What My Dad Taught Me About Racism

My Dad and Me

Growing up I wasn’t exposed to issues of racism in any significant way, at least so I thought. If my dad ever mentioned the word, I don’t remember. He may have mentioned someone’s race in passing, as a way to identify the person (e.g., “the Chinese lady”), but that’s it.

As a child, I thought little about race. I’m sure it was brought up in school in lessons about the civil war, but that was a long time ago. At home, race was a non-issue. In fact, my first personal exposure to the issue of racism (that I remember in a significant way) occurred during junior high school. Continue reading

Angry Fish, Happy Fish

Angry FishRecently I overheard an interesting conversation at the fish tank in the children’s play area at our local mall. It was between a mother and daughter (I would guess approximately 2 years old) as follows:

Mother: See the fish?

Daughter: Angry fish.

Mother: No, happy fish.

Daughter: Angry fish.

Mother: Happy fish.

Daughter: Happy fish?

Mother: Happy fish.

Daughter: Happy fish.

The mother, satisfied, escorts her daughter away.

To many, this may seem like an innocuous conversation. Continue reading

What Comes After RIE?

afterrieMagda Gerber’s caretaking and parenting philosophy, which she named RIE , is explicitly intended to be applied to children from birth until about two years old. Discovering and applying RIE with my young children is without a doubt the best thing my wife and I have done as parents, and we are huge advocates of Gerber’s philosophy. (Click here to read my introductory post about RIE.) However, often the question comes up: what do I do with my kids after RIE? Do the ideas still apply? Continue reading

When It Comes To Parenting, Do Not Follow Your Guts

As a parent I spend a fair amount of time in various parenting forums and discussion groups, either seeking advice or offering my own. Too often, however, in response to parenting questions, I hear other parents offering the clichéd advice: “follow your gut,” or “just do what feels right.”

But what if you feel like hitting your child, because you are particularly annoyed about something they did? What if your “guts” tell you to put your kid in time-out? Or call them names when they’ve done something you think is stupid? Or worse? Is it okay to follow your guts then? Continue reading