Make Your Voice Heard With Rock the Vote

I blushed when she asked the question.

It was my first semester of graduate school and I was sitting in a class devoted to theories of human behavior. It was later in the semester and we had covered a number of different theories. Each theory used a different approach and focused on a different aspect of people’s lives, from the ways infants develop attachments to adults’ desires for self-determination to the ways that people perceive reality in general. It was my favorite class of the two years I spent working toward my degree, rivaled only by the more informal discussions of philosophies and their impacts on social work practice during my independent studies.

On that day, a classmate had raised his hand. He was confused about the goal of our studies. He was struggling to understand how we, as budding social workers, were supposed to use all of these different and, sometimes, contradictory theories during our work with clients. Continue reading “Make Your Voice Heard With Rock the Vote”

Keeping Safety 1st During Late Night Baseball

The text message popped up on my phone just after midnight.

Trudy was trying to fall asleep in our bedroom and I was on the couch in the living room. The Cubs and Rockies had just gone into extra innings in their win-or-go-home playoff game and I didn’t want to disturb my exhausted wife by reacting to key pitches or controversial calls. I was exhausted too, of course; caffeine only works for so long and my energy stores had already been low after a frustrating day at work. Sports fandom being what it is, though, I was determined to see the game through for as long as I could keep my eyes open.

I had been alone for maybe ten minutes when the soft glow of my cell phone caught my eye. I picked it up, expecting to see another message from my friend with whom I’d been texting during the game, but it wasn’t from him. It was from Trudy. Continue reading “Keeping Safety 1st During Late Night Baseball”

Paid Paternity Leave and #DearFutureDads

A coworker and I were speaking recently about children. He doesn’t have any kids himself but he would like to one day. He mentioned that he struggles with anxiety, though, and that he worries about how that would manifest in his parenting. He asked me how Trudy and I deal with the anxiety that comes with raising our kids.

“That’s why God made bourbon,” I answered with a grin.

Continue reading “Paid Paternity Leave and #DearFutureDads”

Lego Star Wars and #RoarForChange

“Is Chewbacca going to be there?” he asked, his eyes wide with expectation.

I smiled and shrugged my shoulders.

“We’ll have to wait and see,” I said with a wink.

He smiled back but didn’t ask again. I could tell that he knew to expect to meet the large Wookiee from Star Wars but he was apparently content to let some degree of suspense continue to build.

We held Eitan out of school on Friday. It was May 4th, the unofficial holiday of the Star Wars movie franchise1 and I’d received an invitation to attend an event in Manhattan with Lego and Star Wars. I didn’t give Eitan much more information than that – partially because I wasn’t sure what to expect – but he didn’t ask for much more. He knew that he wasn’t going to school and that he was coming into the city for a special trip with me and that was enough. Continue reading “Lego Star Wars and #RoarForChange”

Putting the Pieces Together

It’s probably an overstatement to say that I loved playing with Legos when I was a kid.1I enjoyed them, to be sure, and I wished at the time that I had more models. I would open the outer package, dump all of the tiny bricks together into the inner box and start building. My eyes would bounce back and forth like tennis balls from the instruction booklet to the box of bricks to find the pieces I needed and back again to complete each step. I would pore over the instructions, making absolutely sure that I had placed the pieces correctly before pressing them together. I would sit, sometimes for hours on end, constructing airplanes, medieval castles and woodland fortresses.

But then I would leave them alone.  Continue reading “Putting the Pieces Together”

RAD Girl Revolution

“You can’t be what you can’t see.”

That’s the slogan for RAD Girl Revolution, a new children’s book created by two mothers from my neighborhood, Sharita Manickam and Jennifer Bruno. Like many modern parents, they were disappointed with traditional portrayals of gender roles in children’s books. It wasn’t just the “knight in shining armor” and “damsel in distress” tales that concerned them; it was the idea that astronauts, fire fighters, business people and a host of other professions were almost always characterized as men. Despite the increasing prevalence of girls empowerment programs across the country and a rising presence of similar slogans on clothing targeted to young girls, Manickam and Bruno kept coming back to the same bottom line: if girls couldn’t point to women in specific roles in society, they would have a much more difficult time visualizing themselves in such a position.  Continue reading “RAD Girl Revolution”

Learning On the Job

I always knew I wanted to have children.

Part of it is that, when I was younger, I just assumed that was the natural course of life. All of the adults I knew had children, largely because all of the adults I knew were either my friends’ parents or my cousins’ parents. Growing up, getting married and having children was just what people did, at least through my young child eyes.  Continue reading “Learning On the Job”

A Trip to Wonderland

I’ve always been a big fan of driving trips. My family and I never went on any huge vacations when I was a kid but we did go on different driving trips. When we lived in Chicago, we drove up to Wisconsin on a few different occasions, plus Indianapolis and Detroit. My parents made a vacation out of our move to New York, stopping at various landmarks along the way, and we made a number of trips after we had moved, as well, including a tour of battlefields from the Revolutionary War in Pennsylvania and a longer trip through Virginia to see Civil War sites. We drove up to Maine to see family friends and then to Ohio, after they moved, plus shorter trips to Connecticut, Boston and countless trips to Philadelphia to see my grandparents.  Continue reading “A Trip to Wonderland”