Wednesday, November 26, 2014

HuffPo Parents Praises NYC Dads Group Support for Fathers

Jim JospehHow is being a dad today different than it was two decades ago?
It’s no longer a solitary activity, thanks to organization’s like NYC Dads Group, says author Jim Joseph (shown at left), who writes about his first experience at one of our Meetup events with Britax in the article Joining the NYC Dads Group on HuffPo Parents.
“All I could think about is how my life would have been different had I that kind of support when I was going through it 20 years ago ... and how different my children's lives would have been too,” wrote Joseph, a marketing and communications executive with two adult children. “They also had no role models to look to as they were in a household with a divorced dad, a gay dad, and then a coupled dad. I imagine they could have used the support too.
“I know it would have done a world of good for me.”
Read the article on HuffPo Parents.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

3 Life Lessons From An Imperfect Dad

By Christopher Persley

I went into parenthood thinking that I would show my daughter my flaws whenever possible, so that she understood what it meant to be human. However, about a year and a half into my journey as a parent I discovered that my daughter saw me as a Superman, impervious to pain, sorrow, lying and mistakes. So, I hope she will find some use in what I am about to share.

Do Not Fear Failure.

Why do we fall down? So we can get back up again. I have become an full-fledged advocate of this expression. Failing at something does not inherently mean you are a failure. It just means you tried. Right around when my daughter turned 3, she created a song completely on her own. The title of the song was "Try, Try Again". What a fantastic message, especially for a three year old. I couldn't have agreed more. So, my daughter should adopt a growth mindset. Take chances. What I mean is to raise her hand in class, and don’t fear an incorrect answer. Step up and take the last minute shot or penalty kick or swing away in the bottom of the ninth. I spent too much of my life making very calculated and completely safe decisions. Because of this, I did not pursue many great opportunities, and my career in education stalled. For years, I feared applying to a fantastic and well-respected graduate program in educational leadership, just because it was in an Ivy League institution. What I needed to learn was that a piece of paper or phone call telling me I was rejected from this school or not the right candidate for that position was not a true reflection of me or my capabilities. So, after much growth and support from my wife, I finally applied for admittance to this program. Not only was I accepted, but I also graduated in excellent standing. Writer Joseph Chilton Pearce sums it up well when he said, “To live a creative life, we must first lose the fear of being wrong.”

Don’t Settle When it Comes to Love.

Although this advice to not settle is not exclusive to dating and relationships, I think it applies to this incredibly well. You see, I took a chance on dating and marrying my wife. I spent a long time in very safe relationships, often with people who liked me more than I them. I also found ways to sabotage good relationships with people for whom I had strong feelings. With my wife, it was different. I knew I couldn't and shouldn’t mess this up. However, I had numerous reasons to look for a parachute and escape. We are not of the same race. She has a close family, with some very conservative members. She is insanely smart and holds a PhD in a scientific field I have yet to even slightly comprehend. But I did not settle. She was the right person for me, so I did what I needed to do to secure her love and support. Best decision I ever made. So, whomever my daughter falls for, man or woman, she should not settle when it comes to love. Apple’s Steve Jobs once said, “If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.” 

Be a Hero, Not a Bystander.

I have not always been the vocal advocate for social justice I am now. There are periods of time in my life decades ago when I would just let insensitive and inappropriate comments go. I would not share my disgust, disappointment, and disapproval. I now live by the philosophy of "not letting it go”, which is especially relevant as a parent, family member, and educator. Ignorant comments must be addressed. Prejudice must be addressed. Microaggressions must be addressed. Ignorance must be aided. If these are not addressed, more people will be hurt, or ignored, or become disillusioned. I want my daughter to be an ally of social justice, because as The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

I write this as a reminder to my daughter that I am flawed. I have made mistakes and will continue to do so. Part of my job as her father is to share life lessons in the hope that she will learn from her old man’s mistakes. Most importantly, I don’t want her to be afraid to make her own mistakes. How else will she learn?

Christoper Persley+ + +
Christopher Persley is an at-home father living in Harlem with his wife and 3-year-old daughter. He writes the blog
The Brown Gothamite, where a version of this post first appeared. You can follow him on Twitter at @browngothamite. In addition, Christopher is also a part-time English teacher, and a freelance educational consultant with a focus on diversity and inclusion.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Dads Overcoming Mental Health Issues: Podcast

Modern Dads podcast depression bipolar mental healthMovember is about much more than mustaches - it's about men's health. While prostate and testicular cancers have long been the focus of this charity movement, in the past two years a focus of mental health has been added to the campaign.

Three of our favorite dads -- Ryan Hamilton, NYC Dads Group member Lorne Jaffe and Ron Mattocks -- join us on the latest Modern Dads Podcast to talk about their individual experiences with anxiety, depression and bi-polar disorder, and the various ways each has found treatment and support.

The Parents' Phrase Book author Whit Honea joins again to talk about why he is working so hard to make sure his two young sons know that feelings matter, their own and those of the people around them.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Your ‘New York Family’ Weekend: Cooking, Holiday Markets and Harvests

Editor’s Note: NYC Dads Group wants to help parents make the most of their free time with their children so, in cooperation with our friends at New York Family magazine, we will be providing you with ideas for things to do during the upcoming weekend every Friday on our blog. Here’s the first edition, click the photo and titles for details:

Union Square Holiday Market

Union Square Holiday Market

The Union Square Holiday Market is now open! Join more than 100 vendors at this classic holiday market, which attracts more than one million people each year. Discover handmade items, holiday gifts, delicious food, and seasonal drinks! (11 a.m. to 7 p.m. now thru Dec. 24; 14th Street, Union Square)

Harvest Weekend at Wave Hill

Harvest Weekend at Wave Hill

Celebrate Harvest Weekend at Wave Hill this Saturday and Sunday! Families with children of all ages can visit the garden grounds for Native American storytelling by Joe Cross, a lesson in the making of copper beech bowls by Chris Busak and James Tyrrell, cornhusk doll-making, a pumpkin pie workshop, and a concert by the Canal Street String Band. (Starts at 7 a.m., Saturday and Sunday; West 249th Street and Independence Avenue, Bronx)

At The Kids' Table With Sarah Lohmann: Thanksgiving History at the New-York Historical Society

At The Kids' Table With Sarah Lohmann: Thanksgiving History at the New-York Historical Society

Join historical gastronomist Sarah Lohmann for a cooking class inspired by Thanksgivings past. After learning about Thanksgiving history and studying related artifacts, kids will get a chance to make their own mini apple pies with a mixture of past and present-day flavors. They will also use kitchen tools from the past to better understand how cooks produced their Thanksgiving feasts. (2 p.m. Saturday; New York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West; $15)

For more ideas on what to do this weekend in NYC with your children, check out the New York Family Weekend Planner for Nov. 21-23.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

NYC Dads to Aid Families in Need on #GivingTuesday

Giving Tuesday NYC Dads GroupThe NYC Dads Group will help parents in need receive clothing for their children by participating in #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back to others.

A team of our dads will spend an evening sorting, screening and bundling children’s clothing donated through Baby Buggy, a nonprofit group that assists the 500,000 New York City families living in poverty, on Dec. 2 at City Births, 370 W. 58th Street #1C in Manhattan.

To join us, signup through our NYC Dads Meetup Group.

If you can’t be there in person, join us online using #GivingTuesday on Twitter and Instagram to spread the word.

NYC Dads Group has worked with Baby Buggy many times over the years, and currently partners with City Births to offer some its popular New Dad Boot Camps around New York City.

#GivingTuesday was founded in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y (another NYC Dads Group partner over the years) in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. The effort has engaged more than 10,000 organizations worldwide.

Baby Buggy NYC Dads Group 2010Members of the NYC Dads Group volunteer sorting and bundling clothes for Baby Buggy in 2010.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Review: 3 Reasons to See Disney On Ice Presents Frozen

Armed with Popcorn & Cotton Candy at Disney on Ice presents Frozen
Armed with Popcorn & Cotton Candy at Disney on Ice presents Frozen
The entire world has seen the uber-popular Disney film, Frozen. At least a dozen times. And relished in every moment of it. Not surprising, Disney found an intelligent way to capitalize on the excitement and momentum to bring us their latest creation, Disney on Ice presents FROZEN presented by yoKids.

By now, our children have seen the commercials or billboards for the Disney on Ice Show and told their parents that "they have to see it." Parents are faced with a simple question. Is Disney on Ice: Frozen worth the money? 

I'm here to provide you with 3 reasons why Disney On Ice presents Frozen is worth your investment of time and money...and 1 reason why it's not.

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