Who Gets to Play?

My 2nd grader wants to do everything (Soccer! Gymnastics! 4H! Garden club! Karate! Running club! Contra dance!). The only reason an instrument isn’t on her list is because she wants to learn flute and she’s too young to start.

As someone with many interests too, part of me wants to enable her to pursue all of her passions, or as many of them as she can fit in a week. But then I spend a Sunday morning watching her play royal family with her sister or an afternoon watching her run around outside with her friends, and I’m much more worried that even though we have drawn a line, that we have given in to too many structured activities, when what she really needs is more time for free play. Continue reading

Please, Talk to Strangers

On Wednesday morning I got forwarded the following alert:

“Albany police are investigating a report of a male exposing himself on Delaware Avenue. Staff from Myers Middle School notified police that on Tuesday September 24, 2013 at approximately 7:30 a.m., two female students were approached by a man on Delaware Avenue. The students told police that while they were walking to school, they observed a male exposing himself in the area of Delaware Avenue and Morton Avenue. They stated the male then followed them for approximately one block and attempted to engage them in conversation. The students were able to get away from him and reported the incident to school officials.”

After some details about the investigation, the alert followed up with these tips: Continue reading

Dads, Daughters, and Dating

I was in my local Stewart’s convenience store a few years ago when I heard a guy, in the hearing of his teenage daughter, telling someone else that his daughter “wasn’t allowed to date until she’s 30.” Memes go by from people I generally respect saying things like “Guns don’t kill people. Fathers with beautiful daughters kill people” or “Dads Against Daughters Dating. Shoot the first one and word will spread.” Continue reading

What Is “Safe Sleeping”?

It was with great disappointment that I saw the new Albany County advertising campaign on “safe sleeping” for infants, which discourages bedsharing and repeat the old, inaccurate canard that “babies sleep safest alone.”

There are few things that are more emotional than an accidental infant death. I’m quite sure that all the people involved in this campaign are sincerely wanting to do what’s right and safe lives.

But that’s no excuse for an inaccurate campaign that is likely to harm more babies than it helps. Continue reading