After a day in The Rockaways

What should I teach my kids about the election?

As election day approaches, politics has become a common topic of conversation at my kids' elementary school. Last week my 5th grade daughter had to watch the first presidential debate and then discuss it in class. When I asked Emmy what they'd discussed, she said that her teacher had asked the kids what they thought was the most crucial challenge facing the country right now."Oh," I replied "Great question. What was your answer?"...more

My Label-Free Children

"Hey guys - do you know why there's no school today? It's Yom Kippur, the day of atonement and the most important Jewish holiday."It was September 26th, and I was taking the kids and the coon hound to the dog park in the minivan. As I sometimes like to do when the kids are strapped down in an enclosed space, I was trying to educate them a bit."Really?" my eight-year old son Austin replied "I though Christmas was the most important Jewish holiday".Oh dear....more

When Do We Teach Kids to Conform vs. Being an Individual?

Tomorrow is picture day at my kids' elementary school, and this year is a big one: My daughter is in fifth grade. While the children in the other grades usually sport a range of attire (with my kids typically at the most casual end of the spectrum), fifth graders are supposed to step it up significantly. Since the start of school, I've been receiving notices about fifth grade picture day. All of them have contained this language: Fifth grade boys traditionally wear dress slacks, button down shirt, tie, jacket and dress shoes. Fifth grade girls traditionally wear dresses....more
It is such a fine balance isn't it? Not just picture day but everyday, in all sorts of ...more

Searching for the Sabbath

"Mom - when are we going to have time to do nothing?" My eight-year old son Andrew recently asked this question after we'd been going non-stop for the past 48 hours. Andrew, who loves to read, play Legos, and just goof off with his siblings, was suffering from down-time withdrawal....more
As my children's teacher would say, " Boredom is the wellspring of creativity". One ...more