Teens, Time Management and the Art of Bedmaking

I’m a very self-driven sort of guy, able to juggle a lot of things simultaneously. Heck, on any given day I might be tackling a dozen different projects, taking care of my children, driving to school appointments, and squeezing in time to hit the gym too. It’s an essential skill for any entrepreneur and probably for any human being if they have more in their life than a single task or person to focus upon….Read More

My talk with a room full of teachers about cyber-bullying and online privacy

Sounds a bit like the beginning of a joke: A guy walks into a room full of teachers to talk about the Internet, privacy and cyber-bullying… but it’s the furthest thing from a joke I can think of, actually. A few days ago I was invited by my children’s school to address the faculty on these very topics and as it’s something I’m very concerned about, I was happy to participate in the discussion. What…Read More

My teen’s cellphones go to sleep at device bedtime…

From the very beginning, I have had a rule with my children that when they go to bed, their devices go to bed too. In my house we call it Device Bedtime, and even their friends know to expect it when they stay over. The logic is simple: at a certain time of night, there’s no benefit, nothing positive about remaining on a device, whether it’s staying up insanely late playing Clash of Clans or…Read More

Following in my footsteps…

Like many adults, I am aware that many of the personal and career decisions I made in my life were influenced by my Dad, my choices influenced, overtly or subconsciously by what I felt would gain me approval and respect from my father. That’s one reason I moved into writing and publishing: My Dad was an excellent, funny writer whose primary outlet was a snarky gossip column in a trade magazine — Type World — for…Read More

Teens, Cellphones and School

I just got a call from my son’s school: he was caught using his iPhone while in class and it’s been confiscated by the teacher. I now need to go into the school and sign it out, as per their policy. Now, before you think it’s Draconian and a violation of his civil rights to have someone take his cellphone, I should point out that the school is actually rather liberal about phones, allowing students…Read More

Back to College Starts with Walmart’s Best Plans

If you’re a diligent reader of this blog, you’ll be saying “hey, wait a sec! your oldest is in 12th grade, not college! what the deuce are you talking about with back to college?” And you’d be spot on. I’m writing about the cheapest wireless plans, perfect for families — or students! — on a tight budget. The phone of choice: The slick Nokia Lumia 521, available at your local Walmart for a bargain $49.88….Read More

E-Cigarettes are not a safe alternative after all…

I’m not a smoker. In fact, I’ve never smoked a single cigarette, cigar or pipe. Which is perhaps why I tend to notice smokers more when I’m out and about, especially at sporting events and other outdoor venues. Particularly when people are walking down the street with their “vapes”, vaporizers that tend to look like tiny hookahs or pipes that I’m more used to seeing as a way to consume drugs. I’m definitely not a…Read More

Watching the slow motion train wreck…

There’s a certain point in parenting when you need to accept that you are no longer steering the rudder or controlling the prop and that the best you can hope for is that you’re still in the front of the ship in the navigator’s seat instead. “You’d do best to turn left here, cap’n, to avoid the reef” is about as good as it gets once your children hit their teens. I’ve always likened parenting…Read More

In a week, my daughter can drive by herself…

It’s so close. July 31st my oldest, now 17yo, is going to be taking her driving test and will then, according to Colorado law, be able to drive by herself and drive her siblings without another adult in the vehicle. She still won’t be able to be the driver for her posse, but oh, the freedom that she’s going to be experiencing the first time she just jumps in the car and drives to the…Read More

Teaching my daughter how to parallel park

As my 17yo A- gets closer and closer to the driving test — she’s less than two weeks away from when she can go in and get that glorious license that will let her drive solo! — we realize that while she’s done a ton of driving, she hasn’t really had any practice parallel parking. I tend to take this particular skill for granted because my Dad taught me eons ago and I’ve parallel parked…Read More

If Teen Shakespeare Texted…

My daughter A- and I have a great relationship, one that’s improved as she’s gotten older. It’s fun to have little ones, no question, but there’s something really terrific about having a young adult in the family, someone with whom you can have more mature and thoughtful conversations, with whom you can play and joke, knowing that they’ll pick up on it and keep the rhythm up, in their own inimitable way. That’s what I…Read More

Recitals and How to Get to Carnegie Hall…

You know the old joke, right? A stranger’s walking uptown in New York City and he stops an old man to ask for directions. Stranger: “Excuse me, how do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Old Man: “Practice, practice, practice!” That’s what I’ve been wanting to drum into the heads of my girls for the last few weeks as they have a cello duet that they’re playing at a recital tomorrow afternoon. It’s not a ridiculously…Read More

The Morning After The Big Basketball Tourney

My son G-, 13yo, can’t seem to decide on a single sport. In the summer and autumn, it’s all about lacrosse, then when winter hits, he’s back to basketball as indoor sports seem a whole lot more pleasant when it’s 15F and windy outside. He’s played both competitively for years and we’ve been blessed to have good coaches who focus on winning, but also focus on the boys having fun and learning both sport fundamentals…Read More

Why did the teenager NOT cross the road? Darned if I know.

Somehow I didn’t get the memo about random synaptic events and inexplicable decisions when it came to being a dad. That’s all I can conclude. Worse, I was at a lecture not a week ago when someone was talking about how our brains are still forming primary neural pathways in adolescence. According to a really interesting article from the National Institutes of Health: … [a youth’s] brain does not begin to resemble that of an…Read More

Convincing my children that they’re not parents yet

I can remember all the classic books of my childhood seemed to have a consistent theme of children growing up quickly as they learned to deal with difficult situations and overcome hardships. A staple of literature, the “coming of age” story, and when the pioneer daughter had to take over the parenting, cooking and household operation at 14 or 15 because Ma had died from an Indian raid or influenza or something, that was gripping…Read More

Embarrassing Purchases? Bah! No problem!

Much of yesterday was taken up with helping a friend move from her flood-damaged house to a new place. Hundreds of hastily packed boxes locked in a semi-sized storage unit unceremoniously dumped on the street in front of her house with as much salvaged as possible. Her house, three weeks after the flood, is still clearly a disaster and where there used to be walls you can now see through the back of garage and…Read More

Teaching my daughter to drive in inclement weather

My 16yo daughter is learning how to drive and it’s been terrific to watch how quickly she’s taken to the wheel. I basically have her drive everywhere and the first time we were in the car I just tossed her the keys and said “go for it”. Her Mom, by contrast, is apparently quite a bit more cautious and she was shocked that I’d let A- drive all over town, including on some roads with…Read More

College Road Trip, Last Installment: Cal Poly, UCSB, and UCSD

In the last few days we hit the last batch of colleges, from Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara to Pepperdine, ending with UC San Diego. The journey’s been quite fun – California has a beautiful coast and I love the beach communities – and it’s been enhanced by the C-MAX Hybrid that Ford loaned us for the drive. In fact, I turned that back in to them yesterday and we were both sad to see it…Read More

College Road Trip: Day 1 – UC Santa Cruz

We flew into San Jose, California yesterday to a lovely spring afternoon and started by figuring out how to pick up the car that Ford’s loaned us for the trip, a C-MAX Hybrid. In an ironic twist, it’s the same color, “Candy Blue”, as a photo I posted a few days ago on Facebook showing the vehicle. It’s a really bright blue. In fact, when we saw it my 16yo A- immediately fell in love….Read More

Poised and ready for The Big College Road Trip

After discussing it for months and months, tomorrow my 16yo daughter A- and I are flying out to San Jose, CA and driving down the famed Pacific Coast Highway (aka “Highway 1”) from Santa Cruz to San Diego, visiting colleges along the way. She’s just finished up 10th grade, so my goal with the trip is a) to have fun and b) to have her step foot on a variety of different college campuses so…Read More

Creepy teacher behavior, or not?

I get letters… Here’s one that came in to my inbox last night that I read out to my 1oth grader and she agreed, “definitely creepy”. Here’s what this Mom asked: I have a question about e-mail between high school students and teachers. My daughter’s teacher gave out his work email and work contact information at the beginning of the year. I found that helpful. Yesterday, after finals, my daughter told me that he wrote…Read More