Being a Better Parent, Kids and school

Geek Phobia– Can We Get A Vaccine, Please?

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America has a lot of long-time, embarrassingly idiotic attitudes, stereotypes and prejudices about a lot of things
that make us the laughing stock of the world, and no where is this seen more acutely than in jr. high and high school.   For example, what total
no-brain started the attitude, so many years ago, that athletic ability rules and that having any kind of smarts or artistic talent is considered geeky? Probably someone who ended up spending
their life on …

Kids and school, Overscheduled Kids

Sleepless in Suburbia

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Conversation this morning just before my teen, Allison, got out of the car to walk into school, and just after she’d complained how tired she was and how she’d stayed up until 2:30 a.m. doing homework and how she couldn’t get up this morning and how she’d forgotten her headband and now her hair would look bad and how she was going to be late to school, and…
Uncool Mom : You know, sometimes you’ve just got to put your homework aside and say, I need sleep.
Teen daughter: (Getting angry, voice rising) I’m not going to do that!! If I did, I’d fail everything! You’re always saying it’s important to get good grades, so DON’T BE A HYPOCRITE!! (Door slams, she walks up the sidewalk to school)

Being a Better Parent

The Blind Side’s Michael Oher Needs Glasses

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I recently caught a snippet of a TV interview with Leanne Tuohy, the real-life mom portrayed by
Sandra Bullock in the movie, “The Blind Side”.   I was impressed and moved by this movie, which tells the true story of a well-to-do family from Memphis
who adopts a teen (Michael Oher) from the projects.   Among the many things they do for him, they help him feel loved and needed, and help him improve

Kids and Religion

Pop Goes the Church

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Is it just me, or is anyone else bothered when the sacred tries too hard to be cool when embracing the secular? I think I started feeling that way about 13 years ago when I watched a neighbor’s video of her church youth choir, or I should say, megachurch youth choir. There were hundreds of teens onstage, swaying back and forth to a funky beat and singing (or would it be rapping?), “You down wit G.O.D.? Yeah, you know me!”, sort of a Christian Weird Al version of the song, “O.P.P.” For those of you unfamiliar with “O.P.P.”, it was a 1991 hit by the rap group “Naughty By Nature”, a disgusting ode to infidelity,


The Best Baby Gift of All

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One week ago our family welcomed a new addition– our great-nephew Evan was born in California amidst much excitement. We’re thrilled to have our first great-nephew and my brother is double thrilled to have his first grandson. While it will be awhile before we get to see him, he won’t be without company. My sister-in-law hopped on a plane as soon as my niece’s water broke; by the time Mom and baby arrived home from the hospital, a houseful of more family was there. Which is typical for the majority of births in our society, right? Doting grandmothers arrive to help out; friends and other family members flock to get a first glimpse of the tiny new life. It’s what we do when a child is born. It’s tradition.
Is it just my husband and me, or is there anyone else out there who thinks our society needs to re-think this whole time-worn welcoming process? Let’s start with labor.

Being a Better Parent

Defining a Mom’s “Brand”

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I’ll bet I’m not the only Mom whose family is hard-pressed to figure out what to get her each year for holidays and birthdays. I mean, think about it—Moms are usually pretty good at picking up on all sorts of clues and being the “gatherers”, getting gifts for everyone else, sometimes even stockpiling them in a special closet or drawer throughout the year– but leaving few clues about themselves. And let’s face it, since husbands and kids aren’t always very astute gatherers, they need really obvious clues. Like a wish list. But some years I can’t think of much to put on a list. And sometimes, don’t you wish they could just figure it out on their own?
I realized recently that I don’t make that an easy task. Since Mom is always serving others, self too often gets left behind. For example, do my kids really have any idea what kind of music I like? When they’re in my car, I let them listen to their favorite radio stations. But when they’re in my husband’s car, does he? Rarely. Instead, they listen to sports talk radio, and CDs like The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, U2…

My Published Articles

The Twelve Days of Fishmas

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(an edited version of the following, written by me, was printed in the Dallas Morning News on Jan. 31, 2001.)

“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a really cool fish tank.”

My oldest daughter turned six on Thanksgiving Day, and we surprised her with something she’s wanted for a year: an
aquarium.  Only this is no ordinary aquarium.  This is the 1.5 gallon Undersea …

Random Thoughts

Disappearing Do’s

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Did you know that a lot of women over a certain age never wash their own hair? And they have it “done” only once a week?
“That’s so GROSS!” say my girls. (Hmmm, if I were them, at least some of the time, I wouldn’t be talking…)
I think about “the generation gap of hair” once in awhile, especially lately as my 85-year-old mother has been staying with us for her annual visit. That visit always includes finding her a local “beauty operator” to “do” her hair once a week. Just like she’s been doing ever since she was in her 20’s.

Raising Teenagers

Maybe We Should Just Buy A Rooster…

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Jim Fay, co-author of Parenting With Love and Logic (one of my favorite parenting books) often says “You can’t make a kid go to sleep, but you can wake him up, so stop trying to control what you can’t and concentrate on what you can.” In other words, let kids stay up as long as they want, but feel free to bang pots and pans and play musical instruments outside their door early in the morning. His experience has been that kids will naturally regulate themselves on their bedtime and eventually go to sleep at a decent time once they see how tired they are from “staying up”. Something tells me this advice was meant for younger kids and not teens. At least, not my teen.