When we face the facts of climate change, it becomes increasingly hard not to feel an apocalyptic sense that this is all a terrible and eery harbinger of things to come. We delude ourselves into thinking that TV and movie portrayals of a time when not only energy but also time outside, oxygen, life itself, is rationed are fiction. They’re not. In some ways, that time is now.Read More
We have a lot of good research telling us which parenting practices are most effective at raising happy, healthy, generally well-adjusted humans. We share a lot of them with you in Bless This Mess. But when you are practicing and practicing every day, and your kid still makes bad decisions, screws up, defies you, harms themselves: where can you turn for the strength to stick with it?Read More
Camp forces kids to figure things out on their own, deal with their own feelings and stumbles, without even the comfort of an end of day cuddle or debrief with mom and dad. But they’re never entirely on their own. They have peers and new friends, counselors likely only a bit older than them but who act as mentors and in locus parentis, camp directors and deans and ministers for when they’re really needed. (I still remember my beloved college-age counselor coming for dinner at my house at the end of that summer. It was as though Madonna had come to visit.) If you’ve given it to them, they also have a faith in themselves and in something bigger than them that they’ll be okay. They can make it at least until pick up day, even if they decide never to go back again. Regardless of whether they love it or hate it, camp is good for kids. Bonus: it can be good for parents too.Read More
Hopefully by now putting the words “progressive” and “Christianity” into the same phrase already seems like less of an oxymoron, as we banish the messages of homophobia, racism and exclusion that have dominated the airways for decades. But in case a liberal read of the Bible and the Way of Jesus is still a mystery to you, here’s a very brief orientation.Read More
For starters, while much of the religious right would have us believe thoughts and prayers are enough, we respectfully disagree. Yes, we are in favor of common sense gun control. But more than that, “thoughts and prayers” as a solution is based in both bad theology and bad psychology. It’s not that we disagree with praying for the survivors or the shooters. It’s that this approach does little to help us make sense of violence, for ourselves or our kids, and tells us even less about what to do about it.Read More
We can’t pause time anymore than we can rewind it. Buddhism teaches us that this moment has already passed. Mindfulness isn’t so much being in the “now” as it is recognizing that the now is fleeting and noticing what is happening to and around us. The best we can do as parents is notice and love our children in this moment, even (maybe especially) when it’s hard. And try to not worry too much about what might happen next. That’s the message of Bless This Mess. To be a good enough parent is to be good enough for the kid you have right now. Remember, for better and for worse, it’s fleeting.Read More
Helicopter parenting is so early 21st century, we’ve moved on to being snowplows: parents who clear their kids’ paths of any potential obstacles, paving a way straight to what we, or the media, or the other parents on the playground, or our in-laws define as “success.”Read More
The college admissions cheating scandal is particularly delicious because it is a chance to indulge a favorite national pastime: judging the rich and powerful (second only to our pastime of idolizing them).
Before we veer too far into thinking this behavior is confined to elite parents, ask yourself: have you never pulled a string for your kid? To get them a better teacher, a better doctor, a slot in that summer camp that was full? Show us a middle-to-upper-class parent who hasn’t, or a parent without the means to reach the string who wouldn’t pull it if they could.
This is a scandal over the crisis of the cost of college and the price to get there, be it in bribes or tuition or stressing our kids to the point of breaking them. It’s also a reflection of a crisis in parenting. Every one of us is vulnerable to the culture of competition that pulled these parents over the line from pulling a little string to breaking a moral code, and the law. And we all have a responsibility to help change that culture.Read More