Talking to our kids about tough stuff

If you pay attention at all to the news, you've noticed that the world seems ablaze with hatred and violence--it's a big pile of stinking, burning garbage. Bombings, terrorist attacks, the GOP nominee spouting hatred, police officers becoming targets of violence, innocent people stereotyped and killed out of fear...the list marches on and on. It would be easier to just shut off the media, tune out the noise, and retreat to our cozy, safe spaces. There is definitely a time to unplug (I'm thinking and praying about my own media fast..more on that in another post). However, there's also a time to engage. There's lots of ways a person can engage: Participating in protests, through writing, through volunteering for an effort, and through dialogue. Because I'm a writer, I often tend to engage through writing, but lately I've been focusing my efforts more on dialogue and conversations with my kids to help us all wade through the muck and have a greater understanding of it and our place in all of it.

Using books to spark conversations of social justice issues

This piece is a partner piece to another post. I didn't want to overwhelm readers with a super long post. Essentially, this is a list of books I've found recently to be good entry points to tough conversations about social justice with our kids. We need these conversations now more than ever. So, check with your local libraries or local bookstores to see if they have these titles! As my kids age, I'll continue to expand my list of books for older kids :) If you have a favorite book to teach kids about the world, leave the title and a brief description in the comments section!

Grades Pre-K-K: 
A is for Activist:  We haven't read this book, but I came across it when searching for books to add to our
library. From what I understand, it's a visually appealing board book that moves through the alphabet but not in a watered down, A is for apple fashion. For example, "A is for Activist. /Advocate./ Abolitionist. Ally./ Actively Answering A call to Action. [...] Y is for Your. And Youth./ Your planet. Your rights/Your future. Your truth./ Y is for Yes. Yes! Yes! Yes!"  The Amazon review says the book is for kids ages 2 and up; I never had a 2 year old, but it seems like these words might be too advanced for them, which is why I categorized it in Pre-K/K. In fact, I've even added it to our Amazon list to order for my almost 2nd graders. There's a similar book called Counting on Community that addresses the concept of community while also teaching numbers.


3 Thoughtful Ways to Support a Friend Struggling With Infertility

If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that my husband and I struggle with infertility. We learned of it over six years ago since then have added to awesome school-aged kids to our family via foster-adoption. But I tell 'ya--infertility is freaking terrible. I've got a few friends now who have struggled with it or who are in the middle of their struggle, and I just hate it. I hate infertility, and I hate the insensitivity and lack of awareness in our culture today despite how prevalent it is. So, after talking with a friend who is currently battling these insensitive comments, I wrote this piece. It was posted on Parent.Co this week, so here's a teaser:
"Chances are, someone in your social circle is struggling with [infertility]. Studies show that, “Close to one in six U.S. couples don’t get pregnant despite a year of trying – after which doctors typically recommend evaluation for infertility….”  Most people, especially in the early stages of infertility, won’t wave their infertility banner high. They may not even whisper this fact to their closest family and friends.
My husband and I struggled quietly and carried the load by ourselves for nearly two years. We endured negative pregnancy tests each month and a barrage of medical testing on our own as we struggled to accept our assumed infertility. You may not know for certain if one of your friends or family members is struggling with infertility, but you probably have a hunch. Once we mustered up the courage to share the news about our infertility with those close to us, many commented they suspected we’d been struggling with this.
Whether you know for a fact, or you simply believe that someone close to you may be struggling with infertility, there are things you can do to help folks walking this precarious road..." Click here to read the full post!