Solve Your Home Improvement Problems with

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 11.21.00 AM (1) (1) (1) (1).pngWhen you grow up in a two bedroom apartment like I did in Queens NY, seldom are there opportunities for a kid to learn basic home improvement or repair tricks of the trade. Unless you were the son of the building’s super, which I wasn’t by the way, most apartment raised kids don’t have a clue on how to fix anything. I have been a home owner in Westchester NY now for seventeen years and can shamefully, but honestly say, not once during that time, have I ever fixed, installed, repaired, refurbished, adjusted, tinkered with, or altered anything in my home myself. I wish that weren’t the case and I know my wife wonders why she never put home competency on her checklist for requisite qualities in a man who she would ever marry. Screwing in light bulbs is literally the only thing I am capable of taking care of around the house. My biggest challenge on that front is replacing the bulbs for the recess lighting in our cathedral ceiling living room. And given my trepidation of a bulb slipping off the extension pole when I remove it, falling and shattering all over our floor, I usually put off doing it for as long as I possibly can.
I have even relinquished control of the simple task of changing the air filters inout house because the central unit is wedged toward the back of our attic which you have to army crawl through in order to access. So when my wife finally gets tired of choking on the dust and other allergens in our home, she will summon me to the stairway of our attic where we climb up together and I hold a flashlight pointed toward the unit for her to crawl to so that the she can replace the embarrassingly clogged filters. I’m always so proud of her when she completes the task even as she is mumbling several expletives during the journey. It isn’t always clear to me what those four letter words spoken under her breath are, but I’m pretty sure love is not one of them. I know that as Beth inches along the attic floor and thinks about all of the other things in the house that need repair, she must not only wonder why her husband can’t do diddly to fix anything but that there has to be an easier way of getting things done around the house affordably and quickly. Now, after all these years of being together, I can boastfully say that I have discovered a possible solution to our home repair needs and it’s called, an online resource that simplifies the effort needed to get a project done on you home. While this service won’t absolve me from my handyman incompetence, it will allow me to find fast and cost effective solutions.
What I love most about this site is the fact that you can type in almost any type of home service improvement or repair into the search function and it will come back with an estimate of what the cost will be immediately. Unfortunately, the cost of the entire project is not available as the estimates do not include parts or materials. But it at least provides you with a reasonable starting point. I also like the fact that all of the contractors that come through the system have been vetted by to make sure that they are adequate insured, bonded and have not had any serious business conduct issues. The site is very user friendly and is not cluttered with content that could be a distraction in figuring out what you need to do in order to get the estimates you need. You literally type in the project or repair you need, it give you an estimate and then asks you if you would like to add any additional items. Once that is done, you select 3 possible times for a job manager to contact you to discuss the project and decide how to move forward from there. In the event that something is not going well with the project or contractor, remains involved for you to call and help remedy whatever the situation might be. Almost everyone at some point in their life has had a bad experience with a contractor or repair technician so it is nice to know that you automatically have an advocate for yourself with in the event that something ever does go wrong with a project.
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So if you have a few things around the house that you have been meaning to get to but just didn’t have the time or energy to follow up on, take a look at for some help. And you can save an easy $50 off any project by simply texting your project and zip code to the phone number 206-745-3460 using the promo code RM50. Plus, we are also hosting a $200 giveaway to one lucky person who will receive credit towards home repair compliments of Enter below and we’ll announce the winner on August 17!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by However, all opinions and stories about my home improvement challenges, are entirely my own.

What’s Your Wish?

unnamed-7.jpgMy wife Beth and I have been together now for almost 23 years. While the two of us have definitely enjoyed imbibing on more than one occasion, neither one of us has ever really been a binge drinker. The only time I remember differently was our first Halloween night together. Beth threw a party in New York City and I met many of her friends for the first time, even though it was in costume. I first had to pick up Beth at her parent’s house in Brooklyn. Fortunately, I had already met Beth’s parents once, but then again, it was only once. Even though I loved getting dressed up for Halloween as a kid, many years passed since I last wore a costume. I really struggled with ideas of what to wear for Beth’s special party night. To this day, I’m still not sure why I took advice from one of my best friends from high school as to what would be a great costume. Somehow she convinced me that I should get dressed up as a woman. The momentary lapse in judgement and independent thinking by me led to a night of unending torture for my future wife. Not only did my in-laws see me wearing a dress, a long wig and a face full of make up, but I was also introduced to many of Beth’s closest friends as a woman. From the moment I showed up at her door until the second she was sprawled across the bed in a drunken stupor, Beth just kept asking “why?” It went from a coherent and dismayed “why?” to a mumbling and tear ridden “why?” I don’t know quite how many drinks Beth ended up consuming that night, but it’s safe to say that is was well beyond what she was capable of handling. Fortunately, my poor judgement didn’t cost me my future with my wife. Thankfully, she ended up being a good sport about the whole evening, realizing that dressing as a woman was not going to be a way of life for me.
Maybe that whole night could have gone a lot more smoothly if I didn’t struggle so much with a costume selection. Had the same thing happened today, I would have just gone online to a company like that offers plenty of choices for men’s costumes. It would have saved my wife the agony and embarrassment she endured that Halloween evening. Now who is to say that one of the costumes I could choose from now wouldn’t have been an embarrassment for my wife? It would probably be wise for me to stay away from a few of the selections like “Pimpin in Style”and “Buck Wild” outfits and stick with some more of the conservative choices like the “Big Bad Wolf,” “Gangster Guy” or “Robber” costumes. The online site offers a very wide selection of costumes to choose from and they can be delivered to your house within days.
Now if you are a parent and are thinking about checking out the site for your next costume party, be careful about not having children around when you are browsing. In addition to offering adult costumes, clothing, jewelry and many different accessories, specializes in relationship enhancement garb and products that are best left unseen by kids. That doesn’t mean you should feel guilty about viewing the site. Navigating through the site is very easy and the content is tastefully organized. While human sexuality is not a topic often covered by Role Mommy, we are not blind to the fact that many people out there look for ways to spice it up a bit with their partner. Who those people are and descriptions of what they do to improve their relationships doesn’t need to be addressed here. But if you and your partner are seeking a relationship spark, then could be a great site for you. And if you are concerned about what may show up a your front door, the company has a discreet worldwide shipping policy along with hassle free returns.
It will be difficult to go through the site and not laugh just a bit or even a lot. I’m sure you will find yourself saying, “never in a million years” a few times as well. And that is what makes the site uniquely appealing. They have a wide selection of everything and for everyone. From the guy like me who could have just used a good Halloween costume one night to the woman looking to get dressed up as a French Maid for her husband on their anniversary, has something for everyone.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by However, my incredibly embarrassing costume story and my review of the site’s offerings are entirely my own.

A Letter to My Dad on Father’s Day

Dear Dad,
2loB0O1pIQN9ieovpkPWs5CUBrMYeamC5XotVKH1oxo,KUqHVUDintg3vopLPlTTd43cyTfiEkn6sA-WYJ3PXm0,OkL-uelFihkqsFhd7MUQZ5yxvzDkVImAuCNA3_dP8ek.jpgI know I don’t really say it that often, but figured with Father’s Day right around the corner, I wanted you to know how much you mean to me. From as early as I could remember, you have always been the driving force in my life who has inspired me to do what I love, perform in front of hundreds of people, push myself to the limits and never give up. I live my life by following your lead and throughout your life, you have always managed to do the things that make you happy. Whether it’s performing in a show, tap dancing, playing tennis or doing the hustle with mom, you have lived a life anyone can truly be proud of.
You’ve also been one of my biggest supporters — whether it was cheering or letting out audible sighs in the stands during a tennis match, attending all my singing performances and shows and being that voice of reason in my life who has told me not to take crap from anyone and truly share what’s on my mind. I know I’m more like mom in that I keep things bottled up until I spontaneously burst, but I do want you to know that as I’m getting older, I am getting more bold about sharing what I truly feel and it actually feels good when I give people a piece of my mind.
On the career and community front you have always been a pioneer and a leader. I still remember how you played an instrumental role in being one of the original educators to become involved in the Special Olympics back in the 1970’s. At work, you were always known as a tough cookie, but for your close friends and co-workers, you were a total mush. And at home, you managed to always land the job as President of the Neighborhood Association. Everyone in the community could always count on you. So much so, that they even have confused you with being the “Super” – calling you when the plumbing went, a window needed fixing or if they had lighting issues!
Dad, you and I have shared some incredible memories – especially when I took you to Nashville for the CMA Awards and you helped me out on the red carpet – handing bottled water to Brad Paisley and all the other country stars and even wrote a song called the Jewish Cowboy.
And speaking of your poems — they are truly legendary. I’ll never forget the poem you wrote for me on my wedding day — I have that one framed in my bedroom and am grateful that I inherited your knack for finding ways to tell a story or re-write a lyric with a clever rhyme.
Let’s not forget your fabulous gift for storytelling. You even started to write a few children’s books when the kids were little and we surprised you on a special birthday by publishing Grandpa Fix-It. Sure it may not have been a bestseller, but among the Feldman and Stollers, it’s a family favorite.
I also know that you tend to have a short fuse when things don’t go your way and honestly, that has led to some of the most memorable and comical moments in my life. Like the time you used to start our humongous Plmouth Fury with the words “Son of a Bitch.” Or the day Eric and I got caught shoplifting fishing equipment at Jamesway in Port Jervis and you smoked about three packs of cigarettes in an hour. Okay, maybe that’s a memory that should be left in the fishing pole section. But I digress.
There’s also another amazing trait that you have that was once embarrassing for me that I now use along with my husband Darin when we are unhappy with the way we are treated. I remember cringing whenever you’d complain about the service or food in a restaurant only to be amazed when the waiter or waitress gave us a free item or lowered our bill. But the best time was when we went to Italy on Perillo tours and after a friend told you to use his name because he had had an awful experience on the tour, you made sure to call Mario Perillo and explain you were concerned and he told you not to worry, they’d take good care of us. When we arrived at the airport the day of our trip, you told the woman at the check in counter, “You must be expecting us. We’re the Stollers,” and to our surprise, she said yes and upgraded us to first class!
IMG_3104.JPGDad, you know exactly how to live life. On your terms, telling people exactly what’s on your mind, all while doing what you love. You’ve been performing since you were a toddler and still do it to this day. You are 75 years old and still can run me ragged on the tennis court. You can still save us a bundle at a restaurant if a waiter trips up or the food doesn’t live up to your expectations, and you have always been in my corner throughout my childhood, my career and my life as a wife and mother.
I love you very much and want you to know that you are an amazing dad who has instilled a sense of creativity and curiosity that I plan to take with me throughout my life. For that I am grateful and wish you the very best Father’s Day.
Love always,

Is Your Kid Telephone Challenged?

teens and mobile phonesHow many arguments did you get into with your parents growing up about not monopolizing the house phone? Call waiting was the greatest invention as far as my mom was concerned. I could no longer be oblivious to the fact that someone else might be trying to contact her while I was yapping to friends about nonsense. Parents and kids just don’t have those fights anymore. The busy signal has become virtually obsolete and since anyone and everyone has their own mobile phone, there is no need to quibble about whose call is more important. And while technology has eliminated that problem, it has created one far more severe. Those smartphones are creating a generation of socially awkward misfits that only know how to express themselves with their thumbs and not their mouths. I am shocked and somewhat dismayed by the inability of most teenagers to talk on the phone. I don’t want to pat myself on the back too much, but I have actually been able to get my daughter to talk to her friends on the phone and even call potential employers for summer job opportunities. I’m still working on it with my son, but it is definitely moving in the right direction.
Emails and texts undoubtedly have a very useful and important place in social circles. But like with everything else in life, the pendulum has swung way too far. Our kids are hiding behind texts and social media tools to express themselves instead of intellectually and emotionally challenging each other through verbal communication. We all know tone and intent is lost in texts and emails. Of course one can add the annoyingly silly emoticons to help convey sentiment in the written messages, but is that what our next generation has been reduced to? I have grown tired of seeing teenagers take cover behind their phone screens. It has become way too easy to shoot your mouth off without ever saying a word. Verbally spewing hurt and stupidity is a lot more difficult to do than to write it. And the bigger problem for kids long term, is that they never develop the appropriate filters of what to say, how to say it and who to say it to. They have become accustomed to having a blank writing canvas to communicate whatever is on their minds.
I cringe when I hear about boys asking girls out on dates via text. It’s pretty safe to say the break ups usually occur that way as well. Information gathering, whether it’s for school or social events, always seems to be via text. My daughter has gotten so much better about calling her friends to relay important information and details to me about social and educational activities. In the past, the conversation with my daughter went like this; “did you find out the info for ….” and she would say “yeah”. I would ask, “what did she say?” My daughter’s response was, “oh she texted me”. I said, “uh uh, call her up and find out everything that you know I want to know.” Now we no longer argue about it, she just does it. I’m not naive enough to think that texting as the primary means of communication is just temporary and I certainly do it enough myself. But we need to make sure that our kids are equipped with the ability to talk on the phone when the situations call for it. I’m afraid most teens just aren’t and just sound like bumbling buffoons when forced to do it. So what can you do to help prepare them?
1) As a parent, refuse to communicate with your own child via text. If they need to tell you something or vice versa, force them to talk to you on the phone.
2) Have your child call a relative, grandparent for distant friend at least once per week.
3) Next time your child wants to be taken to a store for something special, make him or her call the place first to find out the hours they are open and if they have the desired item in stock.
4) If going out for a family dinner and need a reservation, have your kid call the restaurant to make it. And no, do not allow them to go on Open Table.
5) Do not allow your kids to text while they are driving as passengers in the car with you. Tell them they are allowed to communicate with their friends, but only by phone.
6) Next time a telemarketer calls your house, force your kid to answer it and talk to the person on the other line. Tell your kid that you are too busy to take the call but that you are actually interested in what the telemarketer might be offering.
7) Encourage the use of FaceTime, Skype and other forms of communication that actually require talking to and seeing the person live.
8) Have your child call someone he or she knows when the time is appropriate, to either offer congratulations for a happy occasion, or extend their condolences or sympathies for something sad or unfortunate.
9) Have your child call someone for directions. “Can’t you just use GPS? ” will most certainly come right back at you. Be strong and insist that it doesn’t work.
10) And finally, I can’t believe I would suggest this. I will deny it if anyone ever asks me if I actually recommended it. Give your kid the okay to make a prank phone call once in a while. The call should be harmless and in good fun where the only thing that was lost was a person’s time. But the prank can’t be a ring and hang up. It has to be well thought out dialogue that wants the person on the other side of the line to feel compelled to stay on the line. By the way, you probably will do just fine with the first 9 tips suggested, but since top ten lists are so big, we threw this one in here.
If you have some tricks of your own to get your kid on the phone instead of texting, by all means, do whatever it takes. We as a society need to get the gift of gab back and the only way that will ever be done is with practice.


IMG_1871.jpgI pride myself on the relationship I have with my daughter. Sure we have more than our fair share of knock down drag out fights, but they are usually resolved the same day and there are never personal attacks involved. We argue over things that happened or didn’t happen, not about who each of us are as people, which I believe is critical to a good relationship between any two parties. Rebecca knows (hopefully) that she can literally tell me anything and it will be without embarrassment for her or judgement by me. But there seems to be a lingering issue over the last 10 months between us that just won’t go away. And it was brought to my attention again the other night when I nudged my wife to tell me if there is anything going on with Rebecca that I should know about. As close as Rebecca and I are, I always like reassurances from my wife that I’m not missing anything. Well I’m glad I asked. Beth informed me that our daughter feels I am at odds with her about her self proclaimed “feminist” status and it bothered her a lot more than I realized.
At the beginning of the school year. Rebecca mentioned a few times to Beth and me that she considers herself to be a feminist. Rudely, I chuckled a bit insisting to myself and to her that she was nothing close to being a feminist. My first question to her was why she views herself as such and she attempted to articulate her beliefs. While I agreed with everything she was saying, I told her she is not a feminist and came just a little short of demanding that she stop calling herself that. The label really bothered me and I wanted her to stop connecting herself to a word that I didn’t believe truly reflected her ideologies, demeanor or interaction with others. The argument has persisted throughout the year, varying in intensity at different times, depending on my state of mental fatigue. Interestingly, the feminist issues that Rebecca told me were important to her were not the source of disagreement. She wants equal pay for men and women. So do I. She believes in reproductive rights for women. So do I. She is against domestic and sexual violence toward women. So am I. In fact, on just about every issue that Rebecca ever brought up as to why she considers herself to be a feminist, I was in agreement. And as we discussed each issue that she considered to be at the core of her feminist beliefs, she eventually looked at me and told me that I was a feminist too. Part of me laughed and the other part was taken back by her glib banter.
Despite my socially liberal views, I was always turned off by the word feminist. I associated the word as a cause being synonymous with hostility toward men or misguided anger. Part of it might trace back to my days in college when I was surrounded by many feminist activists who always just seemed antagonistic by nature. Again, the causes they were fighting for were more than justified, but I usually found their personalities to be off-putting, Chivalrous gestures often seemed to be construed as sexist acts for things that were simply common courtesy. Once asked by a woman why I felt the need to hold the door for her, I was stumped to offer an intelligent response. It wasn’t because I thought of her as being too weak to open the door herself or that I could increase my chances of getting her phone number for a date. (By the way, to the woman that I had that exchange with, I still think you are an a…) Like many people, it’s just what I would do for anyone. I guess for me, I’m a person who finds who delivers a message and the way that it is delivered to be just as important as the message itself. And too often I found the feminist message being communicated by people that I simply didn’t care to be around.
But for a guy who was primarily raised by his working mother and was taught that everyone deserves to be treated equally and with respect, irrespective of race, religion, age or gender, it would be hard to imagine that I would be anything other than supportive of the issues related to feminism. Even at a time when sexual orientation was a taboo topic, I grew up knowing that heterosexuals and homosexuals should never be treated differently. Maybe that doesn’t quite describe feminism, but you get the point. And as we fast forward to the parenting years for my two teenagers, it would be difficult to say I’m not supportive of feminist issues when it is my wife who is the sole income producer for our household since 2014. I was able to leave my job and venture off into a new career because I was confident that my partner would be able to take care of our financial needs for a period of time as I built my new business. I have tried to slice it and dice it every which way I could to see why Rebecca was wrong when she labeled me as a feminist as well. While I retorted, “yeah right”, she indeed was correct. It kills me to say it because the word just doesn’t sit well with me. However, at the end of the day, does it really matter if I like the word or not? It is the issues that matter, not the label they are put under. Maybe that will change one day, and a time will come where I will out myself as the feminist that I really am. But for now, I think I will just say that I am “pro gender equality.” That just sounds so much better to me.

Five Easy Ways to Be a Secret Santa This Holiday Season

santa-clip-art-3.gifReceiving and giving gifts around the holidays to friends and family is insanely routine. It’s a pleasure for many, and a dreaded chore for others. For me, its definitely the latter. But think about how different you feel when you get a gift from someone totally unexpected during the most random time of year. I know that I am more likely to remember when a friend bought me lunch for $20 in April than when I get a new $100 sweater from someone in December. If you are like me, there is fun in finding ways to make memorable moments for people even if you don’t know them. Since the holiday season is supposed to be about fun and giving, I have identified a few ways that you can accomplish both by being a Secret Santa to the public without breaking the bank.
1) Pay the toll for the car behind you when you are traveling assuming that you are in the cash only lane. I mean it really sucks to have to deal with traffic during the holiday season. Can you imagine how happy you made that person behind by forking over $5 for the toll. (may not want to do this on the George Washington Bridge where its like $17 to $100 now to get over)
2) Pay for a large cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts (or Starbucks or Coffee Bean or McDonalds or wherever you get your caffeine fix) for someone when you leave. Don’t worry, the person behind the counter won’t think you are crazy and more often than not they will follow your instructions. If they don’t, then shame on them.
3) Pay for two drinks (alcoholic or non) next time you are sitting down at a restaurant. Make sure the server does not identify you to the recipient of the drinks and do not stare at them while they are consuming them!
4) Pay for two tickets to the movies next time you are standing in line at one of the mega movie complexes. Hopefully you can find an independent small movie theater but sadly, those seem to exist anymore. You can accomplish the same thing by buying two bags of popcorn which will cost you less. (probably not a lot less) But I find the food concession lines at these theaters to be unbearably long and slow so you may not want to put yourself through the aggravation. Again, don’t stand around waiting to see if the recipient of the tickets knows its you that bought them.
5) Pay for someone’s breakfast at the diner. (best to take a look at the prices on the menu first just to make sure the diner doesn’t think Emeril Lagasse is working in the back) But is there a better way to start off someone’s day than having them be told that their meal is free?
If for some reason these Secret Santa suggestions don’t fit your style, then go and find a way to make a difference in someone’s life where it really counts. Donate to a food bank, visit a soup kitchen, give away some toys or buy a meal for a homeless person on the street. Make the holiday season mean something more than just a routine gift exchange. Only corporate America benefits from that.

Candy Crush School

Role Daddy, Darin Feldman weighs in on the latest classes he’d like to propose for New York Schools…
New York City will be lifting the ban on students bringing cell phones to school! Its a tremendous victory for the 5 boroughs, Mayor De Blasio and for kids and parents in the region. The significance of such a move, especially by New York city, can’t be understated. Given the timing, I thought it would be a good idea for all communities to look at their school systems and see how educators can make mobile devices more meaningful and functional tools in our children’s lives. Our country’s economic fortunes start and finish with the investment we make in education, making it imperative for us to embrace technology and figure out how we can make our children more productive with it. While I have compiled a list of classes that I believe should be taught for students here in New Rochelle, they in no way are meant to be a “common core” curriculum for schools outside the area. I firmly believe that the technology needs differ by region and that the classes to be taught should be decided at the local level. With that being said, here is the list of classes I am proposing.
1) Texting Lingo 101 – I think we would all agree that its very difficult to teach and equally challenging to learn if we are not coming at it using the same language. Acronyms can be very frustrating to learn at first, especially if not used or taken in the right context. I believe my mother would have benefitted tremendously from such a class just knowing that LOL more often means “laugh out loud” instead of “lots of love”. It was always so hard for me to understand why my mom always ended a text conversation with me by laughing out loud. But she wasn’t laughing, she just wanted to tell me she loved me.
2) Group Setting Socialization and Conversation – When kids are with their friends just talking and hanging out, its important that not all of their attention be given just to the people present. They probably have many other friends and more likely, just acquaintances that are not with them at that given moment. These students need to be taught the finer nuances of acting like you are part of a conversation, but really just engaging in text talk, snap chats or instagramming with other people that are no where in sight.
3) Dating 101 and Breaking Up – The days of working up the nerve to ask someone out on a date, face to face are long over. No one should have to deal with that anxiety when the phone can do the trick. Students need to learn at what point during a text conversation it’s appropriate to ask a person out on a date. How many exchanges should there be? What happens if the person doesn’t text back right away? How long should the initiator wait for a response before resending that text? The closing part of the course should deal with the inevitable break up. I don’t imagine this portion of the class will take too long if the students can learn the acronym INYIM. (Its Not You, Its Me) I failed to mention that this course should only be taken by students that took the Group Setting Socialization and Conversation class. Being able to look at your phone while being out with your date is a critical skill that may not guarantee a long lasting relationship, but will certainly boost the odds.
4) Driving While Blindfolded – Asking teens not to text while driving is just an unrealistic exercise in futility. Instead of making it illegal to text while driving, we should equip them with the skills needed to do both simultaneously. Yes, distracted driving is tantamount to driving while blindfolded. So then why aren’t kids just being taught to drive with blindfolds for certain increments of time? The more our kids can learn to rely on their other senses besides vision while driving, the safer our roads will be for all.
5) Learning how to Tweet – This one is a no brainer. Parents want to be involved in the education of their children. They should have the ability to be part of it in real time. There is no reason to wait until after school to find out how a kid did in class. All classroom activity, by both the teachers and the students, should be recorded via Twitter. Teachers will tweet their questions to the class and pupils can tweet their responses. One basic 30 minute prep class for all students on how to use Twitter on their mobile device is all it takes at the beginning of each school year. Tweets from parents during class should be encouraged, but not required.
6) Candy Crush – The idea of schools still requiring some form of physical education in a student’s curriculum seem a bit archaic given the technology we have today to help occupy their time. More importantly, maintaining gymnasiums and fields is a costly undertaking for all schools. Given that very few students ever become professional athletes, we would probably be better off leaving physical activity of students to the private sector. Those periods of time that are now freed up by the elimination of gym should be used for classes on Candy Crush and other popular mobile device games that teach kids to think on their own and have recreational fun on their own when friends aren’t around.
We have really come so far with technology. Its about time that our schools start using that technology to prepare our children for the future. I would hate to think what the consequences might be otherwise.

No Bow Necessary

English: Tim Tebow, a player on the Denver Bro...

English: Tim Tebow, a player on the Denver Broncos American football team. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Kansas City Chief’s safety Husain Abdullah was flagged for kneeling in prayer after his pick six touchdown against the New England Patriots, voices of protest prompted the NFL to admit that it erred in assessing a penalty.  Realizing that it was not excessive celebration, but a religious gesture permitted by league rules, the NFL assured fans that it doesn’t have a double standard.  If Tim Tebow was allowed to do the “Tim Tebow” as religious expression, then players of any faith should be be given the same treatment.  No doubt that what is good for one player in the NFL should be good for all.  But why does the NFL or any professional sports league feel compelled to allow players to publicly express their “religious beliefs”?  How often do your office co-workers prostrate themselves after the closing of a successful business transaction, the receiving of a promotion or exceeding a quarterly budget goal?  I certainly never did. The truth is that “religious expression” for most professional athletes is nothing more than thinly veiled self adulation and ego pumping.  Allowing athletes to express their appreciation to a higher being is not protection of religious freedom, its a mockery of it. 

Although not a devout Jew, I am proud of my faith and have a strong belief in G-d.  I look to G-d for help when in need as well as show gratitude for good fortune. But unless I’m in a house of worship, the connection I feel to G-d is never on public display.  Amazingly, at a recent little league baseball game for my son, I saw one of his teammates approach the batter’s box, do the sign of the cross, look up at the sky and send it a kiss.  Afterwards, I said to the kid, “I saw you kiss the sky before you batted, I didn’t realize you were religious”. He simply responded, “I’m not, it’s just fun to do”.  It’s not too difficult to figure out where he learned the routine. It is common practice to see MLB players across the league perform the same cross ritual before a turn at bat or after a successful plate appearance.   These players, whether its baseball, football or any other sport, want to let the fans know that G-d is responsible for their success and the multi million dollar contracts they are blessed to have.  That very well may be true. 
But isn’t that same G-d responsible for their failures as well?  After a disappointing loss, do we hear players comment that “G-d did not want us to win or I am in a terrible hitting slump because G-d does not want me to hit the ball”?  Of course not.   Because its not about players having strong religious convictions, its about showmanship.  I’m sure there are many athletes out there where the religious expressions and gestures are heartfelt.  Wouldn’t it be nice to see how these athletes demonstrate their love and appreciation of G-d when they are not scoring touchdowns, not hitting home runs or not scoring baskets?
Are these athletes kissing the sky after their planes successfully land coming home from a road game?  Are they bowing down in the hospital after the birth of their children?  Are they praising the lord when they safely get out of their car and arrive at the stadium.  And are they quickly getting on their knees in prayer when seeing a fellow teammate get injured?   Wouldn’t all of these things fall under G-d’s will? 
Humility is endearing and good to see when players sincerely attribute their successes in life to their religious faith.  But no matter what the sport might be, we don’t need to see the theatrics on the field.  Husain Abdullah, did G-d have so much time on his hands Monday night that he wanted to make sure you would intercept a pass by Tom Brady and return it for a touchdown?  Is that why you bowed?  I’m sure controlling the spread of the Ebola virus was the least of G-d’s concerns when you had a football game to play.   To all of you athletes that want to thank G-d for your success, show it to us off the field.  Go help someone that can’t help himself.  I can’t think of a better way to show your love of G-d and appreciation for your success than by simply giving back.  And there are no 15 yard penalties for doing that.    

Second Chances

Role Daddy Darin Feldman reflects on the NFL, Ray Rice and whether the football gridiron deserves a second chance…
Knocked out cold! That’s what we all saw. Two people walked into an elevator, the doors closed, and in a split second, a man delivered a devastating blow to a woman that caused her to fall, hit her head and lay unconscious. Then dragged out from the elevator like a sack of laundry, the woman was unconscionably left on public display laying face down and motionless by that same man. Most people would assume that only a heartless street thug would be capable of committing such an act. But it wasn’t. It was the highly revered All Pro running back, 2013 Super Bowl champion, Ray Rice.
Say it ain’t so Ray! This surely can’t be the Ray Rice we have embraced nationally as a beloved powerhouse running back and locally as a home town hero for his exemplary community service. Unquestionably, Ray has been a model of generosity financially and with his time, giving back to programs that once helped him become the star he is today. While we all “knew” what happened that night in Atlantic City, the absence of start to finish optical evidence gave us hope that maybe Ray’s actions weren’t as bad as surmised and everything could just go back to the way it was. He could once again be an iconic football hero. Without seeing what actually transpired in the elevator, people took solace in the human spirit that to forgive is divine and that everyone deserves a second chance. Unfortunately for Ray, the unexpurgated tape eventually did surface and it was uglier than what most could ever imagine. So we now get to question the societal tenet that everyone deserves a second chance.
Surely not all transgressions are forgivable and not everyone is afforded a chance at redemption. We will never see Bernie Madoff manage money again and it is equally unlikely that disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong will ever see another endorsement deal. When we grant someone a second chance, we are really opining on the egregiousness of a person’s actions. The offender is being judged on the severity of his action, the likelihood of reoccurrence and how remorseful he seems to be.
Violent encounters like what Ray Rice did are horrible for everyone involved. The victim is traumatized both physically and emotionally, and the aggressor is left to deal with guilt, shame, and the legal repercussions. This form of cyclical behavior is tragic, but the cycle can be broken. Treatment for mood disorders is readily available and it is often mandatory for people like Ray Rice with violent impulses. Thankfully, a large variety of treatment services exist online. Anyone battling with tension and anxiety should seriously consider these services, as they are just a few clicks and a phone call away.
Demonstration of contrition takes many forms. Sometimes its simply “I’m sorry.” Other times, we need more. Show us that you are really sorry! It appeared that Ray’s public apology was heartfelt. But to whom was the apology really directed? Was it to the NFL and his teammates because of the distraction he created and the games that he will miss? Or more importantly, was is it to the countless number of women abused by men whose situation was exacerbated by a public figure’s actions making domestic violence seem acceptable? Ray’s commitment to becoming a future advocate for speaking out against domestic violence seemed perfunctory at best. Showing up at high school alma mater football game and being a sideline spectacle is probably not the best way to show how sorry you really are Ray.
How likely is reoccurrence? Well Ray already told us that it was a 30 second mistake in his life and that it would never happen again. Was the mistake in getting caught on film or was it truly a momentary lapse in all judgement and sensibilities? What was it about that evening that made it so unique from any other night that makes this a one time occurrence? Predicting future behavior is an impossible task but we are asked to do it all the time. And our best tool for seeing into the future is to look into the past. The past is no guarantee of the future, but its our best source of information for guessing it. And this is why the full, unedited version of the tape is so important in our “second chance” verdict for Ray.
What we witnessed on the elevator that evening wasn’t a video of a man just being physically inappropriate with his partner. It was inexplicable rage! Rage like that is rarely a random one time event. Hard to imagine that the first time a man physically assaults his partner is just with one “knock out” punch. So how many times have there been physical altercations between Ray and his wife. Vegas odds say its a lot more than one. Again, history does not predict the future, but it does a pretty good job of showing whats in store.
Should Ray Rice be allowed to play in the NFL again? The answer really comes down to how confident you are that this type of behavior will never happen again. Based on what we saw, how could anyone ever come to that conclusion?
Darin Feldman is the co-founder of A-Game Sports, a youth sports program and facility opening in 2015 in Westchester County, New York. He’s also the husband of Role Mommy founder, Beth Feldman and will be contributing regularly as Role Daddy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Written by Role Mommy contributor, Eric Ruhalter
Thanksgiving is a fine and wholesome tradition in American family holidays. Kids don’t revere it as much of a holiday since they do not receive gifts from some mysterious source to whom they’re not required to write a thank you note. But, nonetheless, it’s a time when families get together. A time for traditions to be born and to be honored. A time when your kids get to fight with cousins they might not see much the rest of the year.
The fancy dishes come out! The gravy boat! The ceramic butter dish! A centerpiece that might at first glance cause you to reach for your leaf blower.
But more often than not, there’s also a less fancy kids’ table, and that’s where all the real fun happens.
At the kids table all bets are off. Dignity goes by the wayside.
Table manners and Kids’ Table Manners are two entirely different animals Belching and food fights are not frowned upon, they are the catalyst for raucous laughter and increasingly worse displays of decorum. Last year the kids table somehow managed to erupt into the Cha Cha Slide and then into simulations of WWF Smackdown moves. At the grown up table you hear words like “thankful” and “blessing” At the kids table it’s “fart” and “boogar.” Just a generation apart.
Kids, it seems, are immune to Triptophan. Evidently when mixed with the sugars of heaping self-servings of homemade cookies, cakes and pies, turkey serves only to rile kids up. And rile them up, it does. After dinner there’s hordes of running around, drowning out the sounds of football games, rolling on the floor, throwing around the football outside until it regresses into a bench clearing brawl. Just another in a long line of traditions I suppose.
One question always nags at me, though. If it’s a time for giving thanks, why is it called “Thanksgiving” and not “Givingthanks”? Who thought up this holiday, Yoda?
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Eric Ruhalter lives in Morristown, NJ with his wife and 3 kids. Eric is the author of the parenting humor book: “Phrazzlers: Funny New Words to Describe the Wild World of Parenting.” See funny videos and slideshows at