Friday, May 28, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
All my boys, including my husband are a little in love with fire. Everyone wants to light and blow out the candles. No one can stop themselves from throwing stuff into a campfire. If there’s a fire in the fireplace, they stare at it and argue over which tool will maximize its size and heat, who gets to use it first, and who was right.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Despite the fact that I have heard "experts" warn me about stranger danger my entire life, even more so after I had kids, my experience suggests something completely different, and I like it much better. I have been repeatedly rescued by compassionate strangers. I was ten when my sister and I fell skiing and lost all our gear on the side of a mountain. A stranger helped us collect it and sent us on our way. At sixteen, my car overheated in the mountains and someone gave me a ride to the nearest Denny's so I could get water and call my dad. When I was eighteen, I spent the night at a gas station employees' house because my car broke down. A stranger in a cafe wrote me a charming poem about my freckles. My husband and I got a ride in Idaho from a forest service guy winterizing campgrounds when one of the seats on our tandem sheared off. When Liam, as a preschooler, got a splinter stuck all the way through the skin between his thumb and index finger, a stranger pulled it out while I held him. (We still refer to him as the "Nice Cowboy" because of his boots and hat.) I've bummed diapers, band-aids, juice boxes, and sunscreen off strangers, and I've been just as happy to pay it forward.
There are simply not enough kidnappers to lurk behind every shrub and loiter ominously near every park. Most strangers aren't dangerous and teaching your kids that everyone you don't know wants to hurt you simply isn't true. Most of the bad stuff that's happened to me and my family has been deliberately doled out by people I know or people my kids know. The easiest place to start is to tell your kids that if they need help and they can't find you, look for a stroller and find another mom.
Monday, May 03, 2010
Leonard Sax has some ideas in Boys Adrift. I don't know what the solution is, but I'm quite certain we cannot continue at status quo and have our boys grow into the kind of men they could be. Sometimes I think they're all born too late. A hundred years ago, they would make themselves a sling shot and a fishing pole and head out to the back forty once they'd finished their chores. Idealistic, I'm sure, but it sounds good when I'm explaining to the school secretary that I don't think rolling a pen across the floor during silent reading warrants a phone call home.
*Of course I changed his name!