Browsing All posts tagged under »children«

Straps, Snowballs, and Selective Memory

January 4, 2011


My father wore a belt. I assume its purpose was to hold up his pants, but the belt had a much larger significance in my little mind, because it represented potential punishment. Both of my parents referred to this belt as The Strap, and in a strange way it seemed to be a permanent part […]

Twisted Values?

December 27, 2010


It has always mystified me how something can quickly fall from the very top of a Christmas or birthday list to the absolute depths of disdain — and the back of a closet. During the past fifteen years I’ve watched our children repeatedly obsess about some item they swore they couldn’t live without, only to […]

Math Hysteria

December 11, 2010


One day my father, for no apparent reason, began a hypothetical discussion with me about pennies and how quickly they could add up to something. It’s possible that he was using a diversionary tactic after I’d requested an increase in my allowance. He said that if we were to put a single penny into a […]

Honoring the Veterans of Life

November 10, 2010


In a recent post, shoreacres wrote about her father and the long-ago influence he had on her views about rights, responsibilities, and what it means to be a citizen in a democratic society. Her wonderful essay got me thinking, again, about my own father. For many years, I had been unfair in my memories of […]

My Favorite Teacher

September 3, 2010


The block where we lived was mostly three-story brick buildings and concrete driveways. Right in front of our house was an opening in the sidewalk, a square measuring about two feet by two feet that must have once been home to a tree. I would play in the dirt that filled that square, sometimes for […]

Cause & Effect (Part 1)

August 3, 2010


Humans are forever trying to explain what they see, to look at some object or condition and figure out what actions produced that result. It’s called Cause & Effect, and we use it all the time in just about every area of life. We plant five rose bushes. Three of them do really well, one […]

I Remember Boredom

July 10, 2010


I love history, partly because I enjoy seeing how people lived long ago. I’ve visited dozens of mansions, homesteads, and estates, as well as simpler homes, taking the guided tour whenever one is offered. I pay special attention to the descriptions of the kitchen, of all the related jobs and how they were done. You […]

Sarcasm: It’s in the Blood

July 7, 2010


I see articles in magazines and newspapers that speculate about the existence of genes for certain traits. Is there a gene for religious belief? Homosexuality? Intelligence? Alcoholism? These are mildly interesting questions, and I usually read the articles at least halfway through before going off to fold my socks. But what about the sarcasm gene? […]

Why We Get Old

June 12, 2010


Have you ever compared photographs of the same person, taken fifteen or twenty years apart, and wondered what in the world happened? How could someone look so different because of a few passing years? Why do people age so dramatically? The answer is simple: they had children. We have two daughters, who are now in […]

Driving Myself Crazy (Part 1)

June 7, 2010


Our son turns sixteen this summer, and I’ll be sliding over to the passenger’s seat as he begins the lifelong process of learning how to drive. Over the past few months, he’s been asking a lot of questions whenever we get into the car, so I’ve been taking note of the amusing habits of other […]