parenting

We are education reporters by day and parents by night (and day). But, in recent weeks, our two worlds have collided, with parents and educators equally concerned about the spread of COVID-19. So here's a quick rundown of some of the great questions we've heard from listeners and readers and the answers we've been able to explore in our reporting. For even more, you can listen to this new episode of NPR's Life Kit podcast.

Q. What's the single most important thing we can do to protect our kids?

A majority of parents rarely, if ever, discuss race/ethnicity, gender, class or other categories of social identity with their kids, according to a new, nationally representative survey of more than 6,000 parents conducted by Sesame Workshop and NORC at the University of Chicago.

Germany's government has been headed by a woman, Chancellor Angela Merkel, for 14 years. Another German woman, Ursula von der Leyen, recently was chosen to lead the European Commission, the first woman to hold the job. But there is a gap when it comes to women in powerful positions in the German workplace.

In 2012, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based photographer Dirk Anschütz became a father. The shift in his life was enormous.

Anschütz was raised by a single mother. "I had never met my father, which was never a big deal," he says. But after his son Ray's birth, Anschütz says he didn't have a male parenting role model.

This led to a curiosity about how other dads were raising their kids; curiosity that resulted in a six-year portrait project called Fathers and Sons.

Melinda Gates, the co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has written a new book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes The World.

Published this week, the book calls on readers to support women everywhere as a means to lift up society. She pulls from her lessons learned through the inspiring women she's met on her travels with the Gates Foundation, which funds projects to reduce poverty and improve global health in the developing world (and is a funder of NPR and this blog).

At my baby's six-month appointment a few months back, I got a one-pager from the pediatrician titled "Starting Solid Foods."

"It is critical that the baby develop a taste for rice cereal at the beginning, to offset the loss of iron from formula or breast milk," it reads.

Sounds serious. Then come the all caps: "THE FIRST TWO WEEKS OF FEEDING GIVE RICE CEREAL ONLY." That is followed by advice to introduce pureed vegetables before fruits so the baby doesn't develop a sweet tooth.

I obediently went out and bought some sand-textured baby cereal. (Organic, of course.)

The first time Jessica Calise can remember her 9-year-old son Joseph's anxiety spiking was about a year ago, when he had to perform at a school concert. He said his stomach hurt and he might throw up. "We spent the whole performance in the bathroom," she recalls.

With Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty on one side and bulbous-headed Fart Ninjas on the other, the gender divide was impossible to avoid at the North American International Toy Fair in New York City back in February.

The light-up Barbie mermaids vying for space with Gatling-style foam-dart blasters in Manhattan's Javits Center raised a question: Have toys really progressed since our grandparents' days? And how do the toys we play with shape the people we grow up to be?

Back in the 1960s, a Harvard graduate student made a landmark discovery about the nature of human anger.

At age 34, Jean Briggs traveled above the Arctic Circle and lived out on the tundra for 17 months. There were no roads, no heating systems, no grocery stores. Winter temperatures could easily dip below minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Briggs persuaded an Inuit family to "adopt" her and "try to keep her alive," as the anthropologist wrote in 1970.

Ariana Ude and her mom, Kelli Ude have an honest relationship and that includes how they became family. They came to the StoryCorps mobile booth to reflect on their relationship and Ariana’s adoption.

This story was produced for KOSU by Rachel Hubbard and Dustin Drew, with interviews recorded at the StoryCorps mobile booth in Oklahoma City in early 2018. Locally recorded stories air Wednesdays during Morning Edition and All Things Considered on KOSU.

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