TIME Family

Family Almost Drowns While Using a Selfie Stick

They were taken by a rip current as they posed

A family got swept into a riptide on Nantucket Island while they were taking a video using a selfie stick.

Derrick Johns, a former marine, was pulled under with his wife and daughter Erynn, who was holding the selfie stick, reports ABC. Their struggles underwater are captured on video.

“I did a few tours overseas with the Marines and I never felt that kind of fatigue or fear,” Johns said in an interview with an ABC affiliate in Boston.

Lifeguards and other people on the beach rushed to help the family. Erynn says that holding on to the selfie stick helped the rescue.

TIME Parenting

4 Kid-Friendly Playlists That Won’t Depress Dads

Soundtracks to inspire singing, dancing, splashing or sleeping—in everyone

There are plenty of parents who cede all control of the stereo during their kid’s waking hours to the Wiggles and Barneys and whatever other high-pitched sounds will delight them, because it sounds like the same high-pitched nonsense that comes out of their own mouths. Then, there are the parents whose music snobbery overrides common sense, and they insist their kid “loves Thelonius Monk,” even as the poor kid’s eyes glaze over while dad gets all hep with it.

You are neither of these parents. You value your sanity too much to succumb to all Rockabye Baby and Kidz Bop all the time; you also genuinely enjoy watching your kid get into music. So, you carefully select songs for those times of day that go best with a soundtrack — when you’re in the car or trying to get them dancing or bath time or bedtime — and hope to hit that sweet spot.

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These playlists are curated with you and your kid in mind: 20 songs for each situation that will inspire singing, dancing, splashing or sleeping, no matter how old you are.

TIME Parenting

In Defense of Soccer Moms

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Getty Images

After a World Cup victory, it’s time to rehabilitate an abused phrase

The inspiring march of the U.S. Women’s National Team to the World Cup championship has elicited a fair amount of cultural commentary. Advocates of Title IX—the 1972 law requiring equal treatment of female athletes—claim that it set the U.S. apart from other countries by creating a competitive intercollegiate training ground for our best female players. To the global inequality crowd, first-world countries like the U.S. dominate women’s soccer because we pour enormous financial resources into player development. For others, it’s gender equality—the more your country has, the better—that generates victories on the field.

But as we look to understand why America’s women are so good at this game, it’s time to rehabilitate a phrase that has been overused, abused, and largely fallen out of productive use: soccer mom. As the players on the U.S. team themselves have told us, mom—and dad, and family in general—had an awful lot to do with their success.

The term “soccer mom” became popular in the 1990s as a way to describe a certain voting bloc. The Washington Post described President Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign as targeting “the overburdened middle income working mother who ferries her kids from soccer practice to scouts to school.” Over time, however, the phrase became loaded with baggage. An online search now brings up expressions synonymous with soccer mom, but hardly laudatory, including “helicopter parent,” “stage mother,” and even “angry white male.” Not surprisingly, we heard little about soccer moms during the U.S. team’s procession to the championship.

On the other hand, listen to the team members themselves. They’ve explained that what we admire most about them—their tenacity, toughness, commitment to winning—came from their families in general, and their moms in particular. On a Mother’s Day video made by team members, Christen Press told her mom, “thanks for always pushing me,” and then added with a twinkle in her eye, “and never letting me take a day off.” In a video profile, Meghan Klingenberg talked about how her parents, after working all day, played in the backyard with her and her siblings “until the sun went down.” She also described a match when she was very young, in which she got kicked by an opposing player and fell to the ground in pain—about to start crying—until she heard her mother cry out, “Get up. You’re fine.” Those of us who have sat on the sidelines of youth soccer know exactly what Klingenberg is describing.

None of this is particular to soccer. Our best athletes—Olympic skaters, tennis champions, World Series MVPs, Super Bowl winners—often testify to the influence their families had on their careers. But the father who strings a batting cage in his backyard for his son is never derided as a “Little League dad.” Why, then, have soccer moms come in for such ridicule? Some of it derives from anti-suburban biases—what David Brooks describes as a steady “parade” of clichés about suburban life cooked up by cultural observers who abhor everything from suburbia’s supposed conformity to the carbon footprint of those who live there. Soccer moms, after all, drive gas-guzzling mini-vans and SUVs—the better to ferry kids about—rather than eco-friendly hybrids. Sometimes they inhabit homes with backyards—the better to erect that practice soccer goal—and contribute to sprawl. Sometimes they even put their own careers on hold to raise their future world champions. Nothing to admire there.

There are larger biases at work, too. The players can tell us what the support of their moms and families means to them, but according to the commentariat, only larger forces can explain America’s victory. In other words, your mom (and dad) didn’t help build this championship team, the government did. And so Title IX has become the most common, easy-to-describe reason why America has prevailed, as if all those coaches in college programs could take kids without much of a foundation in the game, kids who didn’t already have training and commitment, and turn them into world-class athletes in four short years.

Though the phrase “soccer mom” may have been used as a description of a political bloc, it’s a mistake to assume that soccer in America is largely a white suburban sport. Some 1.3 million people watched the World Cup final on Telemundo, the Spanish language network that broadcasts in America. And the composition of the men’s national team that’s now taking the field for the Gold Cup reflects the strength of the game in America’s immigrant communities.

Of course, the U.S. men have yet to win a World Cup. Are soccer moms neglecting the boys? Hardly. It’s just that men’s soccer in much of the rest of the world is already an enormously rich and dominating enterprise, where the best professional teams can invest significant resources to create developmental programs for younger players—training that our men’s collegiate programs haven’t been able to match. Soccer moms and dads can offer support and commitment and teach children the right values to succeed, but the expertise has to come from somewhere. America is still catching up to the best of the men’s game around the world in that regard.

Throughout this women’s championship run, we’ve heard a lot about how the players were inspired by the 1999 World Cup winning squad. Now, this 2015 team will inspire a new generation of girls to become world class. But kids rarely have the resources to reach such lofty goals on their own. That’s why the next generation will get ferried back and forth to training by mom, practice half volleys into a net set up by dad, get a hug from some family member on a bad day, and occasionally hear someone yell, “Get up. You’re fine.”

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Parenting

How to Make Independence Day More Meaningful Next Year

hot dogs on plate
Greg Elms—Getty Images

Explain the holiday to your kids

From the way the Fourth of July gets celebrated today, a visitor from space might think it’s mostly in praise of fireworks and barbecue. If your weekend left you feeling vaguely like your kids may have missed the point of the holiday, it’s not too late to catch them up.

Elementary age kids, says Joanne Freeman, professor of History and American Studies at Yale, may be interested to think about how the Declaration of Independence was made. “People were thinking through a decision and then making a choice,” Freeman says. “They talked and listened to each other. That’s what’s supposed to be at the heart of the government.” Parents can get a conversation started by asking kids to think about what kind of problems they’d like to solve together—and what are the best ways to talk and listen to each other.

Middle school kids may be interested to know that there were actually many declarations of independence. Freeman points to Pauline Maier’s work in American Scripture, which revealed that groups across the colonies were debating independence and issuing their own statements and resolutions long before the declaration of independence we know today. Why is that important? Because independence was a process, and happened in community, says Freeman. “I want to make sure that people get beyond the idea of 30 guys in a room,” she says. “This was a colony-wide debate. Everyone was thinking and talking about it.” Parents can start a conversation by asking kids what kinds of topics their friends are currently debating, and encouraging them to share their own thoughts.

High school kids, Freeman says, can begin to think about how much work was left undone by the Declaration of Independence. It didn’t offer freedom to people living in slavery or to Native Americans. And in some states, women actually lost the right to vote as the Constitution was written. But, Freeman says, high school kids may also be inspired by the fact that “no one knew what was going on” during the Revolutionary period. Just like today, “they were scared about the outcome.” Knowing that can give kids hope that they’re capable of doing important things, despite the days when they feel uncertain about the future. Parents can open conversations by asking high school kids what changes they’d still like to see in the world, and what changes they might want to be a part of.

TIME celebrity

See Princess Charlotte’s First Months in Pictures

Princess Charlotte was christened Sunday, just over two months after becoming the newest member of the royal family. Here's her life so far in pictures

TIME Family

5 Tips for a Peaceful Family Vacation

family-outdoor-picnic
Getty Images

Get ready to enjoy your hot dog in peace

No trip is smooth sailing all the time. There are jellyfish stings. Bad weather. Bad moods. But with a few adjustments—some logistical, some attitudinal—you can at least set course in the right direction. Five experts weigh in on how to keep the storm clouds at bay.

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1. Make sacrifices.

My daughter, 29, and I travel a lot together. I finally figured how to make the most of it with less conflict: Do what you hate for love and shut up about it. My daughter is very adventurous, and I never leave my office. A few years ago, we went to Hawaii, and Francesca wanted to ride horses down into a volcano. I wanted to sit on the beach with an umbrella drink. But I forced myself to get on the horse and shut up. It was really, really steep, and I just closed my eyes. Afterwards, I got a lot of hugs and my daughter said, “I know you were really scared, and I love you forever for doing that.” What’s the goal of your life? For me, it’s to make the people I love happy and have a good time with them. —Lisa Scottoline

2. Eat in.

Restaurants can be stressful on vacation. You have to agree where to go and get a reservation or wait for a table. Plus, if you have little kids, they’re tired at the end of the day, so the meal isn’t pleasant anyway. It makes a big difference to rent a house or an apartment or at least get a hotel room with a kitchenette. Last summer, we got a beach house close enough to the ocean that we could even come back for lunch. (And my then three-year-old could have his usual, a cheese sandwich.) Many families have picky eaters—of all ages. A kitchen allows everyone to eat what he wants. And you save money. —Liz Borod Wright

3. Know your limits.

You have to go at the speed of the slowest common denominator. If that’s your toddler or your great-aunt, that’s how fast you’re going to go. You should head into the vacation knowing that. Be realistic. Say, “This is what we’re going to be able to accomplish.” And then give yourself ample time to do each activity and enjoy it. If you overshoot, you’re only going to end up frustrated. —Wendy Perrin

4. Escape each other.

On family vacations, people who don’t normally spend 24 hours a day together are suddenly doing just that. Plan breaks every three or four hours. Find time to read a book, or—even better—walk on the beach alone. Doing something physical will help reset your focus. And attention, parents of teenagers: They can make the entire family miserable if forced to stay close at all times. Give them some freedom. I remember that age. When we feel like we have to be together, we want to rebel. Once it’s not required, we want to stick around. —Jeannie Bertoli

5. Plan for late afternoon crankiness.

There’s always the point in the day when you’ve been to the beach but it’s not time for dinner yet. The kids want phones or iPads, you say no, and everyone’s upset. Have activities for that in-between time, even if it’s just a card game. On a recent trip, I created a scavenger hunt every day at 5 p.m. The kids had to follow clues, and the winner got a prize. Another evening I buried a box filled with candy in the sand. They had to search the whole beach for it, which was great, because it exhausted them and it took forever. Meanwhile, the adults watched with a cocktail. —Ali Wentworth

The Experts

  • Lisa Scottoline coauthored, with her daughter, Francesca Serritella, the essay collection Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat? She lives near Philadelphia.
  • Jeannie Bertoli, PH.D., is a relationship and divorce trainer. She lives in Los Angeles.
  • Liz Borod Wright is a blogger at Travelogged.com. She lives in New York City.
  • Ali Wentworth is an actress and a comedian and the author of Happily Ali After: And More Fairly True Tales. She lives in New York.
  • Wendy Perrin is TripAdvisor’s travel advocate. She lives in suburban New Jersey.

This article originally appeared on Real Simple

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TIME Family

This Is What It’s Really Like to Be a Work-at-Home Mom

xoJane.com is where women go to be their unabashed selves, and where their unabashed selves are applauded

Your lunches leave a lot to be desired

xojane

When you’re trying to balance working at home and caring for a baby, lots of things piss you off. Anyone who dares to ring the doorbell while your little one is napping. Your husband who gets to shower and put on a fresh set of clothes every morning.

But as for me, nothing pisses me off more than those angelic stock photos of work-at-home moms. Stock photos of work-at-home moms piss. me. off.

You’ve seen them. The baby sits quietly on the mom’s lap, smiling into the camera, while the mom grins at a computer screen like she just found out she won the lottery. Or the mom talks into a cell phone, flashing her pearly whites into the receiver smiling at some invisible business partner while her toddler plays contentedly at her feet.

I even saw one where the baby wore the same oversized glasses as her mother, holding a pen and scribbling on a notepad.

Allow me to burst your bubble. This is a lie. An evil, terrible, self-esteem deflating lie.

I’m not sure what photographer set up the placement for these photos, but here are 10 reality checks about what it’s really like to work at home with a baby:

1. That notebook the baby in that photo was cheerfully scribbling on? In real life, that’s your wall.

And trust me, the fountain pen you gave her to stop her screaming is not washable. Apologies to my landlord.

2. She thinks your body is an amusement park.

Remember when your college boyfriend told you that and you thought it was so sexy? It’s not anymore. It’s really distracting, and usually painful. She’s not just sitting on your lap. She’s sticking her fingers up your nose, pulling your hair, and — crap, why did you decide to wear those dangly earrings today?

3. You will send e-mails that makes you look like an incompetent weirdo.

There’s a reason the baby in that photo has such a wide grin. It’s because she just did something devilishly hilarious. “Dear Prospective New Client, attached please find my proposal fjd;nvskfjnvrjvntrvnwrv 540gvo3fnekvnfv.” Good luck with that new business.

4. You’ll be blind half the time.

Give me my glasses, sweetie. Sweetie, give Mommy her glasses back! Pleeeeease, darling, Mommy needs her glasses to see how pretty you are! Oh, forget it. I’ll just squint and guess.

5. The dog will never forgive you.

Darling, Mommy needs some time. Why don’t you go chase the dog around the house?

6. Your lunches leave a lot to be desired.

While your hubby is getting Chipotle or Chop’t, you’re scarfing down last night’s leftover casserole during the first five minutes of her nap because you’ve got no time to waste! Should you warm it up in the microwave? Nah, that 30 seconds will cost you!

7. You spend half your playgroup time convincing stay-at-home moms that you feel just as much guilt as they do.

Because let’s face it, moms and guilt are just a zero-sum game. When you’re not working, you feel guilty. When you’re working, you feel even more guilty. You need a drink just thinking about it.

8. In spite of what your friends and neighbors think, you don’t have it all.

But what you do have is a whole lot of grit, a ton of talent, and, hey, a PAYCHECK! You go, work-at-home mom!

Jessica Levy wrote this article for xoJane

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Family

Why I Think It’s Selfish to Have an Adult-Only Wedding

The truth is, I just can't afford so many kids-free weddings

Wedding season + kids + babysitter = a tulle-filled circle of hell.

This summer, my husband and I have approximately 10,000 weddings to attend. O.K., that’s an exaggeration, but it definitely feels that way. In and of itself, our plenitude of weddings are a good thing. Drinks! Dinner! Butter cream frosting!

The only problem with all these weddings this summer is that the vast majority of them don’t include an invitation extended to our offspring.

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And while I totally get that most couples don’t want to fork over the cash to pay for some snotty-nosed children to eat a few rolls and bust a move in the chicken dance, adult-only weddings have become my nemesis.

On one hand, I love the idea of an adult-only wedding. The chance to eat a kids-free meal and drink it up with my husband — which actually means like two drinks because I’m the world’s biggest lightweight (thanks kids for those perpetual pregnancies) — is pretty much my idea of heaven right now.

But the truth is, I just can’t afford so many kids-free weddings.

And frankly, after the third one, they kind of lose their appeal a little. Green beans and rubbery chicken, a few painfully drunken toasts, did they cut the cake yet, and are you ready to go yet?

I know every couple thinks their wedding will be different and the event of the century, and I appreciate that — I really do. I’m happy for you all, and I’m sure you put a lot of thought into that cupcake table and the vintage-inspired centerpieces, and the photo booth props, really. But a wedding is a wedding is a wedding.

For couples that have kids, an adult-only wedding is a painful decision-making process that includes weighing the cost of a babysitter with the most special night of your lives, which is just another weekend in ours.

For us, to attend the ceremony and a reception, I’ll easily shell out over 100 bucks on a babysitter, plus the wedding gift. It’s a horrendously expensive date night and I’m sorry (and no offense to you and the love of your life), but that’s really asking a lot of your guests with young children.

I know you think that you might be doing us a favor by giving us a “night out,” but that’s not really the case when $100+ could buy me a whole lot of date night elsewhere.

Part of me doesn’t buy all the justifications couples use for not inviting kids to their wedding. The uber-fancy wedding, granted, I can accept. I wouldn’t want my kids breaking any crystal, either.

But if you’re like the rest of us, hosting a pretty standard wedding and reception and aren’t inviting kids because of the cost, it’s a tough pill for me to swallow. I’d rather bring my kids after dinner, or pop them on my lap to share my buttered roll, so we could all attend your special day without it costing me an arm and a leg to be there.

And is it just me or do kids sometimes make the party?

Who else has such a carefree lack of inhibitions (sober) on the dance floor? Who else can you do the robot with and not feel like an idiot? Everybody dances more when there are kids around and parents don’t have to hurry home to pay the sitter.

Don’t get me wrong, I will be a good little wedding guest this summer and shell out the cash to a sitter when I can, and send a polite card when I can’t, but part of me wishes that if you care enough to want me (or my money) at your wedding, you could make it a little easier on me to be there with my family.

Because I want to be there, I really do, but preferably not while going bankrupt in the process.

This article originally appeared on YourTango

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TIME Parenting

What to Tell Your Kids about Water Safety

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Jordan Siemens—Getty Images

Drowning is leading cause of accidental death for children

Summer means a lot of us will head for the water.

But when we do, says Tom Griffiths, founder of the Aquatic Safety Research Group, and former Director of Aquatics and Safety Officer for Athletics at Penn State University, we need to be alert. Because, depending on their age group, drowning is consistently the first or second leading cause of accidental death for children.

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Most of the wisdom of the past, Griffiths says, focused on paying close attention while kids are in the water. But no parent can be alert enough to fully protect a child. In fact, some cognitive psychologists have come to the conclusion that “lifeguarding is really an impossible task,” he says. A busy waterside, filled with lots of kids, is just “too much stimulus for the human brain.”

His solution?

At all ages, he says, kids should be in Coast-Guard approved life jackets–ones that fit. “No one has ever drowned in a properly fitting life jacket,” Griffiths says. So until they can pass a standard swim test, Griffiths says, kids should be wearing one.

And while parents may worry that kids will resist, his research shows that when pools offer life jackets, attendance actually goes up–probably because both parents and kids feel safer with the extra protection. Even more important, the number of water rescues plummets, by as much as 90%.

In elementary school, Griffiths says, parents should begin by helping kids view life jackets as a standard safety measure, “like buckling up a seatbelt, or wearing a helmet on a bike.” Having to wear a life jacket can also give kids an incentive to learn how to swim, according to Griffiths: “now the prize is they get out of their jacket.”

Middle school kids should be encouraged to do whatever it takes to get comfortable in the water, whether that’s formal swimming lessons, or just spending time in water sports or activities. But Griffiths also encourages parents to help kids avoid risky behavior in the water. One that’s especially popular, and dangerous, is breath-holding contests. Instead, parents can encourage kids to concentrate on breath control and relaxation.

High school kids may get overconfident, Griffiths says. Many teenagers overestimate how good they are at swimming, even though studies show that almost half of Americans can hardly swim at all. That kind of bravado is especially common under peer pressure. So parents can talk with kids about being realistic about their abilities. Another warning Griffiths suggests parents give to older kids: never dive until they know how deep the water is, because “95% of injuries resulting in paralysis are in less than 5 feet of water.”

The good news, according to Griffiths, is that, with the right strategies, “drowning is so easily preventable.” And as more and more parents rely on a combination of life jackets and swim lessons, he believes the rate will decrease even further.

TIME Parenting

5 Lessons I’ve Learned from People Who Stare at My Daughter

They probably don't intend to be rude or mean, so I've learned to give them grace, and to teach them

We knew after our 20-week ultrasound our soon-to-be daughter would have many health issues, but we pressed on.

There were many questions of if there was cleft palate or cleft lip, as well as if her eyes would be wider or nose flatter. We knew to prepare ourselves ahead of time for the questions and stares. We stared ourselves, getting familiar with the intricately woven fabric of her face. Her slightly slanted eyes were wider than most. Her small nose was open on one side due to her cleft palate. She has a wider set chin and neck.

But she was ours and she’s perfect, and we’d tell the world about her and we would be fearless in sharing and teaching others about our daughter.

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It was when I took her to our local hospital for labs with her home health nurse that the stares began. I distinctly remember a couple stepping in line in front of us at the admissions desk, acting as if we were invisible, which was hard to believe considering they looked right at us. As we left the admissions area, the same couple walked past my daughter in her stroller, decked out with a home ventilator, oxygen saturation monitor and numerous other pieces of equipment that made her life at home possible. They gave us a side-long disapproving glance.

I was shocked. I didn’t know what to say or think, but on the inside, I was fuming. Didn’t this couple know all people are created unique and different? That society has placed way too much emphasis on what is considered “normal” by simply judging one’s outward appearance?

I didn’t know what to say that day. And the truth is, I’m still not exactly sure what to say.

What I do know is I’m still struggling myself with what to say to others with disabilities. What I do know is on that particular day, my mama-bear instinct came out and I wanted to lecture this couple on appreciating the beauty in each and every person, regardless of their disability or uncommon features. I wanted to set them straight and tell them their behavior was unacceptable. I wanted to yell at the world for thinking there’s a right way and a wrong way as to how people should look. That it actually is okay to have a cleft lip that’s not fixed yet, and it’s on her to-do list — right behind open heart surgery.

jodie-gerling-daughter
Jodie Gerling

But over the last few months, as we’ve ventured out more with our delicate daughter, I’ve learned in the beginning that I felt a sense of entitlement. I thought I could tell someone their response to my daughter was wrong and set them straight on how to treat others. However, I’ve since learned some new life lessons as I navigate these new waters.

1. Give them grace.

Know they’ve probably never had many opportunities to interact with children like my daughter. Give them grace that they might not know what to say, or how to look, or if it’s okay to stare. Acknowledge they’re trying, even if it’s not quite what I want to hear. Then give them the grace to walk into an uncomfortable conversation in hopes of bringing comfort to them on this topic.

2. Forgive often.

In the beginning, I took offense to so many things, thinking no one understood. But that’s just it: many don’t understand. And that’s okay. We’re in this together to learn together. Our family doesn’t have this all down, and our family and friends are learning right beside us. Before we had our daughter, we were these people too. People are going to say the wrong things, especially at the wrong times, like after a long day of appointments. But most of the time, they don’t know what they’re saying is wrong, they’re just trying to show support. It’s true many people don’t understand our journey, but that just means it’s our joy to help them understand, not to be offended and shut them out.

3. Be willing to talk.

I’ve learned to be willing to open up and say to a stranger staring at my daughter, “Isn’t she beautiful? It’s okay to stare at beauty like that.” Then I smile and ask if they have questions or would like to talk about her. Be willing to be the one to open the door of communication. Often times others are too scared to ask questions for fear of offending.

We’d rather they say, “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to stare,” so we can say, “We want you to take in all of the beauty in her, not to look away as if to say she’s not worthy.”

4. Be ready to teach.

We have this bag we call the “Bunny Bag.” It has a big bunny stuffed animal in it, along with the book “Audrey Bunny” by Angie Smith, about a bunny with an imperfect heart, and a short picture book called “Mattie Breathes” by Tracie Loux, about what a tracheostomy is in children’s terms and concepts. We’ve lent them to friends and to our kiddos’ playmates so they can learn more about our kids’ little sister. We’re teaching our friends, and they’re teaching their friends. Nothing makes our hearts soar more than when our friends say, “Will you teach me about Chloe?”

5. Be courageous enough to keep on keeping on.

At times, we’ve wanted to shut ourselves in and not venture out anymore due to the many stares, the comments and the sidelong glances. But what does that solve? It doesn’t help teach. It doesn’t help our daughter to thrive and grow. It doesn’t encourage our other children that it’s OK to look different. So we keep on keeping on. We continue to share pictures of her and share her life with others.

jodie-gerling-family
Jodie Gerling

We don’t have it all figured out and we haven’t rehearsed some sort of speech to give each person who does a double take on our daughter. We’ve learned it’s not about feeling entitled to correct someone who says something wrong, but more about giving them grace and space to learn how to treat others with differences and disabilities. It’s more about gratitude for their desire to learn than it is about calling them out on the injustice of saying or doing the wrong thing.

Kindness goes a long way, and when it comes to teaching others about disabilities and differences, grace and kindness go much farther in the long road of changing the world’s view of what is considered normal.

This article originally appeared on The Mighty

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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