All our efforts to guard and guide our children may just get in the way of the one thing they need most from us: to be deeply loved yet left alone so they can try a new skill, new slang, new style, new flip-flops. So they can trip a few times, make mistakes, cross them out, try again, with no one keeping score.
Just because we eat together does not mean we eat right: Domino's alone delivers a million pizzas on an average day.
Emotional life grows out of an area of the brain called the limbic system, specifically the amygdala, whence come delight and disgust and fear and anger.
Our children will outwit us if they want: for when it comes to technology, they hold the higher ground. Unlike other tools passed carefully and ceremonially from one generation to the next - the sharp scissors, the car keys - this is one they understand better than we do.
Virtues, like viruses, have their seasons of contagion. When catastrophe strikes, generosity spikes like a fever. Courage spreads in the face of tyranny.
The leading cause of death for girls 15 to 19 worldwide is not accident or violence or disease: it is complications from pregnancy. Girls under 15 are up to five times as likely to die while having children than are women in their 20s, and their babies are more likely to die as well.
In design as in life, smart can also mean wise, kind, inspiring - and cost-effective. And that has a charm all its own.
Modesty means admitting the possibility of error, subsuming the self for the good of the whole, remaining open to surprise and the gifts that only failure can bring. There are many ways to practice it. Try taking up golf. Or making your own bagels. Or raising a teenager.
The Reverend Jeremiah Wright would baptize Obama, perform his marriage to Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, baptize their daughters, and draw him into the raucous, restless family of faith that Obama had never known before.
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