6 Things I Want My Sons to Know About My Depression [TODAY Show]

As it did to so many, the news of Robin Williams’s death came as a great shock to me. How could a man with such talent and charisma who brought me to tears, both of joy and sadness, on so many occasions be gone so suddenly? Then details of his depression came to light, and I understood. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that 6.7 of American adults live with major depression, and of those, 2.6 percent, or 6.1 million people, are afflicted by bipolar disorder. I understand, because I am one of them.

When I initially informed my first wife of my diagnosis and the associated concerns I held for our three boys, she expressed strong reservations about saying anything to them. This, however, is exactly the problem for men with depression. It actually needs to be talked about more, and if I don’t talk with my sons about the twisting despair brought on by depression, who will? There’s actually a lot they need to know. So, boys, listen here:

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Why I Write

Remember this. It's going to come in handy for understanding the context of what is posted here in the coming months.


5 Things I Wish My Bosses Knew About Fatherhood [TODAY Show]

I consider myself fortunate to be working for an employer who understands the demands of fatherhood. This hasn’t always been the case. Through the course of my professional life, which has spanned the military, corporate America, freelance work, and small business, I’ve had bosses who discounted the value of fathers.

Such attitudes come from a general cluelessness shared by men who represented a different generation — everyone knows that fathers are much more involved these days. Still, half of working fathers surveyed in 2013 consider work-family balance a challenge while 46 percent feel they are still not spending enough time with their children.

I have certainly felt the pressure of this crunch, and it would be a lie to say I always chose family over work. Some circumstances, deployments for example, deny the option of choice; however, there have been other moments when I wished my superiors knew a few things about what it means to be a father. Here are five:


TODAY Show Parents: The Sugar Milk Hack

If you haven't already heard I've got a new writing gig at--wait for it--the TODAY Show via their website which just this week they renamed from Moms to Parents. I am thrilled and honored to be part of an all-star lineup of fellow dad bloggers that includes Doyin Richards, Jim Higley, Whit Honea, Carter Gaddis, and Adrian Kulp who in our inaugural week of posting shared their favorite dad hacks (#dadhack). As you will see, their clever tips are much more advisable than mine. Below is an excerpt from my patent-pending, sugar milk hack.

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One would think a guy with five kids would have a whole slew of shortcuts to help ease the burden of parenthood. I do not.

This is not to say I am without creativity. It’s just my techniques lack a certain classiness. While many parenting hacks warrant viral validation via Pinterest, mine rank with the redneck who crafts a BBQ grill out of a shopping cart. Effective? Yes. Share-worthy? Possibly after obliterating a case of Milwaukee’s Best.

Case in point: My teen son and tween stepdaughter are now of an age where they require deodorant, yet they are afflicted by some form of adolescent dementia that causes them to forget to apply said deodorant. The solution: Affix the deodorant to the door frame at eye-level using Velcro, and voila, no more stinky kids. It’s effective because it’s unorthodox. CONTINUE READING 

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