Dear Noah,

We could have sworn you said the ark wasn’t leaving till 5.

Sincerely, The Unicorns 🦄


#don’t miss the boat


How to Raise a Sweet Son in an Era of Angry Men

Sharing this as a mom who has worked so hard to raise three sweet, kind boys….

How to Raise a Sweet Son in an Era of Angry Men By Faith Salie

Hours after I gave birth to my first child, my husband cradled all five pounds of our boy and said, gently, “Hi, Sweetpea.” Not “Buddy” or “Little Man.” Sweetpea. The word filled me with unanticipated comfort. Like most parents, we knew what we’d name our son but never discussed how we’d speak to him. I was witnessing my husband’s commitment to raising a sweet boy.

Because this is what the world needs now, urgently: sweet boys and people who grow them.

There are so many angry men among us. There are angry women, too, but they’re only beginning to claim this emotion that has long been denied them. Women’s public anger delivers deliberate messages—it’s pussy hats, reclaiming our time, and #MeToo. It’s the kind of anger that gives girls voices. Men’s anger tries to shut down the voices of others. Today’s angriest women galvanize; today’s angriest men murder.

A man uses his car to assassinate an anti-Nazi protestor. A man shoots a congressman at his baseball practice. A man commits mass murder at a Vegas concert. A man massacres worshippers in their church. A police officer slaughters his own family. The headlines blur, but they invariably seem to feature men whom the media informs us felt lonely or powerless. And a significant number of American men who actually possess power — but are not murderously angry — are pridefully aggressive. The President tweets furiously, with violently bad syntax, spastic punctuation and apoplectic capitalization, venially attacking not only swaths of people but individual citizens of the country he has vowed to protect and defend.

Boys have always known they could do anything; all they had to do was look around at their presidents, religious leaders, professional athletes, at the statues that stand erect in big cities and small. Girls have always known they were allowed to feel anything — except anger. Now girls, led by women, are being told they can own righteous anger. Now they can feel what they want and be what they want.

There’s no commensurate lesson for boys in our culture. While girls are encouraged to be not just ballerinas, but astronauts and coders, boys—who already know they can walk on the moon and dominate Silicon Valley—don’t receive explicit encouragement to fully access their emotions. Boys are still snips and snails and puppy dog tails.

We don’t need to raise kids with gender neutrality or deny intrinsic differences between boys and girls. We do need to recognize that children, regardless of gender, harbor innate sweetness that we, as a society, would do well to foster and preserve.

Sweet boys grow up to be men who recognize the strength in being vulnerable and empathetic. Men who aren’t threatened by criticism or perceived competition from people whom they deem “Other” — be it skin color or sexual orientation or religion or education or whatever. Sweet boys are children who’ve been given, by their parents and wider society, the permission to feel everything and to express those emotions without shame.

Sweet boys evolve into open-hearted men who aren’t confused about consent and sexual boundaries, because they experience women as equals. A man raised with access to the same gamut of emotions and choices as women does not say, “Women are special,” as Donald Trump recently averred after disbelieving Roy Moore’s accusers; he does not delegate sugar and spice and humility and gentleness to the ladies, while defining himself through anger, lust, and pride. Boys will not be merely boys. If we let them, boys will be human.

If we’re lucky, the sweet boys and the fierce girls will grow up to save us all.


Head in the Clouds

How many times did your parents tell you to stop daydreaming as a child? Why do we continue to tell our own kids to stop as well?

Daydreaming is what fuels their creativity and inspires them. It’s what gives them an escape from an otherwise mundane school day. We should be encouraging our kids to think outside of the box instead we stuff them into a cookie cutter educational box and shut the lid.

As a child I loved to make up stories and use my imagination. When I was eight I designed an elaborate wedding dress for my Barbie made out of toilet paper with a train that would rival that of princess Diana.

I still daydream even today mostly when I am just walking. My best writing ideas always come from when I am in motion. In fact, I wrote this while I was on a walk. This explains my well known clumsy side where I trip over everything, bump into walls and fall over my own two feet.

Which brings me to my point. We force kids to sit at desks all day at school, remain still and stop daydreaming. Then they go home and sit some more for homework. So when a kid can’t sit still or daydreams they get labeled in a negative way. We wonder why they get cranky, tired and act out. We put no value in motion and their need to be be creative..and yes to just play.

Perhaps that is why some of the most creative successful people failed at school and reflect on being seen as misfits.Their minds were simply someplace else.

We all need time to dream and let our minds go not just as children but as adults too. I recommend however you take my advice and watch out for oncoming traffic… and glass doors.

What I’m reading now.

“Disability is inherently a negation. In our culture, people with disabilities stand more for what they are not than what they are—not normal, not whole—a negation that calls into being its opposite: the normal. The normal looms over all of our lives, an impossible goal that we are told is possible if: if we sit still, if we buy certain consumer goods, if we exercise, if we fix our teeth, if we … The short bus polices that terrain; it patrols a fabricated social boundary demarcating what is healthy and sick, acceptable and broken, enforcing normalcy in all of us. What had I lost in trying to belong to the other side?”

You Are Special! Now Stop Being Different

Excerpt from an amazing, inspiring article by Jonathan Mooney. (Jonathan Mooney is one of the foremost leaders in LD/ADHD, disabilities and alternative education.)

By the third grade I had progressed from being one of “those kids” to being the “special ed.” kid. I was found to have multiple language-based learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder. When the educational psychologist broke the news to my mom and me, it was as if someone had died. Tissues on the table. Hushed tones. Mirrors covered. Sat shiva for the death of my normality. The tragedy of my problem wasn’t lost on me, even at 8 years old. People thought something was wrong with me, and I knew it.

 I was the round peg that needed to be squared, a revenue stream for the remediation industrial complex; I spent hours a day being fixed.

I was turned into a “patient” who needed treatment rather than a human being with differences to be empowered. Fixing takes its toll. My self-image plummeted. I had a great teacher named Mr. R who asked me to describe myself. I told him I was the “stupid” kid. I gave up hope.

In the middle of sixth grade my parents withdrew me from Penny Camp, and after trying out other options, I dropped out of school. I struggled with severe anxiety and depression at age 10.

I survived this time in my life because of my mom. On a good day, Colleen Mooney, on her tiptoes, is 5 foot 1. She barely graduated from high school and never went to college. She raised my brother and two sisters on welfare in San Francisco. She also has, let’s just say, an interesting voice and vocabulary. She sounds like Mickey Mouse and she curses like a truck driver. So you can imagine when I was having a hard time in school, if you were a principal or a teacher doing wrong by her son, you did not want her in your office. But she often was. She knew in her heart that her child wasn’t broken and didn’t need to be fixed.

My mom was right. When I think back on my school experience, I realize it wasn’t the A.D.D. or the dyslexia that disabled me. I’m not naïve about the bad stuff that comes with my brain. I struggle with executive functioning and organization, I have explored the feasibility of stapling my car keys to my forehead, and I spell at a third-grade level. But guess what? Good things come with this brain.

Research shows that learning and attention differences correlate with enhanced problem solving, creativity and entrepreneurship. What disabled me were limitations not in myself but in the environment: the passive learning experience where students sit at a desk most of the day; a narrow definition of intelligence conflated with reading and other right-brain skills; and a medicalization of differences that reduced my brain to a set of deficits and ignored the strengths that go hand in hand with many brain differences.

I’ve come to believe that I did not have a disability, as it is common to say, but experienced disability in environments that could not accommodate and embrace my differences. Ability/disability is not a fact in the world but a social construct, what Michel Foucault called a “transactional reality” created by public policy, professional power and everything in between. All of us, even the so-called normal, move in and out of states of ability and disability every day. It’s our strengths, weaknesses, eccentricities and differences that define our humanity.

As a society, America has the rhetoric of differences down. On the first day of kindergarten we are told that we are all special. But then the bell rings and that message changes: Now sit down, keep quiet and do what everyone else is doing. They tell you what to learn, when to learn and how to learn. We love the individual; now stop being different.