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March 25, 2009


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When I reflect on my parenting with your younger sisters, there are areas where I could have done much better, and you are addressing the most important of these with great courage. I simply didn't have the tools to address human sexual relations with honesty and aplomb and I have been told many times that the "special cuddle" explaination just didn't cut it. I followed the "answer when they ask" rule, but my the time they were curious for details, they already knew my boundries.
I am reading Michael J. Fox' new book, The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist, and he discribes his joys of raising his children in his wife's Jewish faith. In particular he writes of the bar and bat mitzahs where there is structure and ritual around this transition into adulthood;"they are claimed and celebrated just when they are most susceptible to feeling unwanted and misunderstood." In grade 5 at our school, one of the mothers had a secular celebration of womanhood for the girls in the class, their mothers, sisters, aunties, grandmas and female teachers. While it was awkward for the girls, they listened while the women of the tribe spoke of various experiences and by all reports it was a moving and very much needed celebration. Parents need as much formal support in raising their teens (and pre-teens) as new parents with their self care hour, peer support and speakers in those heady days at the begining of the journey. And our young women need to see who their primary influences are in gaining the strength and character to meet both the joys challenges in life. Do you think that there is a place for formalizing this move into womanhood? Points to ponder. Sue

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