My friend and fellow blogger, Beth Behrendt, from Indiana, has just published a too-kind article about Pop Culture Lunch Box. Here it is, and definitely check out all her other great posts about being a mom, cooking, books, and life:
I enjoy Paul Mackie’s Pop Culture Lunch Box because I like the way he writes, he does some cool things, and often – not always (e.g. Shangri-La) — I like the same stuff he likes.
One post in particular sticks with me — much to my surprise it made me think “Why, Paul’s not just a good writer, he must be an awesome dad!”
In it he explains that — since he grew up up one of three boys  – the arrival of his daughter inspired him to maybe try to understand girls a bit better. How to understand girls better, you might ask? Why, read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, of course. I love that reasoning.
Pre-teen me was a huge Judy Blume fan — I still vividly remember buying Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret at the Glenbrook Mall bookstore (and feeling so clever, but a little guilty, that my mom thought it was a-young-girl’s-guide-to-praying type of book). I hadn’t thought much about Judy or her books in years – except to continue to be surprised that her books still keep her on the American Library Association’s  list of “Most Challenged Authors“. Seriously? Still?
However, not too long ago I was driving along half-listening to NPR and out of the blue JUDY BLUME herself was speaking — about Margaret and all her other characters — and I had to pull over because I started crying. Wow. Where did that come from? I guess there’s still some pretty deep rooted emotional reaction to her writing in my desiccated ole middle-aged heart. And if that’s not a great compliment to an author, I don’t know what is.
Now, Paul, since I grew up one of two sisters and have shockingly ended up mom to three of these goofy creatures called boys — what’s the one book I should read to get a handle on their psyches?
My (hopefully not too preachy) reply:
Thank you for such a kind shout-out, Beth. Since you have spent time with me, my brothers, and my dad, you know that there has not been a book anywhere in the universe that could solve that riddle. I suppose in the end I don't actually know how to deal with boys any better than how to deal with girls. But some things I try to keep in mind: be firm, be patient, never over-talk things because your smartypants ways will never matter to your kids (they don't get nuance), protect and prepare them for the world, and don't be offended when they clearly choose to listen to their friends instead of their parents (kids are hard-wired to do this). I'm not sure, but I think these guidelines will work equally with boys AND girls. Paul