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Posted inParenting & Family

One-and-a-half cheers for depopulation

Reading Time: 4 minutes Although we can’t predict the future in detail, there are large-scale trends that make me hopeful. The blossoming of renewable energy is one of these. Let’s discuss another. Overpopulation is a common fear among those who predict catastrophe. They point to the exponential growth of humanity in the 20th century, from 1.6 billion people to […]

Posted inParenting & Family

For which it stands

Reading Time: 8 minutes My son, now 5 years old, was chosen to lead his school in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. As an atheist and a parent, I have mixed feelings about this—especially when he asked me what “under God” means. Why I let him do it despite my misgivings, and how to use the Pledge as a teaching moment in secular parenting philosophy.

Posted inParenting & Family

Parenting a precocious child

Reading Time: 3 minutes She was savvy even as a toddler, with apt facial expressions to match—the knitted brow, narrowed eyes, faraway gaze, puckish grin, chin in hand. When she was three, I asked her to her face if she was the Buddha. She demurred. And so it went through years of parenting a socially astute, logically shrewd child. […]

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Finding Nemo, belly up

Reading Time: 3 minutes There’ve been three deaths in our immediate family in the past 48 hours. Wait, lemme go downstairs and check. Okay, four. Squishy, Squirmy, Stripey, and now—uh, another one—were found one at a time, white-eyed and motionless, in our new aquarium. They were tiger barb fish. Now they’re not. Yes, we took all appropriate steps in […]

Posted inParenting & Family

You don’t have to ‘be fruitful and multiply’: More Americans having just one child

Reading Time: 7 minutes For much of history, “only children” were rare. Whether due to religious traditions, lack of birth control, cultural norms, or the simple need for manual labor, women commonly gave birth to numerous children. Having multiples also offset the common childhood deaths resulting from harsh conditions of life. In 1800, American women typically had seven to […]

Posted inParenting & Family

An Easter horror story

Reading Time: 2 minutes As a little kid, I was not allowed to watch horror movies. In the early 80s, they were all the rage. Such masterpieces like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th were favorites of my older siblings. And they knew that because I was prone to nightmares, my mother didn’t want me watching […]