My daughter, Kerry, like most college-bound high school juniors, is about to take her SATs. Watching her prepare, I find myself on board with the movement to reduce academic anxiety in kids. In her new film Race to Nowhere, a mother named Vicki Abeles examines the high-stakes culture that has invaded some schools, creating unhealthy, unprepared, and stressed-out youth. To address the problem, places such as Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill have gone as far as eliminating that crown jewel of the college application, the Advanced Placement course. But even as I plead with Kerry to take it easy, she keeps the pressure on herself. What’s a father to do when his daughter is the responsible one?
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I recently spoke with three fatherless teenage boys at Street Potential in Roxbury. The program was designed by Trinity Church in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services to help boys through the creation of visual art and hip-hop music. Two of the three boys have girlfriends who are pregnant.
MY 5-YEAR-OLD has three black and one blue Batman outfits, which he wears everywhere — including our periodic visits to Gotham, where the security guard at LaGuardia recently whispered into his walkie-talkie, “Batman is in the building,’’ without a trace of irony.
The Good Men Project, an organization dedicated to starting a national conversation about what it means to be a good man, recently asked the two leading candidates for governor, Republican Charlie Baker and Democratic Governor Deval Patrick, what being a good man means to them. Several months ago my wife and I saw the movie “Taking Chance,” a real-life story about a military officer who accompanies a body home from Iraq.
Absalom said of Carrie at that time, “I never saw so hard a heart, so unreasoned a mind. . . nothing I could say would move her,” referring to her selfish need to mourn the loss of her babies when there was a whole nation of infidels who needed saving.