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Focus, Clarity, and Blogging





Submitted by Danny Grubb

Occasionally I find more turmoil than focus in my world.

For the last nine months my various responsibilities were overlapping to such a large extent that blogging had to drop by the wayside for a while. I won't bore you with any details, suffice it to say that I found there were more things to do than hours in the day. If I dropped the ball on anything I had previously promised, I apologize. 

Now that I've found some renewed focus and clarity you can expect the following.

No More Sponsored Posts

Period.

Posting Schedule

No more forced content to meet an imaginary posting schedule. When I write something that I think you guys would like, I will post it. When I do not have a post that I feel you guys will appreciate, you will get nothing.

Amazon

There's an Amazon banner in the sidebar. Which you can choose to ignore more easily than sponsored posts. How awesome is that?!

Positive Impact

Whenever appropriate, GladDads will serve as a tool for good. Like when the decision was made to start re-tweeting amber alerts. All suggestions to this end are welcome!

Priorities 

My priorities remain unchanged. My family, career, and health will always receive most of my time and attention with blogging getting the leftovers. The readers of most blogs probably wouldn't respect that, but I know you guys will. You stuck around through 9 months of silence for goodness sake!

Feel free to tear this post to pieces in the comments :)

Cheers!


Parents, What’s Your BHAG?


Submitted by Joe Beckman

Is one of your goals in life to become “a great parent?” I would assume that most people taking the time to read a blog on parenting and fatherhood strive for something like that. I am no exception. But I’ve got to be honest, there are days when I ask if I am cut out for this. There are days when I can’t take another meltdown, or when I can’t answer another question, or play another imaginary game of Disney princesses, or hear one more syllable of whining. Days when I truly wonder if I am cut out to be a “great parent.”

Recently I listened to the audio book, Built to Last by Jim Collins, a book about creating companies that are not only successful now, but also for generations to come. Collins’ book as well as the sequel Good to Great is phenomenal reads (or listens) for anyone with entrepreneurial curiosity.

Collins argues that the companies that want to be recognized for their current success in the present as well as their continued success in the future should have a BHAG. Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

The authors define a BHAG (pronounced BEE-hag) as a form of vision statement "...an audacious 10-to-30-year goal to progress towards an envisioned future."

A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines.

—Collins and Porras, 1996

Microsoft’s BHAG way back when was to have a computer in every home in America

Twitter’s BHAG is to become the pulse of the planet

Youth Frontier’s BHAG (the non-profit I work for) is to change the way young people treat each other in every hallway, every lunchroom, every classroom, every playground, in every school in this country.

As I was listening to this book I couldn’t help but think about what my BHAG should be as a parent. Running a family in many ways is like running a business. In order to be successful at either, not only do you need to put in the time and effort, but you also have to have clear goals.

“Being a great parent” is not a BHAG. It’s certainly something to strive for but it’s totally vague. Just as every small business owner wants to be “successful”, every caring parent would like to think they are “great.” But it’s the BHAGS that are going to keep you accountable, tuned in, and most importantly…present.

BHAGS can be small like making sure you tell your kiddos that you love them at least once everyday, or a sitting down for a family meal at minimum 3 times per week.

BHAGS can be bigger. Maybe you want to send your child to a private school, and you will sacrifice something or pick up a second job in order to pay for the tuition.

I think if we took the time to sit down and start writing out some of the “big picture” objectives we hope to accomplish as a parent, it wouldn’t take us long to fill the page. But I would argue that without having goals, and focal points of effort with clear finish lines, we’re going to be a bit lost.

Yes I want to be a “great parent” but today I will strive for making sure all electronic devices are shut off when I’m playing princesses.

Yes I want to be a “great parent” but today my goal is to be patient and understanding when my 4-year old melts down and needs my attention during the middle of the football game.

Yes I want to be a “great parent” and in order to get there; I’m going start setting up my BHAGS.

So…what are some BHAGS for you?

We ReTweet Amber Alerts And You Should Too


Submitted by Danny Grubb

I was very disappointed the other night when four tweets about an Amber Alert in Seattle went unmentioned/retweeted by the @GladDads followers (1,430 by last count). A man (allegedly) killed his girlfriend and took off with two kids, including a 9mo and eventually turned himself in later that night. The children were safe.

But seriously… WTF?!

Two Questions 

Q: Are our Twitter followers a bunch of uncaring assholes?
       A: Surely not! How dare you even think that! We like to think the best of our readers.

Q: What can we do to bring better attention to active Amber Alerts?
       A: Find a way to Auto-Retweet Amber Alert Information. Check.
       A: Write a blog post shaming followers into taking action the next time they notice an amber alert on their Social Media feeds. Check.

If you're on Twitter and have more than a dozen followers, chances are that one of those followers will know someone in the area. Just because you don't know anyone in the area personally is a poor excuse for not forwarding on an Amber Alert.

This concludes the rant portion of this post. Read on to learn what steps you can take to get the word out about Amber Alerts. 

Auto-Retweet Amber Alerts: You Can Do It Too

Using instructions I found for creating a Twitter Retweet Bot and the twitter feed of @Amber_Alert I created a Yahoo! Pipe and automated publish to @GladDads via TwitterFeed.com. You don't have to publish to Twitter though, TwitterFeed lets you publish to Facebook as well.

If you want to use our Yahoo! Pipe's RSS feed, here it is.

You may have noticed a few of the tweets already coming through.

Twitter Dashboards: Add An #AmberAlert Column

If you're already using HootSuite, MetroTwit, or TweetDeck you can easily set up a column to look for hashtags like #AmberAlert. This way, when something pops up you can easily retweet or mention it.

If you have a smart phone your twitter app may have similar functionality.

See It = Share It

If you see an amber alert on any social networking platform you happen to frequent, just share it with your users. Where's the harm in that? Worst case scenario your users will think of you as a caring individual and best case scenario, you can help bring victimized kids home safely.

You don't know where your followers are or what they are doing. For all you know they could be staring at the suspect vehicle right that moment while sitting at a coffee shop.

Please don't be the weak link. Spread the word and help save kids.

If you have more ideas on how to spread the word about Amber Alerts please comment!

Who Is Preventing Traumatic Brain Injury In High School Football? Nobody

Submitted by Danny Grubb

It was sad to read about the death of a New York high school student during a varsity football game this past weekend. It didn't help when I started to research the subject of Traumatic Brain Injury in High School. I came across some surprising facts.

High School TBI By The Numbers

According to this article in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine nearly 30% of High School Football players interviewed reported having a history of concussion, only 47% of those were reported to trainers. Look at that number again… that's less than half. The three main reasons that athletes gave for not reporting their injury was that the player didn't think the injury was serious, they didn't want to be withheld from competition, or they weren't aware that they had suffered a concussion until later.

In addition to the under reporting problem is the fact that TBI is nearly five times as likely to occur in competition than training according to this article from the Journal of Athletic Training.

What Is Being Done About It

The Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act (H.R. 469) currently making its way through the U.S. House of Representatives aims to confront these problems by "making sure school districts have concussion management plans that educate students, parents and school personnel about how to recognize and respond to concussions."

According to the legislation, they will accomplish this by providing student athletes with information about how to prevent and manage concussions, inform and empower student athletes, parents and school personnel about concussions by requiring schools to provide relevant information, and finally to support students' health and recovery by implementing policies like "when in doubt, sit it out." 

So… They're Doing Almost Nothing

This bill does nothing to prevent Traumatic Brain Injuries for student athletes. Basically they're just going to hold an assembly, put up some posters with a snappy catch phrase and attempt to take care of students after they have already suffered a TBI.

There's something about being on a field of play that makes athletes forget they are made of flesh and bone. These are kids who are staying relatively safe during practice, but then pummel each other during games to the point where they suffer serious injuries and even die. 

Prevention On The Field

Clearly there is a weakness in the way the rules are set up for this age group. Granted, you can't take away a million dollars for a High School line backer that's throwing his weight around too aggressively, but injuring someone should have consequences. Sitting out a game or two does not seem unreasonable to me and I suspect that it would make someone think twice before delivering a devastating blow to his opponent.

The bottom line is that there is a family in New York waking up every morning for the rest of their lives without their son, and someone else's son is waking up knowing that he was on the other side of that hit.

It's time to re-evaluate the rules of High School Football and at least attempt to keep these kids safe. High school is hard enough without having to worry about dying during a game.

How Potty Training Boot Camp Went Horribly Wrong

Submitted by Danny Grubb

Yes, I admit it. I fell for the promises of one of those "Potty Train Your Child in Less Than a Week" programs. I paid for the eBook and after reading it I was convinced that we had made the right choice. "This person knows what they're talking about" I thought.

At this point you should know that I never get caught flat-footed by telemarketers, infomercials or fast talking sales people. I know what things are worth and I can smell trouble a mile away.

This time my purchasing sense abandoned me. "Well if it works, that would be awesome. If it doesn't, we're out (an embarrassingly large amount of) bucks." I was optimistic as only a consumer of a newly discovered widget could be.

As it turns out I should have toned down my enthusiasm... a lot.

U-Day (Underwear)

Things were going ok, the twins threw away their own diapers (into a clean bag because we wanted to donate it to the daycare) and were quite happy to be wearing underwear. We praised them "Look at our big girls in their new underwear!" we said repeatedly.

We also kept reminding them to tell us if they felt like they had to go potty... over and over again we told them this as per the eBook.

So it went, one of the girls would start peeing on the floor and we would rush her to the potty to try and get at least a few drops in the bowl before she was done. This happened successfully only once.

But they wanted to practice for themselves. They were very excited with the whole idea of potty training so they would say that they had to go potty and then sit on the bowl for a few minutes looking genuinely happy but with no results. We would thank them for their efforts, flush and wash our hands.

Then It Happened

We didn't see it coming; we didn't even know it could from the eBook we had been reading. One of our girls literally didn't know what to do with herself. She started crying, wouldn't allow us to take her out of the bathroom and was going between the potty and the sink crying her eyes out.

At first we tried to help her out, telling her how good she was to go and wash her hands or sit on the potty, but things just got worse. She would be in front of the potty ready to get on and all of a sudden yell "No! No! No!" and walk back to the sink where she yelled "No! No! No!" again. We managed to remove her from the bathroom a couple of times to try and calm her down, but this went on for more or less 2 hours.

I didn't want her to hate potty training so we aborted. We got the diapers back out of the bag the girls dumped them in earlier. Trying to put the diapers back on the girls was also a challenge, but the tears subsided eventually. Our confused twin didn't leave our arms for most of the day that day.

What We learned

Firstly I learned that my gut needs a refresher course when it comes to the definition of "Too good to be true." Secondly I learned that these boot camp style programs, although likely successful for some kids, are not a one-size-fits-all solution (although they are clearly marked as such).

We are taking a slower approach now, less pressure and more pull-ups. A family member who is a pediatrician told me "It works better if going potty is their choice."

Have these programs worked for you or did you have a similar experience to ours? Please Comment!