Writing

Why We Should Talk to Our Kids About Class and Privilege

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I remember the very first, rather generic conversation I had with my daughter when she was in elementary school about how her life compared with the lives of other children on this planet. I drew a triangle for her and said, “The tippy-top point is where the richest and most fortunate people in the world are. There are very few of them. At the bottom of the pyramid is where the poorest people who struggle the most are, and there are a lot of them. Where do you think you are?” She pointed to the middle of the triangle. Ack! Where had I gone wrong? Read more…

Going Offline: 10 Fabulous Books to Read With Your Kids This Summer

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In today’s world of ubiquitous personal and mobile screens, family time is becoming harder and harder to come by, and is often framed or fractured by children’s (and parents’) prioritization of digital socializing over the in-person relationships right there inside the home. Family book clubs are educational and are a great way to encourage reading, enhance parent-child bonding and provide enjoyable experiences for everyone offline. They can also serve as a very helpful tool for parents because sharing children’s and YA literature allows parents a side door into tricky conversations with their children about some of the challenging issues they face while growing up, such as cyberbullying or navigating early romantic relationships. Read more…

Why We Must Raise Children Who Care About the Welfare of Animals

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This image has haunted me for over a week now, since I first saw it in my Facebook newsfeed. I simply cannot get it out of my mind, and that’s arguably a good thing. Normally I scroll quickly past such disturbing photos. There seem to be more than enough of them on social media, documenting animal abuse in every imaginable form in every country on Earth. You could place them side-by-side along a 24,000-mile invisible thread that encircles the globe at the equator. Read more…

The Value of Boredom

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When I was a child, my parents often ignored me. It’s not that they were unkind to me. It’s that they had full lives of their own and didn’t like playing Candy Land. They believed that you should open the door and say to children, Go out and play. They understood the value of boredom. My two younger brothers and I sincerely enjoyed each other’s company, and that’s a good thing, because we had a lot of it. Read more…

How Highly Gendered Toys Present an Exclusively Heterosexual Worldview to Children

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When girls and boys walk into a toy store in 2015, they see a significantly more gendered, heteronormative arrangement and selection of toys than I did as a girl forty years ago! Toys, grouped by gender, are prescriptive of gender roles. It is not only a problem of limiting the ways to be a girl or a boy, as I have written about extensively. It is also a problem of promoting an exclusively heterosexual worldview. Read more…