How Silly Can You Get?

Doug FrenchFatherhood on Friday

Happy Friday! Did you remember today is Friday? It’s perfectly understandable if you didn’t, since time is a flat circle, and every day feels like an exercise in eternal recurrence. If nothing else, we hope this weekly column reminds you that days still have different names, and the concept of a “week” still has a “beginning” and an “end.”

Lately, the parenting news cycle pursues one dominant line of discussion: How To Cope. And most of these think pieces comprise a solid list of recommendations: Keep to a routine. Moderate your news intake. Observe personal boundaries. Pace yourself. Breathe. Use social media to connect with others (and not to compare and judge). Exercise, hydrate, sleep. And repeat, day after weary, nebulous day.

We’re adding another deeply important box to check, exemplified by the above photo of Jason Woods of Naperville, Illinois: Get Silly.

Earlier this week, Jason helped his six-year-old daughter Olivia win free, virtual, one-on-one dance lessons from a studio in Aurora by dragging it up and performing Queen’s “I Want To Break Free,” and thus “shifting the body’s autonomic sympathetic agitation to parasympathetic calm.”

These are the words of psychiatrist and Harvard professor George Vaillant, who has spent much of his decades-long career studying how people “overcame adversity to lead contented and productive lives.” He characterizes humor as a “mature” defense mechanism, because “looking for a funny aspect in an environment in which we lack control can help us to endure it, and can even be an altruistic act in helping others to better cope as well.”

So in the esteemed tradition of the Marx Brothers, Spike Jones, Monty Python, and the Zuckers, we look for every chance to set the big, square world aside and go a little nuts. Sometimes, you have to lose your mind in order to keep your head. 

IN THE NEWS

As Quarantine Life stretches on, dads are coming up with even more creative ways to amuse their kids, including lawn surfing and in-home ice-cream shops.

When his father died in 2007, Ciorciari took over Gaucho Gourmet to continue the tradition of taking on causes larger than themselves—like delivering meals to families in need.  

“If a boy doesn’t have a healthy male role model, he probably will act out on instinct and make bad choices when angry, depressed, or lonely.”

If you’re wrestling with maintaining your kid’s education at home, you’ll relate directly to a day in the life at the “Dad Private Academy for Boy.”

“In essence, being a dad is as biological a phenomenon as being a mom.”

Thrive Global picks up where we left off last week’s discussion about gender equity: A more equal world begins at home.

Quarantined for over a month, kids are mercilessly messing with their fathers for viral fame. It’s a role in which we’re happy to serve.

A Florida dad, who’s a construction manager with a side gig as an artist, is having a great time delighting the kids in his neighborhood with his chalk drawings.

The first steps in treating the stresses our families are feeling are 1) recognizing that they exist, and 2) understanding they’re normal and manageable.

PORCHLIGHT POSTS

“For my dad, it’s not the disease that causes him to worry. It’s that not everyone may benefit from all the technological promises of the future.” — Courtland Milloy, Covid-19 is Concerning. But What Comes After Should Be Of Concern to Us All.

“Take in the view. Do this while promising yourself that you will not topple uncontrollably over once allowed.” — Tobin Walsh, Coved In: Tales of a Family Hunkering Down during COVID

“My father’s story is what helps me truly believe in hard work. I think if anyone works hard for something, it should come their way.” — Marco Carillo, This I Believe

“I want to challenge my kid at home, so when he goes back in the classroom he understands what he’s doing but he also has confidence still that he can do anything.” — Kevin Negandhi, Art of Fatherhood podcast

“Dads, let me be your air cover. I took my full 16 weeks and I’m still ambitious and care about my career. Talk to your bosses and tell them I sent you.”— Alexis Ohanian, Paternity Leave Was Crucial After the Birth of My Child, and Every Father Deserves It

‘GRAM OF THE WEEK

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