Those Things Don’t Matter

You work so hard to provide your kids a better life. You saved up for that downpayment, you built up all that equity, slowly, month after month for years of payments. You worked so hard to achieve something, to build something—a name, a business, a life that you can someday pass to them. It swells…

This Is What We’re Here For

When a young Florence Nightingale began making moves toward volunteering in hospitals, her aristocratic parents were horrified. It had been difficult enough raising a precocious child. Now she wanted to debase herself with work below her station? They were embarrassed. What would their friends think? How would it look? Like a lot of parents with…

A Wonderful Way To Think About It

It’s sort of crazy, as an institution. We all know this at some level. To pick one person and be with them for the rest of your level. To do that, in some cases (and as they did for generations) at an age when you barely understood yourself? Oh yeah, and then kids, that’s the…

What Our Kids Need To Hear

When he was in college and struggling to live up to the expectations of his illustrious family, the writer Walker Percy wrote a letter to his uncle, William Alexander Percy. He probably expected to receive a lecture about his grades in reply. Or be admonished for letting the family down. Or perhaps to be sent…

Send Them This Message

The great Bill Russell, born in 1934, would have received a lot of messages as a kid that told him he wasn’t worth much. He was a black kid in the American South. He was poor. He lost his mother at an early age. Yet, as we’ve talked about before, he had a pretty remarkable…

How Would You Like Them To Describe You?

Several weeks ago, we talked about that type of parent that we all have to avoid being. The mercurial, stern, withdrawn parent. The one whose presence looms large over a family, the one who haunts a child’s psyche even years later, after they’ve grown up. It was so perfectly captured in Whitman’s poem, who writing…

This Is Your Main Job

No father wants to see their kids suffer. It’s almost more painful for you than it is for them to watch them trip over their words, to scratch their heads in front of their homework, or to bumble their way through the early years of their career. Biologically this makes sense—​you’re designed to want to…

You Can Do This

Life had already been hard for Bill Russell as a kid and now it was going to get a lot harder. The Russell family had moved from Monroe, Louisiana, a segregated city where racism was the norm, out to Oakland, California for Russell’s father to find work. But the work didn’t come easy and the…

It’s Simple (But Also Out of Their Hands)

The Wright Brothers did alright, didn’t they? Two, mostly self-educated kids, who changed the world. There were no scandals. They wore their success lightly. They seemed happy. And a nice feather in their cap—in addition to the whole inventing the airplane thing—is that they were instrumental in the career of Paul Lawrence Dunbar, one of…

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