Thursday, October 15, 2020

Dad Advice: Talking About Politics

Maddie and Gracie,

At the time of this writing there are only 19 days remaining until Election Day 2020. As you have noticed, it seems politics in America today has become more intense, angry, and even violent at times - though, surprisingly, there have been worse moments of political discord in our Nation's past (see The American Civil War). For this piece of advice though, let's just focus on personal political interactions. As we have seen, political conversations can create animosity between friends and family members - as especially seen on social media (see my previous post). 


The problem with expressing political opinions in a conversation or in social media posts is that a simple discussion can quickly descend into an intense and bitter argument. This is in part because a person's political views are formed by their beliefs and ideologies, which are representative and informative to an individual's personal identity. An individual's political beliefs are forged through a multitude of factors like parental influence, growth environment, education, religion, and a diversity of personal experiences. To debate a political issue, especially when passions become heated, can seem like an attack on someone's personal beliefs because their political views are, in-part, a reflection of their identity.  


Saturday, September 5, 2020

Dad Advice: Social Media & The Internet

Maddie & Gracie,

Back in 2009, while running for City Council in Gloucester City (boy I looked really fat in that picture), I started writing articles for Cleary’s Notebook, a South Jersey news blog owned by former Gloucester City News publisher Bill Cleary. From those initial articles and through the many comments or essays I wrote in the years following, I was indoctrinated to the power of Social Media. What I found was in their best moments social media sites can announce good news, deliver insightful information, share happy moments of achievement in peoples’ lives, while keeping friends or families connected over long distances. In bad moments it can provide a window for direct comments, from mostly anonymous posters, that are mean spirited, combative, insulting, ill-informed, and even outright lying. To his credit, Mr. Cleary did filter out profanity, libelous statements, and personal attacks on family members from the blog’s comments. However, even with that level of censorship, a lot of room remained for waging character attacks, personal slights, outrageous insinuations, and bold-faced fabrications. I always appreciated Mr. Cleary for giving me that opportunity and the invaluable exposure. 


Sunday, August 9, 2020

Dad Advice: Closing a Chapter

Maddie & Gracie,

Well, it has been a rough year for sure. Being without you two and your mother for the better part of this past year was undoubtedly the most challenging time of my life. Most nights I stayed at the refinery long past my counterparts simply because going back to an apartment devoid of your presence was deeply depressing. As I jokingly said, though 100% true, many nights I would walk into the Tibaron Lane Apartment declaring “Nobody, I’m home!”

I understand too that my absence at home also bore a negative impact on your mental well being. Though not every child is as blessed to have a two parent home, like we all were in our immediate family, there really is something to be said for the cohesion, stability, nurturing and love that comes from having the balance of dual opposite but, integrally important, personality perspectives.

But, with the move to Perrysburg and the selling of our house on Baynes Avenue in New Jersey, that chapter is now over and we can move on in Ohio with us all back together. I know you miss our house, the home of your childhood, and especially the close proximity of your friends and our extended family. Though I have said this many times, Home really is wherever we are all together. You are the loves of my life, my greatest pride, and my sincerest joy. You make Mom and I’s lives fulfilled and being with you, watching you grow into strong young women exploring this new place, fills me with such abundant happiness.

Perrysburg, and Ohio in general, may not have been the place we foresaw coming to call home so many years ago however, I believe it is a great area filled with wonderful people who will bring peace and contentment to our lives. And with us all together, I know anything is possible for our future. 

Take advantage of this opportunity and enjoy this time in our lives for what it is - a new adventure.

Love you always,