And your answer is?


Lesley Stahl: I know a psychiatrist who says the most important question she asks somebody is, “When you were growing up, who loved you?” Do you have an answer?

Matthew Burke: That’s very difficult to answer– who loved me– because there’s different types of love.

Lesley Stahl: Uncondition. I mean–

Matthew Burke: Yeah, unconditional–

Lesley Stahl: That’s what I mean.

Matthew Burke: I’ve never– I’ve never experienced that.

Lesley Stahl: So you– you have no answer for that question.

Matthew Burke: I have no answer. To this day I have no answer to that.

~ Lesley Stahl, Alive and Kickin’, 60 Minutes

If you missed last night’s episode of 60 Minutes, you can find it here at CBS: Alive and Kickin’.  There are many great human interest stories in this segment but I was particularly moved by Matthew Burke’s story (which comes on at 11 min 45 sec of this video).  He was abandoned two and half weeks after birth in a hallway.  Mother and Father unknown.

That’s Right!


Source: Kulfoto

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Dear Kids

parents yelling at kids

Dear Rachel & Eric:

I shared the article below from today’s paper with your Mother.  She’s gloating: “I told you so.” I’m snarling: “This is utter nonsense.”  Mom’s espousing “Let Freedom Reign.” Dad’s fencing is well established and flashing warning signals: “Cross the line, you’ll do the time.”

You three, huddled in your sheltered cocoon, will see the light.

Hang on to this post and drag it out when your children reach adolescence, and ask the following hypothetical (NOT) questions:

  • Rachel, your daughter, three days after acquiring her driver’s license, exits a parking lot without looking in both directions, and piles into an oncoming car – – causing $4,000 damage to your car. Do you blow her a kiss and tell her: “Honey, the best way to deal with this is to get back up on the iron horse.”
  • Eric, if your son backs your car into his friend’s rock wall, shredding the rear of the car, do you tell him: “Son, mistakes happen. Please be sure to take more care next time.”
  • Rachel, your daughter is laying on the couch watching three consecutive episodes of New Jersey Housewives.  You are exhausted from being up early, frazzled from working late and from your commute home – – and you are in the midst of preparing dinner. You ask her to walk the dog three times and she ignores you.  Do you walk up politely and say: “Honey, could you please help me out here?  Or, are you tired from your difficult day at school?
  • Eric, your son is on his second hour of Playstation and has ignored your 2 prior calls for bedtime.  Do you walk up to him, sit down and ask: “Son, could please put down the game, get undressed and go to bed.

Do these stories sound familiar?  Hmmmmm.  Right.

Being a parent, your Parents, has been our greatest blessing.

I can’t wait to watch you shine.



P.S. Re: Having children.  Absolutely no need to rush into things.

Study Says Yelling Is As Hurtful as Hitting [Read more…]

Bali: There’s just this astonishing sense of flow

tukad unda dam

“…In Bali, for the most part, the flow of traffic – and of parenting, and of life – is smooth and organic, despite a complete lack of stop lights, road signs, junk food, iPads, or anything resembling a lane or a cohesive set of rules. There is no crazed speeding, no swerving, cursing, angry honking, road rage or middle fingers. It’s true for the whole of Balinese life, actually; there’s just this astonishing sense of flow.

As a result, thanks to endless ritual, offerings, long-standing community connections and a deep, relaxed veneration for all forms of divinity that’s unheard of (if not nearly impossible) in the west, kids turn out sort of… luminous. They tend to be calm and friendly, curious and kind. Like all Balinese, they smile easily. They do not scream and lurch, they do not walk around all sullen and bitchy.

How refreshing. How unlike anything we think we know. How frequently we should keep asking ourselves: How many ways are there to dance this amazing dance, really?”

~ Mark Morford, 101 Ways Not to Raise Your Kid

Image Source: NatGeo Photography by Lisa Hendrawan at Tukad Unda Dam, Bali.  This dam is on a river called Tukad Unda in Klungkung, Bali. Locals regularly bathe and wash their clothes here. It’s also a fun place for the children to play.

21. And counting.

black and white; photography

She turned 21.

Our celebration dinner was at home earlier in the week.
Family was seated together. She was at the head of the table.
Champagne glasses filled. Dad with his Snapple. A Toast.
Her favorites. Cheesy Parmigiano-Reggiano breaded chicken breasts.
Buttery mashed potatoes. Long stemmed broccoli and cheese.
Followed by vanilla flavored birthday cake with thick gobs of frosting.
Cards from Grandparents.
She opens a small box from her Brother. Beaming. She slides on a ring.
I turn my head away to keep it together.
Discussion turns from sharing stories to plans for the evening.

“I’m staying in the city with a friend.”
“You mean you’re not coming home tonight?”
“No, Dad”

Flash of anger. Rolling to disappointment. Then settling into Sad. Turning deep, down and inward.

Dad’s leaning into a gushing current.
Water rushing over, under, through.
Hopeless to stop it. Yet he keeps trying.

Happy Birthday Honey…

Mom vs. Dad

funny, true, parents, children,parenting, son, daughter, mom v dad

Mom’s + Dad’s: Your gems are?

Adapted from

#1 Secret to Parenting






Circa 1998.




Eric is four. Relentless. “Come on Dad. It’s time to go swimming.” Pulling on my hand. “Come on Dad. Dad, come on!”

The marble floor in the bathroom is cool and smooth on our bare feet. I watch him struggle tugging on his suit. His little white bottom contrasting against his milk chocolate tan lines. He lets out a whimper in frustration as he can’t pull on his swim shirt.

We step outside.

We had lived in Miami for four years. The sweltering summer heat was still a shock. Swallowing up oxygen. Mixing with the heavy pool chlorine…filling nostrils and lungs.

10am. 91F. And there is still August to go.

[Read more…]

Moments. Hold them.


Zeke’s paws are scratching. He’s dreaming.  His body twitching.  I steal a glance at the clock.  1:15 am.  I smile. You go from refusing a dog for 20 years, to the animal taking center stage on your bed. Every night.  What a tough guy.

He knows.  Dogs have a second sense.  Even when he’s sleeping, he hears.

Car door shuts.  It’s Rachel.  Rolling in from her evening out.

I lumber down to her room.  Bathroom door is closed.  Water is running.  I lie down on her bed.  Stare at the ceiling.  And wait.

Mind whirs back to a moment during the week.  I’m driving into Manhattan.  Rush hour.  Traffic stalled.  GPS flashes a 3-mile backup to the Triboro bridge.  Beach Avenue and Bruckner.  Young girl is holding her Dad’s hand.  They are crossing the walkway over I-278.  Her passion pink backpack sharply contrasting with the streaks of graffiti.  The pair offering up a burst of illumination against the grey of the housing projects and the trash lining the freeway.  Their hands and arms sway in unison.  Dad smiling.    She’s skipping to keep up.

That day, Mind was crocheting stitches of a majestic tapestry. One of family.  Of warm spring days.  Of light breezes.  All storm clouds pushed way south.  And the Moment hovered.  All week.

Why this moment?  This was not an impressionist by Monet.  Not a intricate passage by Joyce or a dreamy segue by Murakami. No deep existential words here by Kierkegaard.  Not  a big win at Work.  A Father. A daughter.  A pink backpack.  Walking over a dilapidated bridge in the Projects.

[Read more…]

What the h*ll was that?

Steve Layman posted this cartoon last week. It activated an immediate reaction.  I laughed.  Then said: “TRUE.”  Then said “THAT’S ME.”  Then psychoanalysis rolled in like a thick soupy fog in the Bay Area.  And hangs low and hovers on the “why.”  And went on lingering on the 11-hour ride to pick-up Eric from college.  Didn’t we just take this emotional empty nester ride a few months back?  Time.  Whoosh.

Robert Weber