So This is Fatherhood

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Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

1327448169272_1113595It was sometime during first grade. I just remember the day being sunny. But we get 329 of those every year in Southern California so it could have been October. Or February. Who knows?

Mrs. Hart had a mixed class due to overcrowding in LA Unified School District classes. Some classes had first and second graders. Some second and third graders. Around that age, they figured, some of the more adapt younger students could be mixed in with a grade older. Somehow I made the cut.

During an activity, being the goofball and attention-seeker that I am, I took a bottle of that grade-school glue. You know, the kind that tasted a little salty (don’t say you didn’t try it) and was clumpy and came in clear bottles that resembled ketchup and mustard containers at a burger joint.

I was messing around, typical for a 6-year-old boy and turned it over my head. I didn’t squeeze, but I said Oh, look, I’m washing my hair!

Suddenly, the glue came out. All over my head. Talk about the best hair gel you can get.

Mrs. Hart was furious. She grabbed me by the arm and pulled me to the sink she had in her classroom. She scrubbed my head so hard I thought my hair was going to fall out.

Why can’t you just grow up? she yelled at me.


Not many years later, and for subsequent years after that, my dad would ask the same thing every time I did something that was fun and silly. Basically, being a kid.

Matthew, grow up.

Act your age.

Can you please just stop screwing around and act like an adult?

As adults, of course we all want our kids to act older and more mature. It’s what we’re used to and after long days, or weeks, of work we just want to relax. Having a kid prevents that from happening the way you always envision.

It’s not that I was 14 years old and crawling around under tables at restaurants. Or speaking in a baby voice while conversing with others. I was just being a kid. Enjoying life.

My dad, who doesn’t seem to get much joy out of life’s daily pleasures – at least not outwardly – just wanted me to fall in line like the rest of society.


My daughter is three. She tells me every day she is almost four. Technically speaking, she is correct. Literally speaking, she is months away. The concept of time has eluded her thus far in her life.

Daddy, I’m going to be four tomorrow.


Then I’m going to be five, and then six, and then seven, and then eight, and then nine, and then 10! Then when I’m 10 I can have coffee!

Not quite, but needless to say she is looking forward to growing up.

Weren’t we all when we were young?


This is what we all wanted to grow up to when we were 12.

Watching John Hughes movies in the 1980s I couldn’t wait to get to high school. Then when high school turned out to be as much joy as you’d get passing a kidney stone, I couldn’t wait for college.

As much fun as I had in my time in college, I couldn’t wait to begin my career.

And then, all of a sudden, I was 30 yearning for the carefree days of the summers when I was 18, 19 and so on.

It’s difficult for a kid to not want to grow up. Adults get to do all the cool things!

Stay up late. Drive cars. Drink coffee. Play on the computer.

I get it.

Right now, my daughter sees children at her daycare/school who are older and she wants to be in their classes. She wants to not only climb the monkey bars, but climb on top of the monkey bars.

Let’s worry about mastering swimming first, sweetheart.

So it pains me when she gets so excited to get another year older.

Slow down. Let’s enjoy the moment. Meander in the front yard and blow the dandelions. I love watching you experience the world for the first time.

Don’t tell me to hurry up and ride home when you’re on the back of my bike … I’m enjoying this with you right now. I’d love for you to walk next to me in the grocery store, but isn’t it better if I can just push you in the cart a little while longer?

The world is scary at times. You don’t know that yet. You only see the beauty, the joy, the cloudless skies. As an adult you’re always on the lookout for potential rain.

Stay young. Be young. Keep smiling and keep giving me hugs.

You won’t hear me chide you to Grow Up! any time soon.

And, all of a sudden, this movie clip hits closer to home.


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Wearing Her Heart on Her Sleeve

What do you want Daddy to bring you from New York? I said to her as I laid her down in bed to sleep, hours before I would be on a flight for work travel.

A heart, came the reply. A big one with sparkles and glitter and that’s shiny!

2000px-I_Love_New_York.svgMy kid first got on this heart kick nearly a year ago. Last Christmas all she wanted from Santa was a heart. So she got a small jewelry box she could decorate and glue and paint little hearts all over it. She loved it.

Whenever we ask her what she wants, it’s usually a heart. (Except this year she wants Santa to bring her a baseball bat. Proud Dad moment right there.)

It’s hard to reason with a three-year-old. Or to even get to the root cause of things. Unless, of course, you like babble, non-sequiters, blatant lies and the willingness to talk about Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

We hear stories all the time about how some girl in her daycare kicked her in the face. Which is either ridiculous, or awesome because my daughter doesn’t come home with bruises. She would be more like Bruce Lee and not Bruised Lee.

Or we’ll ask why she did something and get a non-answer. Or if she wants to be “good Ella” or “bad Ella.” Except once she said I want to be bad Ella and I immediately thought she was going to be riding on the back of some guy’s Harley when she was 16. These are the kinds of things that you deal with as a protective dad with a daughter. It’s only going to get worse, I know.

Except with the heart thing, I finally got an answer out of her a few months ago.

Hey, kiddo, why do you always want hearts? What’s up with that?

Because a heart means ‘I love you.’

World. Turned.

It’s these moments in time that, as a parent, just strike you. How does this little bundle of emotions wrapped in a 35-pound body figure all that out? And how does she just want love? That’s all that matters to her.

Like Lennon said: All we need is love.

My kid gets that.

Perhaps I should ask her about the 2016 Presidential election because that’s pretty effing messy and she may just have the answers that no pundits or political correspondents can figure out.

Picture this: Wolf Blitzer saying And now we go to Southern California where Ella Hurst has all the answers about the 2016 election. And they zoom in on her drinking milk and coloring.

So, my child wanted me to bring her a heart home from New York? Easy enough – just one of those I [heart] NY shirts or something. Problem solved.

Except this morning the love was gone when I talked to her. Daddy, I want you to bring me home a stuffed Statue of Liberty doll.

Crap. She doesn’t want to feel loved anymore. Except, out of the blue, she said I miss you, Daddy.

How do you do it, kid?


Sifting Through the Madness

I laid down to sleep last night and the last thought I had before my brain finally turned off was “Did these people ever think that this was their last day on earth?”

At the end of a horrific week in recent memory – during a year that has already been turbulent – it was hard to imagine leaving everything behind. What you live for, work for, fight for. A wife. A child. A house. Family. Friends. Dogs.

When I woke this morning, I saw my dog laying near the front door. Perhaps how some other animals wait for their master to come home. And they may just keep waiting. Their master never coming home.

It was a sobering way to start a Friday. There’s nothing good to come out of what happened in Dallas, or St. Anthony, or Baton Rouge this week. Way too many people’s lives have been ruined – more than just those who were directly involved.

If anything, it can re-position your perspective. If there is anything to take from it as I sit thousands of miles away maybe it’s a small piece of purpose behind the madness.

The morning was deliberately slow. I laid in bed with my kid a little longer than normal, extending our morning ritual of her drinking milk, me drinking coffee, PBS cartoons keeping her occupied, the news on my phone holding my attention.

I hugged her and kissed her and took extra time with her.

By the time I was out of the shower, it was past 7 am; another way to put it is that normally she is being dropped off at daycare at this time.

We brushed our teeth together. I combed her hair. Then I put gel in my hand and ran it through my hair. Normal procedures, all.

Maybe my kid has a sixth sense but around that time she snapped to life.

Daddy, can I have some of that?

Gel? Normally this would be hit with a resounding no. What’s the harm, really?

So I put a little in my hand and then put it in her bangs.

Can I see?

I held her to the bathroom mirror. Oh! Daddy! I look pretty just like you!

She took a little longer to put her socks on, painstakingly trying to get the colored parts on her toes and heel. Once complete she went to putting her shoes on. Suddenly the Sahara Desert was in the floor of my house. Seriously, how do kids get – and keep – so much sand in their shoes?

Hell, it’s just sand, I thought. We can sweep it up.

She went out to the kitchen area and I served her toast with jelly for breakfast. Standard.

Daddy, can you eat your breakfast with me?

It’s a question I’ve never been asked on a weekday when we’re rushing to get out the door. Or, maybe, I’ve never noticed it because I’m trying to rush out the door.

I poured a cup of coffee, grabbed a protein bar and sat down at an impossibly small table designed for toddlers.

Daddy, this is delicious! Do you love your bar?

Affirmatively, I nodded.

Can I try some?

Why not? I gave her a small piece – because she’s trying to watch her waistline, too. (That’s a joke … in the words of my wife the other day: “Ella, if all I could eat was mac and cheese and never worry about my weight, I’d never complain.”)

We sang the Spongebob Squarepants song in the car. Twice. She told me she loved me – an idea that probably escapes her fully, but she knows it’s something we say to her and each other. She also told me I was her best friend.

She gave me an extra tight squeeze before she went into her classroom.

I’m convinced this kid has a sense of something greater sometimes.

Perspective is a great reminder. Sometimes the rest of life can wait.

Hug whoever you love a little harder today. Call your mom. Smile.

When you lay your head down tonight, be grateful. You don’t want to leave your dog waiting by the front door without appreciating the things that make your time here worth it.

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Sweet Sassy Molassy

Oh! That’s a great age! They’re so much fun!

That’s the majority of responses I get when I say I have a three-year-old.

My reaction is usually Does it get worse?

I like to think that aside from a five-year stretch from 12-17, that having a kid only gets better as they get older. You can travel together to far-reaching lands, make it through an entire PG-13 movie, explore new cuisines, share a bottle of wine, and so on. I’m under the impression that this parenting thing does, indeed, get more fun as you and your child share more common interests.

Right now, our common interests are ice cream and driving my wife crazy.

Overall, yes, my kid is pretty cool. In fact, our friends tell us so. She’s a little nuts, but what do you expect from someone who has me as a dad?

But, as she experiences more of life – and spends more time with older peers at daycare – she is developing an attitude like you’d expect from Nene Leakes.


We have become quite familiar with arm-crossing, back-talk and the ever-popular “I don’t want to!” with multiple emphasis on the final two syllables. She’ll throw in a foot stomp or a primordial scream here and there just to keep us honest.

Then there’s always the non-listening and the pouty face. Yep, my three-year-old wannabe reality TV star.

Admittedly, I’m the worst at reacting to it. I want to sass right back to her and tell her I can get hood real quick. I guess that’s the benefit of the San Fernando Valley, Palmdale, Riverside and Vallejo on my personal ledger.

Sometimes, when your kid is being an A-hole, you want to be an A-hole back to them. It’s like Who can be the bigger A-hole contest? Or, who can out A-hole each other? (Yes, I often wonder if I am sometimes the most mature parent.)

So this may be my reaction …


Instead I just put her in a timeout and think of the SNL clip of “Sweet Sassy Molassy.” It usually shapes her up for the larger portion of the day and then we’re good. We can go back to ripping gas and laughing – another benefit of a three-year-old: all farts are funny.

What is bothersome, though, is that the attitude travels. My daughter has sassed back to both of her grandmas, which ticks me off. All grandmas do is love – especially these two. Talk about spoiling a kid, whew … we’ve got it lucky with how much they love Ella and how they treat her.

When do the threenager years stop? Or do they just evolve to more eye-rolling, permanent arm-crossing, more feet stomping and talking back?

I can’t remember my sister acting this way at a young age. She waited until her 20s.

It’s got to end, right?

Thing is, my kiddo is overly good enough to get her way a lot of the time. We do the parenting thing where we take a doll away, or put her in a timeout, or hold her head underwater like in Guantanamo Bay revoke promised treats and ice cream … things that matter to a three-year-old. One of these days, we’ll hit a larger nerve and something will stick. And, by one of these days, it will probably be when she’s nine and has the iPhone 17 and is texting some boy named Chazz or something. Then we may have the breakthrough.

Until then, I’ll just keep entertaining myself with the stupid nicknames I call her in my head.

Sweet Sassy Molassy.





Sass-partame … the sugar substitute.

And then remind myself, when my three-year-old Nene rears her ugly head …


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The Age of Innocence

There are times during this entire fatherhood journey where I can simply take a breath, reflect and experience the world through the lens of my three year old’s eyes.

The moments are sometimes few as we all inevitably fall into the regular rat race of life – trying to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves to try and ensure the livelihood of our families, our homes and, especially the futures of our children. I am as guilty of this as anyone, if not more so.

And even though I spent the majority of my Sunday working around the house – general homeowner things that tend to need attention – it’s small moments that my daughter experienced this week when I just want to hug her, kiss the top of her head and be still in the world during with her and let everything else pass by.

236c3e9e97890d266b108013f108be27Every morning that I drive her to daycare, we usually cover three topics. It’s easy since the drive is no more than five minutes.

1) What are you going to do at school today?

I’m going to listen to my teachers.

Note: listening is not one of my daughter’s best attributes.


There’s a big difference between sleepovers in tents at the library and sleeping in tents that you call “home” in urban areas.

2) How are you going to play with your friends?

Nice and gentle, she says as she softly rubs her own face.

Note: sometimes my child channels her inner Ronda Rousey.

3) How are you going to act?

Like a leader.

3a) And what does that mean?

To do the right thing.

Note: This one is still a work in progress. We’re trying to get her to think this way although the overall concept probably escapes her grasp. She’s getting there, but it’s something I want to institute now.

It was during our morning drive routine when she didn’t immediately answer one of these typical queries. She saw a man walking on the sidewalk.

He was homeless. A stereotypical vagrant of a homeless person you may expect to be cast in a movie if they needed what we all think a homeless person should look like. Terribly unkempt hair, ratty beard, holes in his filthy clothes. Someone who had taken several wrong turns in life, but in one way or another was still gutting it out.

My daughter saw him, and his yellow backpack with a foam roller on it and her focus on our questions went askew.

Daddy, that man is going to the library for a sleepover.

I did a double take and then lobbed back a simple Oh, yeah? at her, struck by the fact that my three-year-old has yet to tell the difference of a homeless person and a person going to a sleepover. She saw the backpack, had just finished watching her morning PBS shows and somehow concluded that this person was sleeping over at the library.

How we view the world is obviously jaded and probably more negative than it should be based on our own experiences and the influences we have: stories, news reports, experiences of others and so on.

Yet, my daughter just saw a human being. A man walking with a backpack and assumed the best. He was simply going to the library, to learn and read, and meet his friends, and then sleep there.

For a moment I wished she was right. And in that moment I wanted to crawl into that space with her and believe it too.


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Life With a Threenager

Until I saw some pictures tonight, there’s certainly a few things about the first year of my child’s life that I had forgotten.

Like the fact that she had no hair until well after her first birthday. Or the types of pacifiers she had. Or a set of clothes. Or how small she was.

And that was less than three years ago.

Screen-Shot-2015-09-15-at-20.41.24So it only stands to reason that when she hits her high school years I am going to forget how she is already hormonal at three years old.

Yes. It’s true. I am dealing with a threenager.

It’s not so much the attitude. I can mostly handle that. Mainly because I know I could totally take her in a feat of strength, or throw down in an arm wrestling competition and take her out. So, if she wants attitude, I’ll defeat her with strength. Or some of my own attitude. I can out-attitude with the best of them. Problem solved.

And it’s not so much the lying. Kids are going to lie to their parents. It’s just how it goes. Quick confession: Mom, I forged your signature once to get out of detention. Pretty sure the teacher knew, but it worked.

It’s the wild mood swings and the selective listening.

That’s some ish I cannot handle.

The mood swings kill me. How can someone be so excited and pleased to feed ducks old, stale bread and then cry 30 seconds later because they want to go home? In what world is that normal?

How can we be riding bikes and cracking jokes about what’s for dinner (Daddy, do you want to eat rice and cars for dinner? How about rice and grass?) and then turn on the water works because the idea of trees and beans is not as appealing?

I was building up my preparation for uncontrollable mood swings … but 12 years from now! Why do you think I’ve been watching so many John Hughes films?!


Daily occurrence. 

But, Lord. The listening. Or lack thereof. Egads. It kills me.

Half the time I wonder if my child’s ears are painted on.

I remember selectively listening my mom, or my teachers. I distinctly remember this. But I was 16 and it was a phase of “Leave me alone” which I presume all teenagers go through – or else pop culture and my own experiences just lied to me.

To have it happen at three years old is mind bending.

The worst part of it is actively looking your child in the eye, telling her something, and then having her completely ignore you.

And so many people say this is “the fun age.” It gets worse?

Imagine, in your adult life, your boss asks you to do something. You nod, agree and go your separate ways to handle business. When your boss returns you have one shoe off, there are crayons all over the floor and part of your shirt is above your head.

Sounds like Friday night to me.

But this is how it is … in a blink of an eye you go from Please put your shoes away to complete anarchy.

Holy moly.

I keep thinking that this blog space is going to be a nice reminder and some sort of gift to my daughter one day. See all the funny things you did to make daddy prematurely gray?

But I think that this one is more for me. A time capsule, so I can remember when we actually hit the teenage years that I already dealt with this once.


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The Name Game

Growing up I had a teddy bear named Forley.

Forley was like My Buddy, without looking like a creepy midget wearing overalls and a ballcap. I took Forley everywhere I went from about age three to age eight or so. And his tattered look showed.

I had Forley in my room until about middle school and then retired my old friend to the closet as I hit my teens. During various moves in my life, Forley met his demise in some attic somewhere and eventually into a landfill.

The thing is, I have no idea why this unspectacular teddy bear – average looking for all intents and purposes – was named Forley.

Which is probably why I cannot explain why my daughter has taken to naming her animals, both inanimate and real, with unique names.


This is our new female fish, Patrick.

Last weekend we bought her a beta fish, figuring a three-year-old could learn a little responsibility with a pet – feeding it, watching it grow, ultimately the circle of life. She has really enjoyed having this fish in her room and loves to feed it and watch it swim.

The beta fish was labeled as a female. Naturally my daughter named the fish “Patrick.”

For the record, we don’t know a single person named Patrick in our lives. Not even as a last name (Danica Patrick and Dan Patrick, as sports celebrities don’t count). My kid doesn’t even watch Spongebob Squarepants which would maybe help explain the name “Patrick” as Spongebob’s trusty sidekick.

And yet we now have Patrick the female beta fish living under our roof. At least Patrick is a normal name.

As part of her Easter basket my daughter received a small stuffed baby chick doll. It now is part of her “family” that sleeps with her at night – joining the ranks of two baby dolls, Minnie Mouse and a stuffed Easter bunny. It’s a pretty cramped twin bed.


This is Baby Chloe, the given name out of the box. Yet, when her eye fell out I started calling her Carl. You’ll understand if you’re a Walking Dead fan. My daughter now calls her Carl as well, which is hysterical.

The baby chick, though, needed a name.

Me: What should we name this animal?

Daughter: Tata-tooey

And the legend of Tata-tooey was born.

It’s probably a good thing that humans under five cannot bear children or else we’d all be walking around with names that came straight out of Star Wars and have to fill out business cards and resumes and not have people laugh at us if we were named Jar-Jar Binks.

The big question is where the hell does this come from? It’s not like she’s a sheltered kid. She goes to daycare and has regularly named children in her class – Layla, Joey, Isabella, Victoria, Taylor and so on.

But I suppose that Tata-tooey makes as much sense as Forley so why try and figure it out?

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Sticks and Stones and Bro’s

There was an evening recently where, for a moment, my daughter was upset.

She has bypassed the Terrible Two’s and is smack dab in the middle of the Terrible Three’s, crying when she doesn’t get her way, talking back, ignoring some of our words – in general acting like a miniature teenager. Therefore her being upset didn’t really cause a ruffle in either of her parents’ lives.

Plus, she’s stopped taking naps at daycare, so she has been overly cranky and tired in the afternoon and evenings. Which fits perfectly in our family dynamic because now all three of us have the same general feeling.

This minor meltdown and teary-eyed response, though, was different.

She was telling my wife that some girls at her school were calling her names. She’s three years old. This shouldn’t happen.

My heart immediately went into my stomach. How could toddlers insult each other? This sort of crap wasn’t supposed to be something that we dealt with as parents until she was seven or eight – at the earliest. I thought we were still in the coloring, playground, puzzle stages.

What in the world could kids be calling each other these days?

They called me “a bro” she spit out.

As ridiculous as name-calling can be, especially something as innocuous as that, I wanted to cry.

No parent wants their kid to be upset. And you feel helpless on something like this, even though it doesn’t even compare to the names she will probably be called by other girls as she gets older. In the grand scheme of things “a bro” is eons better than B or C or W or whatever other insults girls hurl at each other.

My wife handled this first foray into insults very adeptly, telling our daughter to just ask these girls very nicely not to call her that anymore. For now, that approach will work. We’ll definitely have to call an audible on that in about 10 years.

51Y-Q1Gg4BL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_When I checked in with the kiddo a few days later, apparently these girls have moved on from “a bro” to calling my kid “too serious.”

How can a three-year-old be serious? I wondered, thinking of this child who begs for me to “act silly” with her.

This episode came as I was finishing my good friend Josh Suchon’s book, “Murder in Pleasanton,” which details a 14-year-old girl’s murder in 1984. On the day she died, Tina Faelz was harassed and called names. One of the girls who harassed her was quoted in the book, 30 years after the death feeling tremendous amounts of guilt every day and making this girl’s final day of her life miserable. It was something that haunted her.

We never think of these things in the moment. I was no saint as a child and upon reflection, probably owe some kids an apology. Not to the extend Adam Sandler does with Steve Buschemi in Billy Madison, but I definitely ruffled some feathers. (Note: except you, Ashley Levine. You deserved everything that came your way. I maintain that forever.)

As I’ve gotten older and smarter and more accepting, I hope to instill this ideal in my kid – that it’s actually not that hard to be nice to people.

The way we pay our rent for taking up space on this earth is by serving others.

So whether my kid ends up being a too serious bro or develops into a goofy girly I hope that the lessons I’ve learned will find their way into her ethos and she’ll incorporate them in her life’s path.

I tell my daughter every day to be a leader. It’s a hard thing to do, to put your arm around a kid who’s being made fun of and show solidarity with the outcast, but that’s what leaders do. And I hope that if someone in my daughter’s life is being teased she will throw an arm around that child and protect them the same way I do to her.

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Proud Papa

Being a dad is something that I am proud of. Specifically, though, it’s the things my daughter does that makes me proud.

I am excited that I get to guide her, and hopefully, she becomes a strong, professional woman that can be a role model. At least to some.

I am also proud, right now, of my friend Lindsay Jones.

Lindsay is a friend of this blog and her husband is one of my closest friends. During Peyton Manning’s farewell news conference, Lindsay was the only – or at least, the first – reporter to ask Peyton Manning to address the sexual assault allegations that have recently come back up in the news.

NFL: Denver Broncos-Peyton Manning Press Conference

#Manning Face (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

Unfortunately, in this day and age, Lindsay got hammered on social media. She got roasted for doing her job.

A lot of the people who trolled Lindsay online called her “classless,” claimed she had no knowledge of “time and place” and that she ruined a celebratory moment.

As a former journalist, I know that if you have your subject in front of you, you have got to have the gumption to be able to ask the tough questions. Or else the industry will wash you out. Or you’ll have a mega career at ESPN. One or the other.

Nobody has heard from Peyton Manning since the Super Bowl ended. Nobody knew when Peyton would be in front of a reporter again, as he was announcing his retirement.

This was, indeed, the time and place to ask him to address these allegations that have resurfaced. It was not classless. Lindsay was doing her job.

Should hundreds of people attack you on Twitter if you do your job, but it just happens to interfere with other people’s personal pleasures?

Lindsay should be an example of what it’s like for women working in a male-dominated environment. She is treated unfairly, like it or not. And, like it or not, she is a role model. Maybe not for everyone, but for the young girls who aspire to work in sports, one way or another.

I want my daughter to grow up like that.

Unfortunately, we live in this age of sensationalism where someone like Kim Kardashian, who has done nothing tangible which would translate to her level of fame, is able to cause a brief firestorm on Twitter by showing off a year-old nude pic. Talk about classless.

Yet somehow, there are more young girls who look up to Kim Kardashian than true professionals. Like my wife. Like my colleagues. Like Lindsay.

All parents should point their children in the right direction. That’s especially more true for fathers of daughters.

There are too many influences working against young girls (like this blog I wrote about Curt Schilling defending his daughter publicly). Too many magazines and TV shows telling them how they need to look, how they need to dress, how they need to act.

What we need is to point them in the right direction and highlight when someone like Lindsay Jones is able to do the right thing and do her job rather than try and tear her down while at the same time celebrating someone like a Kardashian.

We need more fathers to hug their girls, tell them they’re proud of them. I hope that Lindsay’s dad did that. Having met him, I’m sure he did – or he owes her one the next time they get together.

I am trying to do everything I can to point my daughter in the right direction and celebrate her minor victories as she traverses this life. There are many moments of someone’s life when you can be proud of them. I am constantly amazed at myself for how proud I feel as a dad.

So I can only imagine that if my daughter grows up and performs her job well – and does her job to a high degree – that I will be proud of her.

There will always be naysayers. You’ve just got to hope that, as a father, you’ve pushed your children to be above that, to know right from wrong, when to ask the tough questions, and not be afraid to do so.



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My Brand is Crisis

Over the last two weeks I have had to lead a crisis training for some of my company’s leadership teams.

It’s a lot of work and a lot of focus … and, unfortunately, really makes you think of the worst when we get into the “What if …” scenarios.


Never saw it. Just lived it.

The training is an obvious necessity to help guide thinking if we did face a recall or an active shooter or something of the same grisly natures. It helps promote a quick-thinking mentality.

Kind of like parenting.

Because these crisis trainings are in a controlled environment and with leading questions it helps make each situation flow. However, if we were faced with an actual crisis then some of this goes out the window the moment adrenaline kicks in.

Whether it’s working on what to do, or oftentimes, what to say … living out an actual crisis is much different.

Just like dealing with a child.

I don’t think I’ve recalled one iota of information from the baby books we read pre-birth. I certainly haven’t read many helpful guides since.

My training, so to speak, has been of the in-the-moment, all-hands-on-deck variety. You go with your gut and hope that whatever moral compass you have points your decisions in the right direction.

Similar to a work scenario. You can go through all the materials, all the scenarios, but it will never mirror what actually happens, step-by-step. After the first wave, you can pause and lean on some of those sessions, but there is always the immediate “Oh shit!” moment when you’re in the trenches.

If I had a dime for each “Oh shit!” moment I’ve had as a father, I wouldn’t be writing this from my third bedroom. I’d be writing it from my third yacht.

They come and go, obviously, and you just hope your reputation isn’t tarnished. Speaking as a father now, not as a company – although both are true. You don’t want to be known as the hard-ass father who only gets angry and uses the F word as an adjective and a verb (I’m very proud of this as a fact of myself … but I have not ventured into this sort of syntax as a dad).

We opened a nice bottle of Pinot the other night and for whatever reason my three-year-old walked by the glasses on the table and stuck out her left elbow – almost as if she meant to knock the glass off the table.

She immediately started crying. Because in the past I have gotten angry. And I was again. Hell, you would be too as you watched delicious adult grape juice splash on your living room rug and floor.

In the heat of the moment you may put your foot in your mouth. Speaking as a company now, not as a father – although both are true.

NQOxtJXWWe’ve all seen poorly handled crisis press conferences. Our work trainings include tips on how to avoid them.

We’ve all poorly handled our personal crises at home. I know I have … thus, the immediate wine spill reaction. She was ready for the red-faced, red-assed father.

It never came.

I got down and mopped up the spill. I explained to her that shit happens (in so many words) and to just be careful. Not everything is a crisis despite our initial reaction.

It’s something I never learned in a book but just by living out my life now with a small human being constantly – truly, constantly! – around, it’s now a learned behavior.

I never want to be in a work situation where a crisis is more of a shoulder shrug reaction therefore the trainings and the preparedness must continue.

But sometimes we all must realize that life goes on. Shit happens. And all in all, we must keep calm and carry on.