Category Archives: Being Dad

The Research Institute of Mother and Child Care is a SCAM

(Long specific title in hopes of landing high on a google search for the The Research Institute of Mother and Child Care)

Today, Mindy and I received a fairly plain letter in the mail from The Research Institute of Mother and Child Care asking us to fill out a few page survey about ‘feeding methods.’ In my initial glance it struck me as a small non-profit research group gathering data to benefit mother’s and children. So, Mindy and I decided to take a few minutes and fill out the survey.

About five minutes into the survey I start thinking about the questions, they are way to specific about infant formula marketing. Questions like, “Check the brands of free infant formula samples you received” and if formula was used “how was the brand fed chosen”? It sounded fishy, so I looked all over the letter and survey to find contact info. Nothing listed but a P.O. Box in Columbus Ohio, and a google business listings showed nothing in Columbus by that name either. So, I did a google search and found a few other websites and parents that had similar suspicions. Sure enough, The Research Institute of Mother and Child Care is a division of Abbott Labs, a pharmaceutical company, that makes Similac and Isomil (Infant Formulas).

This type of deceptive market research should be illegal, Absolutely illegal. First of all, It’s extremely deceptive. The title of the ‘Institute’, the way they frame what they are doing and even their logo, convey to me that I’m doing something important for the health and well being of children and mothers. My impression was that the institute was pro-breastfeeding or at the least an un-bias research group. Secondly, This survey is gathering extremely in-depth market research about mother’s and their choices for feeding their children. Though, the survey isn’t convincing them of anything, the information they gather from the survey will better prepare them to convince you to buy their formula. This survey also helps Abbott Labs gather detailed information about their competitors. The Bottom Line is that the end motivation for a company like Abbott Labs to put out a survey like this is to make money and figure out how to make more money. They aren’t looking out for the best interest of babies, they are looking to fatten their wallets.

I’m terribly bothered by this and the thought that millions of other new parents are receiving the same letter nation wide. So, I figure we need to do something about it. I decided to start a petition. I’m not sure this is the best way to get things started, but it ‘s something. I haven’t finished editing the Petition, but I gave a basic explanation of what it’s about. I’ll add a video later.

(hat tip: hipMama,, and kellyMom)

Temporarily Preoccupied

Sorry, there might or might not be a short hiatus on the blog.

On June 27th, I became a dad.

She’s healthy and beautiful. Sorry for sparing the details, feel free to email me or otherwise to find out more.

Right now I’m preoccupied starring at my beautiful little baby.

Love is Patient

If nobody else noticed, this is the third Sunday in a row that I’ll be posting about baby, with no baby in sight. It’s been a good full two weeks since I had full expected the baby to arrive. I don’t know why we were so set on this idea that the baby would come a few days early (maybe cause all the women on her side were early…). Anyways, like many other first babies, ours is still hanging out and getting a few more days of peace before entering this crazy world.

If anything I’ve learned, or have tried in vain to learn, patience. Recently, though she isn’t even 0 days old yet, I’ve felt like scolding her. How do you explain to your in utero baby that she’s really hurting her mommy’s feeling by not coming out when she was expected (she’s hurting her back, ankles, and hips too, but will stick with the emotions). I guess that’s where this idea that patience is really all you’ve got to go on, or develop, or learn to desire. I can’t scold my baby, she doesn’t know any better, and it’s not like she’s really in charge of this whole labor and birth thing anyways. So, what do I do? I love her. I patiently wait for her.

Here’s the crazy thing though. This little love is patient lesson is going to disappear pretty quick, if I’m not careful. Cause pretty soon she’ll be two and I’ll be waiting for her to put her shoes on (which she’ll insist on doing herself) to go to the park, and patience will go right out the window, along with love, if I’m not careful. If’ I’m careful though, I’ll remember I don’t need to be in a big rush anyways. If we are going to the park, the swings will wait. If we are going to Grandma’s the food can be warmed up, and if we were heading to a board meeting, we’ll it’s about time we start loving our kids more then the corporate execs.

Love is patient. It’s easy to be patient with a baby who you don’t put any responsibility on and who isn’t capable or in control of her actions. It’s going to be hard when I can blame her, argue that she’s capable of respecting other people’s time, and insist that it’s her choice and her actions. Don’t throw love out the window then.

So, without baby around it’s time to actually start putting this into practice. I, and you, need to be practicing patient love with the people in our lives. Regardless of how independent and capable the adults around you are, they need to be loved. Be patient with them, gentle, kind. Remember that they too, were once a cute little baby (some of which were one and two weeks late entering the world) and they could use a little loving patience now, as much as they did then.

Promises to Baby

I don’t know how I managed to read a parenting book around my sophomore year of high school, but I did. The book was called Promises to Peter, by Charlie Shedd. It had some interesting perspectives on things, but the reason I remember it a decade later (funny that I’m old enough to say that) is that the idea of making promises to your new born was intriguing and commendable to me. Here, are the original promises to Peter (the author’s son) from the book:

“First, I pledge that I will remember
always it takes a lot of love to make good children.

Next, I promise you that I will never
say “No” if I can possibly say “Yes.”

Here is my Third promise: I pledge that
I will really be with you when I am with you.

I pledge you also that I will try to
see things from a child’s point of view.

Comes now a small item, but very hard
sometimes. I promise to be a good waiter.

And here is the top promise. I will do
everything I can to put your hand in the hand of your Heavenly

The two that I have remembered since the moment I read the book is number two and the last one. Before you think the saying ‘yes’ bit is a laissez faire way of parenting, let me explain.
I think we make kids grow up too early. We kill their creativity, we force them to see the world as everyone else does, not with the new perspective they might. I believe the example he gives in the book is about a bundle of twine he had in the garage that he constantly told his kids not to touch, it was off-limits. Then one day he realize there wasn’t really a good reason he was keeping it away from his kids, and he allowed his kids to play with it. They made a gigantic spiderweb type of thing in the garage, they all marveled at it, and then they cleaned it up; freedom, creativity, exploration and more for the cost of a half bundle of twine. I think toddler’s through teenagers hear the word ‘no’ more then anything else, and I think it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m not suggesting letting your kids run the house or going back on your convictions and values because your kids ask, but rather just being more critical of your choices and words when it comes to your kids. When they ask you to play don’t make an excuse. Intentionally rearrange your house so nearly everything your toddler can reach is fair game for him to play with. And when your kids ask you to do crazy, odd, strange, outrageous and weird things in public, ditch the self-image and join them!

Maybe I’m off-base on this one, but I’m probably going to try it out anyways. I’m so eager to learn from my children. I’m ready to acknowledge that 24 years living in this society has probably warped my views of things a little bit, and an innocent child might be able to lead me back to the truth.
I’m planning on writing my own promises to our baby. Not sure what they’ll be yet, and not sure if I’ll be sharing them with everyone, but the intentionality is something I really desire. Can’t wait to see you, little one.

The Myth of Redemptive Violence (Avoid It)

Braveheart“The Myth of Redemptive Violence is the story of the victory of order over chaos by means of violence.” It was through my reading of Christ’s teachings to “Love your enemies” and the idea of overcoming evil with good, that I began to realize that there must be another road to victory than violence. Quite simply, I found I could not support a culture of war and violence and still claim to follow Christ’s teachings, I could not rationalize it.
After coming to that conclusion I picked up Walter Wink’s book, The Powers That Be, and my eyes were opened to the myth that our society and myself have been indoctrinated with for centuries.  I’ve heard the word’s of others too who have walked this path in an attempt to follow Christ.

Derek Webb sings, in My Enemies are Men Like Me,

peace by way of war
is like purity by way of fornication
it’s like telling someone murder is wrong
and then showing them by way of execution

Dr. King said,

Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time — the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts… Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

You should really take the time to read the short article about The Myth of Redemptive Violence. It describes the Babylonian Creation Myth and how it’s violence-centric story is perpetuated today. I’m not just talking about war here, I’m speaking of primarily the media that we expose ourselves to. Think Braveheart and Gladiator, Batman, Lone Ranger, Road Runner and many others:

The psychodynamics’ of the TV cartoon or comic book are marvelously simple: children identify with the good guy so that they can think of themselves as good. This enables them to project out onto the bad guy their repressed anger, violence, rebelliousness, or lust, and then vicariously to enjoy their own evil by watching the bad guy initially prevail. This segment of the show–the “Tammuz” element, where the hero suffers–actually consumes all but the closing minutes, allowing ample time for indulging the violent side of self. When the good guy finally wins, viewers are then able to reassert control over their own inner tendencies, repress them, and reestablish a sense of goodness without coming to any insight about their own inner evil. The villain’s punishment provides catharsis; one forswears the villain’s ways and heaps condemnation on him in a guilt-free orgy of aggression. Salvation is found through identification with the hero

As, I think about entering parenthood, I’m struck by the fact that though I have continually acknowledged to myself and others that this myth is a lie and it is dangerous to our culture, I have still chosen to expose myself to plenty of movies that carry this theme.  I’ve decided both in preparation, and probably for personal well being, that I’m going to stop watching movies that carry a redemptive violence theme (for at least a year). This won’t be a hard and fast line, but one I want to consider for the well being of my family. Which means Die Hard, Rocky, and Spider Man will be off my movie viewing list for the year. 

My First Attempts at Converted Nursery Rhymes

Like I’ve said before, I want to be creative in the way I instill values in my children. One way I think we can do that is through nursery rhymes. Let’s be honest a lot of the nursery rhymes we currently sing and teach have no real moral or point to them anyways. So, following in the footsteps of those before us who converted old Drinking Songs to Christian Hymns, here are my brief attempts at converted nursery rhymes:

To the tune of Mary had a Little Lamb:

Jesus loves his Enemies, Enemies, Enemies
Jesus loves his Enemies,
Even when they are mean.

To the tune of Hot Cross Buns:

Feed the Poor,
Feed the Poor,

If you see,
someone hungry,
Give them Food.

To the tune of Twinkle Twinkle little star:

Loving, loving, one another,
each one a sister or brother,
looking out for others needs,
instead of seeking my own greed.
Loving, loving one another, each one a sister or brother.

Okay, so that’s my start. Any thoughts or suggestions?

An Attempt at Explaining How I Plan to Raise my Kids

on raising childrenI want others to respect my values and morals and to respect how I raise my children as a parent. There are parent’s out there that have warped values and child-rearing practices, and that often demands the intervention of a community and sometimes the law, but most of the time we respect different parenting practices. So here is a brief insight into my hopes of instilling certain values in my children, and then a brief defense of them.

I want to raise my children valuing the importance of relationship and community. I want them to see giving as far more enjoyable and valuable then receiving (yes even at Christmas time). I want my children to know, and probably lend me insight, into the paradoxes of Jesus’ teachings. Love your enemies, deny yourself, seek first the kingdom, faith like a child in a kingdom like a mustard seed. I want my kids to know that there are better uses of your time then comatose entertainment; that more toys won’t make you more happy. I want them to know that Christianity and Church is much more about hanging out in the park with the homeless and having banquets for the needy, than it is about singing songs, drawing pictures and eating out on Sunday with people that all look and act the same. I want my kids to know that worship includes planting gardens and giving food, clothes and shelter to others. I want them to know that we bike because it’s fun, and it’s taking good care of this lovely planet God gave us. I want my kids to know the importance of wearing clothes and eating food that was prepared justly and not by a child their age in a sweatshop. I want my kids to know that God will care for their needs, but that it is more important to live simply so that others might simply live. I want my kids to have fun, playing at the park, reading books at the library, going on adventures all over town, building castles out of refrigerator boxes, redeeming others trash into tree forts.

I know, my aspirations are high. I have ideas for how I might begin to instill those values, and I’m flexible with how, but those are values I want to teach them. Most people will agree these are good ends, it’s the means that people are going to have a hard time with. I don’t want to have a TV in the house. I’m not going to buy my children presents on Christmas. We aren’t going to fill our house with toys. We aren’t going to live a lifestyle that matches our income. Our cars, clothes, toys and haircuts might be less trendy then the neighbors. We’re going to live in a neighborhood where everyone doesn’t look the same, and BMW’s and SUV’s don’t line the driveways. And that might mean my bike gets stolen.

Can other’s respect that? Honestly, I think they’re going to have a hard time. Folks might disagree on when their kid’s can see scary movies, but they all think you should get toys on Christmas. They might disagree on smoking in the house, but most folks seem to agree you should get the biggest house you can afford (actually that the bank will loan you).

I definitely think the biggest obstacle to instilling these values in our children will not be the children’s willingness to embrace them, but other adults outright disagreement and disrespect of that set of values (however well meaning they are).

2007: The Year of the Baby

Whether you run by the solar calendar, lunar, or school calendar, it seems like each year often surrounds or is highlighted by a particular event. At the young age that I am, many of those years have been centered primarily around that year in school. More recently though it has been large events like Marriage, AmeriCorps, Graduating College, Moving to Nashville, and Living in Community. Now, as 2007 rolls around our lives are taking a dramatic turn that will forever change us: Mindy and I are having a baby.

I think for many this is not new news, hopefully it is not (if it is, I’m sorry!). I haven’t written much about it on here or elsewhere; I think mostly because the reality of it hasn’t quite set in yet. Well, one way or the other, 2007 is the year of the baby, so I’m starting to embrace it. I’m thrilled beyond belief at the opportunity to be a father.

I’m going to start writing quite a bit more about my thoughts about being a parent, and particularly ideas I have for instilling morals and values in my children. I’m hoping these post will be a lot more interactive as I know there are a number of parent’s who currently read my blog, and I’m really hoping to gain some wisdom from you in this area.

Look forward to more posts about pregnancy, babies and parenting here at Trying to Follow.