Father Figures: Still Can’t Believe

“I was at Home Depot when I got the call. From the look on my face, the friend I was with immediately knew what I had heard over the phone.

Months later we were in the hospital, my wife was being induced the day before my son’s due date. A few hours passed and the next thing I know I’m cutting the cord and staring at this beautiful cone headed son of mine. Tears welled in my eyes as I thought of the future before us.

4.5 years and a second son later, I still can’t believe I’m a dad.

Each day brings their ups and downs but I wouldn’t change it for the world. There is nothing that matches watching the changes your own children go through day after day. I feel like it was just yesterday that I held this small (not really, 9 pounds!) baby boy in my arms, but next year he’ll be going to school, and the other is catching up quick.

I don’t even remember what it was like to have a house that wasn’t over run with Hot Wheels cars and “Paw Patrol” toys. Time flies, It’ll surprise you, but don’t let it pass you by. Take advantage of every day you have because they’ll never be this age again.”

– Adam Cole

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

New Toy Story 4 Trailer Brings Keanu Reeves Into the Fold

Toy Story 4 Trailer

Keanu Reeves is having quite the run.

His third John Wick movie just knocked Avengers: Endgame off its perch, a fourth Wick movie was immediately announced, he recently announced a brand new Bill and Ted movie due out next year, and now he’s been brought into the Pixar fold with a role in the new Toy Story movie hitting theaters this summer.

We learned from the last trailer that Toy Story 4 sees Woody stranded inside an amusement park, attempting to track down new friend Forky and meeting up with old friend Bo Peep, who has the run of the place, which has a lot more to offer than a little girl’s bedroom.

Reeves is playing Duke Caboom, “Canada’s greatest stuntman,” who is enlisted to help Woody and the gang track Forky down, and in the meantime pull some impressive poses on his signature bicycle. The 54-year-old (I know, right?!) action star really seems to be enjoying himself, putting on a bit of a voice to play the fearless daredevil.

The good news is it’s probably safe to assume that Reeves’s character won’t be shooting hundreds of toys in the head at close range – although this is Toy Story and things have taken some dark turns before… (and I suddenly need to see a Toy Story/John Wick crossover)! Instead, Reeves is lending his voice talents to the role of Duke Caboom, a Canadian toy seemingly modeled on Evel Knievel.

The bad news is Pixar couldn’t find a way to work the action icon’s signature “whoa!” into the trailer. Something tells me the full movie won’t escape so easily.

Check it out:

Study Warns Against Letting Babies Sleep in Car Seats When Not Traveling

Baby Sleeping in Car Seat
(Getty/ MediaNews Group/Boulder Daily Camera)

Every parent knows that when it comes to getting your baby to sleep, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Sometimes that means singing multiple songs, or standing up and rocking them, or buying expensive sound machines or little sleep chairs to do the work for you. Sometimes it means putting them in the stroller and going for a walk. And sometimes it means putting them in the car seat and taking them for a drive.

When it works, it’s glorious, and the last thing you want to do is disrupt that hard-earned snooze by transitioning the kid out of the stroller or the car seat and into the crib. Often it’s not a risk you’re willing to take, especially when you yourself are exhausted beyond belief.

But a new study shows that if you’re not traveling, and not driving, the risk of leaving your baby in that car seat is simply too great.

A new study released by the American Academy of Pediatrics warns parents not to let their kids sleep in car seats and other sitting devices when they’re not traveling, citing the risk of death.

The study shows that when babies die as a result of sleeping in a sitting device, two-thirds of those deaths occur in car seats.

“It really appeared that the deaths in these car seats occurred in the context where the car seat wasn’t being used for its purpose in transporting a child, but instead it was being used as a substitute for a crib or bassinet,” Dr. Jeffrey Colvin, lead author of the study and a pediatrician at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri told TODAY.

According to TODAY, the study’s researchers examined 11,779 sleep-related deaths of infants less than 1-year-old from 2004 to 2014 and found that 348, or 3%, babies died while sleeping in sitting devices, and about 63% happened in car safety seats. And a mere 10% of those happened when the baby was traveling in a car. More than half of the remaining deaths happened in the home, in some cases as a result of the car seat falling from wherever it was resting, or the baby falling out of it.

Just one-tenth of the car seat deaths happened while the device was being used as intended — with the baby strapped into the seat while traveling in a car — the study noted.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve certainly been guilty of letting my kids stay asleep in the car seat once we’ve gotten home. This study is a sobering reminder that just because something is a “safety” device doesn’t mean it can’t be misused.

Sesame Street Introduces Character in Foster Care and Support Initiative

(Twitter/Sesame Street)

Sesame Street, the long-running children’s television program, has always focused on teaching kids and adults the importance of inclusion and kindness.

Now celebrating its unbelievable 49th season, the show continues to find new ways to expand young minds while keeping things fun and entertaining – something any parent of a toddler would certainly say can be a challenge.

Although fan favorites like Elmo and Big Bird have remained a constant, the show has continued to introduce new characters over the years in order to better represent the different lives we all lead.

The newest addition to the neighborhood is Karli, a young muppet currently in foster care.

An average of 443,000 children are living in foster care on any given day, many often spending nearly two years or more in the system before finding a permanent living situation.

May is National Foster Care Month, and while the show has often shed a light on different family situations, Karli represents Sesame Street’s first character living with a foster family.

The furry, yellow Muppet tells her friend Elmo that she lives with her “for-now” parents.

“My mom can’t be with me right now, even though she loves me very much. But then I came here, to stay with my foster parents, and they gave me a big hug and that made my heart feel a little bigger.”

While issues such as this can often be difficult to discuss with your kids, Sesame Street has had decades of experience teaching inclusivity and understanding to our youngest minds as well as those who help raise them.

Last year, the gang welcomed Lily, a 7-year-old homeless muppet that highlighted an issue impacting nearly 2.5 million children in the United States alone.

Julia, a fun-loving 4-year-old muppet with autism joined the cast back in 2017. Earlier this year, the show introduced her family to viewers in an attempt to further highlight that no matter what makes you different, there are many things that make us all the same.

In a previous statement, Sherrie Westin, president of global impact at Sesame Workshop, said that’s really the key.

“Every family faces challenges of some sort, which is why we are focusing on what all families have in common. In a family, everyone has different roles, challenges, and strengths, and everyone can learn from one another.”

Sesame Workshop has set up a resources page for parents, kids and caregivers to learn more about foster care as well as dozens of other topics.

Billionaire Pays off Over $40M in Student Loans for Morehouse College Graduates

(Twitter/Morehouse College)

It’s graduation season and college students across the country are having what is quite possibly one of the best days of their lives thus far.

It’s a hard feeling to beat, that is unless while in cap and gown, someone tells you that your entire student loan will be paid off.

That was the case for 396 seniors from Morehouse College this past weekend.

Billionaire Investor and philanthropist, Robert J. Smith, was finishing up his 2019 commencement speech at the historically black private college in Atlanta, Georgia as he asked all the seniors to rise and embrace one another.

After giving them a moment, Smith made an announcement that will change these men’s lives as well as the lives of those around them indefinitely.

“On behalf of the eight generations of my family who’ve been in this country, we’re going to put a little fuel in your bus.”

He then challenged the alumni in attendance to step as he himself was about to do.

“This is my class, 2019, and my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans.”

As the initially stunned crowd of graduating students began to realize what that meant, a roar filled the air.

While hundreds of students are now rejoicing, there has to be at least one guy that took a year off before going to Morehouse that is really kicking himself right about now.

According to a spokesperson for the school, Smith’s donation will likely pay off around $40 million worth of debt between all of this year’s graduating seniors.

While the donation is staggering in size, chances are the billionaire investor won’t need to eat ramen noodles to stay afloat. Smith’s Vista Equity Partners manages more than $46 billion, overseeing a portfolio of more than 50 software companies.

It’s technology Smith says that will keep creating opportunities for graduates moving forward.

“Technology is creating a whole new set of on-ramps to the 21st-century economy, and together we will help assure that African Americans will acquire the tech skills and be the beneficiaries in sectors that are being automated.”

Smith, a Cornell University and Columbia Business School graduate, received an honorary degree from Morehouse during the ceremony on Sunday.

In addition to his gift to the students of Morehouse, Smith has also signed “The Giving Pledge,” an initiative created by Bill and Melinda Gates wherein ultra-wealthy individuals pledge to give more than half of their estate to causes such as global health initiatives and eliminating poverty around the world.

Hats off to you, Robert J. Smith, and to all the Morehouse grads who will now enter their lives a little lighter on financial stress – hopefully someday getting the opportunity to pay forward this incredible gesture.

Happy 30th Anniversary to the Field of Dreams Scene That Made Us Cry

(Universal Pictures)

Thirty years ago, Field of Dreams gave us the quintessential father-son love letter disguised as a baseball movie.

Sure, you might have a better grasp on the film if you know who “Shoeless Joe” Jackson was or who plays at Fenway Park, but the story really hinges on a father, a son, things left unsaid, and second chances.

And while it gave us the iconic line, “If you build it, he will come,” it also activated everyone’s tear ducts with Kevin Costner’s earnest, “Hey, dad. You want to have a catch?”

(I’d usually give a spoiler warning here, but it’s literally been 30 years, guys)

Looking back, Costner himself talked about how interesting it was that such a seemingly boring line became so memorable.

“It’s not very often that you build an entire movie around a line,” Costner said in an interview with Yahoo Entertainment. “But that’s the power of movies—that we can create a story where those lines have such depth and have such meaning to so many people: You, your dad, people around the country.

“Men really weep; they don’t cry. They kind of weep about things gone unsaid in your life to people you love, and Field of Dreams hit that.”

In fact, to this day, people still approach actor Dwier Brown, who played Costner’s father in the film, to talk about the incredible impact it had on their relationship with their own dads.

“They’ll tell me their dad and them never got along, but they took them to see Field of Dreams and … they start crying,” Brown told the Tampa Bay Times.

“I start crying. I’m standing in a tire store or an airport or wherever, hugging people, patting them on the back. I definitely feel like I’m a traveling priest, hearing father confessions from everyone. It’s extraordinary. But that’s what I got into acting for, to make meaningful movies that people would remember, that would change people’s lives.”

Kevin Costner’s relationship with his actual father, William Costner, did not require the building of a regulation-sized baseball field in the middle of Iowa, thankfully. William was a tough-as-nails, yet loving man from the Dust Bowl who taught his son the inherent value of hard work.

Costner elaborated more on his dad in an interview for 92nd Street Y.

“He only had one job because he was afraid to lose the job he had because he saw so many men out of work,” Costner recalled. “And he said, ‘Don’t ever let anybody out-work you. If there are fifty guys to dig a ditch, you just keep digging it. If you can work all day, you can keep your job.'”

While not directly applicable to acting, it was something Costner remembered during the course of his entire career, providing the grit and tenacity necessary to continue building his resume with award-winning films like Field of Dreams.

(Field of Dreams Movie Site)

Unsurprisingly, the iconic “field” is still up and running in Dyersville, Iowa. Visiting and “having a catch” is free on Sundays, and you can go the VIP route with a catered tour of the field and farmhouse.

Plus, if you find yourself in Iowa next month, you might be able to make their Field of Dreams 30th Anniversary Celebration. The event includes food, live music, a skills competition, and even a softball game under the lights between the Ghost Players (unfortunately, not actual ghosts) and the Iowa Dream Team.

So, go ahead and dust off your copy of the classic film this month, or maybe even take a road trip to Iowa for the genuine Fields experience—just make sure you do it with someone who will appreciate it. Whether that means revisiting it with your father or finally introducing your own kids to the supernatural cornfield, it’s an experience they’re bound to remember.

A Movie Theater in Switzerland Has Beds for Adults and Bean Bags for Kids

Movie Theater with Beds and Bean Bags
(Facebook/Pathé Schweiz)

The standard movie theater experience nowadays isn’t exactly a VIP outing. You have to arrive 15 minutes early to get halfway decent seats, trudge across sticky soda-stained floors, and then awkwardly brush elbows with a stranger during the entire film because of the ridiculously skinny armrests.

Well, Pathé Schweiz in Spreitenbach, Switzerland says enough is enough. They’re on a mission to #MakeMoviesComfortableAgain and they’re doing it with literal beds instead of chairs.

(Facebook/Pathé Schweiz)

Their VIP room features 11 double beds with adjustable headrests and low-lit nightstands, and each guest gets their own sheet, blanket, pillow, and cozy pair of slippers (all of which are switched out between showings, of course).

It’s basically like watching movies at home except you get a massive screen, surround sound, and don’t have to spend 45 minutes scrolling through a Netflix menu beforehand.

(Facebook/Pathé Schweiz)

Your VIP ticket also entitles you to unlimited non-alcoholic drinks and snacks so you can dine while you recline, and you don’t have to worry about getting crumbs in the bed for once!

Are you seeing a flick with the whole fam? Try out the special kid-friendly theater.

(Facebook/Pathé Schweiz)

They replace the beds with humungous beanbags and include a ball pit and slide for good measure.

During the design phase, the theater literally had kids submit ideas so they could get the aesthetic exactly right for their target audience.

(Facebook/Pathé Schweiz)

Movie Theater Beds
(Facebook/Pathé Schweiz)

If you don’t feel like splurging on the full VIP experience, Pathé Schweiz offers plenty of other theaters with plush sofas just waiting for that booty to sink into.

So if you want to feel like the Queen of frickin’ England while watching Keanu Reeves take out an army of assassins in John Wick 3, all you have to do is grab a quick flight to Switzerland.

Young Runner in the Lead Turns Back to Help an Injured Competitor


All too often, the drive to win can be a blinding force for young athletes.

Alright sure, winning is sort of the point, but kids who participate in organized sports are also given an opportunity to learn valuable life skills such as teamwork, communication and yes, even class.

These lessons are often drilled into athletes at the high school level, but for some, they just seem to come naturally.

Such is the case for fifth grader Darius Kruah.

Competing for Mossy Creek Elementary in South Carolina, Darius was poised to win the 100-meter at a meet that took place earlier this month. That is until he looked over his shoulder and saw the runner who had been right behind him, Merriwether Elementary’s Aaren Crane had taken a very hard fall.

As if he completely forgot about the race, Darius turned his steps and attention towards his injured opponent. The simple act of compassion had everyone, including the fallen runner, wondering exactly what was happening.

“I already thought he won the race and was coming back to sit in the bleachers. But then I saw teachers like looking at him like ‘Why’d you stop?’” Aaren told NBC affiliate WAGT.

Darius says he was just doing what he felt was right.

“He got hurt and he wasn’t going to be able to win the race and that wouldn’t be fair so I just thought that I would just lose the race with him just to help him and see if he was okay.”

Aaron had fractured his wrist and while he and Darius awaited further medical attention, Theresa Spieker, an educator from Mossy Creek, captured a photo of the two boys. She posted the shot on Facebook, acknowledging that while he may not have won the race, Darius is certainly still leading by example.

While the two boys had never met before the race, the small gesture has forged a fast friendship between the rival runners.

In sports, as in life, Darius says he believes in paying it forward.

“If you help someone they could go and help someone and they keep on going and help people too,” Darius said, a lesson Aaren took to heart as he and his family pulled over on the way to the hospital to assist another driver in need.

While a simple act of caring for another person shouldn’t be so newsworthy, the fact this has been liked and shared by so many people is a testament to how rare it can truly be.

“What’s in the Box!?” Se7en Parody Beer Ad Stars Brad Pitt’s Brother


Beer commercials are known for their off-the-wall commercials in order to get folks to remember them when they’re craving a cold one, and what’s wackier than a severed head in a box?

Okay, not literally. But a recent commercial by Mother’s Brewing Company in Springfield, Missouri definitely pokes fun at the infamous finale of 1995 mystery/thriller, Se7en, this time replacing Gwyneth Paltrow’s noggin with something a little more on brand for a brewery.

They even recruited Brad Pitt’s brother, Doug, for the lead role.

So Doug Pitt isn’t going to be winning any Oscars anytime soon, but in his defense, no one in this commercial (playfully titled 6ix) is taking their performance too seriously.

Compared to the source material, Mother’s Brewing Company makes their parody over the top family-friendly, replacing all of the blue language with not-quite-as-badass phrases like “what the flip” and “you piece of snot,” and exchanges Brad’s handgun for a highly threatening water hose.

And what’s actually in the box? This time, it’s Mothers’ new Doin’ Good—a 5% ABV orange wheat ale that’s literally doin’ some good.

One hundred percent of proceeds from pints sold on Saturday, May 4th went to Care To Learn – Springfield: an organization that partners with Springfield Public School District to provide immediate funding to meet emergent needs in the areas of health, hunger, and hygiene so more students can be successful in school.

No word yet as to whether Doug checked in with Brad to see if he was cool with a parody of his performance, but if not, a nice cold sixer of a certain orange wheat ale will be sure to smooth things over.