Wednesday, April 24, 2013
After Boston comes face to face with terrorism, mental health professionals say not to worry if your children aren’t as concerned as you are.
Never was Boston so grateful for a Monday: Back to work, back to school, back to routines, after a five-day ordeal shook the city and the world watched. Gone are most of the satellite trucks, the clusters of reporters and cameramen, the strands of law enforcement officers for every street on our normal path. By Wednesday, barricades and memorials for the victims of the April 15 bombings, bookending Boylston Street, were moved and the street reopened. One week ago, my innocent concern was for the magnolias on Commonwealth Avenue, and whether they’d be at their showy peak when 23,000 marathoners rose up out of the underpass to greet the last six-tenths of their 26.2-mile race. Last year, the trees bloomed pink and white in March, and …
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
In a tribute to everyday kids and teachers, Amika Kemmler-Ernst takes her camera into Boston's classrooms to make images of kids hard at work.
“A student has to be a valedictorian—or bring a gun to school—in order to be considered newsworthy,” says Amika Kemmler-Ernst. An educator for more than 40 years, she’s talking about our tendency to focus on either the great or the horrible, while paying less attention to everything in between. A teacher of children and a mentor to teachers, Dr. Kemmler-Ernst is now officially retired. But in an ongoing visual ethnography project, she’s been visiting Boston Public Schools (BPS) and taking pictures of normal kids in action, learning at school. It’s a passion she’s indulged in throughout a career teaching in Brookline, Boston, around Africa, and in Italy. Shelved at her Jamaica Plain home, bulging albums hold photos of kids at work, in …
Sunday, January 27, 2013
This school year, Boston began providing free breakfast for all students, sometimes right in the classroom. Not starting the day hungry is just the first benefit.
Stray whole-grain muffin crumbs are no match for the teachers at the Curley K-8 School in Jamaica Plain. Dustbusters in hand, they cope with the aftermath of the breakfast that’s served in their classrooms every day. The Universal Free Breakfast program began district-wide in Boston in September, and the Curley’s staff is just one group of adults who’ve converted to the idea of mixing yogurt with notebooks in the morning, to benefit students beyond having full tummies. Improvements in behavior, diet, and achievement have all been tracked in more than 15 years of research on learning and eating, especially the eating of breakfast. At first, teachers and custodians were understandably leery of bringing food into the classrooms, says Curley …
Friday, January 25, 2013
A Patch blogger's post about not helping her children on the slide is being debated across the country.
A Patch blog from Alameda, CA, called “Please Don’t Help My Kids” has struck a nerve with readers across the country. Posted in September, the blog has taken off over the past few weeks as it has found a second life through social media sharing. The blog has 124,000 Facebook recommendations and 833 people have tweeted the blog. The blog is an open letter to other parents at the playground. The blogger Kate Bassford Baker’s basic request is for parents to not help her daughters on the slide. She wrote that she wants her daughters to do things and learn things on their own. Learning to walk up the slide’s ladder is the first step to learning new things and overcoming obstacles, she wrote. “Because, as they grow up, the ladders will only get…
Saturday, January 12, 2013
“Piggy,” my daughter’s new boar-bristle hairbrush, sends my youngest running, shrieking at the thought of its real-animal, scratchy touch. I don’t dare tell her about 2009 and the swine flu.
Mayor Thomas Menino’s declaration of a public health emergency this week reminded me of the last time we took the flu so seriously, during the 2009 pandemic. On an October Saturday that year, my family stood in line for 2 1/2 hours with one Red Sox player, his wife and kids, and dozens of others at our pediatric practice to receive the H1N1 vaccine. At the end of that line lay nasal mist, thankfully, no injections. Because a month before, our children had already received the seasonal vaccine. And they needed another dose of H1N1 spray one month after the first to provide protection. We made three doctor’s visits just for the kids' flu vaccines that year, but I was relieved to do it. The unfortunately named "swine flu," which contains …
Monday, December 31, 2012
A year after writing a major story on overparenting, Katherine Ozment talks about how she remade herself as a mom.
Give a boy a watch and send him out the door: After her 10-year-old leaves the house, Katherine Ozment may not see her son again until he reads his wrist and knows it’s dinnertime. Today, she’s fine with that. But one year ago, Ms. Ozment was just coming to terms with her parental hovering habits. Going out to play meant dressing everyone for the weather, packing snacks and water, mom loading the baby into the stroller – a real group activity. Her intense monitoring of her three kids’ every mood and management of their days was, as she wrote, “changing the very nature of their childhood.” So she decided to become a different kind of parent. Last December, Ozment wrote a story for Boston Magazine about how we overprotect our children, …
Monday, September 17, 2012
Well-credentialed writer Stephen Wallace will visit Charlestown on Oct. 11.
- COUNT US IN
- Abby Gray
Monday, September 17, 2012
Local Parent Debbie Evans, CHAD (Charlestown Against Drugs) and CSAC (Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition), along with other community leaders and volunteers, bring renowned scholar, Stephen Wallace, to Charlestown. What if you, a Parent, could have better insight into what is really going on with your tween/teen? What if you could better understand the issues that our youth face on a daily basis as they relate to drugs, alcohol and sex? Those were some of the thoughts running through my friend's head when she started reading "REALITY GAP – WHAT PARENTS DON’T KNOW AND TEENS AREN’T TELLING" by Stephen Wallace. She then thought: "What if we could get Mr. Wallace to come talk to us parents and our community about his book, research and …
Monday, November 21, 2011
A reservist's family survives his deployment to Afghanistan.
Jane's husband is home. No more helicopters whirring in the background of every tenuous satellite phone call, no more talking in code. No more worrying about certain Marines in Afghanistan, no more kids sharing the life-size, cardboard-cutout photo of Dad. This Thanksgiving, Jane's husband is a veteran of the war, and he's back. He's back on the streets of Boston, as a police officer for the city. That's no picnic itself, but it's not Helmand province, Afghanistan, either (to protect the family's privacy, we're not using their real names). Deployed in March 2010, Tom went to the U.S. Marines' largest base in California and left behind a wife and children here with friends and neighbors – but little of the support that military families who…
Monday, October 10, 2011
One house holds different stories for the families that lived there – and one that didn't.
From the third floor of the nearly empty house, I watched the maple's whirlybirds softly helicopter their way down to the ground, onto a thin carpet of dry, autumn leaves. Windless and overcast, the day held few promises, and the green seeds didn't fall far. Downstairs, a dozen people were engaged in animated conversations. Voices echoed off the emptiness. With a box here, a rug there, markers and crayons scattered between, the party's smaller guests ran up and down flights and played games. We were at a farewell for friends who were moving 7,000 miles away, to India, the very next day. Mom had shed her troubled employer and had happily found a new job abroad. The kids were excited, though just a month into school, they would take another …
Friday, September 23, 2011
Friends are good for everyone's health. But finding a new one in a new school takes time.
As my mother was getting her weekend grandchild fix over the phone last Sunday, I knew she'd be asking about the new school year and how each girl was getting along. The phone was passed from one person to the next. And then, in answer to some question my mom had asked, I overheard my daughter say quietly, evenly: "I don't have a friend yet." My ears pricked up, but mere murmuring followed. We were two weeks into a new school experience for this child and her older sister; I'd been trying to play it cool and not ask too many questions about how they were feeling, despite my desire for assurance. It was too early for the kids to have made a fair assessment that would please me, and we've been through school transitions before. Indications …