Vacations Are Worth It

Parents enjoy lying to themselves. I am convinced these lies help anchor us in some deluded form of reality so we may survive our children. Let me share an example. One of the most magnificent stories parents tell involves the false joy we might experience on a future vacation. I mean, as parents, we are practically obligated to teach our children about the ways of the world. And what better way is there to educate the little Einsteins than by taking them on a real-life adventure!

So, for weeks, we plot, scheme, and strategize an immaculate trip that the whole family will love. We find the most amazing places with the most incredible sites, which will indubitably please even the most brooding member of the household. When the day finally arrives with all our ‘i’s dotted and ‘t’s crossed, we pile into the family-mobile and take off into the wild unknown.

bb37ff51248e6eea8aa53fbb9296c2c5How long does it take before you are screaming like Ron Weasley’s mother into the backseat of your car? 1 hour? 2 hours? Did you actually make it 3 hours? I envy you.

When you first set off on the adventure, you play it cool. You are a calm, rational human being, still holding the image of lucid waters and trees ruffled by a delicate breeze. You hear the mirth and merriment of a family bonding over the simplicities of life. You speak to your children, sharing with them your make-believe visions of the future, crossing your fingers that they can dream the same dream that you dream.

AND THEN IT CRUMBLES.

After a few moments, the basic bedlam in the back accelerates to absolute anarchy. One child is touching another. And this child doesn’t like how the other is looking at them. For the love of hedgehogs, seatbelts are off. And we have entered bout one of the title fight; yes, they are actually swinging at each other. Children are crying and bruises are forming. What do you mean someone purposefully spit on the cherished stuffed animal? And who broke the electronic device in the first fifteen minutes? We barely have left the house! You ripped paper to shreds! Really?! Where did you even find paper to tear into miniscule pieces and why did you shove them in the cup holder and then try to make them float in your spilt drink?

We are pulling this car over! We might even turn it around…actually, we know that is another lie. Because we have invested way too much time and energy into planning this venture into hell, and we will—by any means necessary—go forth and spend money we don’t have and these little monsters will LOVE us for it!

811468-f4679530-dbd6-11e3-917f-8bca2ad8cf46But they don’t care. They don’t have the brain development to understand our sacrifice, give adequate thanks, or process our adult emotional state. As parents, we have lost all sense of ourselves before we have made it to the first destination. Cars are whipping by us on the highway, the scenery has completely changed (which the kids haven’t noticed and we have barely enjoyed), everyone is screaming of hunger or the need for a toilet…Our senses are completely haywire. We might as well be at war with the Hulk leading the warpath. All the while, we are trying to balance the meaning of unconditional love with the measure of our wits, and failing miserably. We are delirious. We are doubtful. We are depressed. The only thing we can be sure of is that we have nosedived this whole parenting thing, and next vacation will consist of drawn curtains and Harry Potter marathons.

Another lie. Because—hey—next year, the child seems more mature. Right?

The real question is what does a parent do with these vacations and the lies that surround them? The answer is EMBRACE THEM. I guarantee you that the struggle is worth every moment. When your child grows up, they will be thankful for the opportunity you gave them, they will remember the wondrous vacation, and if lucky, they will suffer with your grandchildren in a very similar way.


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Joshua Robertson is the Goblin King, a proud millennial father of nine children. A graduate of Norwich High School, Robertson attended Wichita State University where he received his Masters in Social Work with minors in Psychology and Sociology.His bestselling novel, Melkorka, the first in The Kaelandur Series, was released in 2015. Known most for his Thrice Nine Legends Saga, Robertson enjoys and ever-expanding and extremely loyal following of readers. He counts R.A. Salvatore and J.R.R. Tolkien among his literary influences.

Mr. Sinister Confirmed for Wolverine 3

250px-oldmanloganWolverine 3, titled Logan [from what we assume is in reference to Old-Man Logan], will be Hugh Jackman’s ninth and last appearance as the title character. The movie is expected to be in theaters on March 3, 2017.

Some pretty huge Marvel news regarding Logan was released last month. The post scene credits from X-Men: Apocalypse had revealed the appearance of ‘Essex Corp’, which was major for any Marvel fans, but the audio commentry track confirmed what many had expected. Essex Corp belongs to one of the most powerful villains the X-Men have encountered, Mister Sinister, and so we can only expect to see him play a major role in the upcoming film. YES!

Now, with Wolverine’s former running buddies from Weapon X and The Reavers making an appearance in Logan, we cannot say how much we will see of Mister Sinister. We know Mister Sinister had a hand in the creation of X-23, so the link between all these confirmations makes complete sense. But Mister Sinister is HUGE to finally bring into the Marvel Universe. He aids in the creation of the time-traveling mutant, Cable [who has been confirmed for Deadpool 2], maintains a role in the storyline of Gambit, and, like I said, proves to be one of the toughest enemies for the X-Men. Even with this being Hugh Jackman’s final role, we should expect some awesome advancements in the Marvel Universe.

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I wonder if they will include the scene from House of M (comic) when the dimension-hopping Deadpool faces Mister Sinister? Hey! We could all use a cameo from Ryan Reynolds in Logan.


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Joshua Robertson is the Goblin King, a proud millennial father of nine children. A graduate of Norwich High School, Robertson attended Wichita State University where he received his Masters in Social Work with minors in Psychology and Sociology.His bestselling novel, Melkorka, the first in The Kaelandur Series, was released in 2015. Known most for his Thrice Nine Legends Saga, Robertson enjoys and ever-expanding and extremely loyal following of readers. He counts R.A. Salvatore and J.R.R. Tolkien among his literary influences.

 

 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

downloadThe fantasy swashbuckling film saga is back with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales to be released on May 26, 2017. The line-up of cast members is promising with Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, & Kevin McNally all returning to the screen. I have to say I am a bit saddened that Kiera Knightly will not return to the franchise, but she has evidently moved on with other adventures.

Still, with six years since the last release, the fifth video is finally underway and I cannot tell you how excited I am. There have been talks of this film since 2011 after  On Stranger Tides, but with the many script issues, the film kept getting pushed back. Now, shot exclusively in Australia, Dead Men Tell No Tales is ramping up to be one of the best in the series.

Check out the Teaser Trailer released yesterday!


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Joshua Robertson is the Goblin King, a proud millennial father of nine children. A graduate of Norwich High School, Robertson attended Wichita State University where he received his Masters in Social Work with minors in Psychology and Sociology.His bestselling novel, Melkorka, the first in The Kaelandur Series, was released in 2015. Known most for his Thrice Nine Legends Saga, Robertson enjoys and ever-expanding and extremely loyal following of readers. He counts R.A. Salvatore and J.R.R. Tolkien among his literary influences.

Dear Dads: Be Involved

The role of being a father is considerably more layered and multi-dimensional than the stereotypes suggest. Spend half a day with first-time, expecting fathers and you will witness an emotional roller coaster somewhere between a Hulk rage, the last moments of tystwoThe Dark Knight, and Iron Man 3 [you know, where RDJ wants his tuna sandwich]. Seriously, the changes that men go through when approaching fatherhood, and after, is something worthy of scientific analysis. Luckily, many scientists have taken the challenge. For instance, the University of Michigan found—similarly to mothers—dads experience many hormonal changes during the pregnancy too. For any who have been a father with sleepless nights, hunger cravings, and fog-brained before the baby was born know this truth! I personally have witnessed this first hand, and second hand, and probably third hand, if there is such a thing.

Let me explain. For the last two years, I taught a Dad’s Class, and I am telling you that men have hundreds of questions, legitimate concerns, and a jumbled web of emotions surrounding the concept of being called “dad”. They are trying to balance society’s expectations, the expectation of their family and the in-laws, maintain some sense of themselves, keep their wife happy, their boss happy, their friends happy…I could keep going. I cannot remember a session where the men kept their mouths shut. In fact, most men asked after the class for more materials to help them prepare for fatherhood. Why don’t we hear about this? Sadly, men frequently are not often given a platform to express their feelings during this strange transmutation, leaving them to bottle it up or to push it under the rug.

downloadWait! Men express emotions? Sounds like I am pitching a Tom Sawyer scheme, doesn’t it? But, men do express their feelings…when they feel safe to speak and are validated, much like anyone else. I have worked with hundreds of grown, adult men and they are quite capable of telling you how they feel, what they think, and how the two do not always match up. The issue surrounding the stereotypical, silent male runs much deeper than men just being men. Many times, I have spoken with men who are wrestling with feelings of guilt and shame in the home. These vulnerable emotions surround a wide variety of issues. For example, a study at Kansas State University, in 2014, found that men experienced parental guilt for taking time to engage in sports activities or exercise, even more so than mothers. But I am speaking about something far different.

Good fathers provide, nurture, and guide. This realization scares the color right out of a man’s hair. In my personal opinion, I believe this is because—more likely than not—the man did not have fatherhood modeled for him by his own father. Hear me out. One out of three children grow up in homes without their biological fathers, and many of those have little contact or association with their dad. Without an example, anyone can imagine why boys-turned-to-men may have a lot of questions about what it means to be a father.

download-2Let’s add another log to the fire. Many interpersonal skills are lost when a father is not readily available to their children. Fathers play differently with their children, teaching kids how to regulate their feelings and behavior. Fathers encourage children to take more risks than mothers to let them face their social environments. Fathers are instinctively more skilled at monitoring their children when regarding interactions with peers and other adults. A father’s discipline techniques will often be more confrontational, offering a diverse lesson from mothers in the importance of authority. None of these findings in research undermine the overall value of the mother, or the tenacity of single-parenting mothers. Mothers skillsets compliment the child in an entirely different way. The rhetoric is to provide rational for how fathers give value to their children. For new fathers who have not had fathers, these may be foreign concepts when parenting their own children. Hence, the turmoil of feelings we have discovered in new fathers.

I cannot express the importance of helping new fathers grasp the fundamental importance of being an active father, even when you and the mother are no longer living together. In 2015, the University of North Carolina reported that although we inherit equal amounts of genetic mutations from our parents, we actually use more of the DNA from our fathers. But the significance of being a dad goes far beyond our genetics. From the birthing room to changing diapers to cuddling with their child to tossing ball in the backyard, men must understand that we fulfill a very unique role for our son or daughter. Being an involved dad equals successful children. Studies have shown that kids who have fathers actively participating in their life are better problem-solvers, have higher IQs, perform better academically, to be more tolerant and understanding, and even have a greater chance of long-term successful marriages in adult life.

We often hear mothers speaking about motherhood. Bottom line, dads, we have to be willing to do the same.


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Joshua Robertson is the Goblin King, a proud millennial father of nine children. A graduate of Norwich High School, Robertson attended Wichita State University where he received his Masters in Social Work with minors in Psychology and Sociology.His bestselling novel, Melkorka, the first in The Kaelandur Series, was released in 2015. Known most for his Thrice Nine Legends Saga, Robertson enjoys and ever-expanding and extremely loyal following of readers. He counts R.A. Salvatore and J.R.R. Tolkien among his literary influences.

The Struggles of a Millennial Dad

In June 2016, the Boston College Center for Work & Family (BCCWF) completed a study to look at the struggles of millennial fathers in the twenty-first century. I admit that many of their findings struck a chord, and I imagine other millennial fathers will have a similar response. As is the case for nearly all parents today (e.g. mothers and fathers, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, etc.), achieving a work-life balance is increasingly difficult. For millennial fathers, this is no different. BCCWF listed their primary challenges as:

download-1• The persistence of traditional gender expectations and norms

• Their approach to career decision making

• Their sensitivity to corporate cultural norms

• Their belief in the ability to “have it all”

Few employers seem to have recognized that times have changed and men, in general, do not fully put their interests in their career. Instead, millennial fathers have been known to make decisions that will first benefit their family and children before their employer. This way of thinking has given many millennials the diagnosis of being lazy, entitled, self-centered, or disloyal. When in reality, many fathers simply want to be better role models for their children than their fathers were allowed to be under the social constraints of a backwards culture. Nowadays, 61% of millennial fathers were somewhat likely to very likely willing to leave an employer if the work disrupted time with family! And 74% of dads want to spend more time with their children!

dad1Only 60% of Dads find it easy to combine work and personal life/family.

There are 3 paradigms of the millennial dad: traditional, egalitarian, and conflicted. TRADITIONAL dads believe the spouse should do more caregiving for the family and she does. EGALITARIAN dads believe caregiving should be  a 50/50 proposition and it is. And CONFLICTED dads believe that the caregiving should be 50/50 but the spouse still completes the majority of the work. You can likely guess how these three different types of scenarios play out, but I want to hit you with a truth hammar on a couple of points shown in the research.

  1. Egalitarian dads have more job satisfaction and commitment to their employers.
  2. Egalitarian dads feel more connected to the people with whom they work.
  3. Over 65% of Egalitarian dads find it easy to balance work & personal life.
  4. Almost 90% of Egalitarian dads are satisfied with their lives.

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Overall, the mood has been changing for dads about what they think about family and its impact on work. Millennial dads feel trapped many times between the expectations of our gender and our career, and our desires to be a worthwhile father. For many millennial men, they are stuck asking, “What makes a good father?” Is it about bringing home the bacon or being physically and emotionally available to the child? Is it possible to balance both of these in a modern society?

I would love to hear your thoughts!


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Joshua Robertson is the Goblin King, a proud millennial father of nine children. A graduate of Norwich High School, Robertson attended Wichita State University where he received his Masters in Social Work with minors in Psychology and Sociology.His bestselling novel, Melkorka, the first in The Kaelandur Series, was released in 2015. Known most for his Thrice Nine Legends Saga, Robertson enjoys and ever-expanding and extremely loyal following of readers. He counts R.A. Salvatore and J.R.R. Tolkien among his literary influences.