A Tribute to Good Fathers

A Tribute to Good Fathers...

Over the years I have written about many of the wonderful experiences I have shared with our daughters. Yet, to be completely honest, you are only seeing half of the story. The unspoken truth behind Playful Learning and all that it has grown into is that I have an incredible partner, Ed Bruehl.

As today is his birthday, I thought that I would share a glimpse into the magic that he adds to our lives on a daily basis, and at the same time, acknowledge fathers everywhere and the incredible difference they are making in the lives of their children.

Please excuse me while I gush a bit. This tribute is a birthday gift to the man that I love dearly.


Here are just a few things that I am ever-so-grateful for…


He reminds us to slow down, notice the beauty around us, and live every moment to the fullest. This is a rock tower that we built at the beach together.


When he is away, he sends photos and tells us how much he loves and misses us.


 A Tribute to Good Fathers...

He demonstrates how powerful it is when a husband truly supports his wife. He is my biggest fan. He believes in me (sometimes more than I believe in myself). He knows exactly when to push me to live into my potential, as well as when to encourage me to slow down and nurture myself.


He sits and talks with the girls everyday, thoughtfully checks in with them if he feels like something is not right, shares his thoughts and opinions with them, and has earned their utmost respect.


He models to our daughters that romance is an important part of a good marriage. He is the perfect date. He really wants to know about me and my thoughts, processes anything I need to talk about, and asks great questions.


A Tribute to Good Fathers

He knows that it is the little things that make lifelong memories (like taking a jacuzzi during a blizzard).


He has the patience of a saint, never criticizes or judges, and takes the time to teach what he knows.

Like surfing (he did not know that I was filming this)…



And skiing…


And skateboarding, diving, rollerblading, riding bikes, honesty, integrity, and other big life lessons…

A Tribute to Good Fathers

He sets an example of someone who challenges himself, strives towards excellence, and at the same time, always makes everyone around him feel great about who they are and what they have to share.


A Tribute to Good Fathers

He takes pride in being a good father and a loving husband… and he walks the talk everyday.


A Tribute to Good Fathers...

Did I mention that he is the family chef and has been cooking and feeding our family healthy, organic meals since the time I met and fell in love with him in college?


A heartfelt thank you goes out to Ed and all of the other good fathers out there, your gallant deeds will be felt for generations to come. You are the true heroes of our time.


And you are so loved…


Please so share about the hero(es) in your life.



With over 10 years of EDU experience and a growing family, Mariah started Playful Learning in 2008 as a resource for parents and teachers. In 2010 Playful Learning received the Parent’s Choice Gold Medal, and in August of 2011, Shambhala Publications released her first book, Playful Learning: Develop Your Child’s Sense of Joy and Wonder. Mariah has an M.S. Ed in Elementary Education and was that girl sitting in the back of class thinking about what she would do differently if she was the teacher. Now she is happily working with a team of gifted educators to bring life-changing lessons to children, families, and schools around the world. In her free time she can be found taking long walks, enjoying a cup of tea, or swimming in the Atlantic with her husband and two daughters.



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  1. I would have never considered my father to be a ‘good’ father until I read this post. He is absolutely the opposite in ever respect to your husband, emotionally unavailable, un-involved in his kids’ lives, totalitarian, etc… you get the idea. Yet, he did bust his ass working long hours (often times opposite to my mother’s schedule when we were young so we wouldn’t have to pay a sitter or be left as latch-key kids) so that his kids could have everything he didn’t growing up. I went to the best schools and wanted for nothing. We can’t all have perfect fathers/husbands, sometimes good enough is good enough. Thanks for helping me realize that.

    1. Hi Noreen – Thank you so much for your comment… You bring up such an important point. None of us can be perfect fathers, mothers, wives, or husbands. Yet by appreciating the small things, we can give important recognition to the fathers and husbands who are giving so much in a way that is completely unique them. A little appreciation goes a long way!

  2. I went to elementary school with Ed. He was as kind, strong and caring then as he is now. You have a beautiful family. It brings a huge smile to my face to see someone that I knew as a child so happy and content. He certainly married and equally kind, caring and beautiful wife. Happy Birthday Ed! Kindest Regards, Lisa McClellan previously known as Lisa Welch. 🙂

  3. Staying connected to this website is the best ‘hands-on’ lessons for both mother’s and father’s regarding today’s parenting.
    There is no better lesson for children than living in a family that ‘lives’ what they teach. Children learn how to live by watching and learning how their parents live. They learn how to nurture relationships by using the same skills they see in their parents.

  4. Wouldn’t expect any less from a guy that has been driven to succeed for as long as I have known him, which has been awhile.

    1. Hi Falcon! It is so nice to “see” you here 🙂 Thank you so much for the kind comment. Ed will be happy to know that you stopped by… Sending lots of love!

  5. What a beautiful tribute, Mariah. And as a friend and fellow parent in our community, who knows and loves Ed (and you, and the girls) and has seen all this in action, I can attest that every word you’ve written is true.

    And I also know it’s not always easy – Ed works hard to do and be the husband and father and citizen he is, and you work hard to do and be the mother and wife and citizen you are. I’m grateful to you for honoring Ed for his gifts and contributions, and for reminding me to honor my own husband, father of my children, and partner in life.

    I have a similarly generous, caring, contributive and talented husband of 25+ years, and it’s so important to acknowledge one another and the gifts we give each other — and the value we add to our family’s life and the world around us. It’s so easy to focus on the problems, the differences, the weaknesses. It’s so easy to accuse. It’s so easy to hide, for fear of being envied or judged.

    The real work is in saying “Thank you,” and “I love you,” and “I appreciate your unique contribution to our family and to the world” — day in, day out, year after year, especially in the face of challenges, of which there will always be many, in marriage and in life. But taking the time to say thank you – better yet, I celebrate you… that’s the best gift we can give, and the best assurance we can have that a relationship will continue to thrive.
    Happy birthday, Ed! And love and blessings on the whole family. xoxo

  6. This is so great Mariah. I recently wrote up a list of 40 reasons why I love my husband for his 40th birthday. I think we tend to talk a lot about our kids, which is wonderful, but our partners need to hear how much they are loved and appreciated.

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