I have two daughters: One an open book, one a locked box. So the question of privacy is a challenging one. How much do kids need? How much should we give? How do we prepare them to live in a world where the very notion of privacy opens a generational chasm?
New Orleans lives by the water and fights it, a sand castle set on a sponge nine feet below sea level, where people made music from heartache, named their drinks for hurricanes and joked that one day you'd be able to tour the city by gondola.
Most of us were probably less than immaculately honest as teenagers; it's practically encoded into adolescence that you savor your secrets, dress in disguise, carve out some space for experiments and accidents and all the combustible lab work of becoming who you are.
A lot of camps and summer programs for kids seem to have discovered that among the most valuable things they offer is what they don't offer. No Wi-Fi. No grades. No hovering parents or risk managers or parents who parent like risk managers.
Obama was elected on a slogan of hope and change because both were in short supply: the military exhausted by two wars, the banks failing their public trust, the U.S. Congress a comedy of dysfunction, and a federal government that seemed designed to idle on the sidelines.
Back in the really olden days, dinner was seldom a ceremonial event for U.S. families. Only the very wealthy had a separate dining room. For most, meals were informal, a kind of rolling refueling; often only the men sat down.
Modesty means admitting the possibility of error, subsuming the self for the good of the whole, remaining open to surprise and the gifts that only failure can bring. There are many ways to practice it. Try taking up golf. Or making your own bagels. Or raising a teenager.
The leading cause of death for girls 15 to 19 worldwide is not accident or violence or disease; it is complications from pregnancy. Girls under 15 are up to five times as likely to die while having children than are women in their 20s, and their babies are more likely to die as well.
Summer is not obligatory. We can start an infernally hard jigsaw puzzle in June with the knowledge that, if there are enough rainy days, we may just finish it by Labor Day, but if not, there's no harm, no penalty. We may have better things to do.
On the court, Jason Collins is not a huge basketball star, but he has already claimed his place in civil rights history as the first openly gay athlete to play in one of the four major U.S. sports leagues.
In 2001, President George W. Bush was condemned for politicizing science with his decision to limit federal funding for stem-cell research; in 2009 President Obama was praised for reversing it, even though his decision was arguably just as political.
Our children will outwit us if they want; for when it comes to technology, they hold the higher ground. Unlike other tools passed carefully and ceremonially from one generation to the next - the sharp scissors, the car keys - this is one they understand better than we do.
The Reverend Jeremiah Wright would baptize Obama, perform his marriage to Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, baptize their daughters, and draw him into the raucous, restless family of faith that Obama had never known before.
Runners exalt the marathon as a public test of private will, when months or years of solitary training, early mornings, lost weekends, rain and pain mature into triumph or surrender. That's one reason the race-day crowds matter, the friends who come to cheer and stomp and flap their signs and push the runners on.
High school is a haunted house in April, when seniors act up because the end is near. Even those who hate school sometimes cling to the devil they know. And for the kids who love it, the goodbyes are hard to think about.
I feel like my competition is everything else that's competing for people's attention, not just other print magazines, newspapers and cable. It's your kid's report card and the games you want to play, all the things that compete for people's time.
Obama promised a return to competence and confidence and asked the nation to believe again that the government could do big things well. In the end, he got his big thing, a once-in-a-generation revision to the basic social compact, a commitment of health coverage to nearly all Americans. He has yet to prove he can do it well.