on staying married

17th Anniversary

I met Ralph when we were seventeen, in a church. At a word from my mother I shifted and looked back to see him at the head of the aisle; his head was turned. He had a long lean body and tousled red hair and thrillingly alternative sideburns and he was easily handsome. He had expressive hands; he was a drummer. It’s rather incredible I can remember this to the day, how I felt.

apologies: you can do better than how you were done by

Apologies have not come easy to me because growing up, the adults in my life did not apologize to me (or, as far as I could tell, to anyone else). They sometimes behaved remorsefully, but that is not the same at all. In fact, the remorseful parental behavior is rather damaging: because as a child, your parents’ distress and weakness (feeling sorry for themselves or embarrassed when they erred) will often precipitate a strong sense of your own culpability, and that is hard to recover from. If you are someone who had a childhood like this, my heart is with you. It’s a very difficult experience and it is hard to overcome.

mother’s day: on performing your children

Nels & Tinderbox

I believe I hurt someone’s feelings a little while back, when they were asking me for parenting advice. I said,

“Stop thinking of your baby as being ‘good’. Stop showing off the baby. She’s a person, not a pet. The sooner you abandon these practices the better it will be for you – and your kid.”

I’ve said this before. And if I was a bit direct – well first, I was being asked to be direct. Second: it’s nothing I didn’t learn the hard way.

I did every one of these things and lived to repent, and change my attitude. And I’ve left my own early parenting writings online – you can go back and see I made these mistakes.

Parents do these things, because we’re told to. It’s modeled to us. It’s conflated with “good” parenting.

how to teach children Manners

how to teach children Manners

Here’s The Problem When my young children were in an organized playgroup there was a portion of the afternoon’s activities where toys were distributed to the little ones for a play session. The adults handing out the toys would march this toy basket past...
deschooling: not an all-or-nothing experience

deschooling: not an all-or-nothing experience

[Ed note on terminology: Let us not pretend I oppose the existence of institutions of learning that employ knowledgable instructors providing course material either voluntarily or for a wage. This is absurd. What I mean by “school” for all my alt education...
Not Back To School, reason #1

Not Back To School, reason #1

It’s that time of year – my social media stream is full of parents and teachers making jokes (?) at the expense of children. Teachers groan about having to return to their jobs. Parents are glad they get a break – finally! We’re all in...