpa stories.”

My father stopped shaking the dice and looked at me. The edges of his lips curved upwards in the slightest hint of a smile.

“I can tell you stories or I can focus on the game. I can’t do both.”

I chuckled and said we should finish playing first. In retrospect, I should have quit while I was ahead and had him tell the stories; he ended up winning the best-of-five series.1 When we had finished, he leaned back in his chair, clasped his fingers in front of him and asked, “What kinds of stories are you looking for?”

I thought for a minute before answering.

“I don’t really know who Grandpa was.”

img_2756

My grandfather holding my father, who apparently was a cute kid.

I knew a lot about my mother’s parents. I knew about their childhoods living in India, their immigration to the United States and their lives as parents and grandparents. I knew a fair amount about my father’s mother, from being born in Mexico and raised there and in Cuba to living in the United States after she got married. I knew that she and my father moved with my grandfather every two years with each new military station assignment. I knew these stories because my grandparents were all still alive and had been able to tell me themselves.

But it occurred to me recently that I knew very little about my father’s father, who passed away when I was very young. I knew he had been a radio andimg_2754communications operator in the Air Force and that he served in North Africa during World War II. I knew one or two stories about him joining the military and about his interactions with his relatives. I knew that anytime I saw Harry Caray on television when I was little, I pointed to the screen and said, “Grandpa!” because they both had white hair and glasses. (This picture of him and my grandmother was obviously taken long before his hair turned white.) And I knew that I had been named for him.2 But that was about it.

I decided that I wanted to know everything. What kind of a husband had he been? Had he been an involved father? How did he get along with other people? What did he do for fun?

“Maybe just start at the beginning?” I suggested.

My father shrugged and pursed his lips. His eyebrows raised slightly as his face took on the expression that I know I make all too often. It’s the face I make whenever I’m about to start a task and I’m not sure how things are going to turn out. It’s the expression that says, “Okay, here goes nothing.”

He began speaking about my grandfather’s life as a young man, from making a living as an ice delivery man to driving his brother from Philadelphia to Tucson. He told me how my grandfather joined the Air Force, made it through basic training and had begun his introductory flight lessons before someone realized he was wearing glasses. That’s why he ended up as a radio operator; military pilots can’t wear corrective lenses. He spoke about his relationship with my grandfather, his memories of the interactions between his parents and the ways my grandfather’s personality changed as he got older.

I was surprised by the conversation. The bits and pieces I had heard about my grandfather previously had been largely positive. My grandfather was, by most accounts, img_2757.jpgfairly well-liked and treated people well. He made decisions rationally and served his country both in times of war and peace. And yet, there were aspects of his personality that were decidedly less so, like his rigidity in terms of his expectations of others or his limitations as a father and husband. I suppose I should not have been shocked to hear that my grandfather had imperfections; he was human, after all. I wouldn’t say I was disappointed but I certainly found myself with some new perspectives about my father and his parents.

That being said, I also don’t regret asking about my grandfather. I asked the questions because I was looking for a stronger connection to my past and I found what I was looking for. Part of growing up is coming to the realization that our parents aren’t invincible beings who have all the answers.3 We all have to come to grips with the knowledge that our parents and grandparents have strengths and weaknesses and that some of their decisions turned out better than others. Our kids will go through the same process with us as they get older. We just have to try to have compassion for those who came before us so that we can understand where they came from. Hopefully, our children will try to find the same compassion when they think about us.


1. He killed me in those games. The second game was a double game; he got all of his pieces off the board before I got any, which means that his victory counted for two games. The tiebreaker was a single game but it really wasn’t close.

2. My grandfather’s name was Hyman, but my father said he never would have forced that on me. Instead, he and my mother named me Aaron, which, in Hebrew, is Aharon. The Hebrew word, har, means “mountain.” Hyman became “high man,” which became “mountain dweller,” which became Aaron.

3. With all due respect to Dennis Green, they might not be who we thought they were.

Parents Plan and Kids Laugh

I had it all planned out.

I had a great post in mind for this week. It was about how I use logic whenever I can to make decisions and how usually those decisions work out well for me. They sometimes don’t, obviously, because the world is not always a logical place.1 But, most of the time, logic steers me in the right direction.

I was going to write about how parents of young children don’t always get the opportunity to use logic to make decisions. There are certain areas where logic always applies, like keeping toys with little pieces away from babies so they don’t wind up choking or changing one’s approach to a teen in order to create more positive interactions. But there are so many times in parenting – when you find that your son has taken it upon himself to unlock the front door and take his sister trick or treating without telling anyone, for instance – where logic seems to just fly out the window.

I had a perfect scenario to write about too. Eitan had been misbehaving in the morning when he was supposed to be getting ready for school and he had started doing so somewhat frequently. It was fairly typical behavior for his age; Eitan wanted to watch television or he didn’t want to stop playing or he wanted to tie his pants around his head like a bandanna. It was attention-seeking behavior and Eitan was making sure he got what he was looking for, even if it meant he got negative attention instead of positive.

Here’s a quick lesson about the three kinds of attention. Positive attention is just what it sounds like: showing your child that you love them by complimenting them, spending time with them and being affectionate. Negative attention comes up when parents are angry with their children and have to discipline them. The last kind – the worst kind for children – is no attention. Kids need attention in order to feel valued and to develop their identities, just as adults do. If kids feel ignored or neglected, they’re going to start acting out until someone starts paying attention, which is just what Eitan was doing. He was sending me the message that he wanted me to spend less time emptying the dishwasher and preparing his lunch and more time playing with him.

The logical response, as I had planned to write in the original post, was to start making sure that the tasks I had been completing in the morning were done the night before. I started taking showers at night instead of the morning and Trudy and I began preparing Eitan’s lunch every evening, among other things. They were small tasks, of course, but they added up to a significant chunk of time that I was then able to shift from busywork to reading or playing with Eitan.

I was going to write about how well it had worked. I was going to say how nice it was that implementing a logical solution to a problem had yielded immediate results. It was like a light switch had flipped; Eitan suddenly started getting himself together much more quickly in the morning and the arguments seemed to occur much less frequently. On some mornings when I hadn’t finished everything the night before, we saw Eitan’s behavior start to revert back to his previous antics.

I keep referring to what I would have written because today didn’t fit the pattern. I showered last night and my work bag was all together. Trudy got Eitan’s lunch together last night and we ran the dishwasher in advance so I could empty it before bed instead of in the morning. When the kids and I were up this morning, I sat with Eitan for a half hour. We read some of his books and played with a sticker book. The plan had worked to perfection, as I had plenty of time to sit with Eitan and give him positive attention and still get breakfast together before school.

Except it wasn’t perfect. Eitan started goofing off after breakfast; he threw his pajamas up in the air instead of putting them in the laundry and getting dressed. He started taking out toys instead of putting his backpack in the stroller. A request for Eitan to go to the bathroom before leaving for school sent him into hysterics.  The time that could have been spent relaxing together before it was time to leave was instead spent arguing about the fact that we were now running late.

I’m not really angry, of course;2 most of what Eitan was doing was pretty typical behavior for a five-year-old. Kids goof off and they don’t have the same concepts of time or urgency as adults do. At their cores, kids just want to play and be acknowledged and validated; again, just like adults. The frustrating part was that Trudy and I implemented a plan that had worked in the past and executed it pretty well in this instance and it still didn’t work.

It reminded me of the saying that the day a parent becomes an expert at parenting a five-year-old is the day before the child’s sixth birthday. Kids’ personalities are changing every day; they learn so much so quickly that parents just have to do their best to keep up. Parents can – and should – learn from their mistakes and change their approaches as much as they can but it is still difficult to predict results with any sort of accuracy. Unfortunately, Murphy’s Law tends to hold true, especially with young children. If there is any opportunity for children to get into mischief, they are going to find it. Neither Eitan nor Shayna are old enough to pitch yet, but they still manage to throw curveballs at us every day.

 


1. I’m not going to give you examples. You know what I’m talking about.

2. Not anymore, at least. I was pretty annoyed at the time, though.

Sleep Like a Baby? Yeah, Right.

I’ve been sleeping on the couch for almost a week. Not only that, another man has taken my spot in the bed.

I’m not in the proverbial doghouse; I haven’t done anything to make Trudy upset with me, although one of our doormen seems to think I have.1 There’s also nothing wrong with my bed; I’m not on the couch because the mattress has a spring sticking out or anything. The couch is just where I’ve been sleeping recently. It’s actually really comfortable, but, of course, I’d rather be in my bed.

As with so many parenting situations, I have to sleep on the couch because of my children.

Shayna was terribly sick two weeks ago. She was congested, coughed up a storm and had a fever for over a week, which occasionally rose as high as 103 degrees. She saw doctors on four straight days at one point to monitor her temperature, get an x-ray to check for pneumonia and to make sure the rash that suddenly broke out all over her body wasn’t an allergic reaction. The doctors concluded, after ruling out the more serious and terrifying diseases, that she had fallen victim to approximately seventy-five viruses all at once.2

Shayna is fine now. Her fever finally broke (on day eight!) and the rash that made her look like a mutant faded after a couple of days. Her sleep schedule, though, had been thrown completely out of whack because she kept waking up from the coughing. The quickest way to get Shayna back to sleep is usually for Trudy to nurse her, which makes sense when Shayna’s sick and needs the comfort, but is sort of annoying when she’s healthy. Shayna knows how to sleep through the night, so Trudy and I would rather not wake up if we don’t have to. Sometimes Shayna’s sleep patterns get altered, though, so we need to remind her how to go back to sleep without nursing.

That’s where I come in.

I usually get up with Trudy anytime she nurses Shayna at night, in case Eitan starts stirring while we’re in the room or Shayna finishes nursing but doesn’t fall asleep right away. Whenever we’re sleep training her, though, I have to be the only person Shayna sees in the middle of the night. If I come in and close the door behind me then Shayna knows she won’t be nursing. This leads her to start protesting, usually fairly loudly. We would rather not take the chance that Eitan get woken up by her crying so he sleeps on my side of the bed for a few days and I sleep on the couch. That way, Eitan and Trudy don’t get woken up whenever Shayna’s whimpering starts coming through the baby monitor and Trudy saves up a little more energy for dealing with a sick child3 the next day.

The time it takes for Shayna to fall back to sleep varies. It helps that Shayna actually understands instructions now because I can come in to her standing in the crib, tell her to lie down and she usually does it. Or, if I’ve picked her up and she points to the door to say that she wants me to bring her to Mommy, I can say, “No, we’re not going out,” and she leans her head down on my shoulder. Sometimes she puts her head down right away and sometimes she keeps crying for a bit. I was up with Shayna for close to two hours for the first two nights but it was less time after that. She slept straight through last night so we’ll probably give her at least one more night just to make sure. My fingers are crossed.

This is one of those processes that new parents don’t find out about until they’re faced with it. Everyone knows that parents of young children are deprived of sleep, but it usually gets discussed in terms of newborns waking up three or four times each night to eat. Afterward, the discussion becomes all about training the baby to fall asleep (and stay asleep) on his or her own. Countless methods have been developed on the subject, all of which claim to be effective, even though many of them contradict each other. Even with all of that research, however, I don’t remember reading any references to the effects of baby sleep training on the trainers. It seems that the real message here, outside of describing what it’s like to have a sick child and the teamwork needed to survive it, is a tip for expecting parents:

Invest in a comfortable couch. You never know when it’s going to come in handy.


1. I walked in with flowers last Friday and he gave me a wink and a smile. “Flowers for the lady, eh? What’d you do wrong?”

2. Okay, fine, they said it was three or four viruses. But they definitely all came at once and that rash was freaking scary so, for Trudy and me, it might as well have been seventy-five.

3. Or sick children, as things usually work out.

High Stakes

Dear Eitan and Shayna,

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately.

It’s a dangerous pastime, I know,1 but it’s one of the reasons I haven’t published a new post in around three months.

I’ve had a couple of posts that I’ve started and then scrapped. There was the one about it taking a village to raise a child that had to do with the grandmother at the beach club who gave me a suggestion that helped Shayna stop screaming so I could get her to take a nap in her stroller. There was the one about watching Eitan grow over the course of the summer and watching the transitions he made during his first year at summer camp. There were a few about the ways you two interact together, some about our community of friends in our neighborhood and more than a few about the different events in our political sphere.

But I haven’t really finished any of them. I actually started to write a couple of times, but nothing ever felt quite right. My hesitations were due in part to my having trouble fleshing out some of my ideas into a fuller post that actually spoke to people and partially due to sheer exhaustion (it was a busy summer in a number of ways).

The biggest reason, though, was that I had been putting too much pressure on myself.

We live in interesting times.2 Our President is an old man who cares more about maintaining his popularity and his coverage in the media than he does about actually helping the citizens of our country. Dictators on the other side of the planet seem bent on bringing our country to an end and, if they don’t manage to succeed, Mother Nature has gotten so angry about people not paying attention to her that she may just finish the job herself. Americans are at odds with each other about topics like healthcare, tax reform and the fate of people who kneel for the national anthem. I was listening to a podcast recently where the guest, an African-American writer who had just published a piece online about Colin Kaepernick, said that he would so much rather be writing about mundane topics than heavy think-pieces. He said that he felt like he had to write the think-pieces, however, because “the stakes are too high.” The heavy think-pieces were too important for him to pass them up.

That’s what I was doing to myself. I was telling myself that there are too many important things happening in the world today for me to write about such small issues like watching Eitan walking to school with a backpack nearly as big as he is or watching Shayna’s face light up when I open the front door when I come home from work. How could I spend my time writing about telling Eitan off-the-cuff stories about the Star Wars movies at bedtime when anti-Semitism, racism and countless other isms literally threaten people’s lives on a daily basis? I may not have the ongoing readership numbers of a major media company – my monthly views are a fraction of even most parenting blogs, for that matter – but I know that I have a solid number of regular subscribers who look forward to reading what I have to say. I have to imagine that those subscribers – including you, as you’re reading this now – are at least somewhat curious about where I stand on some of these issues which, again, are too impactful for me to just leave them to someone else.

And yet, that’s exactly what I was doing. I didn’t end up writing about Kaepernick or Russia or climate change. I wrote one post about health care reform and that was back when the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act was still in the House of Representatives. I left the writing to the “professionals” because I felt too uninformed or inexperienced or just plan tired to work at actually figuring out my thoughts on the issues. I kept feeling like I should be writing about something, though, instead of leaving the blog to go dormant for three months.

As you can see, I finally decided to start up again by getting back to my roots. This all started as a parenting blog and evolved into, for all intents and purposes, a journal of my thoughts and experiences. It is a space for me to offer my thoughts on certain subjects, both for my peers to see today and, hopefully, for the two of you to read in the future. I’ll still end up giving my opinions about some of the heavier issues if I feel like I have something to say but I think, in general, I’m going to be working more with what I know. At some point, you may find yourselves wondering who your father was and what kinds of things affected him on a daily basis; I hope I’ve given you some material to answer some of those questions.

As far as moving forward is concerned, I would like to try to get back into the swing of things. September was a busy month, between changes at work, the start of the new school year and the High Holidays (not to mention the fact that I started the month by burning my foot by stepping on a piece of charcoal).3 That being said, the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot are designed to help us reflect on our lives and look for ways to improve ourselves. This post may be a few weeks late for a “New Years Resolution” but I guess it’s better late than never to make a decision to start writing more consistently.

There certainly is no shortage of material.

Love,

Daddy


1. If you just heard Lefou and Gaston in your head, give yourself a pat on the back.

2. Now there’s an understatement. Also, apparently that phrase being an ancient Chinese curse is actually a myth.

3. Before you scold me for being barefoot while I was barbecuing, let me just say that I was at the beach. Everyone is barefoot at the beach.

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