—Jeff and Hillary Whittington
I adore the business of publishing, especially with all the amazingly diverse ways we can communicate information today. But as exciting as digital media is, I have to confess there’s nothing quite like sitting down with ParentMap’s gifted editorial and production team to proof our print issue. Time seems to warp a bit — summer is in full swing, yet we have back-to-school prep tips for you. In late July, we’re already getting you ready to evaluate the sex ed program at your child’s school. Have fun with that! And to keep summer going a bit longer, we’ve also unearthed amusing excursions and “dare you to leave your ZIP code behind” ideas for exploring communities with an exceptional café or train-watching spot.
What I love most about this business, though, is actually quite selfish: It’s what I am able to learn and dare others to consider. We have plenty of entertaining and educational content in these pages to fill you up with adventure and wisdom, and to enhance your parenting journey from cradle to college. But we advance collectively as a parent community if we’re able to empathize better with perplexing issues we may never face with our own children — but our neighbors might. With every controversial issue we explore together and seek to understand (especially if it takes us out of our comfort zone), we begin to grow as human beings.
I had concerns about your embracing our August feature about gender while you’re in the middle of lighthearted summer fun. Then I read Beyond Pink and Blue: How Our Kids’ Generation Is Redefining Gender, and my heart skipped a beat. For the first time, I truly stood in the shoes of those children and parents who are confronted with gender identification issues, and I felt how deeply challenging this must be — until you come to acceptance. Sharing a small part of their journey, and learning to show compassion for their experience, is likely to pop that bubble we occasionally find ourselves living in. You know — the one where social norms dictate what our children should look like or accomplish in order to be happy.
In the middle of summer, we may just have been given the opportunity to become a little more blessedly human.