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:

Air

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

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.

Coffee

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.

 

Sources:

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/alternative-fuels/5-alternative-fuel-ideas6.htm

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/alternative-fuels/5-alternative-fuel-ideas10.htm

http://jalopnik.com/the-ten-weirdest-energy-sources-used-to-power-cars-1736563051

https://www.edmunds.com/car-technology/weirdest-types-of-car-fuel.html

http://jalopnik.com/the-ten-weirdest-energy-sources-used-to-power-cars-1736563051

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.

 

Modes

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.)

Thoughts

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.

#ThinkBIGSundayWithMarsha

 

It was a dark and stormy night….

No, the sun shot lasers of heat unto the desolate pavement…

Ok, how about, I started a blog a couple of years ago and I’ve been “doing” social media and then, somehow, I came across The Real Marsha Wright.

Blogging is a great release for me emotionally, a great outlet for me creatively and a fun thing to do, i.e., telling stories about my twin boys, whom I affectionately call, Anarchy and Chaos (among other things:).

But, one thing I never expected from writing, and subsequently sharing through all the social media channels, is that about 160 million of my closest friends are all doing the same thing!

And they are all very good blogs. I’ve read and felt the trials and tribulations in all of them. I almost exclusively read parenting blogs, mostly daddy, but a lot of mommy blogs, too.

Of course, I joined Twitter. I had heard a lot of things about it, but had never really experienced the Twitter-verse. It is what it is. Yes, there are a lot of trolls and what seems like millions of “people” (and I use that term generously) to jump on you for whatever innocuous thing you may have said.

BUT, then there are the good people. Ones who genuinely want to spread positivity and humanness. I like these people. Inspiration comes in many shapes and forms in this life whether it’s the firefighter saving lives, the vet saving rescued animals, the daddy saving his young kids from imminent doom of bike-riding or even, the inspiration from positive messages in social media and the Twitter-verse. Maybe not the same level of things, but I’ll take inspiration any way I can get it, especially on social media and Twitter.

Inspiring is a key word for The Real Marsha Wright. While she may not be “saving” people from impending danger, she does serve up inspiration in her weekly tweets. #ThinkBIGSundayWithMarsha. I am a regular reader and contributor every week.

While my focus is on men and/or daddy stuff or my other creative outlets like YouTube, I also try to spread positivity through my tweets. I got the idea from Marsha of course. She probably wants a percentage of all the money I make from my tweets, but, of course, in the Twitter-verse, there is no money. But, there is positivity and The Real Marsha Wright.

I will someday take her up on her offer of using her services. Who can argue with half-a-million followers? And she retired at age 32! For now, though, I look forward to the weekends for her tweets and re-tweets (RTs) of positive messages.

Because, in the end, I want to be known as a positive influence on people, known or touched, whether in person or on social media. Thanks, Marsha, for inspiring me both in business and in the Twitter-verse. Keep up the good work! We all need it. We need you.

Sincerely,

Jeff Jackson

I finally found the perfect app for playdates: goHappy

I have a big family. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we are not close to each other, in distance, that is. Getting together is in a word, a hassle. There are constant texts and emails. But, some of the older folks in the group are not very computer savvy for keeping up with all the arrangements and the messages.

I don’t have a lot of friends. Wait, I do have friends. These friends are usually parents of the kids my boys go to school with. One thing about parenting which I am learning (like all of it) is that my boys want to have playdates with their friends. Since Mommy and I both work full time, scheduling playdates is a chore. But, not any more.

A friend of mine recommended a new app for smartphones that will eliminate all the cross-talking-texting-emailing-arrangement making. It’s called simply goHappy.

Click on this goHappy link

 

The focus is on Go. “Go” do the things that make you “Happy”! I’m a firm believer that a company is only as good as its people, especially the top people because culture flows downward.   I’ve been looking up the founder of goHappy, Shawn Boyer, and he seems to be a pretty amazing guy.

Shawn Boyer, William & Mary alumnus, also founded Snagajob, America’s #1 hourly marketplace with now nearly 500 employees and 60 million registered job seekers. As if that’s not amazing enough, he is also a daddy of three and strongly advocates balance between work and family. I can appreciate that.

 

This app has everything for your planning needs.

 

 

Quickly find the best time to meet.

 

Integrates with your calendar to see your availability and add events

 

 

Suggest dates and invite friends to vote.

 – Easily create invites and your friends RSVP by text

 

 

Track your plan, privately chat, and share event photos.

– Chat before, during and after the event. Easily send updates and reminders.

 

 

goHappy has had over 5 million (Yes, that’s Million!) shared experiences in the app in the just past four months!

 

Here is what some of the users have said:

My favorite new feature I used recently is the date poll! Trying to coordinate a girl’s weekend away with countless texts and emails was exhausting often leaving us more confused than when we started! Instead we had the weekend figured out in 10 minutes thanks to the date poll!”

Emilllieva98

 

“I love sharing pictures of my kids with friends and family so easily (I don’t like to publicly share their pics) and knowing my pictures are saved and organized in the app is awesome. I am terrible about space on my phone and now I can just delete them! It’s also so fun to look back at all the cool things we have done!”

Aowens1311

 

“It’s been great to get advance notifications of important dates like birthdays and even things I entered like the anniversary of the passing of a friend’s mother. It’s almost like an electronic Rolodex for all of my important people in my life. Just download it and you will see!”  

Captaingirl2016

 

goHappy is only available on iOS and the web now, but by the end of this summer, they will have rolled out their Droid app. Which is good, because I have a Droid phone.

As with any startup, a company needs to be in touch with its users. I also really like that Shawn Boyer takes an active interest and role in talking with customers. After all, aren’t businesses supposed to make their customers happy and engaged in the purchase decision. Shawn Boyer was also named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Person of the Year in 2008. Impressive.

 

Playdates

That’s it. That’s the key for me right now. My kids have just finished their last week of school and next week they start summer camp.

Being summertime, everybody’s busy with their camps or vacations or just plain getaways. I like the fact that this app can bring all of our sons’ friends closer together. I’ve met some really nice people who are parents of their friends. They are sorta in the same boat we are, except they are from the area we are now living in, which is about 30 miles north of NYC.

Plus, it will allow our sons, if they can’t have a playdate, to keep track of their friends in the summertime. Ok, they are a little young to have their own smartphone right now. But, that day is coming when they will have it (groan!).

I am usually the one who tries and coordinates the playdates as my wife, aka Queen of the Universe, doesn’t use her smartphone (or charge it) regularly. (Side note: I still love her whether she does or not:)

Bottom line: I can use goHappy to be intentional in my/our lives by keeping in touch and setting up anything, instead of accidental like, “I wonder what so-and-so is doing?”   Proactive vs. reactive. I’m in. Oh, and they have a birthday coming up in August!

On the other hand, maybe it’s not too soon to get the little buggers a phone. I mean they are 4 now….

 

Click on this iTunes Link

You can use goHappy to plan your next party, night out, vacation, sports event or any type of get together.

 

Find the time. Share the fun.

 

I was financially compensated for this post.  #ad  #sponsored

OVERSHARE WITH THE PEOPLE WHO CARE

Privacy. We all want it, especially for our families, for those things or people close to us that we really don’t want to share “with the rest of the world.” At the same time, we also are biologically and psychologically programmed to connect with other people. It is this connection which helps to give life its meaning and our lives validation.

In this techno-digital-smart age, we all balance those two goals as we walk across the tightrope of life. But, where do we draw the line? What do we share and who do we share it with? Especially since our worlds have gotten smaller with 24/7 media access to, literally, the rest of the world.

What about our kids? Those annoying, rule-challenging, energy-laden bundles of joy who manipulate our lives and consume our love, in a good way, of course.

As a parent, I face that dilemma almost daily. I want to document and record my boy’s growth and development for me, for them and for our families and friends, some of whom are not very close in proximity.   Then there’s Mama Bear who is sometimes more protective than I am.

 

Welcome to Tinybeans

Tinybeans is a wonderful parenting network that is invite only and private, allowing parents to share the amazing moments of their children’s life with family members no matter where they live.

Tinybeans is the safer way to share with just family and close friends whilst keeping on top your kids’ developmental milestones. Tinybeans was founded in 2012 in Sydney, Australia by Stephen O’Young, Sarah-Jane Kurtini and Eddie Geller. As parents themselves, they realized there was no easy or secure way to share their children’s lives with the people who matter.

Now over a million people trust Tinybeans with their precious memories.

 

My Story

Almost nine years ago, two miracles came into our lives, only one minute apart, what I affectionately call the Gang of Two, Archibald and Mortimer (not their real names). You see if you were seeing this on Tinybeans, I would say, and you would know, their real names. But, in a public domain, otherwise known as the Internet, Mama Bear and I choose to keep their names and locations a secret. But, I digress.

Taking pictures was easy. I had bought a camcorder just to record those special moments we wanted to remember, share and, eventually, blackmail the boys into obedience and submission with.

Of course, it was easier said than done because sometimes the moments are so spontaneous, having the camera close by was not always convenient.

Nevertheless, I persevered. I took approximately 3000 pics and 572 videos in the first year alone. Keep in mind, that I don’t have that quantity of photos for myself, for my entire life and that’s TIMES 10!

Social media was still in its infancy. Which is just as well because Daddy lacked the time and energy to post on it anyway.   I tried to maintain a blog, but that lasted about a month due to my resource constraints, time and energy.

No one realizes how much work twins really are. It’s not just double the work, it’s an exponential amount more than having one kid. Fortunately, Mama Bear and I shared the workload 50/50 as much as possible based on our availability and our personal resources. The irony is that the time flies by even though the moments seem to drag on.

As the little buggers got older and more independent, time and energy somehow found their way back into our lives. The pics and video quantities remained consistent though. But, now, I was freed up to begin sharing some pics on, primarily, Facebook.

Facebook is great, no doubt about it. It is what it is. But, it is also not totally secure. I could have set up a private group on FB, but that would consume what meager resources I did have available and, realistically, not everybody has the wherewithal to use FB. No computer, no time, no tech capability.

We live just north of NYC, not close to any friends or relatives or where we grew up. Sharing our boy’s growth and development was something our friends and relatives, who were far away, wanted to be aware of and be a part of as much as possible. Twins run in my family and everybody was curious and interested, in a loving way, of course.

 

Overshare with the people who care!

I was referred to Tinybeans by a friend of mine and I thought I would check it out. Tinybeans helps parents share their amazing pics, videos and stories of their kids in a safe and private place OFF social network sites.

Let’s face it. There is a plethora of social network sites for everything. You can use FB for personal stuff, Instagram for pics, LinkedIn for professional displays and Twitter which is like a conversation on the 21st century ham radio.There is a social site for everything these days. You use Facebook for personal, Linkedin for professional, Instagram for your pictures, Twitter is a conversation over the 21st century ham radio… but what about for our family? Well, that is where Tinybeans comes in!

Tinybeans is the perfect solution for everything I was looking for. It is private, secure and by invite only.

To date, over 70 million (yes, that’s MILLION) moments have been shared, and viewed privately, by people all around the globe.

Did I say it’s FREE?

Tinybeans is free to download their apps (which by the way are available in either IOS or Android) and to use their website.

Here is the link for the IOS app: IOS link

Here is the link for the Droid app: Droid link

And, here is the link for the Amazon app: Amazon link

They do have a premium version with additional features, and there is a cost attached to creating your beautiful photo books, but they do not charge you, or your “Nurture Network”, to upload moments or access your photos.

And you own your photos!

The option does exist for sharing on Facebook, if you so choose. However, your pics will be available to the public there, but they will remain private on Tinybeans.

Your followers will each receive their own log in details so they can see your Tinybeans Journal. Tinybeans will also send them one daily update on the days you add moments to your journal and they can decide how often they receive emails from them and change their settings accordingly.

Here are what some users are saying:

“The most loving space on the Internet”

– New York Magazine

“It is the easiest way to journal and now I never miss a thing. I feel like supermom!”

– Katie, USA

“Tinybeans is the highlight of our parents’ day. They all love receiving updates on their granddaughter.”

– Paul, New Zealand

 

Those are all awesome features which would have come in handy when the boys were smaller. Nevertheless, I do have an opportunity to create and share videos of them, which they are very eager to do, and share them with family and friends who are far away without the risk of social media attention. This is completely acceptable to Mama Bear.

Tinybeans is the perfect balance of security for us and the little buggers and privacy for our family and friends.

And it would be the perfect place to share my pic of them in the bathtub when they were three. Just enough exposure to keep the leashes of obedience and submission intact!

It’s a win-win!

 

I was financially compensated for this blog post.  #ad #sponsored