Guiding Values, Week 2

Week #2 of looking at questions like:

  • What ideas informed your approach to parenting: around structure, discipline, identity, etc.?
  • Where did these values come from?
  • How did they change over time?

This week’s excerpt from Magic Lessons looks at a huge value in our family, independence:

I started fostering (no pun intended) independence pretty much from the day the kids crossed the doorway officially for the first time. I’ve mentioned many of these examples already. From the beginning, they had to clean their own rooms and make their own breakfasts and lunches. Not long after, they began the monthly cooking experiment I’ve also previously described. There was also a period where they cleaned the bathrooms, on the theory that ninety-five percent of the crud came from them. This ended when I realized that it was faster for me to clean the actual crud than to do a second pass on whatever was left after they … did whatever it was they did in there.

Perhaps the most obvious marker of the kids’ independence was how, from a relatively early age, they traveled from place to place by themselves. I did drive them to their elementary school, even though both we and the school are a block or two from BART stations. This was mostly because I wasn’t convinced they would consistently get on the right train. And because I could see lots of arguments when one was sure it was the red line, and the other was sure it was the yellow line, and then I would be getting regular calls from the BART police. On the one hand, being on a first-name basis with a BART officer might not be a bad thing, depending on the gender and level of hotness. On the other … easier just to get in the car.

Now it’s your turn! Share your family-building story by leaving a comment, or contact me at to have your story featured as a post in a future week!

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