That’s what SHE said: Bernie Sanders on his spiritual beliefs, the problem with having it all, stop teaching girls to be scared, the importance of belonging, the power of grit, why we need to study the arts, inviting the class to your kid’s birthday party and more…
Amy Westervelt paints an exhausting portrait of what it really looks like to be a working mother in the United States, popped postpartum stitches and all…“It’s like we all said hey, let’s change the narrative for women, but not change anything else. And then expected women to be so grateful that we’re allowed to have casual sex and work now that we wouldn’t notice that we’re being pushed toward an ever less attainable and less desirable goal.”
A female firefighter asks why fear is expected of women and tracks where the fear conditioning begins…“When a girl learns that the chance of skinning her knee is an acceptable reason not to attempt the fire pole, she learns to avoid activities outside her comfort zone. Soon many situations are considered too scary, when in fact they are simply exhilarating and unknown. Fear becomes a go-to feminine trait, something girls are expected to feel and express at will. By the time a girl reaches her tweens no one bats an eye when she screams at the sight of an insect. When girls become women, this fear manifests as deference and timid decision making. We try to counter this conditioning by urging ourselves to “lean in.” Books on female empowerment proliferate on our shelves. I admire what these writers are trying to do — but they come far too late.”
A thought provoking essay on the importance of students feeling as though they belong and how the dangers of being viewed through the lens of a stereotype can negatively impact academic achievement…”When we find ourselves in situations where we are the “out- group” or in an environment in which we feel like an outsider, we use our mental energy to monitor for threats, leaving fewer resources for higher cognitive processes. When students feel as if they don’t belong in a school setting, the cognitive energy that should be used on social engagement and learning is being used to scan for group barriers, discrimination and stereotypes….For a person facing a stereotype threat, the process of thinking through the possibility of confirming a stereotype by performing badly on a test causes a great deal of anxiety. In turn, this anxiety places a drain on a student’s energy and cognitive resources. As a result, the capacity of working memory is diminished, and performance is impaired.”
A talk with parenting expert and author Vicki Hoefle discusses the importance of and how to instill the invaluable trait of grit in our children…“There is a tendency to think that good parents have happy kids. My experience is just the opposite. Kids who are really engaged in life have emotions that run the gambit from joyful exuberance to miserable temper tantrums and that is a sign that they are really throwing themselves into everything that they do. I think over time what happens is that they find that balance of highs and lows and that balance will get you through life. For parents, the challenge is to allow the normal frustrations, rejections, judgments and embarrassments to play an equally important role in the development of the child.”
In a culture where studying STEM fields is replacing the enthusiasm for studying the humanities, this author challenges the notion that we have our priorities backwards. While studying the arts may see like a luxury, he argues the arts is what helps us “first-personalize” the world…“At a time when the price of a degree from elite institutions is well over six figures, fields such as literature and the arts may seem like a luxury item. But we may have it backwards. They are, to cite Hemingway’s title for his Paris memoir, “a moveable feast,” and they offer us a kind of reach into time and space that we can find nowhere else.We enter the bookstore, see the many volumes arrayed there, and think: so much to read, so little time. But books do not take time; they give time, they expand our resources of both heart and mind. It may sound paradoxical, but they are, in the last analysis, scientific, for they trace the far-flung route by which we come to understand our world and ourselves. They take our measure. And we are never through discovering who we are.”
Two parents debate about the importance of inclusion versus the importance of not shielding our children from disappointment…“Our children spend the bulk of their time at school, interacting with their classmates for at least eight hours a day. When one of them chooses to exclude a few children from a birthday celebration, the message being conveyed is “you are not good enough to come to my party.” [VERSUS] “I don’t believe in shielding kids indefinitely from reality. Disappointments and frustrations are a part of that reality. We need to help our children learn how to deal with it.”
New York families should check out The Secret Inside You at the American Museum of Natural History and also New York Theatre Ballet’s Cinderellain April! New York parents looking forward to springtime theatre in New York, be sure to get your tickets now for David Harrower’s new play Blackbird starring Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams. Also, check out The Humanson Broadway.
Hi, I’m Kristen. I’m a mom of four kids via birth and adoption and a writer living in Southern California. Read More.