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May 2012

More than Heavy Lifting

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Packing up your daughter’s 1000 “essentials” before moving into college augments freshmen year jitters. When you unpack those “essentials” you also unpack skillfully hidden baggage: fear. Move-in day is a culmination of hopes and daydreams colliding painfully with all those college dropout horror stories.   It is a bipolar wave of high pitched elation, quiet spells of self-doubt, and the first pangs of homesickness. Before handling emotional baggage, literal baggage must be unloaded, unpacked, and arranged. Navigate the blood, sweat, and tears with the following advice:

Happy Cheesecake to You!

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Let’s start with one basic birthday rule: do not call your baby first thing in the morning with a joyous round of “Happy Birthday” from the family. It may have been effective in high school but you must utilize a new technique for college students who guard their R.E.M. sleep the way you guarded your daughter at prom.

The unfortunate aspect of college birthday celebrations is that they are built around deadlines, work, and friends’ schedules. As a result, festivities may not commence on your daughter’s actual birthday. Beat those triple threat delayers with the following techniques to ensure an unforgettable birthday…on the actual day of her birth.

Weekend at Home

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The first day of college marks the automatic fall break countdown. Students live for long weekends that provide a significant pause from the noise of university life. For the past few weeks your son or daughter has lived independently.  Family systems differ from these independent routines. Don’t waste limited time fighting over petty misunderstandings with your son or daughter during a long weekend. Read through the following Do’s and Don’ts of weekends at home to keep the peace and provide the perfect college getaway for a maxed out college student.

You’ve Got Mail

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A lot has changed since your little girl moved away from home. But a lot has stayed exactly the same. Believe it or not, young women in college still color in Disney Princess coloring books. They still frequently dream of prince charming, despite your reservations, and they love magical surprises. The “let’s get down to business” attitude of the day comes to a standstill with three simple words: “you’ve got mail”. Suddenly, the young woman on the brink of adulthood is frantically ripping open a cardboard box with childlike enthusiasm, giant smiles, and a burst of sparkle unhindered by academic anxiety.  Send your soon-to-be corporate princess some glitter in the midst of her daily to-do list by assembling a quick and easy care package she is sure to adore more than Prince Charming.

MIXED NUTS

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This page is where you'll find or submit Tips, Tricks, Jokes, or other quick hitters to use in your Busy Dad tool box. We know that each and every one of you has been behind the eight ball at some time and your life experiences can help or entertain others too.  So send us your best shot - or your worst experience...and we'll post it here for all to share and learn from or simply have a good chuckle.

Fathers on Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day, as implied by the name of this holiday, isn’t for dads, but somehow, they always get roped in. My dad is usually coerced into driving my brother and me to the Hallmark store for a card and some kind of useless knick-knack. One year, we decided to plant flowers for her, and that idea became a dirty, fun adventure with my dad being the most productive. No matter the circumstances, be prepared for your kids to come running for ideas and help, money-wise or other.

College Visits: Be There to Show You Care

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Oh, the joys of college visits. Parents drive for hours while their teenager snores in the backseat until they reach the campus. Then they attend an informational meeting led by a peppy college student who is employed by the admissions office, and this person cleverly highlights the college’s bright spots and manages to answer any question thrown his or her way, even if the answer has little to do with what was asked. Parents listen intently, especially when tuition is mentioned, and the potential students yawn and glance at cell phones. After a half hour or so, everyone is whisked away to tour the campus, which, they are assured, is the most picturesque, the most accessible, the safest, the greenest, etc. Tour guides point to buildings and give them apparently meaningful names and present a recently cleaned dorm room to the group’s inspection.

Blue Ribbons and Good Times

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Shiny blue ribbons, mooing cows, and sweaty summer days seem to epitomize 4-H for many. 4-Hers haul their animals off the family farm and drag them to the county fair where the animals are spiffed up and shown for bragging rights… right? Well, 4-H entails much more; it requires hard work and dedication and provides a time for kids and their parents to work together towards a common goal, whether that is first place for a pig or grand champion on a poster. For a busy dad, 4-H may seem daunting. Surprisingly, it’s not only manageable but truly rewarding.

Graduation Gift Giving

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April showers bring May flowers, but there will be more than flowers popping up in May. A pile of graduation invitations will grow faster than the daffodils in your backyard. They flood mailboxes and might include snapshots of that niece, cousin, or distant relative. As this young person innocently smiles up at you, you might nostalgically reflect on how quickly time passes or might be wondering who on earth this person is. In either case, a dark cloud will begin to threaten your blue skies in the form of a graduation gift.

Help for Helping with Homework

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Dads might have left their calculus problems and English papers behind, but now their kids must endure the same torture. From kindergarten to senior year, kids are given homework assignments, and they are going to need help, even if they don’t ask for it, during all those years.

So, how does a busy dad help his befuddled first grader with very simple worksheets?

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