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If your children aren't old enough to hear the Seven Words You Can't Say on Television, then how exactly do you explain to them the impact of the late George Carlin? Simple, just show them his monologue on the differences between football and baseball. Not only is it family-friendly and safe for work, it also shows the pure genius of Carlin. ---Greg

It’s only June 17 and already our family change jar -- which acts as a mini-vacation fund -- has been depleted by half. I suspect that its proceeds are lining the pockets of the ice cream truck guy. (This is not change that we can count on.) Kids whose ears don’t hear a mother from 10 feet away are miraculously able to pick up the annoying ice cream truck jingle from…

     Parents care a lot about the media their children consume -- both the types and the sheer amount of it.   But, as today's Spotlight cover story points out, it used to be a lot easier to control those viewing habits.      Back in the day, you could just snap off the set when the kids got too fixated.  Now, they live in a 24…

Career blogger extraordinaire Penelope Trunk today writes about a dirty little secret: "People are scared to admit that they would rather be at work than with their kids, because work is easier than parenting."There is a lot of truth to this, isn't there? I work a lot of evening shifts at my job, and often I've spent all day hauling kids to various places, gettin…

Slate.com has a terrific column by Ray Fisman on why the rush to give $100 laptops to poor children doesn't make sense. Why? Because computers are more of a distraction for most kids than they are an education enhancer. Maybe that's easier to say for those of us who live on the fortunate side of the so-called digital divide, but if you've ever watched your kids use a comp…

As the school year winds down, it is the season of exams, papers, and the dreaded Group Project. In our society in which many jobs are performed in teams, it makes sense on a practical level to introduce students to the joys and frustrations of working in a group to accomplish a task. You’re never too young to learn that when assigned to a group, the 80/20 Pareto principl…

A story that appeared in the news last week about a remarkable young Texan student is a parable about America’s decline. Anjala Datta, of Grapevine Texas, recorded the highest GPA not only this year, but ever in the history of Grapevine High School – a 5.898. (I graduated in the age when 4.0 was the highest, but I guess the scale at Grapevine is 5.0, with the potential f…

Health and Fitness

Greg put up the badminton net a few days ago, a sign that life is moving outdoors. I like to keep the net up throughout the summer -- I think it encourages us to get up out of our lounge chairs on the deck, and have a little competition and exercise. When Greg mows the lawn the net comes down, and he is not keen to set it back up. I guess he is not into this sport as much…

A column in today's Wall Street Journal says that when 20-something kids move back home with their parents, there is less of a stigma attached than in years past. More and more families see it as a positive step, if only a temporary one. A Princeton University sociology professor, Katherine Newman, is quoted in the article as saying that some adults today might be feeling…

  It was our turn to provide the orange slices for our son's soccer game yesterday. (That's "football," to our readers overseas.) Greg is in third grade and he alternates at goalkeeper and halfback. The radio sports talker Jim Rome frequently makes fun of soccer. When the World Cup was being played, Rome wondered who was providing the orange slices and C…

The British government is on a collision course with Big Business in England. The government is announcing a new law that will give some 4.5 million parents the right to request flexible working arrangements at the office. Prime Minister Gordon Brown believes that "chaining parents to their desks from 9-5" is helping to breed unruly children, according to The Eve…

More nostalgia for Baby Boomers: PBS is creating a new version of "The Electric Company," a popular children's TV show from the 1970s. (I'm not talking about the guys who blocked for O.J.) I confess, I wasn't a big E.C. fan back then -- I was probably too old and had moved on to "F Troop" and 'The Munsters." The question is, will our kids take to…

No time to blog today. Too busy returning Mother's Day presents. (Note to men: Women don't like to be given any gifts that plug into a wall, I am told.) Here are some things to ponder while waiting for your neighbor to fall asleep so you can siphon gas from her car: Psychologist David Elkind says that children don't have enough unstructured play time. That's a bad thing.…

We crossed a big item off our "Bucket List" recently – something you really must do before you die: Write a will. The main reason we hadn’t gotten around to this unpleasant task – well, aside from the most obvious reason of blatant, inexcusable, irresponsible procrastination – is the whole guardian issue. Who will raise the kids? It’s an unimaginable scenario. …

New York Sun columnist Lenore Skenazy writes at the Free Range Kids blog about leaving her 9-year-old son -- at his request -- inside Bloomingdale's and having him navigate his way back on a subway and a crosstown bus to their Manhattan home. Her son made it safely home and he was ecstatic about his taste of independence. Ms. Skenazy writes that half the people she tells …