Suffer the Children

The holiday spirit had barely dissipated last month when close to one-hundred-fifty people took to the streets to protest budget cuts for early childhood education. One protester was apparently so distressed by the lack of resources that she wailed and threw herself on her knees. Others tried to help her up, but she let her […]

Stupidity on Two Wheels

So, it sucks to park the car on Hennepin Avenue in the winter – scaling the piles of snow hardened into ice, trying not to fall against (or under) the filthy auto, hoping that busses and SUVs will not take the car door off (or at least slow down if they do) when you get […]

Don't Call Me Sweetheart

I just picked up my two children from their school-supported daycare, at which time a young woman put her finger in the air and motioned for me to have a moment with her. I stepped aside and proceeded to listen to her complain that my son had been calling her, and other students and teachers, […]

The Greatest Threat to the Imagination

Jeannine Ouellette‘s puzzling article seems to cite the regimentation of children’s lives and the role of technology as a threat to the development of imagination. As a girl in the ’50s and ’60s, I faced far more restrictions to my imagination and free play than any kid today. But the greatest threat to imagination goes […]

The Death and Life of American Imagination

In February 1953, a violent North Sea storm crashed through the Dutch levee system, killing 1,835 people and leaving a hundred thousand others homeless. In the aftermath, the country responded by building the Delta Works, the world’s most sophisticated system of flood defenses. According to John McQuaid, a reporter for Mother Jones on assignment in […]

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This is a story with a hopeful ending. Lucky, even. But be forewarned, you have to get through a lot of hopeless, unlucky crap before you find it. Here’s how it all starts: My first-born son has autism. Now that isn’t hopeless or, in my opinion, unlucky. Autism isn’t sick or crazy. It’s rigid and […]

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Specimen Days

Boys will be there but your parents will not,” promised the summer camp brochures that came in winter’s mail like seed catalogs. There were pamphlets for marine biology camp in Florida, space camp in Alabama, and some sort of geology road trip called the Central Rocky Mountain Institute. “I hear scientific greatness calling me,” I […]

"The Sanctity of Marriage"

"If I see that tie one more time, I’ll shoot myself.” My husband Jon was browsing through photos from our recent wedding, lamenting his last-minute decision to rent a tux rather than buy a suit. “Look at that,” he groaned. “Did I somehow not notice it was made of pressed plastic?” I laughed, but lightly, […]

Boy Trouble

My five-year-old son, Peter, is standing in the middle of the practice rink at Parade Ice Garden in Minneapolis. The other children, coached for this moment by their parents, can push off their skate edges in a wobbly glide. Peter hasn’t made the connection that skating is an entirely different motion from walking. He marches […]