How I Became an Accidental Helicopter Parent

By Angela Noel Lawson

February 19, 2019

Jackson and I rushed through the school hallways careful not to slip on the rivers of melted snow and mud on the linoleum floors. We were late for our scheduled conference with his fourth grade teacher.

Though I’d left work right at 3:00, planning to pick Jackson up on the way (they had the day off school), I was behind schedule. By the time we arrived at school we were ten minutes late for what I thought was our 3:30 appointment. When we finally arrived at the classroom I peeked in to find a couple already sitting at the table, talking to the teacher. Then I looked at the posted schedule. Instead of 3:30, we were scheduled for 3:00 My heart sank. We weren’t just a little late; we were a lot late.

Unfortunately, I had something I wanted to discuss with the teacher. Something I thought was important. Continue reading “How I Became an Accidental Helicopter Parent”

Parents Judging Parents: I’m Afraid I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

By Angela Noel Lawson

February 4, 2019

Recently, my son hosted a friend for a sleepover. Around six in the evening, I began to think of dinner for the kids. I opened the closet where we keep cans of soda and the odd extra can of soup. Then I pulled from its depths two cans of diet root beer. As I handed a can to my son’s friend I said something surprising. Something that, on the surface, was a non-event. But when I looked deeper I found the seeds of an insidious parenting problem.

“Well,” I said, remembering my struggle in the soda aisle between the regular and diet option while at the grocery store the day before, “I guess you have to decide between the sugar and the chemicals, am I right? But, of course there’s no caffeine either way, so there’s that. Anyway, I went with the diet.”

Meanwhile, the fourth-grader waited patiently, hand outstretched for his drink. Feeling vaguely foolish, I dropped the can into his open palm.

The rest of the evening proceeded as sleepovers do. They  watched movies, built forts, and dumped Legos pretty much everywhere. But it was my non-event comment that bothered me. I couldn’t banish a simple thought: Why had I burdened this young man with my reasoning on diet versus regular?

Only one answer seemed right: I’m afraid of being judged for my parenting choices. Continue reading “Parents Judging Parents: I’m Afraid I Don’t Know What I’m Doing”

An Unbroken Oath: The Truth About Belief (And Santa)–NOW on OTV Magazine

By Angela Noel Lawson

January 28, 2019

When did you first discover the “truth” about Santa? This past holiday season brought this revelation to my fourth-grader. And while the Christmas season is behind us (at least until next year) I wanted to take a moment and reflect on the value and purpose of belief.

The truth is, Jackson wasn’t the only one who experienced a rite of passage this past season. Explaining the nature of belief and magic to my child evoked all kinds of emotions in me as well. I wrote about the whole experience and am honored to have it featured on OTV Magazine. Please take a moment to read it: An Unbroken Oath: The Truth about Belief (and Santa. Share your thoughts and experiences about magic, belief, and the idea of wonder.

The Most Important Promise I Ever Kept–Now on Heart and Humanity

By Angela Noel Lawson

January 7, 2019

Sometimes, the most important promises we make are to ourselves. Several years ago, when I locked the door on my husband, I kept my promise. Read more and share your thoughts and experiences at Heart and Humanity: The Most Important Promise I Ever Kept.

Photo by joyce huis on Unsplash

To the Lady Who Said, “We Speak English in America”

A Guest Post by Angie Riascos
October 31, 2018
My husband and nine-year-old daughter browsed the wares at an estate sale not long ago. While they shopped, they spoke to each other about everyday things. Then you, hearing their voices, came up to my husband and scolded him. “We speak English in America,” you said.
I’ve been thinking of that moment, wondering why you felt it was okay to say this to my husband and daughter. 

Continue reading “To the Lady Who Said, “We Speak English in America””

The Moment I Fell in Love My Eyes Began to See–Now in Heart and Humanity Magazine

Love changes us in unexpected ways. It builds bridges, mends fences, and fortifies us against adversity like nothing else in the world. When I fell in love, I had no idea how important the gift of that love would be.  Continue reading “The Moment I Fell in Love My Eyes Began to See–Now in Heart and Humanity Magazine”

Guest Post: That Could Have Been My Child

A Guest Post By: Janet Mary Cobb

August 20, 2018

I remember November 24, 2014 like it was yesterday. The dreary weather in Chicago matched my spirits as I drove to work, wanting only to turn my car around, pick up my children from school, and head home.

I’d learned just hours earlier that twelve-year-old  Tamir Rice had been gunned down by a police officer in Cleveland, Ohio while playing in a park. I couldn’t help but think, “that could’ve been my child.” My children were twelve, sixteen and seventeen; a daughter and two sons; African American. Tamir Rice was playing in a park. He wasn’t in a gang, didn’t live or hang in a ‘bad neighborhood,’ and was threatening no one. He was a child!

I pulled into the parking lot at the high school, turned off the car, and said to myself, “What the hell am I doing here?”

My mind twisted in knots trying to figure out what I could do to protect my children, but I had to walk into a building pretending that a tucked-in shirt and a good education would prepare these Black and Latinx students (and my children) for the dangers they would face on the street.
Continue reading “Guest Post: That Could Have Been My Child”

Error Cascade: How I Messed Up a Lesson in Laundry

By Angela Noel

August 6, 2018

A funny thing happened recently in my laundry room whilst teaching nine-year-old Jackson to wash and dry his clothes. It reminded me of the danger of cognitive biases and the error cascade they can create.  Continue reading “Error Cascade: How I Messed Up a Lesson in Laundry”

Queen in the Quiet of My Child’s World

By Angela Noel

March 27, 2018

Lying close to my son as he slowly drifts into sleep is the most cost-effective therapy I know. But I know it can’t last.

Most nights, at least lately, after we snuggle and he reads a few pages from a chapter book, I say goodnight and exit his room. Then he reads a few pages of a comic book (Garfield or Calvin and Hobbs) on his own before flipping off his reading light and heading to snooze-town. But one night recently, we turned off the lights and I stayed a bit longer. He flung his arm around my neck and nuzzled a little closer. “Tonight,” he said, “you’re my stuffy.” Continue reading “Queen in the Quiet of My Child’s World”

Love Letter: Let Me Get My Coat

A Love Letter by Brenda from You Can Always Start Now

March 9, 2018

Dear Mom,

A positive aspect about aging is perspective. I am trying to live with no regrets – something you taught me. I know you found it hard to say the words I love you. And, looking back, I realize it was both your era and personality. To put yourself out there and be hurt and disappointed is hard. As a woman now, I realize how hard your life was.  Continue reading “Love Letter: Let Me Get My Coat”