One Good Thing

onegoodthingI believe the only metric for parental success is whether you raise human beings who are a credit to humanity.

To that end, my wife and I are trying very hard to raise three boys who are a benefit to the world instead of detriments. One way we’re doing that is to impart the importance of compassion, empathy, and kindness to our kids. And that’s not always an easy feat.

Will likes to help people, but he’s only 7 years old and doesn’t fully understand the impact of his words or the importance of tact. Such was the case during the first week of school when he mistakenly thought his idea of helping a girl in his class was to give her unsolicited fashion advice and critique her wardrobe. He thought he was helping, but we had to explain to him how hurtful words can be — even when that hurt is unintentional.

First we explained why it’s not proper to criticize the way anyone dresses because it hurts feelings, and then we had him apologize the following day. But we also saw an opportunity to take things a step further. In addition to apologizing to the girl, we also asked him to figure out something nice he could say to her and give her a compliment.

He was hesitant at first, but he did it. Will told her he really liked her glasses. And then he said “Mom, dad — she smiled. She was really happy and she said thank you. I liked making her smile because I never meant to hurt her feelings the first time.”

And just like that, “One Good Thing” was born.

We told him since he liked complimenting her, he should do it again — except this time to someone else. And he did. Every single day for the last three weeks, Will has gone into school and given someone an unsolicited compliment. He has complimented boys, girls, and teachers. He has positively commented on Minion jackets, cool jeans, how someone got an answer correct in class, and dinosaur shirts other kids have been wearing. He’s complimented friends as well as kids with whom he doesn’t usually talk.

When he gets off the bus, the first thing he does is tell us who the recipient of his “One Good Thing” was, and the specifics of the compliment. It’s become his routine, and a way to inject some positivity into the world.

I won’t lie and pretend he’s an angel who did this without resisting a bit. At one point he rolled his eyes and said “Why do I have to keep doing this all the time?” So we spent an hour or so talking about Karma, and the idea that the good you put out into the world will come back to you tenfold when you need help from others. He looked at me like I was crazy.

But guess what? He no longer thinks I’m a nut.

Will brought his beloved arrowhead to school earlier this month for show and tell, but accidentally dropped it while showing it to friends. It shattered into a million pieces. Will’s art teacher told him she’d do her best to fix it, but it was beyond repair.

However, she had other plans.

She knew Will got the arrowhead at Clark’s Trading Post on a trip this summer with his grandparents. So she graciously took the time to call up Clark’s in New Hampshire and buy another arrowhead for him on her own dime. However, she was talking to one of the owners of the store and upon hearing her story, he generously agreed to send her a new one at no cost.

Boom. Karma explained in a way my meager words ever could.

I’m not a raging hippie or a New Age guru. But I absolutely believe the good you put out into the world is palpable. And contagious. I know it sounds naive to believe the world would be a better place if everyone just did a little more good, but that’s OK. It might be naive, but I also think there’s some truth to it. So I’ll continue to practice small, random acts of kindness. And I’m going to teach all three of my boys to do the same.

One good thing isn’t a lot, but multiple ones add up quickly and this is an easy way my kids can be part of the solution instead of the problem.

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Tailgating: Forget Giving It the College Try

By the way, I'm not wearing the jersey because it wasn't a game day and that's the ONLY time it's acceptable to wear the lucky Tom Brady jersey. Superstition matters.
By the way, I’m not wearing the jersey because it wasn’t a game day and that’s the ONLY time it’s acceptable to wear the lucky Tom Brady jersey. Superstition matters.

If I’m going to pay hundreds of dollars to attend a sporting event and spend an entire day tailgating, I want it to be worthwhile.

Which is why I ONLY attend professional sporting events.

I know, I know. I hear everyone from the south grabbing their guns and coming after me to talk about the SEC and Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Ole Miss blah blah blah. Because COLLEGE FOOTBALL DAMMIT!!!!! But you know what? I’ll pass. All set. No thanks, pal.

Maybe it’s because I live in the Northeast, where college sports (especially college football) just matter less. Rooting for the BC Eagles and Umass just doesn’t do it for me, mainly because I have a pulse.

But it’s more than that.

Simply put, I enjoy seeing sports played by the most elite athletes at the highest levels. And in my experience, the fans who love the pros also seem to be the most professional tailgaters as well. Because a great tailgate can be just as delectable as a big win when the game is finished.

I’ve partnered with Lee Jeans and Mike & Mike from ESPN to  talk about a whole host of issues related to sports and tailgating. Greeny and Golic have taken opposite sides of issues (naturally), and a bunch of us dad bloggers have been split up into teams (I’m Team Greeny) to talk about specific issues. Mine is Pro vs College.

Why would I pay any attention to college sports when I have seats 11 rows from the field to see the best in the business play week in and week out at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro? I get to see the best football mind in existence in Bill Belichick coach Tom Brady, the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time). I’ve seen my team win four Super Bowls in 14 years and become the gold standard organization in the NFL (despite those haters who would try to tear the Pats down with false allegations).

Although we don’t tailgate much anymore, every week we pass through the parking lot and are welcomed by the various Patriots tailgaters along the way.

The guys who bring homemade New England Clam CHOWDAH to every game. The group that can be seen making their own burgers from scratch (it’s all about using egg in the meat). And even the crazy bastards who hitch a homemade brick oven to the back of their truck and cook up fresh pizza for every home game.

The unwashed miscreants from the Golic camp will call everyone who doesn’t bow at the altar of college sports a communist while shouting ‘MURICA at them, but anyone with half a brain (those guys clearly excluded) will tell you watching elite professionals is always better than amateur hour.

Besides, I don’t like it when so much money and greed ruins sports — which is why I avoid college athletics.

LeeLogo_EST_1889And who better to get behind the concept of being a pro than the professionals at Lee Jeans, who have been outfitting fans for 125 years? Now that fall is here and the temperature is dropping, there is nothing better than heading to Gillette to watch the Patriots destroy another opponent while I’m wearing active comfort denim that keeps me as comfortable as Tom Brady in the pocket.

If you want to see how Team Greeny and Team Golic fared, head to the #LeeTailgate Twitter chat and figure out whose side you’re on (it better be mine).

And check out this awesome infographic with info on what Americans really think about all things tailgating.

Lee Partners with Mike & Mike_Infographic

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Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Lee Jeans for this promotion. I have received compensation for my participation, but my thoughts are my own.

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11 Ridiculous Tips to Induce Labor


Carrying a baby for 40 weeks (and being the partner of someone carrying said baby) is a tough job. But when the due date comes and goes yet baby has decided to stay put, things get a little frustrating. Now throw in two impatient parents and inferno-like summer temperatures, and you have a recipe for disaster.

We’re currently in this boat, and my wife wants this baby evicted posthaste. So we did what everyone does these days when they have a health question — we resorted to asking the Internet for help.

Have you ever looked — and I mean REALLY looked — at some of the things people do to induce labor? Well I did. And then I asked people on my Facebook page for their expert tips, theories, and old wives tale regarding how to bring about contractions. And boy, they did not disappoint. So sit back and enjoy this list of totally serious, 100% Internet approved ways to kick-start labor.

The show Fear Factor proved people will eat anything, but at least they had a chance to win some money. From castor oil to ghost peppers to mac and cheese with A1 sauce, there is no shortage of weird shit pregnant women will eat in order not to be pregnant anymore. But I draw the line at the person who suggested eating “hot bologna.” No. Just…no.

The good news is it appears walking, hiking, squats, stair-climbing, and bouncing on a yoga ball are all tried and true ways of going into labor. The bad news is partners who tell their pregnant significant others to exercise have a tendency not to be heard from ever again.

While technically a form of exercise, I gave this its own category for how many people actually suggested a pregnant woman get on a bouncy surface and jump up and down repeatedly. My uncoordinated and not-exactly-graceful wife has a hard enough time jumping on a trampoline when she isn’t top heavy thanks to pregnancy, and she nixed this idea out of the box because she had visions of becoming a YouTube sensation if something happened. Can’t say I blame her.

It’s said acupressure focuses on the body’s natural pressure points where most energy is stored to induce labor. However, this method does not account for women who hate their feet being touched. I sneaked up on my wife and tried to find the pressure points in her feet to send her into labor, but her foot ended up finding my balls. Good thing this is our last kid.


My wife is a beautiful, gorgeous pregnant woman. But her dancing? Let’s just say we took dance lessons before our wedding, and the instructor had to totally adjust his strategy when he realized MJ couldn’t find the beat in the music. So while I understand dancing is exerting physical energy which prompts the baby to come out, if the baby senses the kind of Elaine from Seinfeld “dancing” going on, he/she might be too terrified to actually emerge.

A bunch of women told me they decided to clean the house to go into labor. I’m talking a total top-to-bottom, empty the cabinets, get-on-your-hands-and-knees level scrubbing. After that, they said they went into labor within 24 hours. So I told MJ she should clean the house “better than normal.” I see now where I went wrong. Let’s just say it’s a good thing pregnant women are slower than normal, which allowed me safe escape.

This was a really popular suggestion, as many women told me stimulating the nipples induces labor, as does hooking yourself up to the breast pump for as little as 15 minutes. However, I was still smarting from the cleaning and foot rub incidents, so asking my wife for permission to get anywhere close to her very sensitive nipples was a non-starter.

The women who suggested sex were very clear that an orgasm MUST be involved to be effective. But honestly, I don’t think this one is accurate. I had an orgasm yet she’s still not in labor.

I’m not really sure how this is different from the sex suggestion.


I’m not kidding. This is a real thing people do. Put a bunch of fresh coffee grinds in a bowl, put bowl in the toilet, pour six cups of steaming hot water in there, and then sit on the toilet with a towel draped over you so no steam gets out. Desperate, confused pregnant women actually sit on a coffee shitter for 30 minutes hoping to induce labor. I can only assume this started out as a practical joke and just went on too long until some people started taking it seriously. You know, like the idea of Donald Trump for President.

This is by far my favorite. Because the surest way to make sure you give birth in a hurry is to schedule an induction and get everything ready at the hospital, only to have that stubborn little bastard break your water two hours before you’re scheduled.

So, which ones did I miss? Let me know in the comments.

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The Other Side of the Table

mewill2ndgradeThe Cinema Pub is a run-down joint in the back of a strip mall that shows second-run movies. And we love it.

I love it because it only costs $7 per person to see a movie. My son loves it because we can eat full meals and snacks while we enjoy our silver screen experience. Instead of regular seats, there are rows of tables and chairs that swivel and roll. There is a waitstaff who checks in with us before and during the movie, and they bring us anything we want. Where two tickets, popcorn, drinks, and candy would cost about $50 at an upscale theater, I paid $40 at the Cinema Pub and received two tickets, two drinks, delicious grilled pizza, perfectly greasy mozzarella sticks, and ice cream. Including tip.

Anyway, this weekend I took Will to see Jurassic World. It stunk worse than a steaming pile of Brontosaurus shit, but I’m not a movie critic and that’s not the point here.

Will is now 7 and starting the 2nd grade. He’s caught in that weird place  between little kid and big kid, where 5- and 6-year-olds are babies but 9- and 10-year-olds are big kids with whom he can’t quite keep up. He strives for independence and to shake off our parental shackles, yet he retreats back under our canopy of protection when he’s bitten off more than he can chew in Big Boy Land.

When it comes to movies, Will gets scared. But he won’t admit he’s scared because he’s “not a baby anymore!” At the Cinema Pub, we’ve always sat down on the same side of the table because he inevitably gets spooked and wants to be within arm’s reach for comfort — which I definitely love.

So imagine my surprise when, without a word, he walked over to the other side of the table and sat down. Defiantly. Sending a message.

I said nothing, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little verklempt on the inside. The kid grew 3 inches in less than three months, he’s stronger than ever, and he’s smarter than I can describe. Too smart at times, if you know what I mean. And while he no longer needed me to ride a bike or read a book, I figured he’d still need me by his side during scary movies. Maybe he’d even WANT me there.

The lights dimmed, our snacks came, and soon we were lost in a world of prehistoric shenanigans. But then the genetically modified Indominus Rex — part T-Rex, part Raptor, part Chameleon, part Death Machine — began killing everyone and everything in its path. I looked across the table and thought I saw Will wince, but other than that his expression was glass. Total poker face. Unfazed.

I turned my head back toward the screen just as Death Dino ripped yet another man in half, and started kicking myself for falling into the parenting cliche of wondering WHERE DID ALL THE TIME GO??? But seriously, where does it go? It’s here one day and the next, well, three years have gone by and your kid is completely different. He’s grown up. He’s moved on.

When I turned back toward Will I saw that he had literally moved on. He wasn’t there.

My head whipped around for a couple of seconds in panic before I felt a hand on my leg. It was Will. He had ducked under the table and was popping up on my side to take the chair nearest me. He sat down in front of me, grabbed my hand without looking back, and put it on his shoulder while continuing to watch the trail of dinosaur carnage.

I said nothing. But I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, the tears in my eyes had nothing to do with Chris Pratt’s underwhelming performance. I can say it’s nice to still be needed. I can say that.

As he skipped out of the theater, I asked him how he liked the movie.  “It was OK. Not as scary as I thought,” he said with all the false bravado he could muster.

I don’t want him to be scared. But as his dad, sometimes I don’t NOT want him to be scared, either. Just as he’s caught somewhere between little kid and big kid, I’m still finding my way as the parent of a soon-to-be big kid. I’m adjusting to not being needed so much, while reconciling that as a bittersweet sign of progress. Painful, inevitable, necessary progress.

“But…” he uttered slowly. “I’m still glad you were there. You know, just in case it had been scarier.”

Sometimes that’s fatherhood in a nutshell — just in case.

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Sports Rivalries: Why It’s Fun to Hate Other Teams

Me reacting to the last-second interception to seal the Patriots Super Bowl win over the Seahawks.
Me reacting to the last-second interception to seal the Patriots Super Bowl win over the Seahawks.

Loving my Boston sports teams isn’t enough. I need a rival to hate.

Look, I know it’s crazy. I know I’M crazy. When it comes to sports, I have issues because essentially I’m just rooting for laundry. But I don’t care. I don’t care that I place an unnatural significance on the outcome of professional sporting events played by millionaires who don’t care about me personally. Want to know why? Because it’s fun.

It’s fun to love a team you’ve inherited from your father who inherited it from his father. It’s fun to bond over that love, go to games, and dissect play calls like it actually matters what we think. It’s fun to have common ground and to celebrate victories while knowing you’re in good company after defeats.

But most of all, it’s fun to share a mutual hatred of hated rivals.

Being a Boston fan, I’m lucky to have no shortage of hated opponents in that department. As Boston Bruins fans we have no patience for those sniveling turds from Montreal. Growing up a Celtics fan, it was all about my favorite player, Larry Bird, and loathing Magic Johnson and the reviled slickness of the LA Lakers. As a lifelong Red Sox fan, it goes without saying my hatred for the pinstriped Yankees from New York knows no bounds, and 2004 was the ultimate purging of demons as the Red Sox completed the greatest comeback in sports history while the Yankees choked away a sure thing.

While I love all sports, football is my favorite to watch. And the Patriots are our beloved hometown team to which we swear fealty and pledge to defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic.


My father is entering his 44th year as a Patriots season ticket holder. I’ve been going to games since the age of 6 with my dad and brother, and soon my sons will join the club. With the arrival of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady 15 years ago came an unexpected string of good fortune, which transformed the Patriots from a laughingstock to a model organization and paragon of success, which means one thing — lots of haters came out of the woodwork. Thankfully, I give as good as I get.

Let’s start with the division rival New York Jets, who haven’t won squat since before men were able to walk on the moon. Yet these wretched souls are filled with hope every single year and they actually believe they have a chance, until Tom Brady and Bill Belichick put them in their rightful place. Also, this:

Then you have the Pittsburgh Steelers. Long the kings of the NFL decades ago, they were bested by the upstart 2001 Patriots and Hines Ward and company have been whining ever since. I had the pleasure of being at Heinz Field for the 2001 AFC Championship game, where smug Steelers fans taunted us mercilessly before the game. So when Brady, Bledsoe, Bruschi, Brown and the Patriots slapped them into stunned silence to advance to the Super Bowl, we danced on their lawn and sent the double freedom rockets into orbit.

And then you have the Indianapolis Colts. Sweet mother of crap do I hate the Indianapolis Colts.

It started in the early 2000s when Peyton Manning got all the credit and accolades, despite Tom Brady being the better quarterback. While Manning was racking up stats, Tom Brady did nothing but win with FAR less talent at his disposal. In the 2003 AFC Championship game, the Patriots intercepted Manning four times to advance to the Super Bowl. The following year in the playoffs, the Patriots held Manning to 3 measly points en route to another Super Bowl win.

And then, in 2013 when Manning was playing for the Broncos, Brady led the Patriots to overcome a 24-point deficit to beat “I don’t like the cold” Manning in overtime, prompting this celebration from my dad.


And now the Colts are led by Andrew Luck and a team of crybaby maggots who whined about deflated footballs that didn’t even factor into a 45-7 butt-whooping. I was wondering how I’d manage to hate Luck, who by all accounts is a nice guy and fantastic football player. But now I have my answer. They, along with the NFL, tried to catch the Patriots in a sting in an attempt to besmirch the greatest QB ever to grace a football field. Even though it didn’t work and a $5 million report came up with no hard evidence against our Lord and Savior Tom Brady, his name is still being dragged through the mud. And that will never be forgotten. Not today, not tomorrow, and certainly not on October 18, 2015, when Tom Brady travels to Indianapolis and once again crushes the spirits of Indy players and fans who dare oppose him.

In the end, I’m thankful for the rivalries. Rooting for the Patriots is awesome, but rooting against hated rivals and reveling in their defeat while dancing on their withered bones, is what makes it all worthwhile.

Smack Apparel, the official home of all collegiate and professional sports rivalries, realizes this and caters specifically to fans like me who enjoy irritating fans of other teams to no end. Their Smack Zone blog makes its inaugural debut today, focusing exclusively on sports passion and rivalries, because Smack has been assisting smack-talkers give as good as they get for nearly 20 years.

That’s why I’ve teamed up with Smack Apparel to offer a free t-shirt to a lucky recipient. You have to leave a comment here describing which teams/opposing fans you love to hate, and follow Smack Apparel on Twitter to win. You’ll receive a virtual gift card to buy a shirt of your choosing, just in time for the start of the season on Sept. 10 (when the defending champion Patriots kick off against the hated Pittsburgh Steelers).

Also, be sure to check out the #SmackZone Twitter party on Sept. 8 from 8-9 pm EST for more great prizes. So leave a comment here and that will automatically enter you in the drawing, which will be finalized later this week.



*I have partnered with Smack Apparel on this campaign and while I received compensation, all opinions expressed here are my own.

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