Archive for the ‘Parenting News’ Category

Getting Out of the Closet at Cal Poly

Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

My oldest is finishing his freshman year (albeit with sophomore standing, if I may brag a bit) at the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (or Cal Poly, as most people call it) and while I have worked hard not to be a helicopter parent, I have been following his college career very closely. I never really went to university — just a couple of years at the local community college before dropping out — and so the entire process is fascinating to me. I’m also incredibly proud of my son and enjoy watching his progress. I am involved with a couple of parents’ groups on Facebook and of the Cal Poly subreddit on Reddit. It was on Reddit that I came across a post about the campus Pride Center which, apparently, is literally in the closet — an old electrical closet that was remodelled.

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Memories of Prides Past

Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

I’m not going to lie — the last year or so has been a doozy. My kids’ school shut down in March and, like everyone else, we’ve been just trying to keep our heads above water. College selection, high school graduation, senior dance performance, summer teaching job — all these were scaled back or shifted to virtual for my oldest. The robotics competition season was simply cancelled; our living room became a storage locker for tools and materials, in case the kids were able to work on their robot outside the school or over the summer. This past school year was all online — my oldest did go off to school but took his classes from his dorm room, while the other two attended Zoom school in their bedrooms. My wife turned our dining room into her classroom, complete with posters and number corners; she worked overtime all summer learning new technologies and creating materials to teach remotely.

And so, here we are at the start of another Pride Month and — I’ll be honest — I’ve not really had the time or energy to think about it. Heck, I haven’t even really been wearing my pride shirts (but in my defense, I haven’t been wearing anything, so…)

With that in mind, I’m thinking about it now. Specifically, I’m thinking about Prides past.

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Mr. and Mr. Claus — LGBTQ Families Day 2020

Monday, June 1st, 2020

Last December, I was at the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department tree-lighting ceremony in front of McLaren Lodge in Golden Gate Park. I was there to video my daughter and the theatre company of which she’s a member. Before they went on, however, there was another group — a family of singers. There was the mom and dad, of course, and six or seven kids, and they were performing Christmas carols. They were a regular Von Trapp family.

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A New Look for Civics Lessons

Saturday, September 21st, 2019

According to a survey from the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, only two out of every five Americans could name all three branches of the federal government and one in five couldn’t name even a single branch. This is better than it has been in past years, but the survey unequivocally shows that Americans really need to know more than they do about how their country works. Fortunately, there is a solution.

High school civics classes, as you’d expect, make a big difference in an adult’s knowledge on the topic. With that in mind, Florida Representative Alcee L. Hastings, along with 62 cosponsors, has introduced a bill to allocate additional funding for civics classes as a means of addressing this issue. Rep. Hastings, however, is not the only one tackling the problem. The Center for Cartoon Studies might seem an unlikely ally in the push to increase civics awareness, but they could very well be the key to getting kids — and adults — up to speed on the way government works.

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Two and a Half Years of Trump

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

At the end of 2016, I wrote about the election of Donald Trump to the office of President of the United States and how to talk to my kids about it. I made some predictions about the effects of a Trump presidency, all of which came true. (Don’t congratulate me too hard; they were all quite obvious.) Even as he tweeted about Pride Month, the Orange Menace was rolling back protections for the LGBTQ+ community.

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A Not So Gilded Birdcage

Monday, June 4th, 2018

Nathan Lane and the late Robin Williams are two of the funniest people ever to have graced this planet.  Put them together in a movie and you’re pretty much guaranteed outrageous hilarity.  That’s what happened in The Birdcage, a remake of the french farce La Cage aux Folles.  In it, Lane and Williams are a gay couple who own a drag club in Miami, Florida where Lane is the star performer.  They are also the parents of college student Val who has fallen in love with fellow student Barbara.  The problem?  Barbara’s father is an ultra-conservative, republican Senator, played by Gene Hackman.  Of course, Barbara’s parents want to meet their potential in-laws before consenting to and announcing the engagement.

To avoid friction, Val asks his fathers to play it straight when the Senator and his family come to visit and the laughs are pretty much non-stop for the rest of the film. 

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Um, You’re Welcome?

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Photo by DodgertonSkillhause at Morguefile.comA while back, I ran into a fellow parent at the grocery store.  Her youngest and my oldest are in the same grade and had been in the same schools since kindergarten.  We hadn’t seen each other in a while, now that our kids are in high school.  I was pleased to see her again and we stopped to chat.  Our kids weren’t ever especially close, but our elementary school community was a close-knit one and we had gotten to know each other reasonably well.

She asked about Jared and I told her how well he’s adjusting and about his joining the robotics team and so on.  And then, I wanted to ask about her kid.

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Talking to Kids About Trump

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

My Daughter's Whiteboard Crossed out: Equality, Diversity, Constitution, and Education

My Daughter’s Whiteboard
Crossed out: Equality, Diversity, Constitution, and Education

Well that didn’t go the way I’d hoped.  Welcome to a Trumpian world.  Or perhaps I should say dysTrumpian.  In case you hadn’t heard, Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States.

I’m sure there will be plenty of analysis about how this happened and what went wrong and who is to blame.  Personally, I blame those who underestimated the amount of racism and hatred that has been hiding and festering in this country for at least the last 150 years.  I also blame not only those who fought for Trump but also those who fought against Hillary Clinton.  Too many people went around saying that while Trump was a nightmare, they didn’t trust Clinton or believed she was dishonest or even simply didn’t like her.

But that’s not the issue I need to deal with right now.  What I need to figure out is what to tell my kids.

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The Point of Pride

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

Ezra and Sara in their pride shirts, 2016

Shortly after the Orlando massacre, my family and I were headed for a local shopping mall and, as we often do, were discussing recent events on the way.  We arrived and parked and proceeded to get out of our minivan in the parking lot near a chain department store.  The area is not as upscale as some other parts of the Bay Area and the store is known more for lower prices than for its appeal to educated professionals.  In short, while still relatively liberal (it was, after all, still the San Francisco Bay Area), it was an area where one might run into a homophobe.

Getting out of the car and walking through the parking lot, I continued talking loudly about the terrorist attack at the Pulse nightclub in Florida and its effect on the LGBTQ community.  My oldest began trying to get me to quiet down and stop talking about it.  He said that one day, I would end up getting shot if I kept talking that way.  He was worried that some homophobic terrorist would take offense at what I was saying and respond with lethal force.

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Time To Go Shopping!

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

2012-06-27_18-49-06_717_12x12

Ever since having kids, I’ve been a fan of Old Navy.  They have good children’s clothes at affordable prices — a big help when you have three active kids who are continuously outgrowing and wearing out their clothes.  But that’s not the only reason I shop at Old Navy, especially this time of year.

Recently, we were on holiday and found ourselves in need of some new pants (sans holes) for Ezra, my youngest, as well as a couple other small items.  The only viable option we had available was Wal-Mart.  Normally, I don’t shop at the retail giant because I have some serious issues with the way they run their business, but sometimes, evil becomes a necessary evil.

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