Riding bulls and inhaling bugs: 10 Lessons from Cub Scout ranch-camping

We hit the road for our first Cub Scout camping trip, to Westgate River Ranch, an outdoor oasis in the middle of anonymous, sprawling scrubland — a wonderland of vast fields, bulls standing sternly at fences daring you to come just a little closer, a rodeo arena with its dazzling orange dirt, a saloon, all on the wide and wild Kissimmee River. Other than a lesson on the joys of being immersed in the outdoors while with a couple hundred outstanding people, here’s what we learned: Continue reading “Riding bulls and inhaling bugs: 10 Lessons from Cub Scout ranch-camping”

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Even after the Vegas carnage, I’m glad I let my kid shoot

I let my 6-year-old shoot an air rifle for the first time on Sunday. Later that day, the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history took place.

Talk about giving a liberal dude some doubts. Continue reading “Even after the Vegas carnage, I’m glad I let my kid shoot”

Dad’s dangerous baseball wish

I’ve been thinking about parent overreach after I stumbled across a not-all-that-recent essay in The Times warning parents against the rabid pursuit of “passion” for their kids, that laser focus and fierce discipline that some parents think is needed to produce tennis prodigies and Ivy League admissions and recital hall social-media brags. Continue reading “Dad’s dangerous baseball wish”

The elf’s spell

Months before he made his first appearance the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the air was already crackling with anticipation of the Elf on a Shelf — that cute, mischievous figure clad in red who sits in absolute stillness in our house (on a shelf or poking his head out of a toy bin, or in the corner of the kitchen counter) until reappearing the next morning in another spot, where his paralysis has again taken hold. Continue reading “The elf’s spell”