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belinda-luscombe
Hey parents,

I've been thinking a lot about teachers, partly because of this incredible cover story TIME did. At its core, educating our young is the gift we give to the future. This painstaking process of passing along a lot of non-naturally acquired skills to our offspring is one the ways we distinguish ourselves from all other species. It's so key to what makes us human. Often, the people who pass these skills along to our particular child are not always whom we would choose or whom we like. Regardless of how we feel about any individual teacher, however, we have to acknowledge that he or she is doing an incredibly important job with insufficient support. So be good to you kids' teachers. Find out what would help them do their job better. Inspire them and give them confidence. That's good for your kids, but more importantly, for all kids, the future citizens your kids will live and work alongside.

You can reach me at belinda.luscombe@time.com or @luscombeland on Twitter.

P.S. If you like this newsletter, please pass it on to a friend. And if you got it from a friend, sign up here for email delivery each Friday. You know, more or less.
roundup

Yes, some teachers make what looks like a good amount of money, but in many places, it's still not enough to get by. And there's the opportunity cost of what they could be making in other fields. If you want to get inside the head of a teacher, read these stories. "Basically, every year that I stay in the classroom, I’m taking somewhere between $20,000 and $60,000 a year and setting it on fire in my front yard," says Nathan Bowling, high school teacher in Tacoma, Washington. "But that’s the bargain that I make because I want to make a difference."

While we're on the subject of education, here's a super-nerdy but solid study on the gender differences in reading and writing. Looking at the results of almost 4 million US students, the authors found that, on average girls do better at these skills than boys, and that the differences increase with age. Boys have more variation in reading than writing. At the very very top, there are more girls and at the very very bottom, there are more boys. This is the opposite of the pattern for math.  American Psychological Association

This is a very sad and beautiful story about how a neighborhood around a terminally ill boy came together to give him one last Christmas. It didn't save him, but it probably helped the parents know that they were not alone. New York Times

Parents often worry about the stress their teens are under. If your teen's life is nothing but stressful, you should worry, because that's terrible for their health. But we have to resist the impulse to totally remove the stress from adolescent lives. As the ever-wise Lisa Damour puts it, a demanding life can be a good one:  "New demands call for growth, and growth is invariably stressful. And schools, by design, are in the business of cultivating growth."    New York Times

One of the unsolved mysteries of babies. Do they dream? Nobody knows yet. Most scientists lean towards no, but then again, why do their eyes flutter like that? The Atlantic

Yet another reason to hug your kids, often and deeply. They then won't be averse to hugs—or human contact generally—when they get older. So next time your teenager winces when you go in for a quick hug, let them know you're doing it for their future kids' sake. Might buy you a few more seconds. TIME

PFFT: Parenting from Famous Types

Michael Phelps, swimmer, mental advocate and father of two, on the only audience he swims for these days

“[My 2 year old son Boomer] knows the motion of the butterfly. So I do a couple of laps.”

 
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