Last winter my 12-year-old son and I went out for a jog to prepare for an upcoming wrestling tournament. These training runs are also excellent opportunities for us to talk about the state of things; school, sports, friends, life.

One time he asked me, “Daddy, are we atheists?”  Continue Reading »


The This American Life radio show this week features an absorbing story about two parents who raised a tight-knit family while on the run from the law for more than a decade.  They lived in a treehouse, on a cramped boat, and raised six kids that today are grown, have families of their own, and more or less still live together in a cohesive family unit.  One of the children–now an adult– laments that his family is misunderstood by the many ‘primitive minds’ out there.  Here it is.

Here is a good piece in the New York Times about what psychologists say about the link between how you parent and how your children turn out.  The article quotes a parent as saying they “love” their son but because of all the heartache and defiance he exhibits, they don’t “like” him.  Sad but probably more common a thought that we’d like to admit.  I tackled this subject some time ago and I broke it down this way.

Here’s the link to the story I wrote for the USA Today about our trip to the Gulf.

If  you followed the link from my story in the June 29 USA Today, thank you very much.  I hope our roadtrip to the Gulf to see the devastation of the oil spill was interesting enough to perhaps encourage other parents to do the same.  It is not often my humble blog goes national, and this is a special day for me.  I have been blogging about parenting issues for almost a year and have assembled links to my Greatest Hits if you care to sift through my previous work: Continue Reading »

Two weeks ago I took my kids out of school for a week to go down to the Gulf Coast to see for ourselves the tragedy.  I wrote a piece about the trip for USA Today that is scheduled to run sometime in the coming weeks.  That piece is tightly focused on the spill and its ramifications for the local population as seen through the eyes of my 12, 11, and 8 year old children.  What follows below is a stop we made to the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama that did not make the final version of the USA Today story but is worth putting out there anyway:

We drove to the Gulf from our home in Virginia. The night before we reached the coast, we spent a night in Birmingham, Ala.  I had intentionally stopped there, but my kids had no inkling of what I had in mind.

I had read in the guidebook about that city’s Civil Rights Institute across the street from the 16th Street Baptist Church, where four girls similar in age to my children died in the bombing in 1963.  I was determined that my half-Asian children should learn more about this painful chapter in U.S. history. I vetoed their suggestion that we instead go to the science museum. Continue Reading »

I took my kids on a 7-day roadtrip down to the Gulf to see the oil spill up close.  It was a fascinating, education and sad trip.  The image that will stay with us is this one of a oiled-up pelican trying to fly.  We saw it at Grand Isle State Park just as we were leaving.  Workers approached the bird with a net, but it had the strength to evade the net, beat its heavy wings, and fly back to the oily water.

I will have more blog entries on this trip in coming days/weeks.