Kitchen Table Memories to Last a Lifetime

Our kitchen table is starting to show it's age.  The grout between the tiles is getting dirty and harder to keep clean.  There are paint stains from art projects gone wrong and initials carved into it from a small boy who knew better but couldn't help himself.  It isn't quite big enough for us any more and on more than one occasion the teenagers fight over leg space.  I stare at that kitchen table some days and think that we desperately need to replace. And then the emotional roller coaster hits and I can't bear to part with such a sentimental object. Yes, I am getting weepy over a table. The kitchen table was always a place for asking questions, and not always appropriate ones.  One morning, over a bowl of Cheerios, my son asked me about transvestites.  He was 8.  Where he even … [Read more...]

Labels Belong on Boxes, Not Children

I was at the meditation center with my 14 year old daughter last week and we were looking at a bulletin board for upcoming meetings.  We saw a flyer advertising an LGBTQA meeting taking place the next week.  My daughter told me that it should really read LGBTQA+.  The PLUS was for people who didn’t fit into any of the other categories.  I stopped to ponder her comment for a bit and had to ask myself “How many categories do we need?” when it comes to identifying a person's gender or sexual orientation? When a child is born,  we immediately put a label on it.  If that a child has a penis, it’s a boy.  If the child has a vagina,  it's labeled a girl.  As the child starts to grow up,  we give it more labels.  Our new baby may be friendly or happy.  In a few years, we label our toddlers … [Read more...]

A Truly Successful Child Will Question What Parents Teach Them

Last weekend, my 15 year old son was confirmed into the Lutheran church.  After 4 years of confirmation classes, he was thrilled to finally be able to stand up in front of the congregation and make a commitment to God and the church. Really, he was most thrilled that he no longer had to attend confirmation classes.   We aren't the most 'devout' Christians but this was something I really and truly wanted for him and thankfully he felt the same way.  Others in his confirmation class chose NOT to get confirmed...and those particular teens have parents who are WAY more faithful followers than I am.  Their parents were truly heartbroken over their children's decision to not join the church.  It got me to thinking about the divide between what we teach our children and what they choose to … [Read more...]

Communicating with kids: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

When I was a kid, there wasn't a lot of communication going on with my parents.  They were great...I seriously have an awesome relationship with my mom and dad but we didn't sit down and discuss the stuff kids really need to know about.  There was an awkward moment when I was 11 where mom handed me a few books to read and I learned what I really needed to know from my friends.  I would say about half of it was probably true. I didn't want to be that mom.  I wanted my kids to come to me with every single question they could possibly come up with.  I maybe should have rethought that concept...I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. I have always had very inquisitive kids. They have questions and rarely do they accept a basic answer without pursuing things further. I … [Read more...]

It’s okay to be a girl, just don’t act like one #LikeaGirl

Do you ever find yourself saying something to your kid that just doesn't come out quite the way you had intended it to?  Like, it sounded really good in your brain but the minute the words came out of your mouth you stopped and went "Uh, wait a minute...".  I had that moment with my daughter a while ago when she tried to act all squeamish over something gross and I told her "It's okay to be a girl, just don't act like one".  I realized as soon as the words came out of my mouth that 'acting like a girl' was one of those generalizations that I tell the kids never to make! I  loathe stereotypes.  Whether it is 'black kids play great basketball' or 'white girls like Starbucks' or 'Jewish people are good with money'  I tell my kids constantly to not make assumptions about people based on … [Read more...]