Monday, July 30, 2018

Coaching and Connection -- Prime Driving Instructor Danny Gibbons Uses Instructor Skills with His Daughters and New Drivers

There’s no doubt that Danny Gibbons is the very proud father of three young, adult daughters. Just ask him and he’ll tell you about their achievements, their college degrees and graduate degrees. He is understandably pleased with what they accomplished and his ability to support them financially because of his job with Prime, Inc.

Danny started driving with Prime almost 11 years ago and then moved into the role of training and coaching new drivers. “I used to coach my girls’ sports activities, so it was just a natural thing for me to help aspiring drivers learn the skills they need to drive a big truck.” In addition to training others, Danny has won a number of awards for his driving skill, including three time “Instructor of the Year”  and the “Million Mile Award” for safe driving.

Danny’s specialty or expertise lies in the area of driving a flatbed truck. He said he was drawn to it because flatbeds usually go to more rural or suburban areas, whereas “re-fers” (refrigerated trucks) are more typically bound for big cities. He also enjoys the challenge of hauling different or unique roles. One of his most unusual or challenging loads was a 35,000--40,000-pound motor.

Danny knows a lot about 18-wheelers, but he also is pretty savvy when it comes to kids. Over the years, he has developed a number of strategies for staying connected with his daughters. One year one of his daughters developed a map of the U.S. with one that displayed all the places he driving for Prime with string and tacks. At the end of the year he was pleased to receive the map in a more permanent form as a gift and tribute from her.

Of course, Danny, has also made it a practice to stay in regular communication with his daughters. “Can you see the moon tonight?” he’s asked. “What does it look like?” He said that looking at the same moon at the same time helps a dad and child to feel closer, even when their hundreds of miles apart. He also suggests having a “special song” so that every time a child hears it, she remembers, “My dad is thinking about me.”

Prime Good Dads is all about helping fathers be more engaged and connected with their kids “for the long haul.” Driving a long-haul truck has its challenges and fathers obviously miss their families, but Danny Gibbons is proof that a dad can stay “engaged” with his child even when he can’t be present physically. Our hats are off to him and many other drivers like him. Thanks Danny!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Dr. Shelby Smith knows men are notably bad about taking care of themselves and he’s trying to do something about that. Three years ago he and his partners, Dr. Mark Chambers and Dr. Teresa Troy formed Equality Healthcare with a fundamental assumption: Everyone is equal. No one is the same.

Their mission statement reads as follows:

We believe everyone deserves easy access to affordable, quality healthcare. And that’s why we’re changing the healthcare equation. It’s affordability plus transparent pricing plus relationship-driven primary care minus insurance driven medicine. The sum? Equality Healthcare.
Drs. Smith, Chambers and Troy may be on to something, especially when it comes to men’s health. A recent study in Men’s Health reported that, “. . . among the 1,006 Americans surveyed, more than a quarter of the millennials in that group were skipping doctor's visits because of their fear of incurring a high medical bill.

Cost, however, is not the only excuse given. According to Science Daily: Rather than make appointments to see their family doctor on a regular basis, men are often more likely to make excuses for not going. The top three excused include 1) being too busy; 2) being afraid of finding out something might be wrong with them; and 3) discomfort with certain body exams such as prostate checks.

Dr. Smith has been a very popular speaker for two of the Good Dads Tuesday Lunch Series. His warmth, intelligence and sense of humor about men and their health make him an ideal presenter. Not only do people laugh, they also learn a great deal
We wanted an update from Dr. Smith and recently invited him to join us for a Good Dads podcast to discuss common problems with health during the summer months. Our conversation covered a number of topics, including preventing and treating insect bites, ticks, rashes, sunburn and impetigo. As the father of two, soon to be three sons, Dr. Smith was full of helpful information for good dads and their kids. We hope you’ll listen to this podcast and see for yourself.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Simple Summer Fun . . . Lasting Life Lessons -- Springfield Dad, Kevin Weaver

My grown boys like to tease my wife and I about all of the “free manual labor” we received from so wisely having three, strapping boys, all born within a 4.5-year span. While help around the house and family property certainly did not drive any family planning, I won’t lie to you—those boys were pretty darn helpful. In the fall, they would assist me in raking and bagging what seemed to be endless piles of leaves. Winter would realize each holding their own, bright, red, snow shovel diligently plowing paths (often in racing format) on not only our driveway, but those of nearby neighbors.  Springtime signaled the weeding of the flowerbeds, followed by the spreading of bark chips. And summer? Summer, especially for the years we had acreage with a fairly large body of water—mowing, weed eating and treating the pond took up many a Saturday.

But, here’s the thing: With the work, came the reward. And even the grown-ups know, reward can be quite fun.

Don’t get me wrong. We didn’t just bless our children, when they did things for us. I mean, just typing that feels wrong. Children deserve our unconditional love, regardless. But, the reality of life is that a whole lot of work goes into making way for play, and we just tried to seize every opportunity we could to model both for our boys.

Summer was especially easy to do so, what with the kids out of school, and the weather most often cooperating for activities that could take us outdoors. Oh, we found fun rewards during the winter months, but those could very well require additional drains on the family budget, such as the admission of a movie ticket or renting bowling shoes. The advantage of being able to expand the spaces, in which we can enjoy our fun, makes summer the perfect time to reap the rewards of jobs well done.

Now, some of you may be thinking, “Wow. This guy couldn’t just have fun with his kids, for the sake of having fun?” Of course, I could, did, and still do. But, while we want to make our kids’ childhoods as blissfully happy and memorable as possible, we also want to set them up for even longer, just as blissful happy and productive adult lives. My boys knew that I would rather be at a theme park with them than at my desk at work. But, they also knew that being faithful at my job was what provided the means for us to go have fun at the theme park.

So, how does the thought of an expensive stay at the Magic Kingdom (or your choice of summer activities) tie in to finding ways to have inexpensive, summer, family fun? We can do things on an inexpensive, regular basis to show our young that work and play can happen every day. We just have to be intentional and strategic.

Each family is unique. I had three boys, you may have one daughter. I had children close together in age, you may have four kids spread out over a 15-year span. I mostly worked days, you may work nights. We love history and sporting events; your family may love musicals and art museums. It is not a competition of outward activities. Rather, it is a common goal of inward engagement—connecting with our kids on a deep level that will last a lifetime. Summer fun can help make that happen. It seems the key is to find the right activities that your whole family can enjoy.  I know . . . easier said than done.

So, even though you will have to find your fun that works best for your family’s tastes, I will share just a few things we found to be particularly rewarding and memorable.

  1. After a hot day of yard work, we would often find a swimming pool, a lake, or simply set the sprinkler under the trampoline and “bounce in the water.” Pre-trampoline days, we once even fashioned our own “poor man’s Slip-n-Slide” from large, black, yard trash bags, and you would have thought we had given the boys the best gift, ever.
  2. Sometimes, we created our own ice cream sundaes or, in the case of our middle son, experiment with some of the weirdest (and grossest) smoothie flavors known to man.
  3. Other times, we headed to a local park, or nearby hiking trail.
  4. If the days were particularly scorching, but we were short on cash, my wife would search out the “dollar movie matinee” opportunities in the area.

Find your version of simple, inexpensive, summer fun. But, don’t be afraid to let your kids see the work that paves the way for the “fireworks.”  Bottom line . . . it’s really all about quality time with your kids.  They will treasure that for a lifetime.

Kevin Weaver, CEO of Network211 and father of three sons, lives with his wife KyAnne in Springfield, MO. He enjoys spending time with family, hunting and watching University of Kansas basketball with his boys! He can be reached at

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Creative Summer Fun on a Budget -- Nixa Dad, Herb Cody

It’s that time of year when the kids are all out of school and my grocery bill doubles. Instead of them grabbing a pop tart on the way out the door, now they wake up expecting pancakes and eggs each morning. Rather than just trying to come up with an idea for dinner, now I’m tasked with creating a lunch menu as well. 

Besides the three meals plus snacks every couple hours, I’ve also gotta entertain my three children during the summer months. We spend the chilly months inside playing cards and board games, so that’s the last thing they want to do now. Right now, the kids are really into tossing the football around, which I love. We also enjoy getting the ball gloves out and tossing around the softballs and baseballs. 

I absolutely dislike when they sit around on their electronic devices all day, so I’m always trying to think of ways of keeping them entertained, while also not overspending. I think the “Kids Bowl Free” option at many of the local bowling locations is a fantastic thing right now. Many of the movie theaters have great matinee movie deals for the youngsters as well. 

On days when it’s rainy or miserably hot outdoors, I’ve gotta get creative with indoor activities. One of our family favorites is indoor sock golf. We pick a spot in the house to begin, and each sink in a hole to shoot for as we toss our sock balls towards each hole. Another thing we like to do as a family when stuck inside, is set up a Nerf gun shooting gallery with paper cups.

My kids love and expect dessert every night. Sometimes I make them earn it. I will set up a scavenger hunt for them to follow clues as they search for their sweet reward. 

Some of my fondest memories as a kid are of having glow in the dark ping pong gun battles, playing dodge ball and hide-and-go seek with my family. I just hope that I am able to create some memorable moments for my children as well.  

Herb Cody is a husband and father of three. He is a part time Uber driver and full time caregiver  of his spouse, who suffered a traumatic brain injury after an auto accident November, 2015. Herb loves football and is a St Louis Cardinals fanatic. He and his family live in Nixa MO. Herb can be reached for questions or comments

You can check out Herb's own blog at,

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

"When Can We Go Fishing?"

Baseball. Ice Cream. Apple Pie. Each is part of an all-American summer for many dads and kids, but there’s another activity many dad, granddads and kids enjoy all over the country—fishing. If you talk to Ron Hartman, father of two grown children, you’ll discover it’s an important part of the “retirement research” he’s doing. A retired pharmacist, Ron claims he has worked for 50 years and finally discovered something he is really good at—a retirement that includes fishing and golf.

Over the years, Ron has developed many happy memories with his kids associated with fishing. He says his daughter was only six-months old when she went on her first camping and canoe outing. When his kids were preschoolers, he and his wife got them in a canoe and went down the river.

Not yet a grandfather, these days Ron devotes some of his fishing time to helping other people’s kids and grand-kids learn to love fishing. He has a few pointers for dads who want to encourage this activity in their children.

1.  When you fish with kids, the dad doesn’t fish. You put your attention on the kids, bait the hook, untangle the line, make it easy. Ron suggests using live bait, namely worms.

2.   Don’t overdo it. On a float trip, stop a lot and allow the kids to explore. Ron says that they especially enjoyed catching live bait, like minnows, in the shallows. Crawdads were also a favorite for his family. Lures are more appropriate for older children.

3.  Try to use decent equipment. Ron advised avoiding, “old junky stuff that doesn’t work right” in favor of good, but not expensive equipment.

4.   Rivers, lakes, streams and ponds are all possibilities for fishing with kids. Use the option that works best for you and your child.

5.   Both canoes and kayaks are choices for river fishing. Ron prefers a canoe because, he says, “I take a lot of stuff.” Both water craft may also often be rented at a public river access.

Although it’s clear Ron loves fishing, if you talk with him much you also see how much he loves nature. He appreciates nature and sharing that love with a child. According to Ron, “They can learn a lot, just by being outside.”

Ron emphasizes the importance of listening to a child, not lecturing, when the two are together. He values the quiet time of just being together noticing the wildlife, enjoying the outdoors without the interruption of electronic stimuli. Ron emphasizes, “Fishing is not a video game. It’s the real thing.”

If you want a real-life experience with your child this summer, consider taking them fishing. It’s likely to be a great memory-making experience for both of you.