Dads’ Survival Guide: Possibilities — Our Passions and Purpose

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Dads don’t talk. To one another.

“Work’s busy…Kids are great…Wife is fine…Life’s good.”

Sure, we chat. Kibitz. Catch-up. Yammer on about this or that. Dads will have conversations. Dialogs. Discussing things on our minds. But rarely, if ever, things on our hearts.

This isn’t a COVID phenomenon. A pandemic-induced silence. Dads have never been open with one another. About things that matter.

Those subjects keeping us up at night. Topics we stress about. Turn over and over in our heads. But never address out loud.

The expectations to produce and provide. Workplace performance pressures. Anxiety over our standing at the…


Dads’ Survival Guide: Parenting

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The kids are talking back.

Defiant. Rebellious. Typical teenagers. And with three of ours in their terrible teens, we shouldn’t be surprised. Nonetheless, it’s frustrating. Exasperating. For me and my wife.

Generally speaking, our kids are good. Respectful. Compliant. Not prone to acting out. Or disobeying.

I’m guessing this is a phase. Hoping, actually. Just part of growing up. Asserting oneself. Establishing independence. Testing authority. Not unexpected. After all, we Dads were teens once. Making our parents miserable. Talking back was likely the tamest stunt during our ‘acting out’ days.

So, how do Dads handle this phase? …


Dads’ Survival Guide: Partnering — Our Relationships

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Dads love being heroes.

Saving the day. For the kids. Our wives. Colleagues at work. And the greatest Dad superpower is problem-solving. Other people’s problems, mostly. Whatever bind or difficulty they get into. Dads put everything else aside. Dive right in. Roll up our sleeves. Take command. Then wrestle it through. Till a solution is found.

Wow. Awesome. Saving someone’s bacon. One more time. Whether they asked for our help or not.

And therein, lies the rub. Dads are so enamored with our problem-solving proficiency; we get ourselves tangled up in all sorts of situations. Unnecessarily. Distracting us from more…


Dads’ Survival Guide: Providing — Our Finances

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Happy 4th of July. And of course, Happy Bobby Bonilla Day.

July 4th is Independence Day. Celebrating America’s separation. From British rule. Going it on our own. An upstart. Underdog. Thumbing our noses at the establishment. An oppressive monarchy. Whose oversight was no longer needed? Or welcome.

Bobby Bonilla Day celebrates independence. Financial independence. By an upstart. Bobby B. Who worked the deal of a lifetime. So, he could thumb his nose at the establishment. In this case, the moribund Mets. And Major League Baseball’s monarchy.

Dads crave independence. Especially financial independence. The opportunity to thumb our nose at convention…


Dads’ survival guide: producing — our work

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The traffic is back.

Bumper to bumper. A quagmire on the highways. And side streets. Trains are filling up as well. People heading back to the office. Some, at least.

Getting back to normal feels good. Losing the face masks. Plexiglass dividers. Social distancing protocols. Government edicts. What a relief to interact with others. At work. In restaurants. On ballfields.

And yet, in our rush to return to normal, have we already forgotten the lessons learned from this pandemic?

Especially at the office. Re-adopting old routines. Habits of a bygone era. Like the 9-to-5 nonsense. Which puts us all on…


Dads’ Survival Guide: Proclaiming — Our Beliefs

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We’ve been visited by aliens.

Not the crossing-the-Southwestern-border kind. The green-guy-in-a-spaceship kind. ET’s relatives. In real life. Buzzing US Navy warplanes.

There’s video proof. Of UFOs. Toying with our best jets. On film. Except we don’t call them UFOs anymore. “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena”. UAPs. Which is bureaucratic PC speak for “We-haven’t-a-clue-what-that-is”.

Roswell was epic. Area 51. Aliens crashing in a desert. Physical evidence. Concealed by the government. Spawning conspiracy theories. Central to UFO lore.

This latest leak is public. The footage broadcast on TV. Watched millions of times on YouTube. By Dads. Moms. Everyone. And basically accepted. A stunning revelation…


Dads’ Survival Guide: Possibilities

AA Cubs: author and son, center. Photo courtesy of Catrina Hegarty

My son dropped the fly ball.

The Coach put him in center field. On purpose. In the bottom half of the last inning. Of the AA Little League Championship game. We were winning. The upstart Cubs. Major underdogs. On the road to a major upset. And he was our most reliable centerfielder.

The runner on third base was tagging up. And my son was readying to gun him out at the plate. Except in his rush, he dropped the ball. The runner scored. And he started crying. Afterall, he’s only ten. And human.

Which is part of the problem. Not…


Dads’ Survival Guide: Parenting

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The Smith kids have become chipmunks.

Cheeks puffed up with sunflower seeds. Cracking. Crunching. Munching. And spitooning the husks into a cup. Left about for Dad to clean up. Because this isn’t just a baseball-dugout thing. It’s everywhere. In the house. The car. My daughter, too. Our own little colony of chipmunks.

New flavors are the cause. Dill Pickle. Sizzlin’ Bacon. Mac & Cheese. No, really. Mac & Cheese flavored sunflower seeds. Who knew? Now everyone wants to make the gas station run. Not for gas. To stock up on seeds.

Not sure how this happened. Or how to make…


Dads’ Survival Guide: Partnering — Our Marriages

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Me: “How was the flight?” The family had just arrived on the West Coast for Spring Break.

My wife: “Horrible.”

“Horrible? What happened?”

“I looked over during the flight, and all four of our children were watching your dopey Monty Python movie! Horrible.”

Ahh yes, Monty Python. In search of the Holy Grail. Hilarious. Ingenious. That unique brand of English slapstick. No doubt, an acquired taste. Apparently, one my wife never acquired.

As kids, my brother and I listened to Monty Python day after day. Till we memorized every line. Then we stood in line. To see the movie. And…


Dads’ Survival Guide: Providing — Our Finances

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We have the LOUDEST birds. On the planet. Flocking in our backyard.

The birds start early. Really early. Like there’s a run on worms, early. Chirping. Tweeting. Waxing and warbling. Loud. Super LOUD. And they never stop. Waxing and warbling. Ever.

These birds seem on a mission. To wake us up. Maybe they’re upset about the bird feeder. Which I haven’t filled in months. Could be a COVID thing. Or perhaps, it’s worse. They’ve been offended by my Dads’ posts. Who knows? The birds have never explained themselves. They just keep chirping.

Oftentimes, I’m already up. Been tossing and turning…

Dave Smith

Leadership Coach, Advisor, Dad of four, Novelist.

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