“Children often pursue their parents’ jobs because of the breakfast-table effect: Family conversations influence them. They fuel interests or teach children what less commonly understood careers entail (probably one reason textile spinning and shoemaking are high on the list of jobs disproportionately passed on to children). In interviews, people who followed their parents’ career paths described it as speaking the same language.”
I live in the Edgewood neighborhood of Washington, D.C. across the street from a school. When my wife and I bought our house, it was a public school serving a low to moderate-income population that was 95 percent African American, reflecting the neighborhood demographics.
Each morning when I headed to work I’d find a trail of discarded Little Hug juice bottles, honey bun wrappers and empty potato chip bags leading to the school. Weeds sprouted through the cracks in the asphalt on the school grounds and the play structure was tattered and rusty. The schoolyard looked more like a laboratory for tetanus rather than a playground for children. Inside, portable walls, not classrooms, separated the kids who were group two grades at a time (1st & 2nd, 3rd & 4th). When I visited the school to inquire about volunteering one morning, I heard several teachers instructing their students at the same time, and a disruption in one classroom affected the others.
The school closed a few years after we moved in and briefly became a hangout for older teens and young adults who smoked weed, drank and played dice.
Eventually, gentrification took over, the school was reopened as a charter school and the building was overhauled. The playground was upgraded. Sunflowers and a community garden replaced the weeds. Woodchips covered the fissured asphalt. A section of the sidewalk was replaced and white children soon made up about 40 percent of the new student body—although the neighborhood demographics barely changed. Former First Lady and President Obama even came to christen the new facility. Even the litter got an upgrade, with Honest Juice boxes and string-cheese wrappers in the gutter instead of the cheap, corner-store junk-food trash.
Parking is a little harder to find, hey, that’s life in the big city.
“The Magic Realism Bot offers its followers the opportunity to follow in these great writers’ footsteps by tweeting out three to six story ideas a day that encourage you to take a break and stretch your imagination. With its strange and thought-provoking prompts, it provides the ultimate daydream fodder for bookworms, fantasists, and writers alike — one tweet at a time.”
Wired: Games Parents Play Kids are master manipulators. They play up their charms, pit adults against one another, and engage in loud, public wailing. So it’s your job to keep up with them, Carnegie Mellon’s Kevin Zollman says. His new book, The Game Theorist’s Guide to Parenting—written with journalist Paul Raeburn—explains how.
I once heard a story about a guy who wanted to write a book. But he was too overwhelmed by the enormity of the process, so for a decade, he didn’t do it. One day, he decided to create a 5,000-word monthly magazine and offer a two-year subscription to everyone he knew. A bunch of people signed up, and all of a sudden, he had to do it. At the end of two years, he had 120,000 words to work with to create this book.
You may recall, Dr. Speights was our inaugural guest on the Suite Talk podcast. If you haven’t checked it out, please do so, it is Episode 01. It is just as relevant today as when we recorded it last year.