Category: Parental Guidance

A New Definition of Family

If you wish to align yourself with a mindset that no one will dispute and most will acclaim, proclaim yourself a paragon of “family values.” Earn a reputation as a “family man.” Put “family” before self. Found a right-wing Christian political bribery machine and call it “Focus on the Family.” Do whatever it is you want to...

Entangled

Quantum physics and String Theory are difficult concepts to grasp, even for adults. So how to explain the mysteries of the universe to a child? Kevin Zarem, a father of two girls, makes a stellar attempt in his book Entangled: A Father’s Spiritual Quest through the Mysteries of the Mind. Simultaneously scientific and lyrical, anecdotal and...

On the Death of a Child

A daughter has died. She was also a wife and a mother and a sister. She was 41. She follows to the grave a brother, who died in a car accident when he was 18. What does one say to her parents? How flimsy and impotent words seem in the face of these outrages, when the natural...

How Propaganda Transforms Young Minds

If we can put aside millennial-old inquiries into the nature of Truth, assuming such a thing exists, we can agree that propaganda, which is less concerned with veracity than with delivering a particular message, is a kind of prevarication. A lie. A tendentious assertion that’s antithetical to our notion of Truth. I was reminded of...

Keeping Young Minds Pure

As anyone who has attended a scolding church sermon knows, our children — meaning the children of other people, irresponsible guardians who aren’t as good at parenting as they ought to be — are drowning in filth. Their minds are infected with lewd thoughts inspired mostly by female mammaries, and the sludge that spews from...

Happy Birthday, Renice Konik

My beautiful mother, Renice Konik, turns 65 today. She’s now officially a senior citizen. I would suggest, however, that if you didn’t have access to her government-issued identification — or a Web page trumpeting the fact — you wouldn’t guess that this vibrant, vivacious lass is eligible for Social Security (and bargain matinees). My mom...

My Mom

Mother’s are like dogs: Everybody thinks his is the best. Unless we’re living in billions of parallel universes, everyone having the best mom (or dog) is impossible. So I would like to clear up any confusion surrounding this question and set the matter straight. It is I alone who have the best mom in the...

In Search of Fairness

In our business dealings, in our consideration of the feelings of others — in nearly every transaction between civilized people — we seek to balance our selfish impulses with the nebulous notion of what’s “right.” Thanks to parents and religion and laws, we have a strong idea of what constitutes fairness, and our ability to...

Doing the Right Thing

In a world that increasingly seems to lack absolute values, where right and wrong have constantly shifting shades of meaning interpreted by courts, church pulpits, and the vicissitudes of public whim, “doing the right thing” can be problematic. How can anyone be sure he’s acting righteously if the notion of righteousness is constantly in flux?...

Eugene Konik, 1936-2004

My father Eugene Konik died yesterday, August 25th at 3PM, of congestive heart failure. Family surrounded him at his hospital bed, and we held his hands and cradled his head as he passed on. If any death can be said to be beautiful, my dad’s was. His heart gradually stopped beating and his breath slowed gracefully;...