We birthed this media business back in 2003 with a prescient feature headline, “Raising Kids in High-Anxiety Times.” Cover-boy Eli, my then-12-year-old son, stares gravely with clairvoyant eyes into the camera. Just two days after this inaugural issue of ParentMap went to press, President George W. Bush announced the start of the Iraq War, which dragged on for almost nine agonizing years.
Now that ParentMap is “Sweet 16,” we’re feeling a bit more emboldened than we were in our early years, just as a good teen should. We’re celebrating with you by sharing exemplary new friends we’re guessing you would like to meet. Our Superheroes cover is graced by the Microsoft Xbox Adaptive Controller team, folks who modestly credit their success producing the revolutionary new controller to the gamers, caregivers and nonprofits who have hacked solutions together for years so that players with restricted mobility could enjoy video games along with everyone else.
You’ll meet more extraordinary 2019 ParentMap Superheroes on the pages inside, individuals who are intimidatingly humble and magnanimous as they work tirelessly and selflessly in the trenches to improve the lives of families and children in Washington state and beyond. Our kids need these angels, mentors and heroes who move intrepidly and with conviction and compassion toward solutions and redress for many of life’s justice and inequity issues. You will see in their “It takes a village” spirit that these champions inspire kids and families in need to develop their countless aims and abilities.
Along with the peas and carrots, your dinner table conversation can serve up an opportunity to talk about race. Often, white people think embracing a “color-blind” ideal makes the world fair and equal. But an “I don’t see color” message, though well-intentioned, can easily be received as “You don’t see me.” From Color-Blind to Color-Brave gives parents solid guidance about committing to having conversations about race, even though we’re likely to make mistakes along the way.
Another parental imperative in this digital age is to aspire to be the screen-time superhero our kids need. Educator and screen-time consultant Emily Cherkin has dedicated the last 15 years to helping families understand the technological challenges presented to today’s children and to the parents who must be their intentional media mentors. My heart stopped for a flash as I read, “The message you want to send to your child is ‘I am the human who cares for and loves you,’ not ‘This device is something you have to compete with.’” Guilty, but always wanting to improve.