Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Father's Day tribute from a son

Books are one of the ways we learn about who we are and who we might become.
Often we meet characters who point the way and inform our sensibilities about what matters. In honor of Father’s Day, let me share a passage from a son speaking to how much he appreciated her father.

“ I’m grateful to my father for many things, particularly for the way he taught me to love the natural world. One morning, when I was a child, I excitedly pointed out a mysterious circle of lush, vibrant grass in our lawn, a patters that seemed to have sprung up overnight. Thankfully, he didn’t fill my head with facts about underground fungal mycelia. Instead, he told he about the fairies that came out to dance at midnight., carelessly leaving magical traces in the grass—fairy rings.” 

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers who are either first time fathers or fathers for many years.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Let Dad Be Dad

The difference between men and women is a subject that will never be exhausted, but new research is shedding light on some of the important and beneficial differences in the ways mothers and fathers parent.  With the best of intentions, mothers tend to dominate much of the parenting that takes place and often dad is not allowed To Be Dad.

Children greatly benefit from and need the difference ways women and men parent. The ability to form close, trusting bonds with both mothers and fathers early in life predict a child’s future friendships, social skills and romantic relationships.  Parents serve as a secure base for exploration and risk-taking and provide a safe haven for a child in terms of distress. Recent studies indicate that many of the traits relating to risk-taking and exploration come more from dads than moms. Recent studies indicate that exploration and risk-taking are traits that are encouraged and learned when dads engage in, sometimes seemingly, random silly play with their children.

My take away from all the data is the idea that “optimal fatherhood may be the ability to maintain sensitivity and rapport during rambunctious play.

Happy Father's Day to all Dads—whether it be your First Father's Day or your 33rd Father's Day.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

We read to know we are not alone. C.S. Lewis

Literature about transgender individuals is in its infancy, but the good news is there is a small group of emerging authors who are writing children’s literature that centers on transgender characters, hoping to fill the void they felt as young readers. As one author wrote “My goal was to write stories that would have helped me feel less alone at that age.”

The course will not be smooth; change never is, but eventually transgender literature, to have sustainability, must be judged on the same merit that all literature is subjected to. No matter the genre, the best of literature must exhibit quality of writing, authenticity of voice, offering readers pathways into a story that encourages readers to engage with the characters and to care about what happens to them.
Ideally, transgender literature will be one more island added to the sea of print readers swim in, addressing the journey that the best of fiction explores—the quest, the challenge to find and be your own self.

A character I just met said it most succinctly—People who read for plot, people who suck out the story like a cream filling in an Oreo, should stick to comic strips and soap operas…. Every book worth a damn is about emotions and love and death and pain. It’s about words. It’s about people dealing with life.