iFamily 2.0

Mar 06 | Tony | No Comments |

iFamily 1.0: Al Gore discovers the internet and plugs everyone in. iFamily 2..0: Steve Jobs creates the iDevice and stuffs at least one of them into the hot little hands of every man, woman and child on the planet.

A recent National Geographic had a picture of Kyrgyz nomads in a remote part of the world playing with apps on an iGadget while tending a flock of sheep. The cost of a phone is one sheep.

Closer to home, my 11-year-old daughter has had her iGadget surgically attached to her palm since it arrived during the holidays. The other day, she proudly announced that she has 127 apps and is on her way to 200. I am still trying to figure out how to use just one: GoogleMaps. Somebody, please…

So what does all this iBusiness mean for children, parents, and families? As a parent, I am overwhelmed, outgunned, and virtually (no pun intended) helpless against the Invasion of the iStuff. Not only have we lost the control-over-technology battle with our children, I am not sure we ever really had a fighting chance. It is not just in the culture or in the family. It now feels like it is in the DNA. Just try leaving your own iThing at home for a day. It is a bit of a surreal feeling.

It is harder and harder to carve out ‘quality time’ with children and family. Even when I can convince them, always begrudgingly, to shut their devices off or even just to take out their ear buds so that we can try and make some space for the potential for a conversation to spontaneously occur, then my own device starts ringing or alerting me to an incoming text message. ¡iCaramba!

I now live with a constant background level of worry and concern about the devices that now command a large portion of our children’s attention. I am impotent against this iOnslaught that has oozed into every crack and crevice of family life.

There is the illusion that I have some control over what my kids are exposed to. I could have adopted the “Just Say No” approach to iJunk, but they would have gotten their fix through their friends anyway, and I would have caught pure hell along the way for it. (My 11-year-old was already a pro at her device before she even unpacked it.)

I accept iDefeat. As I take my last iGasp, I knew that the odds were overwhelmingly stacked against me, and that resistance was futile. We have all been iAssimilated.

It is unconscionable that the best and brightest minds developing these products and marketing them directly to children have turned a blind eye to the needs of parents and families for some way to REALLY regulate them. Without a simple way to control them, we are relegated to the role of iPolice doing shakedowns and confiscating devices on a daily basis – all in the name of just trying to spend some quality un-iTime with our kids.

¡Ay Yay Yay! iGiveUp!

Tags: , ,

The Dad Life!

Nov 08 | Tony | No Comments |

I typically feel compelled to write about the hard stuff of fatherhood. (See deepfatherhood). Since I am living it, I am drawn to the shadowy places where many fathers, sooner or later, find themselves.

There is not much in the popular literature about just how hard it can be for a guy to actually become the kind of father that he dreams of being. Our culture tends to paint the darker side of dads into narrow emotional corners: Workaholic Absentee Dad, Angry Bitter Father, Distant Dad, Bumbling Out-of-Touch Man, The Drunk, etc. But as all moms and dads know, there is a whole other side of fatherhood.

Today, it is time to give a nod to that other side of the fatherhood coin: the light and sunny side. It’s that sweet spot men often find themselves in when they surrender into the day-to-day life of being an engaged dad in today’s society. They have survived the changes brought on by pregnancy and childbirth. For men, these changes very often include weight gain, nesting behavior, hormonal changes, relationship change and strain, and even depression. These guys are weathering the storm. They are making it through.

Men who find themselves in this sweet spot have stopped fighting the bit. We are learning that resistance is futile. We are becoming dad. And oh, what a sweet spot it is! All the cliches start to apply. We start living “The Dad Life.” Check out the depiction of The Dad Life in this short 3-minute video of the same name. This is guaranteed to make any dad (or mom) crack a smile at the very least! Watch and enjoy The Dad Life.

As a dad, think about all of the little ‘Dad Life’ moments that you experience day in and day out. Those little taken-for-granted moments, everyday routines (“took my daughty to the potty”), and honey-do’s provide a wealth of opportunities to sink into the good stuff of fatherhood. The guys in “The Dad Life” bring those moments front and center. They turn the drudgery of shuttling kids, mowing lawns, and sweating the small stuff into a celebration of all things suburban and fatherly. It’s the Dad Life!