The distance between them is a mix of years and meters, measures in degrees of space and sound and time. Two boys joined at the bloodline, bound by fate and floor plans, my sons have shared a bedroom from the beginning, their bunked barracks always a common ground. That changed last week. For the first time ever, the boys are each in their own room. They believe they have gained freedom and independence, which is true. But I cannot help fear a paradise lost in nightly confidants and the whispers between them. Also, a place for potential guests should any care to visit. This change in the … [Read more...]
EDITOR’S NOTE: Being a good parent at times takes superhero skills. To help you develop your own, “The Relational Book for Parenting” authors Saliha Bava and Mark Greene offer suggestions from their book. Go here to read more in this exclusive periodic series for City Dads Group.
+ + +We all need to confront the many damaging narratives about parenting. One of the most challenging is the relentless drumbeat of others telling us to “enjoy them while they’re little.” This implies parents are destined for increasing disconnection and conflict with our … [Read more...]
Do you ever get tired of parenting in our “selfie” culture? While many recent self-esteem movements have nurtured children’s healthy development, it seems other cultural trends have fostered their self-absorption. (We could begin with the coinage of the word “selfie” and its widespread practice on social media.) So how can parents counteract our culture’s ongoing attack on empathy? There are many strategies, but two have been most powerful for our family: When the children are young, practice empathy in the home. As children age, find ways to practice empathy outside the home — … [Read more...]
I ran into another parent recently, the mother of a girl at my daughter's high school. Both our kids are seniors this year; they know each other, and are casual friends. After congenial hellos in the line at our neighborhood coffeehouse, she asked, "So! What are Riley's plans after graduation?" We're not totally sure yet, but are looking at colleges in the area. "The whole college thing is overwhelming, isn't it?" the mom exclaimed. "How are her grades? How are her SATs scores? Are you applying to places that put a big emphasis on extracurriculars?" Grades were fine; test scores, … [Read more...]
“Thickly Settled.” That’s the road sign that appeared as my wife and I drove around the Massachusetts town where we had just moved our oldest child into her college dormitory. I had never seen such a sign, but my first thought was how “thickly settled” my heavy heart had been all weekend. I knew drop-off would be bittersweet, but the crowded mix of contradictory emotions that had taken up residence in me kept shifting through pride, sadness, joy and fear. Upon second thought, I realized the opposite: my heart was “thickly unsettled.” But I found the metaphor of a family as a … [Read more...]