Celebrating Father’s Day Without a Father

In the classrooms of my childhood, almost every other kid around me was crafting something for their dads in June. Painting photo frames for desks, decorating hammers and making pretend ties; all pretty cliché objects for kids to create in order to hand over to their Dads on Father’s Day. With one or two other … Continued


Modern Childhood and the Death of the Seesaw

This week in the New York Times, Sharon Otterman wrote a eulogy for a dying piece of playground fun: the seesaw. As Otterman explains, there used to be a seesaw in every playground: “Charity associations gave seesaw demonstrations when playgrounds were introduced at the turn of the twentieth century. They were standard fixtures in the … Continued


In Defense of Chores

While scrolling down my timeline I saw this, an article that describes pictures of a six-year-old boy doing chores—cooking, cleaning, you know, normal stuff. But this particular album went viral because the mother created it to teach the young boy a lesson, namely, that chores are “not just for women.” Yes, I know, this heavy-handed … Continued


A Millennial’s Memories of 9/11

I’m just old enough to remember September 11, 2001. I was an eight-year-old third-grader that day. During morning prayers at my Catholic grade school, my teacher simply told us to “pray for everybody in New York.” My classmates and I didn’t know what this meant. Unlike older students, who immediately learned the brutal reality of … Continued


Why European Children Are So Much Quieter Than Yours

The playgrounds weren’t just beautiful. They were quiet. That was what struck me when I first moved to Vienna, Austria. Children there played and laughed, but rarely yelled across the park. Naturally, we Americans stood out. It wasn’t just my young daughter yelling, “Hey Mom, look at me!” from atop the climbing gym. I was … Continued

Culture, Parenting

If We’re All So Connected, Why are Our Kids so Lonely?

Heading out on an overnight school trip, my daughter spent 90 minutes each way on the bus with her classmates. Before the trip, the school laid out the electronic use policy—students would be allowed to use iPhones and iPads on the drive to and from their retreat but not during their stay. A few parents … Continued


The Magic of Believing in Santa Claus

I was raised Catholic and educated by Quakers, but as a child, my real devotion was to the Church of Santa Claus. At home, my Catholicism was mostly cultural, the kind of legacy birthright that came standard-issue for South Jersey kids in the 1980s. We went to church on Christmas and Easter and, occasionally, during … Continued


What Happens When Homes Have No Books

Carol Rasco, President of Reading is Fundamental, recently asked, “Can you imagine a childhood without books?” Rasco’s piece noted that two-thirds of the country’s poorest children don’t own a single book. These children are little different than the character Francie, the poor girl living in the Williamsburg slums of New York in 1912, who has … Continued

Books, Culture

Why Kids Today Can’t Grow Up

This summer, a museum in Washington, D.C. unveiled a new interactive art installation called “The Beach.” Comprised of two massive, white-washed swimming pools filled with white plastic balls and surrounded by beach chairs, one doesn’t just look at “The Beach,” one is encouraged to jump in and play. That’s right, it’s a ball pit for … Continued

Culture, Parenting

The Age of Judy Blume is Over

A Maryland mom of four recently got a phone call from her husband at the library. He wanted to know if Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was OK to check out for their third grade daughter. He felt like there was something about this book that he should be remembering. The girl’s mom … Continued