The Grocery Line, The Swimsuit Issue, and Kids

Simone Marean thinks we can turn Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s controversial cover into a powerful, teachable moment with our kids.

Sports Illustrated is doing us a big favor. Next week they are releasing a swimsuit issue cover that showcases such an absurdly unrealistic version image of “beauty” that can serve us adults as a teachable moment for us, and our kids. Because they are making sure that this image is everywhere, everyone will have the …

Book Notes: Brown Girl Dreaming

Shannon Rigney invites us to read Brown Girl Dreaming, a book of poems by Jacqueline Woodson.

Jacqueline Woodson’s newest book Brown Girl Dreaming tells the narrative of her childhood through a collection of poems. Woodson has won numerous awards for the work of her prolific writing career, and Brown Girl Dreaming is a finalist for the National Book Award. Here, Woodson sketches a thoughtful portrait of a herself as a girl, …

Why We Should Let Our Kids Fail

Samantha understands but warns against the tendency parents have to shelter their children from failure.

As parents, our natural instinct is to protect our children from harm, disappointment and failure. But doing so is not always in our kids’ best interests. When my daughter was in fourth grade, her basketball team was on a 0-7-game losing streak with no apparent signs of a mid-season comeback. After a particularly dreadful loss, …

Mean Girls in Kindergarten? Are You Kidding Me?

Samantha Parent Walravens realizes how early drama can arise among young girls, especially in school.

I have four kids – my boys are 15 and 13, my girls are 9 and 5. While my boys nearly drove me into the ground as toddlers with their endless physical energy and constant running around, the girls are currently winning the race to dig me an early grave with their ongoing girl drama and emotional highs and lows.

If I had to choose, I’d take the physical exhaustion of boys over the emotional exhaustion of girls ANY DAY.

I wasn’t expecting the girl drama to start at such a young age, however. This morning, my 5-year-old stopped me at the door of her Kindergarten classroom with tears running down her chubby little cheeks. She told me that she was scared to go to school, that her friends weren’t being nice, and that she wanted to go home.

“Teaching Our Girls To Become Self Advocates: Important And Totally Necessary”

Spencer Wollan explores the stigmas between boys and girls as the “easier” gender.

The company I work for throws huge birthday parties for kids. Every weekend we travel to a new place, set up activities, and run around for a few hours with kids in elementary school. After we arrive and set up all of our equipment, we have a meeting. The meeting consists mostly of our boss telling us what the party is going to look like. I’ve only worked here for a few weeks, and the parties I have done in the past have all been co-ed. This event was different.

The birthday girl, a tall 10-year-old named Sophia, interrupted the meeting to inform us that this party was “going to be all girls!” My boss immediately laughed to us staff, “Your life just got 20 times easier!” At first, I thought nothing of the comment. I smiled and let it roll off my back like all those sexist jokes I hear at school. Then I started to think. Why did he just say that? What is it about girls that make them seem so much easier to him? When can I stop sitting in this meeting and get back to playing with the kids?

One of the greatest things about working for GLI – besides the water fights, sing-alongs, birthday cakes, and post-ropes course a-wooing – is the annual opportunity to work on my communication skills. Being emotionally honest, authentically expressing myself, and handling issues without damaging relationships are skills that take practice, even well into adulthood. I’m lucky …

What a difference a year makes. This time last year, I was preparing to send my firstborn to the opposite coast of the U.S.—away from home longer than she’d ever been, without a family member within hundreds of miles. In the days leading up to her departure I kept asking myself…would she be warm enough? …

Last year when I returned to Texas for Thanksgiving, my grandmother pulled two drawers of jewelry out of her closet and dumped them in the middle of the living room floor. As she picked up each piece, she put it on, modeled it in the mirror and passed it to me to do the same. While we played dress-up, she told me the stories and memories associated with each piece.

The necklace with the enigmatic Asian woman dancing across the silver was a gift from my grandfather when his company stopped in Shanghai. The delicate pearl bracelets were from the streets of Paris when she was a sixteen year-old new mom living on a base. I didn’t know she’d ever lived in Jamaica until she pulled out bright strings of beads and showed me, as local women had taught her, how to wear them as both necklaces and belts.