Dad 2.0; Vignette Three

‘I am Not a Rock’ was a panel name, which seemed also a misnomer of sorts. We are like rocks in that we can erode under parenting’s constant barrage of weather.

But, then again—and unlike rocks—we have ways of rejuvenating. We can re-sprout flowers through concrete; we can breathe and rediscover sunlight.

I caught the tail end of the panel where Scotty Schrier was showing the audience mental hacks.

“Put a phencil in your mouf,” Scotty said, demonstrating proper method, wherein you clamp a writing instrument in your teeth, forcing your lips to part.

“This engages the same muscles,” Scotty explains, “As smiling.”

Hold the pencil long enough in your teeth—you may be demonstrating the strangest of Duchenne grins, bordering on grimace—but the engagement of the smiling muscles unlocks your body’s memory of what it’s like to be happy. The brain releases serotonin as reward.

Another hack—Scotty begins by asking everyone who has self-esteem issues. The majority of people in the room raise their hands while hunkered in their chairs.

“Everyone stand up,” Scotty implores.

Everyone obliges.

“Now strike a superhero pose. Any superhero pose, though Superman is the probably the most popular.”

Unwittingly, I’m already in Superman pose, though I’m more of a reedy and bespectacled Clark Kent with a typewriter.

“You hold that pose in front of a mirror for three minutes a day, several times a day,” Scotty says, “And you will start believing yourself to be that superhero.”

I’m recently fond of saying, ‘A dad needs to be a superhero for his kid, so that the kid will become more of one.’

At this moment, I’m lucky to be standing behind Greg Washington. He has a left fist cocked to his ear, his head turned upward and to the right. He looks triumphant, his right fist punched skyward, his calves coiled and engaged. He actually readjusts his pose several times to perfect his superhero-dom, to be invulnerable.

Which is to say, I guess we are rocks, after all.



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