4 Lessons I Learned from a Family Trip to Hawaii


After years of planning and saving, our family finally managed to take a dream vacation in Hawaii. Getting there, which involved 14 hours of flying and shifting through five time zones, was a pain. Returning home introduced challenges. Everything in between was paradise.

While my wife and I had taken a similar vacation for our honeymoon, our kids had never traveled so far or spent so long away from home. As a result, the whole trip was a learning experience. In addition to plenty of souvenirs, we took the following lessons home with us.

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Raising Future Gentleman Isn’t As Straightforward As It Seems

Boy CrusaderEvery school day, my daughter waits at the bus stop with another girl and a little boy. The parents chat in the cold until the bus finally rolls around the corner and down the block. As the kids line up, the boy’s father tells his son to show some chivalry and let the girls go first.

Because this has become daily routine, the words “Ladies first” have stuck in my head. I definitely don’t want to fault the dad for trying to raise a gentleman. But I now wonder what the definition of a gentleman really is. Does chivalry serves its purpose in a society where people better recognize gender inequality?

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Your Kids’ Halloween Candy will Last for a Year if You Let It

Halloween Candy

Halloween is over, but the candy remains. We’ve entered the season of sugar. From here through the end of the year, most of America will find itself buried under an avalanche. Even after that, Valentine’s Day and Easter lurk around the corner in 2018.

Despite the sugar boom that’s about to happen, many parents (myself included) try to ration Halloween candy. There might be no such thing as a sugar high, but a massive candy binge can still create lots of headaches — and stomachaches — if kids eat too much too fast.

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Is Old-School Pokémon Going to Give my Kids Nightmares?


My kids are officially obsessed with Pokémon. In a way, this is great news for me. After years of dealing with the likes of Thomas and Friends, I can finally bond with them without having to do any research. I was into Pokémon in the 1990s, so the kids are in my wheelhouse now.

I gleefully fired up a game of Pokémon Red for the kids to share my introduction to the franchise with them. Unfortunately, it was only after I got them hooked on the game that I remembered the downside to sharing my childhood entertainment with them: some of those early installments are really messed up.

I’m not talking about the dissonant nature of a game that talks about the importance of treating Pokémon well but then encourages you to capture them and force them to battle. That’s a flaw of the whole franchise, but it falls under the mantle of, “this is just a video game, so don’t overthink it.”

No, I’m talking about a place called Lavender Town. That’s where the original games go from fun-filled adventures with cartoon creatures to creepy horror with some truly disturbing backstory. Lavender Town is where the game introduces ghost Pokémon, and as far as I know it’s the only part of the franchise to really explore death.

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How Do You Talk to Your Kids About Racism in America?


I live in a small town in New England. Beautiful fall foliage, cold winters, friendly neighbors…the type of place you find on greeting cards. Well, except that most greeting cards don’t mention the occasional racism and Nazi iconography.

That unfortunate graffiti rests on the sidewalk near my kids’ bus stop. The swastika served as a reminder that there are stupid jerks everywhere. It also serves as a reminder that I need to talk to my kids about race in America.

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