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Father's Daze 

This month we're recognizing the importance of dads with a theme issue timed to coincide with Father's Day. We commissioned the Jedi-dad cover illustration because it perfectly captures the myriad challenges modern-day dads face: Multi-tasking aside, a Jedi seeks to resolve problems through patience, persuasion, tolerance and calming techniques. Most dads can relate. They herd their Padawan learners around the playground, teaching them to use their powers for good, not evil.

My own father, 75, fits the Jedi bill. I spent some extra time with him this month — he's got a heart issue and checked into the Fletcher Allen Health Care "hotel" for a few days. He's fine now, but even flat on his back, I found him trying to sign up some poor nurse to be a Georgia Lions Club member. He's been a part of that community service organization for three decades and is passionate about civic involvement.

By passionate, I mean annoyingly persistent. He was a Jaycee, taught catechism, coached Little League, and served on school boards and planning commissions. He still volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and is active with the Franklin County Dems. Just whisper the word politics and he'll launch into a story as he registers you to vote.

I don't think he changed many diapers — unlike the seven stay-at-home dads in this month's feature by Erik Esckilsen, "Men of the House." Their stories fascinated me in the way they're challenging tradition, and because their experiences are so similar to that of many moms. Sacrificing a career for kids is difficult no matter who you are.

Of course, it's not all cooking and laundry. Looking for summer fun? Check out the first installation of a three-part series of family-friendly day trips. This month, Nancy Stearns Bercaw checks out the Montréal Biôdome — with son David in tow. If you make it all the way to Canada, be sure to check out the "Star Wars Identities" exhibit at the Montréal Science Centre; details are in the "Kids Beat" section on page 8. Four pops make the trip easier in this month's "Go Ask Dad" column by sharing their kid-calming travel tips.

Staying closer to home? Cindy Morgan explores the Shelburne Museum with new eyes — her children's. And Cathy Resmer gets out the power tools for this month's craft project: a raised-bed garden.

Kids VT has "dad" written all over it.

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