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I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it. – Harry Truman

 These days I’ve been spending a lot of time on new types of social media both out of personal interest as well as for my company business as I’ve somewhat become their social media community manager.  An interesting  time to be attacking such a topic.  It has both permeated my personal as well as my work life.  It does intrigue me that there has been so much talk about moms.  In fact not just a little but way too much.  Don’t get me wrong, moms are an intriguing and wonderful group of people who have many different interests as well as power both in the online and online world.  On Twitter there are Twittermoms and Momlogic, there are websites such as iVillage, powerful female influencers like Oprah,etc.  I’ve been asked constantly what I’m going to do to penetrate the world of moms!  I laugh becuase I argue about my cousins who are the dads who stay at home while the moms work.  I also think dads need more help than moms.  More importantly I think these women are struggling to get away from the identity as “just moms” .

It has me scratching my head as a marketer who has always been told that the most powerful and fluential groups are the male 18-34 consumers as well as the always moving group of Baby Boomers.  Maybe it’s that dads don;t just view themselves as dads.  Yeah, we’re dads, but we’re more than that. I just hope people don’t target me as a dad and only as a dad.  We’re husbands, we’re lawyers, we’re doctors, we’re sons, we’re grandsons, etc.   

Okay, well as a dad and husband, I’ve been through so much this year.  I guess I want to spend more time enjoying those other things.  My week ended though on a tough note as a dad.  I’ve been having a beef with my son’s music teacher.  You know the kind of music teacher that thinks the arts is the most important thing in a man’s life?  Also the kind of choir master, and more importantly teacher, who believes that it is his duty to tell parents how to raise their children.  This guy had the gall to tell me that I needed to sign a contract for my son to sing in his volunteer choir.  I told him that in the future that the only contract I will have with my son is the unwritten one between a father and a son.  He then threatened me by saying that if I didn’t sign his silly contract that he could possibly decide not to give my son his little “pin” at the end of the year.  What?  My son’s baseball team doesn’t require this.  My son’s cub scout master doesn’t require this.  What ever happened to scouts honor?

In the end this teacher drags me into this with our school asst. principal.  This is the same school I attended and the one that I volunteer many countless hours in front of phones and stuffing bags of goodies for fundraisers.  What has this world come to that they need a parent to sign a contract to say that they will be responsible for making sure that their son will be committed to their elective activity? 

I did take this as an opportunity to educate my son and daughter about the importance of commitments, the importance of making the right decisions, and how to deal with conflict.  It is not a conversation one wants to have to have on such a serious note with a 9 and a 7 year old, but with cancer, death and other life situations that our children have been through, I am so lucky that I have two kids who can digest such serious matters yet enjoy life thoroughly as kids.  I came away so impressed with my children.  More importantly as a dad I found I have a son who knows good reason, understands how people and friends are more important than small material things like a “music pin”.  Maybe its the innocence of youth, but I couldn’t be happier with how my son and daughter listened, giggled and asked questions during our little talk.  They may never know how proud I am of them, but I am.

A Proud Dad Watches Son

A Proud Dad Watches Son

 

These days as parents we work so hard to make a good life for our children and shelter them from the harsh realities of life such the little girl who was killed in Tracy, CA, the wars in the Middle East, the downfall of our banking and auto making industries and the sicknesses and illnesses around the world.  Targeting these individuals for retail and financial reward is one thing, but giving them the resources they need to handle all the things they need to be a good parent is another.  In the end though, it is up to the parents to make the difficult choices for their children when they aren’t old enough to make it themselves, and help them learn how to do it on their own in other cases.
And a Daughter to Match

And a Daughter to Match

There are lots of great resources for both sexes of parents.  For me, one of the best is Common Sense Media (www.commonsensemedia.org) ,  but here are a few others: www.parentsoup.com, www.loveathome.com, www.more4kids.info, www.more4kids.com, and www.ultimateparenting.com
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