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What We’ve Learned from Each Other in the Last 10 Years

In our book, Communication Skills for Teens: How to Listen, Express and Connect for Success, we discuss family communication. Communicating with people you know very well can be tricky. For example, it can be easy to make assumptions based on your past experiences with them. As we grow up, we change and our relationships change, especially between parents and children. Thank you to Robert and Penina Remler for giving us a window into their father-daughter relationship and how they’ve grown together!

Penina: What I Have Learned from my Dad in the Last 10 Years  

Today, you can find my dad and I bonding over our overlapping obsession for all things music, food and most recently— social media related.

However, the truth is, it wasn’t always this way. It took a good 19 years to get to where we are now, but lately, I owe a lot to our complex relationship. While our bond took much longer to build than my instant connection with my mom (who, as a female, just seemed to get it), my dad completely reshaped my perception of patience, making all the difference in my life moving forward.

And, fortunately— that’s not the only thing my Dad has taught me.

He have taught me that I can’t stand the sound of hearing other people chew at the dinner table (including himself), but he also taught me that a family who eats together— stays together.

He taught me that cell phones at the dinner table are at risk for being taken away and/or broken, but he also taught me how important it is to surround oneself around genuine dialogue, which includes people who genuinely listen.

He taught me to stop and slow down as he occasionally would cut me off mid-story, but he also taught me to think about others when speaking and not just hearing my own voice. Consequently, he taught me to listen.

He taught me that the driver has control over the radio, which as a kid was a bummer during carpools, but he also taught me jazz, podcasts, and an appreciation for bands like the Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers whose posters hang up on my wall today.

He taught me sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never harm me.

He taught me the torture of having to spend an afternoon searching for what we assumed was a stolen car, but he also taught me (upon finally finding it), that everything does work out in the end.

It is safe to say that I tried to fight my dad on just about everything growing up, and now that I think about it— most of the time— he was right on point. Maybe it took longer than expected Dad, but you were right— we can’t go ahead and spend our lives sweating the small stuff.


Think You Know How to Raise a Daughter?

Google The Socratic Paradox

Remember 2006?

Barry Bonds sure does. That’s the year Barry hit his 715th homerun. And, Mr. You’llNeverFindMeonAWheaties box wasn’t the only one who has a memory from ten years ago.

The Miami Heat won their first NBA World Championship. Floyd Landis won the Tour deFrance. (Note to readers: You’ll never find Floyd on a Wheaties box either). Tiger Woods was the PGA’s money leader in 2006 with $9,941,563. (Note to readers: You will probably not find a Tiger Woods Wheaties box in the home of the former Ms. Tiger Woods). And, Roger Federer remembers 2006 well. That’s the year he won three out of four Open Finals losing only the French Open to Rafael Nadal. (Question to readers: Did Rafael eat a bowl of Wheaties in Paris the morning he beat Roger?)

So, who cares about that stuff?

In hindsight, not me and here’s why:

Penina, our daughter was nine years of age in 2006 and I was fifty years of age. She called me Dad back then (and still does), but I am surprised she didn’t call me Stalin.

“Stop watching so much television.”

“Sit up straight.”

“Don’t bring food into your bedroom.”

“Go to bed.”

“Time to get up.”

“Finish your food.”

Yo readers, can someone please Facetime Barbara Streisand and tell her to start singing: “What Kind of Fool Am I.” Please, only Barbara’s voice will soothe the anguish I’ve carried around for ten years.

But, don’t feel sorry for me. I’m not looking for sympathy, a pat on the back. The important takeaway is that even though I got it wrong our daughter got it right.

And that’s what men need to know about raising a daughter. Somehow a nine-year-old fifth grader becomes a nineteen-year-old college sophomore whether she sits up straight or not. More importantly, that fifty year-old Stalinesque man eventually realizes that no amount of rules buys anyone a Metro Card on the subway.

“Hey, Penina. Thanks for not letting my rules interfere with your growth process.”

Yo reader, mind if we hit rewind on that line: “Hey, Penina. Thanks for not letting my rules interfere with your growth process.”

Yup, there it is not once, but twice.

Not saying Dr. Seuss got it right or wrong. What matters is this: The difference between 2006 and 2016 is a realization. It’s known as the Socratic Paradox: “I know one thing: that I know nothing.”

True dat.


(Robert and Penina love father-daughter selfies! He posts them to Twitter, and she posts them to Instagram.)