Thursday, April 29, 2010
I hope that the girls have lots of interests, but I'd like sports to be among them. And now I have some more ammunition to rationalize what might be a somewhat irrational desire of mine. Apparently, according to this study, playing a high school sport increases a young woman's odds of graduation by 41%. That's either a really strong correlation indicative of an already motivated young woman or there might be a causal relationship there.
The study's authors do control for other factors including parents' income level and education, school quality by other metrics, etc., so at least there's that. They also postulate the increased discipline that sports require bleeds into academics, to stay nothing of the incentive to stay academically eligible. They further cite this as justification for preserving and promoting sports when faced with the need to cut extra-curriculars from the budget.
The EveryMom and I aren't sure how to "help" our kids get into one activity over the other, and I'm sure we'll have some rough spots with piano lessons, practices, or whatever, but we both really valued our sports experience and others. Anyone out there have any ideas about how to encourage our kids in one direction or the other?
Monday, April 26, 2010
On another level, we dads don't often do well just taking our kids aside and saying, "Let's talk." If we were to do that, our kids would probably be so freaked out that they wouldn't know what to say anyway. But kids are generally fascinated by how things happen. The EveryToddler is fascinated by "Dad's Garage." She knows it's dad's garage and there are strange things in there. She loves it when I tinker around in there and loves to just watch. This is the same fascination with how food is prepared or how the vacuum works translated to the man skills environment.
But more than that, we generally do better talking to our kids while we're doing something else. Working together provides a great venue for those conversations. Even toddlers can be useful helpers when asked to help in the right tasks. The EveryToddler, for example, is a great thrower-away of things. She's also a thief of tiny screws, but that's my fault for putting those interesting things in her path.
Economically, there's another benefit to doing little improvements around the house. I make no claims that it's cheaper to do it yourself as most of us have botched enough things that it could have been cheaper and quicker to outsource, but there's a psychological return on investment at play here. The EveryFamily is currently renting, but we're not ignorant of the plight of homeowners who have seen the equity in their down payments fall victim to plummeting home value. No longer able to trade up, families are finding a lot of value in making their current home more the home of their dreams. Good call.
What do you folks see as the man skills that every dad should have?
Thursday, April 8, 2010
- Spending money only happens after you earn it.
- Let your kids make mistakes that they can learn from.
- One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is your own financial security when you're old.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
EveryDad does research, so here's a good read from the Wall Street Journal's Jeffrey Zaslow entitled, "Friendships for Guys (No Tears!)." I liked it because it talked about why male friendships are inherently different than female relationships. That sounds like a "duh!" statement along the lines of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus stuff, but it makes some good points.
The EveryDad has often had some interesting conversations with the EveryMom after returning from trips to visit with buddies. As is expected and not unwelcome by any means, the EveryMom will ask the typical questions: "How are things with Kevin? What did you guys talk about?" My answers are usually eerily like this commentary from the great Jerry Seinfeld:
Or, as Zaslow puts it:
Or, as Zaslow puts it:
A woman from Wisconsin wrote to me recently to say that she effortlessly shares intimate feelings with her friends. That's in great contrast to her husband. He recently went on a fishing trip to Canada with four longtime friends. And so she wondered: What did they talk about for a whole week? She knew one of the men had problems at work. Another's daughter was getting married. The third man has health problems. Her husband said none of those issues came up. She couldn't believe it.
She told him: "Two female strangers in a public restroom would share more personal information in five minutes than you guys talked about in a week!"
I'll not have seen my buddy in a year and topics include: memories of high school football (yes, we're all that guy), interesting movies we might have seen recently or want to see, or, shocker of shockers, what we're actually doing together that instant. And that's the key--we're doing something even if it's just watching TV.
Zaslow cites a research subject describing it thus: "Our conversations deal with the doing of things rather than the feeling of things," calling to mind the contrasting image of women at "book clubs," at lunches, or even on the phone talking about fears, insecurities, important events in peoples' lives at any given moment, etc.
Hence, while a woman's friendships are face to face, men's relationships are side by side.
This is nothing to shy away from as we derive great strength from those interactions and they're awesome. It's also valuable to model those relationships for our children as well as acknowledge the differences both for the everymoms out there and for the everydaughters. We can teach them about the interactions that are most valuable to us while acknowledging their needs and attempting to meet them as best as we can.