Go Happy – It’s Here!

The new App for Android, that is.

I have an older droid phone.  Older meaning at least three years old which translates into dinosaur age for technology.  But, wouldn’t you know it?  I downloaded the new App with ease!!  In technical terms, easy peasy!!!

You can check out all the cool stuff with goHappy on my blog post here:

The Perfect App for Playdates – goHappy


It will tell you the amazing things you can do with Go Happy to not only to keep in touch with loved ones, but also schedule time with them!

You can download the new App for Android here:

GoHappy App for Android

Let’s look at the process a little bit.

Download the App.  You are probably already familiar with the process of how to do that.  If not, go to Google Store on your phone and hit the download button on the link.  You must have a 4.1 operating system or better to do this.  But, you probably do if you’ve bought your phone in the past several years.  If you don’t have that operating system, the download will prompt you.  In which case your first step is to get a new phone!  (I’m not preaching here since I have an “older” phone:)

Once the app is downloaded, it will prompt with you on what you want to do, or more accurately it will say, What do you want to do?  Choose a plan, share a moment, etc.

You can upload pictures, schedule a playdate or enter important birthdays, anniversaries, etc.  It’s as simple and easy as that!

And the good news is that the App is available today!!!  It’s been months in preparation and today is the day.

So, what are you waiting for?

Find the time.  Share the fun. 


3 Steps To Use When Buying A Used Car



I have a Love/Hate relationship with buying cars. I love having a new (to me) car, but I hate the process of buying them.

I have owned 6 in my life and have bought them from both dealers and individuals. For the record, dealing with individuals is generally easier, but dealers offer financing, trade in and servicing capabilities which may be needed.

There is no “best” way to buy a car and everyone has different needs. But, there are 3 things to keep in mind when buying a car. I’ve used these 3 steps to buy my cars.

Do Your Research – When I was a salesman, I could usually tell the difference between people who had researched the products I was selling and those who didn’t. Sometimes, they tested me on my knowledge and personability to buy something from me. That’s ok, that was just part of the job as I saw it.

However, sometimes people did not have all the correct information from whatever source they were using to do their research. The Internet is great, but be cautious with any information you receive. It may not be totally factual or up-to-date. Also, be weary of customer reviews and/or consumer periodicals or magazines on the Internet. Everybody has an opinion and I always advised my customers that everybody has a reason for sharing their opinions and sometimes that reason is motivated by money. Don’t believe that other people are looking out for your own good.

Nevertheless, it is important to scan the Internet to get a wide variety of opinions and information. Plus, it is as vitally important to talk to real people. Talk to people who work in the business or have worked in the business of selling or buying cars. They could share some insights you may have missed. Bottom line: Better to be prepared, as much as possible of course, than not.

 my car

Take Your Time – Unless your car breaks down and you need a car immediately, take your time buying a car. When my friend’s car died and she needed a car right away, she called a dealer (who was the husband of a friend of hers) and she got a car. It was a good car, but maybe not the one she would have purchased if she was not in dire need.

If you are thinking a getting a new, or another, car, start right away. Start researching, start talking to people, go to car lots and look at them. Look up what you want in a car including color, 4 wheel drive, interior space, a DVD player, whatever. Prioritize your list so that you know what you must have, what you would like to have and what doesn’t really matter to you if you have it or not.

If you go to a car dealership, be prepared to walk out if you don’t get what you want. You have the leverage. This is one of the best pieces of advice I ever received about buying a car from a dealer. Once you walk out of a dealership, you will feel ultimately in control of your purchase.

 wife’s car

Price – This sounds as if it would be an easy thing, but not necessarily so, especially in a dealership. With an individual, haggling is much simpler and more straightforward. With a dealership, it becomes a little more complicated in terms of length of contract and any additional items, such as warranties. I usually buy warranties because I believe they pay for themselves in the long run. But, it’s a gamble. If you’re not comfortable with them, then don’t it.

Know your price, including and especially monthly payments for obvious reasons. Car salespeople are notorious for “bumping” customers up to the next most expensive car. If you know what you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to spend, that technique may not work.

One place the Internet does come in handy is price. You can see what other cars are selling for in your make and model that you’re researching. Knowledge is potential power. This includes trade-ins, which is another reason to consider a dealership vs. selling a car on your own.


I bought a car last year and my wife bought one last month. I used these techniques to purchase the cars and we believe we got very good deals on both. On my car, I had a trade in and the dealership gave me a very generous trade in allowance.

On my wife’s car, well, it died and she needed one right away. We only had a couple of days to secure one. Both she and I had already begun researching, so we were prepared for our search. Fortunately, we had a friend who had also purchased a car from the dealership we went to and gave it a good recommendation. We found the car she wanted and got a good deal.

Of course, these may not be the only steps you want or need.  Some other steps may include: pre-approval for loans, test drives or a new vs. a used car decision.  Those are important, too, but I used my three steps as the primary ones.

Finally, people are always talking about the best this or best that, or in this case, the best car. I believe it is all up to you. You have to live with your decision. I don’t believe in best anything, except the best car for you. I’ve had people tell me they are not happy with their very expensive car while their son was extremely happy with his much lower priced car which had fewer, and cheaper, repairs.

Do your research. Take your time. Know your price. With these three simple steps, I believe you will find the car that you can live with.  I have.


Check out this link for info on car seats: Cars.com Car Seat Check

4th Grade, Another Mountaintop

Every year brings something different. Ok, every moment with kids, but especially every moment and every school year, just like another mountain to climb.

First Grade was the beginning of the regimented school system. Nothing wrong with that. We weren’t sure how Archibald and Mortimer (not their real names) were going to handle and deal with the structure. But, they came through it unscathed. It was in 1st Grade that Archie was diagnosed with a learning disability. It became prevalent throughout the year and by the end of the year, he was officially diagnosed.

Sergeant Major Mommy (not her real name, either!) and I wanted to get the little buggers into more extracurricular activities in 2nd Grade, so we signed them up for Tae Kwon Do. Morty got into it more than Archie who literally went through the motions, but didn’t have the commitment needed to really progress. Nevertheless, they did get to their Green Belts by the end of the year.

TKD also brought enormous difficulty for SMM and Daddy to get them to their practices two or three times a week. Somehow, we did it. Somehow, we managed to pay for it too.

We knew we had to work extra hard for Archie’s reading ability and somehow, we aided him in that. He did not reach his grade level, but he did progress and did not fall behind any further.

Morty’s reading took off. He found something he liked and pursued it like a bulldog, reading everything he could get his hands on. He loves science fiction-fantasy-adventure.

3rd Grade was different, too. Daddy bought a new car and TKD had to go cause we couldn’t afford both. The boys didn’t seem to miss it though.

Archie continued to make slow, but steady, progress in his reading. Morty sustained his passion for reading, but his writing and math were not keeping up. Archie is better at math than Morty, which is really interesting. His learning disability seems to be focused just on reading.

The little buggers also began to show more signs of independence wanting to do more things around the house on their own, like preparing their breakfast, choosing their clothes for school, etc. Plus, they have been enrolled in swim lessons at the YMCA on Sundays.

One of their proudest moments was when they were tested for swimming at their summer camp and they passed, allowing them to go into the deep end. It was one of my proudest moments, too. Funny how those things work out sometimes.

4th Grade is here and the boys are continually changing. Their independence is growing further. We don’t think that’s a bad thing, but we do have to monitor them on some things, especially Archie, on pouring his own milk and putting toothpaste on his toothbrush. Sometimes, he overdoes it a little.

As parents, we feel our job is to foster their independence, but still provide structure and support for their needs.

Their relationship with each other is also progressing, such as it is. As twins, they’ve had this “love-hate” relationship their whole lives. One moment they will be fighting and the next, literally, the next moment, they are best friends.

But now, they are also getting more competitive and trying to out-do each other. That is not necessarily a bad thing, except when their disagreements get physical. They’ve always wrestled with each other, but now they are bigger and stronger and we must keep them apart for their own safety. I have been trying to teach them about settling their differences peacefully, but I get the feeling it goes in one ear and out the proverbial other.

This year they have also started music lessons at school. Archie chose the trumpet (shoot me now) and Morty chose the kid’s version of the cello, which looks a lot like a small violin. Morty came home from school the other day and almost immediately got his violin out and started practicing what he had learned that day. Archie seems excited about his trumpet, but he has a habit of not sticking with anything that requires a constant commitment, ala TKD above. Time will tell.

SMM and moi, numero uno, the big cheese, Top Dog, DaddyisBest (sometimes) are constantly assessing our parenting needs and skills.   We do the best we can given the resources we have available, time, energy and money. Mommy is sometimes pressured by her job to do and give more and sometimes has to do work at home to prepare for upcoming events at work.

I have started a new job with a new company in a new industry and while the work is manual and physically demanding, it is not very intellectually stimulating. But, I gotta do what I gotta do to bring money in.

I feel I have grown as a Daddy. It is not necessarily something that came easily to me. As I have gotten older, my energy and body are not what they used to be. And neither is my patience, unfortunately. But, I’m working on it. I try not to get upset with the boys when all they want to do is play, except when they have to get ready to go somewhere, like school.

They ask me why I yell and I say it’s because they don’t listen. It’s a vicious cycle. I don’t yell at them like a marine drill sergeant, but loud enough to get their attention. (For the record, SMM has been known to yell, too). I tell them that and, again, it’s hard to tell what they retain or understand and what flows through their ear accounts. I have also seen other parents yell at their kids and think, I am nowhere near that level. It’s been a real learning experience to see how they perceive me vs. how I perceive myself. I can only hope their memoirs will picture me kindly.

I have grown as a person, too. My writing has changed as the little buggers and parenting has changed. My focus on just telling stories or amusing anecdotes of their antics is not as significant as it was when they were younger and everything was new to them and to me. As I’ve grown, I realize more and more the best thing I can do for them is provide the role model of how adults should act. I’m sorry, did I just say that?

It’s not about how adults “should” act. It’s how I can be the best me I can be and hopefully, something will stick somewhere between their ear passageways.

Getting to a mountaintop is not the end. It just provides us with the opportunity to see other mountaintops to climb, explore and conquer. Each grade, each step, each moment is just another mountaintop.

Those People

I guess I became one of “those people” when I became a Dad nine years ago.

There isn’t a person alive who hasn’t said it or, at least, heard someone else talk about “those people”. Prejudice is alive and rampant. The phrase “those people” has been applied to (probably) all races, creeds, nationalities, orientations and it includes genders and now, even Dads.

To be honest, Moms have been shamed too. Working or not working, breast feeding or not, disciplining or not disciplining, and the list goes on.

Let’s face it. It is not easy being a parent. So many choices and options and kids’ natural curiosities. Thank God our parents and their parents and their parents ad infinitum went through with the arduous task and loving reward known as having kids.

However, a relatively new phenomenon has taken place and that is Dad Shaming. It probably existed in some form in previous generations, but it has come front and center in the social media era.

Don’t believe me? Dads are exempt? Au contrare, mes amies!

I personally have seen two videos in the past month trying to shame dads. No, maybe, that wasn’t the intent of the women involved. Or, maybe it was.

Nevertheless, two videos surfaced, that I am aware of and there may be more, but these two videos featured women in cars talking about their husbands who are daddies. I’m not sure I get why they were in cars except maybe these women thought that was the only safe haven in their galaxies that were away from kids… and dads!

To be fair, maybe these women wanted them to be “jokes”, and maybe there were. Maybe they were just “poking fun” at their respective husbands. Everybody (I hope) can take a good-hearted, well-intentioned joke. Poking fun at anybody and everybody on the giving and receiving ends tends to keep our feet on the ground, at least from a mental health perspective. Nothing wrong with that.

Maybe I’ve become more sensitive as a Dad as I actively involve myself in my sons’ lives. I have twin sons, just turned 9, and I am, what is known in the trade an “older” daddy. Have I become more sensitive over the years? Am I just naturally more sensitive than the average person because of my artistic, creative background? Have I become more aware of dad jokes on social media as I’ve increased my presence on said social media? Am I just being a man and looking for more sex as payment for my involvement?

Well, I don’t honestly know. Maybe all of them to some degree (and maybe not) and maybe there’s more things going on in our world than I can possibly understand and address. As far as sex goes, I don’t do anything to be recompensed for sex…. anymoreJ

In one video, on a very popular parenting site, was a mommy talking about how her husband wanted to be praised for doing housework. She was in a car taking a video and talking. She was questioning why a man, her husband, would want praise for doing something she thought he should be doing anyway. Seemed innocuous enough, right? Maybe, on one level, it was. That level was a woman just talking and sharing her experience with her respective husband and joking(?) about it.

However, on another level, maybe the “joke” was a little deeper. What made it deeper was that this woman categorized her man and his chores done around the house in a stereotypical way. Nobody wants to be stereotyped or generalized as a group. Why would that be ok? Why would that be ok to stereotype daddies and men? I would venture to say that if the reverse were to happen, the floodgates of social media would open and demand an immediate response by the perpetrators.

In another video, just a couple of weeks earlier and also on an extremely popular parenting site, two women were talking and sharing their experiences about their respective husbands, also in a car. I guess I just don’t get the car thing. Again, maybe it was just two women talking and joking. It seemed like they were trying to be funny and again, on one level, they were.

But, what’s with the dad stereotypes? Do we blame it on the media for perpetuating them? Moreover, in commercials, TV and films, the bumbling dad is prevalent. But, why is that ok?

The two videos had something in common, besides women in cars talking about their husbands. They both received thousands of views and/or likes on the platforms they were on. Maybe that struck a proverbial chord with some people be they wives or women.

Am I a man or daddy? Which came first? I don’t know. I know I’m a man first, but one of my chief functions in life is being a daddy to my sons. They are kinda inseparable, at least for me.

Most importantly, were they guilty of shaming because of their intent?

Can you even imagine if the reverse happened, if men made videos that (allegedly), tried to poke fun at women, but in the end (allegedly) put women down like that?

I can hear the screams and trolls already.

Some women would say that obviously I and some other men just can’t take a joke. Obviously, men have been putting women down forever and it hurts Jeff, doesn’t it? Obviously, it was just “those women.” “Not all” women feel that way.

And, conversely, if it’s not “all women”, why is it ok to say “all men”?

On the other hand, well, you know what I’m gonna say. Why were the videos ok to make and distribute and why did they get so popular? What’s going on?

To be honest, I don’t know.

What I do know is that I hear and read from daddies who don’t appreciate these videos and/or dad shaming in whatever form it appears. Dads hear it all the time, like if a daddy takes a kid out to the playground or store, someone will ask, “Are you babysitting?” And the questions and jokes and comments about daddies go downhill from there.

Is there a double-standard for men and daddies? Absolutely. Don’t believe me? That’s ok. Just look at most of the media representing fatherhood. Do they portray well-adjusted, mature, enlightened men? Or do the daddies look like bumbling fools?

Is that what sells? Why is it still ok to portray fathers like that? Why do some women generalize men and daddies and then distribute it on social media?

If “those women” have problems with their men/daddies, maybe they need to communicate to them directly instead of sharing it on social media.  It is they who have the consequences of their poor choice in mate selections to deal with.

If “those women” say it was all one big joke, that’s ok, too.   I say, I don’t get it, but I respect their right to say whatever they want. As long as I get that right, too.

If “those women” say it’s “not all” men/daddies, that’s ok, too. I get that. It’s also “not all” women who are man/dad shaming. I have seen plenty of videos and articles praising men/daddies from mommies. But, if it’s “not all” women and it’s also “not all” men/daddies, maybe women shouldn’t complain when some men then say, it’s “not all” men/daddies.

Finally, in his book “All In”, Josh Levs cites data and surveys which point out that men/daddies are contributing substantially to raising kids and all of its associated activities now more than ever. That’s a good thing.  Here is a link to his website and its section on Dad Facts.  There are many myths about daddies still being repeated obsessively.

If a man/daddy wants a little extra attention or even praise for doing parenting, or daddy work, I guess I don’t understand what the problem is. What have you got to lose? Your expectations or your virginity? If the kids are happy and healthy, isn’t that the true bottom line?

I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. But, what do I know? I’m one of “those people”.

Maybe men don’t want praise for doing housework….

Here is my new YouTube video explaining why men don’t want praise for doing housework…

I saw a video earlier today in which a woman tries to understand why men want praise for doing housework.

But, I think she missing the point.  Men don’t want praise.  They want appreciation for helping out.

I couldn’t upload the video in my blog, so here is link to YouTube.

Thanks for watching.  All comments are welcome, as long as they’re polite.

Melanie’s Story

I was contacted a few months ago by a woman who wanted, and was going to contract, me to write a comedy chapter in her book for her based on her life’s experiences.

Here is the piece I wrote as a sample of my writing which she ultimately rejected.  But, I personally like it and think it is funny in my own off-the-wall comic and writing way. 


It was sunny and hot in New York City. Thursday. It was so hot and smoggy even the pigeons were coughing. Little did I know that the heat and the smog would be the catalysts for my disability to raise its ugly head.

My divorce was finally legit. It had been a tough road filing all the papers. My lawyer, whom I loved, in a platonic way of course, he was barely 57, but cute, handled my case with extreme care. I wish I could remember his name. You know the kind, brown tasseled hair, strong chin, leather briefcase with his initials on it. And his alligator shoes he loved but which he claimed came from a farm raised gator so we couldn’t fault him for it.

My new chapter in life started with a whimper. I was looking to create my own bang somehow.

Where does a 30-something, attractive, newly divorced, perky, yet sophisticated young woman in New York City find a rich, attractive, straight, funny guy? I had only one real answer. The Personal Ads. Unfortunately, personal computers had only just been invented and had not reached the mass production or consumption stage.

Thank God for The New Yorker. I had a friend I was working with who suggested to me. She had found her new boyfriend that way and I thought it was worth a shot. After all, she was not a great catch having spent some time up the river, in The Bronx, that is. But, she had a great smile and the kind of mind any guy could sink his teeth into.

“Educated 30-something, attractive, newly-divorced, perky yet sophisticated young at heart woman, all woman, great woman, looking to be your woman if you are the attractive, straight, successful guy who can make me laugh and my feet tingle and cat sing… let’s discover the possibilities…”

87 guys responded to that ad. I had a tough time narrowing it down. My ex’s name was Steve so that was the first cut. No actors, republicans or blonds. Under 80. These were all out. That left Darryl.

We decided to meet in the village, Greenwich Village. I knew an outdoor café that would be perfect for a first meeting. I wouldn’t really call it a date. Ok, it was a date, but not really.

I spent the entire morning of the meeting worrying about whether he would like me at first sight. I had never done this before and wasn’t sure what to expect. Maybe I wouldn’t like him. Maybe we would see each other and then turn around and run away screaming. What if he had issues? Or baggage? Or emotional issues with baggage, like my purse? What if he thought my purse was too big and I was overcompensating for something? Am I overcompensating for something with my big purse?

What do I wear? I should dress casual. I don’t remember talking so much to myself. Hair. Makeup. Shoes. So many choices, so many decisions. It’s not easy being a woman.

What if I don’t like him? I mean, really, what would I not like? He passed the first hurdle with my personal ad. How do I ask him if mental illness or criminals run in his family? What if he asks me the same question? Why wouldn’t he? Why would he? I’m an upstanding, attractive, successful woman. What does he want? Who does he think I am?

I get to the café and look around. I don’t see anybody who might resemble him though I don’t really know what he looks like except from what he told me. But, I don’t see any man also looking around who may be looking for me.

There he is. He sees me. We smile. I hold out my hand for a firm handshake. Guys like that. Wait he walked by me. Ok, maybe that wasn’t him.

Melanie? I turn and meet Darryl. We shake hands and exchange some small talk.

I turn around and discover that I am a couple of blocks, it looks like, from where I met Darryl. He is running toward me. What happened?

I feel weird. Physically, I’m ok. Mentally, I don’t know how or why I got here.

Darryl tells me that, all of a sudden-like, I turned around and ran away from him. He asks me why. I tell him that it must be a psycho-motor seizure. I was out of control. I wish I could tell him that I was possessed, but I don’t have a devil inside of me to blame it on. I try to tell him everything and reassure him and keep repeating, I’m ok, it’s not you, I’m ok, it’s not you…

He abruptly turns and walks away. I don’t know what to say or do.

Goodbye, Darryl.

Oh, wonderful. How do I comprehend what just happened? How do I fix myself? How am I going to put this into a Personal Ad?

3 Weird Things You Can Fuel Your Car With

With proposals being made by the UK government to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars across the country from 2040, car radiators specialist Advanced Radiators have taken a look at three weird things that you can fuel your car with as quirky alternatives:


You may be puzzled about how air could possibly be turned into fuel, due to the fact that you can’t feel anything when going for a walk. However, pop your hand out of a window when travelling at 70mph and you will realise that we’re onto something.

The idea is to use compressed air as a fuel source. Indian car company Tata Motors has actually attempted this, whereby a tank that’s full of compressed carbon dioxide sprays out air when functioning. This air will drive a tiny piston engine, which results in a crankshaft being turned to drive the wheels of a lightweight car.


Algae may not look that appealing, but that smelly green pond substance is a very promising alternative fuel. There’s so much of it to be found in the sea too and it can also be grown in a tank very easily!

The idea is that algae can be used in order to create a variety of biofuels, with the oil that is harvested from algae cells being mixed together with other chemicals so to establish a source of biodiesel.


So many of us enjoy a nice cup of coffee to wake ourselves up and get us alert. Why can’t the ingredients that make up the drink also be used to power our cars too?

Brit Martin Bacon seemed to share this thought, when he brought together a charcoal stove, a coffee bean byproduct and a modified gasoline engine that was able to run hydrogen. His invention was a system that used a boiler that transformed the coffee byproduct into a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, with the latter being fed into the motor. The result was a modified Ford P100 pick-up that was capable of hitting 65 miles per hour in tests.








Parents Guide to Minecraft


Last Fall my boys were begging me to get Minecraft for them (or for me to put in a good word with Santa so that they could get it from him for Christmas).  I knew nothing about it and, to tell the truth, I still don’t fully understand it.


Anyway, I was able to get a deal on an XBox 1 with Minecraft during the holidays. (Note: if you can wait until the holidays, there are better deals to be had.  XBox 1 was on sale with Minecraft already installed, plus I got a free controller, which is key if both boys want to play the game at the same time.) On Christmas Day, they ripped it open and wanted to play it right away, of course.


If you’ve never installed a gaming system, it is not a 1-2-3 proposition.  Setting it up with cables and all that was easy.  Turning the game on and getting started took almost four (4) hours! It seems that video game consoles go through an updating process every time you turn them on.  So, on Christmas Day, the boys had to wait ­­hours to play the game.  If your twins have the patience most do, one option would be to turn the game on the night before and do the initial setup while wrapping presents. This way, when the kids open it up and want to play right away, it will be ready. The game is available on PC, Mac, XBox and iOS (iPad, iPhone, etc.)


I decided that there has to be hundreds millions of parents that are just as clueless as I was/am about this game that seems to be as popular as Pac-Man was a generation (or two) ago. That’s why I decided to interview my 9 year-olds, and create this Parent’s Guide to Minecraft.




What is Minecraft?

Markus “Notch” Persson, a Swedish gamer and programmer, developed and created Minecraft as a “sandbox” style game. (“Sandbox” means that the players can build things in a virtual 3D world.  The players gather resources, craft items, build and, at the player’s discretion, combat.  No, you don’t need 3D glasses.) He solicited and received input from other programmers and gamers to mold the game.  A company called Mojang further developed the game under Persson’s guidance.  Microsoft bought Mojang in 2014.


This description may sound rather esoteric, but the main reason I have come to appreciate the game is that there is no violence.  Players build stuff.  Of course, there are some variables involved, and some danger just to keep it interesting.



There are four modes in Minecraft:

Survival mode -where the player must work for and acquire resources (iron ore, wood, stone, bedrock, sand, etc.) to build the world and maintain health.

Creative mode -where players have unlimited resources to build with, (meaning they don’t have to work for them) plus the ability to fly.

Adventure mode -is very similar to Survival mode except it is the place where players can play custom maps created by other players and have to complete certain tasks to reach their destinations for resources.

Spectator mode -which your kids will never play because all you do is watch without interacting, hence the name.


My boys focus almost exclusively on Survival and Creative modes.  They actually prefer Creative though because (somehow) they actually don’t like working on and for things (just like their room or toys!).


But, wait there’s more.  LOTS more. (Caution!-Sit down before reading…My head is till spinning from the overload of information!)


There are creatures like: wolves, ocelots, creepers, skeletons, witches, villagers, zombies, etc.  (Too many details to go into in an article like this.)

There is also another place called, the “Nether” world.  It is only accessible by the Nether portal.  If there is a bed there, it will explode in the Nether and The End.  If, for some reason, the player(s) fall into lava and die in the Nether, they can respawn in the Overworld, but they lose anything (resources) they had accumulated in the Nether.

“The End” is the last dimension.  It is really dark in there and it is a spit of land floating in the blackness.  It is home of the Ender Dragon and if you fall off one of the islands, you die in Survival and Creatives modes.  You later respawn in Survival mode.  (My boys wanted me to write this part as they dictated it to me).


For a more complete description of the game, you can go to Wikipedia and search Minecraft as well as other websites.  Some go into more descriptions than others.  Essentially, they all describe the game in a similar vein, and probably leave you just as confused.




For Parents

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when buying Minecraft.  When I found out that other parents at my sons’ school had purchased it and my boys were talking about it, I decided to make the leap.  Minecraft is a great game for kids.  No violence, no sex, no bigotry or jealousy and it allows the boys to be creative and build things.

However, here it is, my caveats of Minecraft.  It is an obsessive game.  My boys talk about it constantly and beg to play it almost every day. My wife and I have limited their playing time.  They could easily play it 24 hours per day. We have restricted game play to Saturday and Sunday for two-hour increments, and never on school nights. (That does not preclude them, however, for asking for more.)


There is also a sense of rivalry or competition between the boys.  They don’t always agree on how to do things or build things or where to go, etc. I think that’s fine, but if it gets acted out physically, like pushing or shoving, I turn the game off.


We have yet to allow access to the Internet, so they cannot play with other kids.  As they become older, and more mature and responsible (hopefully, someday), we will reconsider our restrictions.  If you want to open that gateway, I suggest setting up your own server so that you can control who they play with, i.e., kids they know.


My other main concern about the game is how they play.  Right now, they are playing and standing right in front of the TV.  We don’t like that because they are way too close to the TV which is supposedly bad for you and with the way they are standing, it could set up bad posture for them.


Believe it or not, there are books written on how to play Minecraft.  Of course, our boys had to have those, at least, some of those we conceded on.  Playing the game was new to them, as  it will be with yours, so I would suggest doing some research.  You can buy books or even watch videos on how to build things on YouTube.  This is a great opportunity to share time with your kids by getting involved with their learning process. (Be careful of the YouTube videos.  Some of them include harsh language and adult references.)


Some other things I’ve heard and seen around the Internet about Minecraft:

  • Parents do not understand what’s going on at any particular point in time.

I don’t see any other way around that other than learning the game yourself.

  • Minecraft CAN require more complex skills as the game progresses.

This is true. I can see where, if a child is too young, the game could get overwhelming for them. It may be difficult to make the right decisions or they may need better motor skills. This may be discouraging for younger players, so keep that in mind when deciding if Minecraft is right for your kids. 

  • Playing Minecraft can be intense.

This is probably true, especially for younger kids.  Scary sounds and monsters and even death, in its own form, do exist.  If things like these worry you, I recommend  playing in Survival mode with difficulty set to Peaceful.  You can also have them play in Creative mode where there are no monsters.  Our boys were 8 when they got the game.  They seem pretty o.k with it, but every child and situation is different.

  • It is easy to lose time playing Minecraft.

Yes, of course, but that’s probably true for all video games.  

  • Playing with other people across the internet can be dangerous.

Need I say more.  


The Bottom Line

Buy it.  Learn it.  Play it.  Enjoy it.  Monitor your kiddies.   Be aware.

-Special thanks to our boys who have read this article and given their “thumbs-up” to it.-


This article was originally published on FathersofMultiples.com – link = Parents Guide to Minecraft

5 Traits I Want My Boys to Have

My twin boys are now 8.


They have started to develop physically and mentally to become the men they will be, and my main job is to keep them alive during this process.  My second order of duty is to help them prepare for adulthood.  I also want to instruct them on the complexities of life and not only how to prepare for them, with age-appropriate instruction and modeling, but with verbal coaching.

Everybody has the virtues or character traits they would like their children to have, i.e., courage, strength, determination, honesty, hard work, etc.  Those are all good traits and if my boys can learn those things, they will be ahead of the game.  However, I have narrowed my list to these top 5.  I believe that these will provide the foundation for the other traits as well as many challenges and/or opportunities in life.

These are not in any particular order:

  1. Empathydef. the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

As the US and the world become smaller and more diverse, Empathy will become key to getting along with others around the world.  On a smaller scale and closer to home, having empathy is (what I call) a magnetic trait.  People are drawn to people who they feel understand or feel for them.  The downside risk to empathy is that some people will be drawn to you who are not good for you.  However, the upside potential is that people ultimately like to do business and be around people who appreciate them.  I realize it is a balancing act.  Mistakes will be made.  I’ve made them.  Nevertheless, I feel that if my boys can appreciate, understand, and share the feelings of another, it will set the stage for positive and successful relationships personally and professionally.


  1. Resiliency def. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.

Disappointments, frustrations, losses, and failures will occur in life.  Because of this, it is imperative that my boys learn how to deal with them and get over them successfully.  I believe this trait will probably be the key to success in any journey or activity that the boys undertake.  My modeling for them is to not get frustrated when difficulties occur.  Sometimes, that’s easier said than done, but I try to show them that with resiliency and its accompanying trait of adaptability, I can figure out or overcome whatever obstacles I meet.


  1. Actiondef. the fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim.

I don’t like the term “hard work”. I think it’s overrated and misleading.  Even if you work hard, you may not achieve something, but you still have to take some sort of action.  There is a saying, “Even God can’t move a parked car.”  Whatever you want, you will have to take some action to get, achieve, or produce the desired goal.  The action may not be one task, but a series of tasks or actions -or even a whole process.  But, definitely, nothing happens until you take action.


  1. Independencedef. not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.

As Hamlet said, “To thine ownself be true, and thou canst then be false to any man.”  I want my boys to be able to think for themselves and not be dependent on anyone to make any decisions for them.  Strength, courage, and integrity come to mind as accompanying qualities, but I believe that with independence, they will learn and trust that their opinions, viewpoints, or beliefs are valid and they will not seek unnecessary validation from outside sources.


  1. Positive Mental Attitude

Positive mental attitude is the philosophy that having an optimistic disposition in every situation in one’s life attracts positive changes and increases achievement. Optimism and hope are vital to the development of PMA. So, there you have it.  Optimism and hope, two of the biggies, but they are companions, if not byproducts, with PMA on the journey of life.  Nobody likes to be around “sour-pusses.”  Everybody feels better with positive people than negative people.  I actively try and teach my boys to be positive in all situations and while it does not necessarily guarantee success in any endeavor, it makes the activity easier to sustain and easier to share with like-minded individuals.


These qualities are foundation qualities for all the others.  There are qualities which other people may find more necessary for leading a successful and harmonious life. These just happen to be mine.

I did not add Love because even though it is the greatest quality or feeling a person can have, it is not necessarily a character or personality trait to cultivate (in my opinion).  I can show the boys Love, by loving their mother or my work. (Hey… stop laughing…the second one can happen.)

Also, these traits can overlap.  Resiliency can come from Action taken.  PMA complements, well, all the others.  Empathy and Independence, though not overlapping, are also complementary.

Some other traits did not make the list, not because they aren’t worthwhile in possessing or pursuing, but because I kept the list short at 5.  If I were to add 5 more, off the top of my head they would be:: dedication, dependability, compassion, patience, honesty.


Finally, I asked my boys which 5 traits they think they should have.  Here are their responses:

Happiness – like you’re on a trampoline, you can have stuff you like bouncing around with you, like a dog…

Madness – because whenever you feel mad, you can just “be mad” (crazy mad) (their words)

Extreme Toughness – being tough and standing up to bullies. If the bullies do something physical, you can defend yourself without even trying

Smilish – so that you can smile most of the time

Friendly  – to have lots of friends that stand up for you and to play with…

Ok, so our answers are little different.  Remember, they are only 8.                         I guess I have my work cut out for me.


This article was originally published at FathersofMultiples.com.   Here is the link: Fathers of Multiples.