Tony Woodlief | Author


The weak link

Six days ago: an ambulance ride with my 11 year-old to a trauma center near the South Carolina coliseum where he and 2,000 other youngsters have been wrestling. His neck braced, a board under his back, tears trickling from the corners of his eyes as he chuckles at the paramedic’s dad jokes. I am not …

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Amor fati

The thing about babies is they don’t care about your big plans. This past year I’ve had occasion to laugh at myself many times, a man like me, middle-aged and rooted in habit, suddenly a father again of newborns. Yes, that’s plural. Twins. Boys, of course, because for the rest of my life it seems …

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Abandoning children

The intellectual consensus seems to be that having children is miserable business. This consensus is built on shoddy thinking and shoddier statistics. The latest example is brought to us by Why Have Kids? author Jessica Valenti, who notes that in the wake of Nebraska’s “safe haven” law allowing parents and caregivers to abandon children without prosecution, …

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A boy grows

Yesterday was Stephen Caleb’s birthday. He’s twelve, and there are now only 364 days between him and the onset of teenagerism, which I associate — at least among American kids — with sloth and self-indulgence, ignorance and idiocy and all-around brain malfunction, the latter now being scientifically proven at last. We are all of us …

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On Tiger Mamas, bad art, and the heart of a child

My first thought, upon hearing of Amy Chua’s now famous (or infamous) essay about the superiority of Chinese mothers, is that it’s irrelevant to me. The odds that I will go out and father a child with a Chinese woman are exactly zero. Further, even if Chua has brilliant mothering tips, there’s no way I’m going to …

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Marionette parenting

Judith Woods reminds us that there’s a difference between good parental involvement and hovering overkill (i.e., “helicopter parenting“). We ought to dispense with calling it helicopter parenting, in fact, and call it marionette parenting. Parents should be in the helicopter, hovering about their children’s lives. That’s their bloody job, after all — to supervise, counsel, protect. …

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