StoryWiseGuy

http://StoryWiseGuy.com

Whether it's work, family, faith or fiction… BIG IDEAS hide in little stories.

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How would you recommend moms talk to their sons about puberty?

Chris Buckley

It all depends on which puberty you are talking about: the one on the inside or the one on the outside. The one on the outside is usually what we mean, and the only trick there is not to wait until it is happening to talk about it. It is probably best addressed by dad (where there is one) early and often whenever physical comparisons are voiced: potty training, showering with dad, changing for the pool. "Why is mine different than yours?" "Because changes happen when boys turn into men. Some of those changes are..." If the boy can ask about it, you can answer. It's the one on the inside that requires both parents, more patience and a strategic decision by the parents who are women to change some unquestioned assumptions. It should go without saying, yet I am amazed how often loving mothers fail to recognize that boys are not incomplete girls. By this I mean the subtle fallacy of our culture that female experience is normative while male experience is somehow a stunted version of it. This manifests in subtle yet recognizable ways: little boys are "adorable" but teen boys are "annoying" or even something to be feared. Little boys have mothers who set up play dates. Big boys have mothers who disengage from their friendships when they need them most. If you want to remain relevant to your son at an age when human cultures throughout history have traditionally transferred them to their father's domain, you need to make the strategic choice to think of your changing son as someone to be loved, and not something to be fixed. He's the same soul that he was when he was cute, and he's having trouble managing the feelings that arise when no one enjoys having him around anymore. This is perhaps at the core of puberty on the inside, and it starts earlier than you think. Look for emotional and behavior changes around 9 or 10. Lastly, take time to understand how young people behave, and consider that it serves an adaptive purpose meant to help them survive and thrive, not just annoy you. This recent article on the Teenage Brain in National Geographic is an ideal start: http://j.mp/mR534Q Chris Buckley @chris_Buckley Http://StoryWiseGuy.com
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What are your three favorite picture books for children? (please specify the age range)

Chris Buckley

1) The Monster at the End of This Book - A book that breaks the fourth wall and is as engaging as an app on paper 2) Good Night Gorilla - For a nearly wordless book, there are so many rich details carried through in the background that each reading can be different (Reading #1: Follow Gorilla, Reading #2: The Mouse and the Banana, Reading #3: Where's the Balloon?) 3) Where the Wild Things Are - The secret to this book is all in the reading; make it interactive with sound effects and voices. (And for your own enlightenment, pay attention to the way Sendak plays with borders and the phase of the moon. Some subtle subliminals account for the dream-like quality.)
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What's your family's favorite recipe for chicken or tofu?

Chris Buckley

Blazingly simple lemon chicken, leftover from bachelor cooking days: 1) boneless skinless chicken breasts 2) coat liberally with lemon pepper 3) place in a baking dish 4) slice 8-12 lemons into wedges and squeeze juice over chicken 5) bake at 350 degrees until done
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