Tag: Children

A Joyful Echo


Darling Daughter and her five older brothers did much of their growing up on a small farm in rural Missouri. Now she lives, when home, in a small town on the edge of New England, and in an even smaller town when away at school. She will graduate from college in a few months with a degree in Economics, and her dream is to move to a big city, earn a good income, and travel the world. Toward that end she’s been engaged in the job hunt, looking for something in finance that will land her in New York, Chicago — somewhere big and metropolitan and unlike the places she’s lived to date.

She called me on Monday, breathless and excited. She’d interviewed twice with a company in Chicago that was looking to hire a risk analyst, and had been hoping to hear from them. She called to tell me that she’d just received a (digital) package from the company.

Why I Write About Children


After my last post about a Jewish man who had established an orphanage in Nazi Germany, I realized that in the last couple of years I have frequently written about children, especially those who are struggling. For a person with no children, that seemed (to me) to be an odd choice: what did I know about children? In many respects, very little. So, I decided to reflect on my reasons for writing about children, particularly in the area of education, and see if I had something new to learn about life and the world around me.

I grew up in a family of three children. Oddly, none of us have had children, by choice. At the time we made our choice, my husband said he would support my choice either way; he already had one daughter by his first marriage. I decided for my own selfish reasons not to have kids: I believed that I couldn’t “do it all” (and still believe that) and I lived at a time when women were celebrated for working; I couldn’t imagine “only” raising children (an incredibly narrow and naïve view); and I was terrified that I would be like my own mother (who struggled at motherhood)—I realized years later that she could have done much, much worse.

There was nothing original about my excuses—and they were excuses, even irrational ones. But for many years I didn’t regret that choice. When friends asked me about our decision (and they always asked without obvious judgment), wondering if I felt I was missing anything, I said that I was. But I also pointed out that parents were missing something by having kids. Part of that is the intimacy that comes with a husband and wife only needing to focus on each other. Selfish, yes, but that’s how I saw my life back then.

Child Sacrifice in the US


Child sacrifice, attributed to ancient world pagan culture, kills beautiful, young, healthy children to appease deities in times of famine or drought. In times of trouble, the beautiful daughter of a king might be sacrificed as they sought the blessing of the supernatural. During the Covid pandemic, we also sacrifice the healthy young to appease those paralyzed by fear. In both cultures, the healthy young are subject to mandates or rituals that don’t placate the disaster yet harm our children’s well-being.

At the outset of the pandemic, governors instituted a lockdown which forced healthy people to quarantine at home in contrast to previously when the sick were told to stay home. Playgrounds were cordoned off with yellow caution tape and basketball nets were tied up to prevent children from using them. Neighbors ratted out kids for playing soccer at the local schoolyard. Although we knew that the young were rarely afflicted and rarely vectors of infection, children were told they would kill grandma unless they stayed home. Whereas we previously worried about excessive screen time hampering social interactions, emotional well-being, and physical health, we instituted policies that encouraged isolation and increased screen time.

Bari Weiss Interview: Courage in the Face of Book Burners


I’m once again recommending a podcast from Bari Weiss. This one is an interview with Abigail Shrier, author of Irreversible Damage: Teenage Girls and the Transgender Craze, her piece of investigative journalism (remember when that used to happen?) on the topic of the exploding “trans” movement afflicting young girls.

I have purchased the book but not yet read it. I’ll undoubtedly write about it after I do.

The Best and the Worst


When I got married, I knew I wanted to have children. It was just what you did, right? I came from a family of eight kids. My parents and grandparents all had children. The only people that I was aware of without children were a couple of my aunts who had never married.

We’d been married just over two years when our first child was born. We made a plan; we made a baby; we had the baby! It was amazing! He was adorable, sweet, calm, so awesome. We decided to have another baby. We made a plan; we made a baby; she was born! She cried relentlessly for the first three months of her life. She had terrible colic, and occasionally, I’d just have to hand her over to daddy and walk outside for a moment or two of calmness. It was soooo different from the first baby! In fact, her personality was nearly the opposite of our son.

Member Post


My child  adult recently reached their majority.  As a fully fledged eighteen year old, we went to the DMV to file for an appropriate state-issued Real ID compliant ID. I was asked if this would also complete voting registration.  I said yes, it was the Motor-Voter law, and it would all be taken care of […]

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Quote of the Day: Bequeathing a Spirit of Reverence


Those of you who can legitimize the quote mentioned in the title (which is supposed to come from Plato’s Meno), please have at it.  I can’t authenticate it.  However, the spirit of “bequeathment” is entirely appropriate for what I’m about to say, so I’m going with it.

“Pity. Pity he never had any children.”

And at that, Chips opened his eyes as wide as he could and sought to attract their attention. It was hard for him to speak out loud, but he managed to murmur something, and they all looked round and came nearer to him.

Member Post


I make a living in the afternoons doing ABA therapy with small clients who have autism. Before I started working there, I hadn’t had much contact with kids on the spectrum.  Although I’ve been interested in the field since I wrote a paper on autism back in 12th grade, I had little idea of how […]

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Homeschooling and ‘Socialization’


My kids starting homeschooling 30 years ago, when homeschooling really wasn’t much of a thing. A question commonly asked back then, and probably still today, was “how will they be socialized?”

In fact, they all came out pretty well, at least in that regard. (Decades of having me as a dad has left some of them with an … unconventional … sense of humor, but that’s another story.)

Bonnie Kate: Christmas Day in the Morning


One late summer day in 2005, I was meandering through a local cemetery looking for inspiration for a topic in a local writing competition. Cemeteries are pretty reliable sources for quirky names, odd epitaphs, lonely souls, and the like. Not to mention just the isolation and quiet peace of the dead.

But these old Appalachian hills hold surprises. On the southern half of the Asbury Methodist Cemetery, I happened upon a small, heart-shaped tombstone. This is what it read:

Bonnie Kate Phillippi
Born Dec 25, 1905
Died Dec 25, 1905

Member Post


Subconsciously, we know that no one knows everything.  Despite this knowledge, we tend to expect this of the people we look up to most, whether it’s our parents, teachers, or the other adults in our lives.  We create this idea that they are flawless superheroes, as though they never grapple with much of anything, except […]

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Some Monsters Are Real


In Full Metal Jacket, the doorgunner, responding to the question of how someone could kill a child, says that it’s easy. “You just don’t lead them as much.” Perhaps black comedy is emblematic of the debacle that was Vietnam, but the line for me has always shown such a callous disregard for the life of children that it’s a movie I will never watch again. Once was more than enough. Killing children should never be the point of any joke.

After I got out of the Army, I became a respiratory therapist. In that role, I got to meet the Grim Reaper on a daily basis. When I heard “Code Blue,” I ran to wherever that loss of cardiopulmonary activity was reported and did my best to wrest back that life from the great beyond. We were successful about 30% of the time. When God calls, no one gets to put Him on hold.

Scott Atlas joined Ben Domenech to discuss the data surrounding schools reopening and the dangers of not following the science. Atlas is a fellow in scientific philosophy and public policy at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, a member of Hoover’s Working Group on Health Care Policy, and the former head of neuroradiology at Stanford Medical School.

Atlas laid out multiple points of scientific evidence indicating the necessity of reopening schools. This included the documented facts that children are young people are at low risk of developing COVID-19 themselves and they’re at low risk of spreading it to others. Furthermore, he said, school closures are extremely harmful to children’s health in different ways, especially in that distance learning has proven to be a failure.

Member Post


I went for my usual walk on the Chicago lakefront today. Our mayor, Lori Lightfoot, has not yet opened the beaches (the actual ones with sand) on the lakefront, nor has she allowed the public pools in the city parks to be opened. As a result, in the Loop area where I live, families from […]

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Check out the video on my Youtube Channel!

Join me as I make a mask at home out of one of my t-shirts!

Mother’s Day: No Laughing Matter


I realized something for the first time when my kids were of an age for sleepovers and birthday parties: dads are funnier than moms.

I might have noticed it in my own house if it wasn’t right under my nose. My husband was the one to get on the floor and wrestle, start sock fights, and make jokes when it was time to get serious. That’s not to say I could never be found on the floor with kids crawling all over me, but there’s something different about mommy wrestling as opposed daddy wrestling–a certain lack of abandon and goofiness. My daughter would come home from a party or church event with stories about how Cheri’s dad had made them laugh while driving them to the skating rink, or how Leslie’s dad had played a stupid trick that backfired. It was never the moms. Mothers could certainly be fun (I’d like to think I was. Maybe. Sometimes.), but seldom funny.

Several years ago Jerry Lewis made a controversial statement when asked who his favorite female comedians were.  His answer: None, because women aren’t funny. That raised a stink among women, many of whom seriously protested that they were funny—which kind of proved his point, in a way.  I would say that women aren’t funny in the same way.  They can be witty (as my mother was), clever, sharp, catty, artless, or charming, but there’s a reason male standup comics far outnumber females, and it doesn’t have much if anything to do with discrimination.  Of those few successful female comics, most of them are known for the mordant kind of humor: the biting, even bitter kind.  It’s because women, more than men, have a tragic view of life.  And that’s because of one thing: women have babies.

Rafael Mangual joins Kay Hymowitz to discuss evidence suggesting that children are often better off when criminal parents are imprisoned—the subject of Mangual’s story, “Fathers, Families, and Incarceration,” from the Winter 2020 Issue of City Journal.

A common criticism of incarceration in the United States, notes Mangual, is that it harms children by taking parents or siblings out of their homes. But recent studies show that children living with a parent who engages in high levels of antisocial behavior may be worse off than kids with incarcerated parents.