Category: Parental Guidance

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Kevlar for Kids

When news of the latest school shooting reached us, our first impulse, of course, was to offer “thoughts and prayers,” and to make sure via social media everyone understood that we were offering thoughts and prayers. Our second impulse — and this seems to happen every time there’s another mass murder involving an angry white...

Role Models

By many measures, Donald Trump, his entire cabinet of self-dealing robber barons, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — the whole lot are extraordinarily successful people. (By many other measures, they’re wildly unsuccessful, but let’s not quibble.) We can all agree that when our children are grown, when they become...

How to Placate a Screaming Child

Have you raised a child? Trained a puppy? Gone through puberty? Then you understand from experience the most intelligent and wise response to a petulant tantrum: give the child the attention he craves; validate his melodramatics; reinforce the idea that if the screaming-crying-barking-saber-rattling is persistent and annoying enough, the screamer will get what he wants. Everyone...

Don’t Waste the Crumbs

Eating nutritious, delicious, organic, un-processed whole foods can be crushingly expensive, especially if you procure your whole foods at Whole Foods. The Website Don’tWasteTheCrumbs is aimed at folks who want to live healthily and frugally. Created by a mother of two named Tiffany, DWTC offers clever recipes, monthly meal plans and “life hacks” for budget-minded shoppers determined...

Poem: First Day of School

  Bedroom window open to the night breezes, and the morning call to prayers, when the children arrive wearing newly purchased clothes memorialized by high-volume mothers with fancy phones. On the first day of school hidden hopes soar to their improbable zenith, touching the underside of the fine line between delusion and ambition. Anything is...

Poem: A Good Education

At the Middle School two driveways down the street, Hollywood safari vans tote tipsy tourists and King of Pop-culture purists to contemplate like jurists the Michael Jackson Auditorium, whose much-lauded eponym was sleek and slim, and boyishly indiscreet. At this school, Russian parents take parking spots and umbrage, when their children start to bleat about the...

Poem: Mind Your Business

When the angry mother of two successors to her gene pool behaved with an absence of cool failed to set a good example for her precious offspring neglected to teach them the importance of thinking about others as though they were sisters or brothers not competitors at a shrinking trough she was at that moment...

Poem: Respect Your Elders

Stubbornness wants to be a virtue, aspiring to be thought of as a mark of good character, nearly related (as if by marriage) to the better qualities Determination and Stick-to-itiveness. Stubbornness, however, is not Determination nor even Stick-to-itiveness. Stubbornness is an affront to Nature, an insult to Evolution, an honest admission of stupidity. I do...

Poem: Scandal

IN MEMORY OF EUGENE KONIK, born February 27, 1936. R.I.P.   And although I don’t share your candid misanthropy I understand and I am sorry. Father who left us all too soon I understand and I am sorry. Our species, the one you claimed to despise, having peered inside yourself and all around the carousel, having...

Family Problems

In the aftermath of the devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, where thousands died and hundreds-of-thousands more were left homeless, almost everyone I spoke to asked the same question: My Filipina wife — was anyone in her immediate family affected? Everyone was greatly relieved to learn that, no, none of my wife’s immediate...