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The playoff struggles of a certain hockey team present parents and their children with a good chance to examine the role of perfectionism in our lives. "One team, one goal" made a great commercial slogan -- most of have been there, done that, bought the New Era cap -- but does falling short of that one goal invalidate all of the excitement and entertainment that…

I am a mother, and two of my kids play soccer, but does that technically make me a SOCCER MOM? "Soccer Mom" isn't just a description, it's a lifestyle. What's the difference in having kids who play the game, and being totally a Soccer Mom? The following quiz should help. Are You a Soccer Mom? 1. Do your kids play on a soccer team? 2. Do you drive a min…

I am enjoying a rare moment of peace. With the beautiful weather, all our kids are outside, as are many of the neighborhood children. Imagine that, playing outside! Kids of different ages, both boys and girls, making up games with a ball. Running around, laughing, fighting, riding bikes, then not riding bikes, then riding bikes again. Except for when they're conducting an …

An article in the New York Times today describes the decision by the school board in Liverpool, N.Y., near Syracuse, to do away with its program providing laptops for every student. Why are they giving up? Because they found their students logged more time playing games, exchanging test answers with friends or trying to download porn than they did using the machines to do…

Mary Jo Monnin had an interesting article in The News this week about the shortage of umpires for baseball games in Western New York. As the father of three children who participate in sports, this  concerns me because it suggests that if I want our kids to play baseball or softball, I may have to take a turn as an ump myself. That's a thankless job that I would do ju…

Groucho Marx once said, "I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book." So taking their cue from Groucho, the Center for Screen-Time Awareness created TV Turnoff Week, which wraps up today. Their hope is that " people can live healthier lives in functional families in vibrant communities b…

I remember back in a time long, long ago, when I would come home from school with an order form from Scholastic Books in my hand. It was a thrill to hold that newsprint leaflet and pore over the rather short list of books. Let's see, should it be "The Phantom Tollbooth" this month? Or maybe "The Moffats?" When the books came, they always had that speci…

The satire masters at the Onion published a report on the "shocking abuses" that today's children are subjected to by their parents, at least according to the kids:"Encouraged to speak freely and confidentially about their home lives, subjects shocked even seasoned child welfare advocates with tales of systematic deprival and gratuitous cruelty. One Illinois…

This weekend was piano recital time for our family, and probably the opening of the official season. (It seems to coincide with turkey hunting season. Coincidence? Well, yes.) Let's talk turkey about piano recitals. Of course it's fun to see and hear your own children play their pieces. It's always a bit nerve-wracking, thinking they might really blow it on Fur Elise, or…

Andrew Galarneau has an excellent article in today's Buffalo News, examining what seems to be an ever-increasing vacuum in parents taking responsibility for the proper upbringing of their children. A thought that occurred to me as I read the story is that almost everything about parenting seems to involve finding a happy medium. When it comes to involvement in their child…

An NCAA committee on Wednesday proposed ending a loophole in college athletics recruiting in which coaches may send recruits an unlimited number of text messages. Texting, instant messaging and other forms of electronic communication would be banned under the proposal, which the NCAA Board of Directors is expected to pass at its April 26 meeting. Is there any chance we co…

The death toll is up to 33 from the gunman's rampage at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. I can't  imagine what it's like to be one of the parents who gets the dreaded phone call to the "next of kin." When young children get dropped off at daycare or preschool for the first time, they sometimes go through "separation anxiety" when their parents leav…

Our kids have been clamoring for a dog for about two years now. And for the past two years, we’ve responded with “We’ll see.” It’s not that we don’t like dogs. Our first “child” was an SPCA mutt named Spike. Our Christmas cards, in the days before kids, included a picture of Spike sitting with Santa. But at this point, it seems like we can barely support t…

The playoffs have finally arrived for the Buffalo Sabres, allowing us to take our minds off the weighty problems of the world, such as the fate of Don Imus' career. For a little mood music, check out the Sabres "audio essentials" over at In da Buff. I took my oldest daughter to exactly one Sabres game this year, and it was the night Chris Drury got hammered by…

Just as I was feeling guilty that April 15 is looming and I haven't finished our taxes yet, I realized that another April date of guilt is approaching -- April 26. That's Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day. Even though I can technically arrange to bring our kids to my workplace, that's the last thing I feel like doing, so I don't tell them about it and then I feel gu…