Tony Woodlief | Author

The Art of Parenting

Not Sorry

Last night the boys and I played a rollicking game of Sorry. It went something like this: “ONE!TWO!THREE!FOUR!ELEVEN!NINE!…” “Isaac, slow down. Count one for each square.” “Okay Dad. ONE(whack)TWO(whack)THREE(whack)…” “He’s shaking my pieces off the board!” “Gently, Isaac.” “Okay.” (whispering) “one(tap)two(tap)three(tap)…” “Your turn, Eli. “Eli… ” “Eli?” “Elijah!” “Oh.” The boy draws a Sorry card. …

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Ego Inflation

I didn’t know somebody had invented a test to measure narcissism. Even better, researchers have been administering it to college students since 1982. The shocking news this week is that recent results confirm a trend: today’s college students are, on average, more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors. The researchers blame everything from permissive parents …

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Snips and Snails and Puppy-Dog Tails

Cathy Young, whose writing I sometimes enjoy, suggests in her Reason Magazine essay that the wildly popular Dangerous Book for Boys is dangerous indeed, because it reinforces traditional sex roles. Why couldn’t it have been titled “The Dangerous Book for Kids”? In service to this question, Young quotes a female friend to great effect: “‘Where …

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More Light

They say that the insane and geniuses are alike in that their minds make unusual connections between ideas. The good news is that I may be a genius. The bad news is that insane people often imagine that they are brilliant. Regardless, I noticed what seemed to be a common thread running through three seemingly …

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Something inside draws us home. Last year, two swallows built a nest on the narrow ledge above my front door. We tried to shoo them off, used a broom to sweep away their construction a few times, but they just kept rebuilding. They kept on keepin’ on, as Caleb might note. Eventually they won, and …

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Some things are stitched through your life like a thread. I’m thinking of railroad tracks, which really are like threads, or perhaps great running scars. I learned to fear them when I was little; my grandmother would remind me often that her father was killed at a railroad crossing, run down when she was only …

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