I Sent My Daughter to Spain. . .and She Survived

Or better, thrived.Back in late June, I went through a mild freak out over sending Ling to a foreign country with free-flowing alcohol, sultry weather, and college-aged BOYS in her dorm with Spanish MEN outside it (read If You’re Sending Your Kid to Spain, Don’t Do it My Way).Scott and I gave a whole slew of lectures about:wise decision-making alcohol boys making sure she spoke Spanish despite living with fellow Americans avoiding date-rape mostly by avoiding alc … [Read more...]

Doing NYC with My 13 Year Old: Getting the Biggest Bang for the Buck

The week before school, I took my 13 year old son Ren to NYC for our mother/son 13th year extravaganza.  I wrote about the importance of Rites of Passage and Tips for a Mother-Teen Trip 2 years ago when I took my daughter Kai to Kauai for her 13th year celebration (you can read about what we did and talked about here, here and here).  But for this post I’m sharing the best ways to save money and get great quality in NYC.I’m more than a little obsessed with getting a great deal. My business fr … [Read more...]

Why Not Just Breastfeed in Private?

Today's post comes from Anne Carpenter Van Dyk, a fellow working mom, who I know through my work with faculty.  KTMAfter 18 months of uneventfully nursing my daughter Elle as we go about our daily lives, I'd never received so much as a dirty look from anyone, anywhere.  It's not shocking. Among the highly educated here in New England, baby-wearing and breastfeeding are en vogue.But I was just told by the director of my daughter’s daycare that, on the rare occasion when I need to nurse Ell … [Read more...]

Oldest Siblings and the Problem of Privilege

Did you know oldest siblings can be jerks?  Neither did I.  Because I am an oldest sibling and never saw myself as jerk-like.Yet I’m surrounded by younger sibling friends who regale me with tales of just how selfish, self-centered, and just plain mean their older siblings can be.  And the more I hear their stories, the more I recognize myself.Shoot.I also went from being the oldest sibling in my family to marrying a youngest sibling.  Turns out when you’re the spouse of the least powe … [Read more...]

I see him everywhere

I had been composing a blog in my mind while pruning the branches of my weeping cherry tree, a blog about white privilege  and all the cross-cutural training I've received through the years from Universities, scripture, the organization I work with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship or being willing to engage in difficult conversations about ethnicity with friends who look different than me. It was a blog that was going to explore the privileges I have simply because I'm white- even something s … [Read more...]

Culture and Justice: Or Why Paula Deen Shouldn’t Use the “N” Word

I feel sorry for Paula Deen.  She's lost her job, her endorsements, her status in our society (for now), and all for saying words that were an almost thoughtless reality of her culture  during much of her life.  She's probably wondering when folks changed the rules.   How something "everyone says" could destroy her career.I can empathize with Paula because I care a lot about culture.  During grad school, my advisor told me I was a cultural phenomenologist.  Too bad I still don’t totally k … [Read more...]

If You’re Sending Your Kid to Spain, Don’t Do it My Way

Several nights ago I woke up in a panic about sending my daughter to Spain for a month long study abroad program.  “What kind of foolish, irresponsible parent am I?” I berated myself as I lay in bed fretting and intermittently praying for the next hours.  We’ve been planning this trip since the middle of spring, but somehow I never realized that she’s potentially the only high school student in this program.  Nor did I realize she’d be living in dorms rather than with a host family.I’m sendin … [Read more...]

Teaching our Kids to Swim

On Saturday, a high school boy almost drowned in our pool.  He didn’t know how to swim, didn’t tell anyone, so when a friend pushed him in the water, began to thrash and sink.  As he struggled, it took the other kids 10 seconds before they realized he was drowning and pulled him out.As I write, a gaggle of kids swims again—it’s the last day of school and a humid 85 degrees.  And therefore the perfect time to preach on one of my most fervent parenting proscriptions—TEACH YOUR KID TO SWIM! … [Read more...]