In the Age of Netflix and Children

Doug FrenchFatherhood on Friday

Remember BBC Dad, the political science professor who went viral when his kids burst into his office during an online interview? Today we are all him, trying to work from home and help manage our kids and maybe look professional from the waist up for that Zoom conference.

We’re reacting to the Now and trying to prepare for the Later, which changes almost as fast as the Now does. It’s hard enough to kick a field goal when the goalposts keep moving, but now the ball has grown legs and is scurrying around the field. And there’s an earthquake, and our shoes are made of concrete.

We’re all looking for some level of constancy amid the chaos, and we hope this weekly column can serve that goal in whatever small way possible, as a reminder of the family stories that struggle for sunlight amid a news cycle filled with dire warnings. We also wouldn’t mind changing the term “social distancing” to something like “physical distancing,” because even though we’re trying not to breathe on each other, it’s important to stay as socially connected as possible.

For every dad who’s desperate for a little space while he’s working from home and his kids are furloughed from school indefinitely, there’s another without a job, without a partner, without his kids, without a community. Our minds are on them, because before this is over we’re going to learn a lot about the mental impact of isolation. And when this is over, and we’re permitted once again to gather in groups of ten or more, we’ll appreciate the privilege as never before. 

IN THE NEWS

Why can’t legislators get paid leave right, even in the face of a global pandemic? HR 6201 only covers workers at companies with 500 or fewer employees–or about half of all workers.

Rather than emphasize sports and other events, the nonprofit Dads and Kids in Louisiana focuses its big dad energy on education.

Author and ER nurse Gavin McDonald wrote his new children’s book, “Until Forever Is Done,” to show how a father can love with compassion. 

From Families of Multiples, 100 arts and crafts projects, DIY games, cooking fun, science projects, and other activities that will excite and educate your kids and help stave off the cabin fever.

This dad started a line of swimwear for trans girls after his child Ruby, who’d been transitioning for a couple years, wanted to wear a bikini at the beach.

While schools are closed for the coronavirus, the founder of Match Education has put together his own “Daddy School” curriculum.

Many of us are looking out for the most vulnerable people in our lives. “He likes to talk to me, and I know he misses me when I am not around and he gets worried if I’m not here. So this way, I’m here.”

Help your kids explore their creativity with a doodle sesh with author Mo Willems: “Let’s find a way to be isolated and together at the same time.”

It may be hard to consider, given the uncertainty of what’s ahead, but we can preserve our empathy by remembering that every statistic is a story.

PORCHLIGHT POSTS

“All I can do is sit, wait and hope that updates from the wonderful people at the biocontainment center will tell me she’s improving.” — Father of coronavirus patient, Will I Ever See Her Again?”

“While my wife is putting our 3-year-old daughter to bed, I read and do funny voices and the boys listen and crunch and munch on saltine crackers and we forget how mixed up our days are right now.” — Andrew Knott, Parenting and Reading in the Time of Coronavirus

“With the schools closed, I dove right in to this homeschool thing. Not because I crush it and I’m awesome, but to manage my own feelings of anxiety with this uncertainty around us.” — Matt Dudzinski, Instagram post

“The only way we can see these nouns like love and honor and respect and integrity is when they are acted out in front of us.” — Bill Peebles, Be Nice, Kids. Better Yet, Be the Things You Want in Others

“Even though I am married with two kids, I was trying to find my sense in the world, and a meaning to what the situation our family had been met with meant.” — Ryan Peck, Trying To Find God

‘GRAM OF THE WEEK

 

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