Tag Archives: Warmth

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Okay, I lied.

It seems like I do have something important to say today.

I’m just stopping by for a quick shout out to my dad, my namesake and the big dude who taught me everything he knows — but not everything I know — about how to be a dad. Sometimes he did it by setting an example, and sometimes he did it by showing me what not to do.

Either way, I learned more from that man than I could have from a library full of books.

He taught me that if it was important to his son that he coach in sports, then he took the time off his job to be there for his son and coach whatever sport was in season. Dad coached me in tackle football, baseball, basketball, just about everything I ever wanted to play. When I made the school track team in shot put and discus and the mile relay, it was my dad who took me aside and showed me how to do it all.

He taught me that you didn’t have to go along with the herd, even if you wanted to achieve the same goal as it did. He’s a doctor, but he didn’t undergraduate major in anything science-y. He majored in English because he enjoyed it.

He’s also the man who showed me the value and the warmth of a real Hawaiian shirt with the wooden buttons. My wife, known to me as She Who Must Not Be Allowed Near My Closet With Anything Remotely Sharp, might not like them, but I love my Hawaiian shirt collection.

He’s also the man who brought home the first science fiction/fantasy book I remember reading. It was the middle book in a trilogy, but I was hooked for life. He set me on a path toward some exceedingly strange places, that I’m so very glad I found. He nurtured my love of reading and words and creating with them and I can’t thank him enough.

He’s also the man who helped shape my sense of humor. So, yeah, he’s the one you can blame.

Thanks, Dad, for being such a great mentor, teacher, coach and cheerleader all rolled up into one dad-sized package that kept pushing, prodding and questioning, all the while letting me know I was loved no matter what I did, as long as what I did made me happy.

Happy birthday!

Before I go, though, answer me one question: Who’s on first.

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Howard Stern Dethroned: Hail The New Kings Of All Media

I kept waiting for the make-up guy to start fussing over my head. I mean, I’d spent most of the morning shaving and buffing my hairless top so it would be nice and shiny. That way, the make-up guy would have something to do, since I, of course, and so astonishingly good looking that I would need no other enhancements.

I’m a giver that way. Always thinking of others.

Then I woke up and realized I was late to get to the studio so I could be interviewed on the local WCNC-TV’s Charlotte Today show with Barry. We managed to mention the name of the book, A Dude’s Guide to Babies, several times, watched as the hosts held up the book to the camera several more and generally had a good time.

And the make-up guy never showed. So watch out for the shine. It can be rather intimidating at first.

It went really, really well. Hosts Colleen Odegaard and Ramona Holloway welcomed us with warmth and enthusiasm, and the backstage crew did everything they could to put us at our ease. “Uncle Dude” Bob and Kelly, especially, were fantastic. We were given a nice space to sit down in the pre-interview room, just long enough for us to start laying the blame on each other in case it all went pear shaped. It didn’t

Barry and I knocked the interview out of the proverbial park and over the river running through it.

We were able to answer the questions with a minimum of fussing and stumbling and actually sounded relatively coherent. And that’s not just me saying that. We also have confirmation from relatively neutral sources who’ve seen the interview.

Speaking of which. . .

See? We didn’t do too badly.

Now we just need some people to show up when we’re at Park Road Books on April 7 at 2 pm to push copies of our book onto an unsuspecting public.

Join us, won’t you.

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Freaky Friday: Type Cast

by Richard

Sometimes it’s good that science will go out of the way to prove the obvious. If I were to tell you that the type of family from which a child comes will have an effect on how well that child does in school, you’d probably look at me like I was an idiot and say something like, “Well, duh!” Or possibly something more mature, but I think you get the point.

Guess what? You’d be right.

A new study that came out a couple of weeks ago from researchers at the University of Rochester in New York and the University of Notre Dame has classified families into three distinct groups: cohesive, enmeshed and disengaged.

COHESIVE: Characterized by emotional warmth.

DISENGAGED: Characterized by cold, controlling and withdrawn relationships.

ENMESHED: Characterized by moderate warmth and emotional involvement, but also hostility and meddling.

Just looking over the categories, I’m thinking you could guess that the children coming from cohesive families entered school and then progressed with the best social, emotional and behavioral adjustment. While the study didn’t look at academic performance, it’s been shown that social, emotional and behavioral maladjustment can lead to a decline in academic performance.

Researchers said children from families characterized as disengaged had the most problems; they started out in school with higher levels of aggressive and disruptive behavior and had more difficulty focusing and cooperating.

The behaviors worsened each year, researchers found.

Children from families described as enmeshed entered school with no more disciplinary problems or depression and withdrawal than their peers from cohesive families, but later began to suffer higher levels of anxiety and feelings of loneliness and alienation.

On average, Sturge-Apple says, those from cohesive families showed fewer problems.

The good news is that the study found that the majority of families studied, 59 percent, were labeled as cohesive families, while the rest were split — for the most part — somewhat evenly.

I think this just brings to light what I’ve already said: everything affects everything. What you do in school affects what you do at home and what you do at home affects what you do in school, all of which is affected by who you hang out with and who you hang out with affects what happens everywhere else.

Looking at the definitions for the different types of families, I see that the cohesive families are basically described as being emotionally warm. That doesn’t mean, however, that there’s no conflict, no punishment or consequences. I think, basically, what they’re saying is that you need to make sure your little dude or little dudette know they are loved and you support them, even if you have to punish them for seeing if they can make a steak knife stick in the wall from 15 feet away.

Feel the love, dudes. Feel the love.

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