If Gov. Sandford can escape for five days, I can, too.

Governor Mark Sandford of South Carolina sure attracted attention the past few days when it was reported that he had “disappeared.”  The first story, from his staff, was that he was hiking by himself on the Appalachian Trail. But the second story was that he was in Argentina. I guess those two locations are easy to confuse–both are four-syllable words beginning with “A.” The most recent story, as of a few minutes ago, added even more intrigue, with the Governor confessing to an affair with a woman in Argentina.

I’m bringing up this particular subject right now, because I’m “going off the grid” for five days myself.  I will be unreachable by e-mail, voice mail, or cell phone, and I find the prospect a bit scary. Will I go through electronic withdrawal?

I won’t be hiking the Appalachian Trail or jetting off to Buenos Aires.  I’ll just be at the Audubon Center of the North Woods in northern Minnesota on a five-day men’s retreat.  I expect to return to the online world on Monday–with a few mosquito bites and a big dose of wisdom.

Published in: on June 24, 2009 at 1:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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What Mowing the Lawn Can Teach

Here’s a link to my guest blog article, published today in the New York Times‘ “Motherlode” blog.

I’d write more, but I have to go outside and quickly mow my lawn so that it looks halfway decent.

Published in: on June 11, 2009 at 10:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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Dads can have “empty nests,” too.

With another son graduating from high school last week (that’s my third son, one more high school graduation to go), I’m starting to think more about how my life will change when I’m finally living in an “empty nest.”   So, the title of an article on the cnn.com website caught my eye this morning:  “Sex and other perks of empty nesting”

If you read the article (which was originally published in O, The Oprah Magazine), you’ll see that the editor’s highlighting of  “sex” in the title is slightly gratuitous.  But, hey, it got me to read the article.

The article focuses primarily on the experience of mothers.  (Perhaps that’s because Oprah’s audience and market is predominantly female.)  However, I was intrigued to see a recognition that fathers can also experience “empty nest syndrome.”  I’m not surprised that a research study from Wheaton College found that men are usually less emotionally prepared for this transition and more prone to regrets over lost opportunities.  (Of course, it’s probably the case that we men are usually less emotionally prepared for just about any major life transition.)

My first glimpse into the “empty nest” transition process happened seven years ago when my oldest son went away to college.   My essay on that occasion, “Suddenly, It’s Time To Say Goodbye,” still rings true for me.

I’d write more about graduations and empty nests, but I don’t really have time to examine my feelings right now.  I have to get ready for a college graduation in three days (that’s my second son).   It’s a busy and happy month for my family…

Published in: on June 10, 2009 at 10:13 pm  Comments (3)  
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“The Daddy Shift” by Jeremy Adam Smith

In a two-part series in last week’s “Motherlode” blog, New York Times blogger Lisa Belkin interviews Jeremy Adam Smith, author of a new book titled The Daddy Shift.  The two blog posts are titled  “The Daddy Identity Crisis” and  “More About the Daddy Shift.”

I highly recommend these posts to anyone who wants to learn more about the male perspective on parenting roles in the 21st-century United States. I was particularly intrigued to see the listing of the numerous blog sites that are popping up to present the Dad perspective.

Perhaps I’ve mellowed in my old age, but I detect a different tone to the perspectives of involved Dads who are just beginning their parenting roles now in 2009 (as compared to those of us who began our parenting roles in the early 1990s).  Today’s Dads are a bit less defensive and a bit more confident.  And that’s good.

Is this the same shift and evolution that we saw in the various waves of feminism–a shift from militantism to moderation?

Published in: on June 2, 2009 at 6:02 am  Comments (1)  
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