If you take it really seriously, parenthood is the most challenging job you’ll ever have. The hours are long and the pay stinks. It requires the most emotional investment and the greatest patience. And no matter how well you do it, there will always be that nagging little voice in your head wondering, “Should I have handled that differently?” But parenthood is also the most rewarding and important role you’ll ever play. And the good news is that we're all in this together...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


After felony charges were leveled following the suicide of 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick, “On Point with Tom Ashbrook” devoted a powerful hour of radio to the issue of cyberbullying, examining why and how it continues to happen, and how easily and quickly bullying and harassing can escalate into terrorizing and stalking. Guests question the wisdom of using criminalization as a long-term strategy for deterrence. Others bring up the empathy gap in developing teens (there are biological issues at play) and charge media with turning cruelty and pain into entertainment. (Even extraordinarily moronic shows like “Jersey Shore” and “Wipeout” glorify people being mean to each other and deaden viewers from considering just how painful some of the stunts must be.) All of this reinforces the importance of parents not just knowing what their kids are up to online, but continuing to help their children become moral human beings who have the ability, and willingness, to see another perspective, to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. The episode (you can listen to it here) could be a great parent/child conversation starter.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


“What happens when a father, alarmed by his 13-year-old daughter's nightly workload, tries to do her homework for a week?”
Karl Taro Greenfeld’s provocative article in The Atlantic recently really hammers home the problem in this country of overcompensation in many school districts. As education in the US tries to keep up with global competition, the trend toward more homework seems to be heading us in the wrong direction. Greenfeld notes:

It turns out that there is no correlation between homework and achievement. According to a 2005 study by the Penn State professors Gerald K. LeTendre and David P. Baker, some of the countries that score higher than the U.S. on testing in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study—Japan and Denmark, for example—give less homework, while some of those scoring lower, including Thailand and Greece, assign more. Why pile on the homework if it doesn’t make even a testable difference, and in fact may be harmful?

The irony is that some countries where the school systems are held up as models for our schools have been going in the opposite direction of the U.S., giving less homework and implementing narrower curricula built to encourage deeper understanding rather than broader coverage.

Certainly food for thought as well as ammunition for parents who want to advocate for children who are losing a large part of their precious childhoods to busywork every night. Check out the full article.