Gap Year Guidance

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S1: This ad free podcast is part of your Slate plus membership, the following podcast contains explicit language.

S2: Welcome to the mom and dad are fighting Slate’s parenting podcast for Thursday, August 27, the Gap Year Guidance Edition. I’m Jamilah Lemieux, a writer and contributor to Slate’s handfeeding parenting column.

S3: Most of the kids are asleep and moms Mama, who is seven. And we live in Los Angeles, California, kind of like the new camp. I write the Home School and Family Travel Blog such that my mom to three little Henry eight, Oliver and Teddy three. And I’m currently located in Florida. And I’m Cavo Wallace, writer and podcast in Oakland, California. I’m the father to Georgia who is about to turn 15 as well, 17. Thank you for joining us. Carvelle, a beloved member of the extended Slate Parenting Family. Folks are always happy when you come back to play.

S2: Today on the show, we’ll be discussing whether this year, a year in which everything is already abnormal is actually the perfect time to take a gap year. We’ll also be answering a follow up question from a listener whose wife tried besides their kid about race and it didn’t go so well. Now they’re worried that they’re actively turning their kid into a racist. And as always, we have triumphs and tales and recommendations. Carvell, what do you got for us this week?

S4: This is a little awkward because I want to talk about something that my son doesn’t actually know about yet. So the triumph is that he is turning 17 and longtime listeners to the show from back in the day will know that, like his progress toward being an adult functioning person has been, it’s been an adventure. We’ve enjoyed seeing how it how it comes and goes. He has definitely shown a lot of growth over the last few months, I would say. I think covid and all of his stuff in protests has really helped, just combined with just like him reaching that age where certain parts of his brain are starting to come together and do their jobs, maybe at a higher level. Executive functioning wise, we’ve seen like slightly better improved version of a kid who looks like he may at some point be able to go out into the world and do something, which is a great relief for his mom. However, his mom lost her job. She got laid off through covid related thingy’s. And now there’s you know, we had some money saved up and there had been some fiscal discipline in our family. So we’re not in like a dire situation as of yet, but it’s pretty serious. And this coincides with the time that he needs to get a job, which is the thing that we had been kind of I mean, I’ve been trying to get him to get a job since like four, three years. And it’s always been like that until they’re going to do that, but then not whatever. And so but now he’s like he’s on it. He started filling out applications and going out into the world and having the difficulty of, like, first wanting to just fill out online applications and then just wait for people to call him back. And then I had to tell him the story because I have my own like I walked uphill to school both ways in the snow with no shoes version of looking for a job, which is that when I lived in New York as a young man, I got fired from a job for behavior that I’m not proud of at this point. And in any event, I was living alone and I had to pay rent. And so that job was on Fifty Seventh and Third Avenue and I lived in the village on Ludlow Street and and I walked from the office where I was working at to my home. And I stopped in to every single place and asked them, are you hiring, do you have an application, are you hiring? And then somewhere around eighth and McDougle, I got a job at a burger place. And that’s my I walked uphill both ways story. And I told that to my son. I’ve told that to him before, but it kind of went over his head. But this time he was like, wow, that I think I really need some of that energy. And I was like, yeah, you got to go out into the world and actually make these things happen. Even though online feels like it’s an easy way to avoid contact, you’ve got to go out and do it. And so I guess the triumph here is that not only did he start doing that, he also was able to, like, connect with some friends of his who work at places and get them going. And I’ve just seen him turn into a little bit of a hustler, which is not hustle. Energy is definitely not a thing that we saw in him. Yeah. On the come up. And that’s the thing that we’re always like, where’s the hustle with this kid? But we’re starting to see it. And I don’t know what’s going to result, but I do know that that feeling of confidence for me like, oh, I know how to shepherd him through this, which is a great relief considering all the other stuff in the world. I don’t know how to shepherd them through which is happening. And it feels so good to know that I actually have some way of helping him walk through this. So that’s the part that I’m going to say on the record. There is a plan in place for him that he doesn’t yet know about, that may or may not happen, but it might mean that he and I are actually going to like work together and maybe even relocate for a short period of time to another city where things are different and where he and I can.

S5: Just like focus on him, sort of like empty nest thing a little bit, because I moved to New York when I was 17 years old and that’s a big part of what kicked me into gear because I was like him when I was a teenager like that. Attention, kind of messy, didn’t really have my shit together. But moving to New York when I was 17 just kind of grew me up quickly. And we’re thinking a similar thing may need to happen with him. So that’s all I’m going to say right now. But despite the fact that we’re living through an apocalypse here in California, I feel weirdly positive about my son’s future chances. So that’s a weird and great thing. And that’s where we’re at.

S6: That’s a great win for your son and for you, I feel like.

S1: Yeah. The positive approach to a challenging time. And to see that thing that you’ve been trying to seed in him for so long, start to bloom feels really good.

S4: I’m sure it does feel really good because he’s always been like a late bloomer. I remember when he was learning how to walk. This is like walking, crawling. The doctor was like, if he doesn’t crawl by the time he’s a year old, then then we have to worry. So like, we’re his mother and I are stressed, we’re stressed. We’re stressed. Nine a.m. the morning of his first birthday, he crawls and breathe that sigh of relief, but that it has been like that with every day since 2003, just like we are on the edge of our seats. And then at the last minute, he just does it. He just said on his own time, on his own time and fast.

S6: And I feel like I need to take. So your story going into my. So I have three little boys. Henry, my oldest, who’s eight, has a neurological condition called pandas that I’ve talked about here. And we were in a really good place in kind of this miracle of covid, you know, all these bad things are happening. And like you, we had this really good thing in that we’re not getting other people’s germs, which is what causes his neurological condition to really flare. And we had found this good medication. And of course, this week we sort of fell into a like his flares are back, which we always knew was coming, like the medicine and all of that, our short term responses to this. But it is just like frustrating to see the family, like, thrown back into that at the same time that like, I have friends and family in California battling the wildfires. We had two hurricanes coming at us here. And this is we’ve been in Florida a couple of years, but this is our first, like hurricanes coming at us. Do we need to evacuate with these kids? And there’s just this added stress since I have two kids that need kind of like extra stuff, just making sure we have all the medicines, like all of that, just kind of playing through our head. And we’re also not in control of Jeff’s evacuation schedule because he’s military like he he and the planes are controlled by someone else. And the family and I are on our own. So I just had been this week, just like in that place. I think I’m a pretty usually a pretty positive person, but just in this place where, like, I just can’t get out of the, like, overwhelming dread of everything and then everything on top of everything, if that makes sense, just just kind of thinking like is like how do we continue to move forward? But in that place, I had to kind of tiny triumphs that happened that are like so small, but just like got the whole family laughing. And one is that I reprogrammed our Alexa devices to respond to magical spells and my three little kids think I’m magic. And we’ve been like reading Harry Potter together. And so I like when I say Lumos in a room, the lights go on and when I say knock, they go off. And when I say hello, Hamara, like this door unlocks and they were mystified. They knew that it was happening through the Alexa, but only the oldest has really figured it out. And he is relishing in the power that like he and I can do the magic and the other ones are in training. But we had lots of laughs and fun with that. And then the other thing is that because I have been feeling kind of like down and how to manage this, I was trying to think of a way that I could, at least with the older, to have some of their stuff kind of available online so that they could, like, go get started. Because in the mornings I have been kind of like checking on friends, checking in on hurricane status, like all of that. So I just created a little Google classroom and uploaded like the YouTube videos and some online like games and stuff that we often use, but that I go set up for them. And I showed Henry how to get on there. And so for the last two mornings, he has just like logged on and gotten his brother’s like around the computer. And they’ve watched this, like, curated list of we’re doing folklore from around the world right now. And so there’s a lot of like great YouTube videos telling different folklore stories. And I just put them all in this Google Play list and they went and they did that themselves. So I feel like my triumph is kind of like admits the the crushing ness. We have found little glimpses of joy and independence, and I’m holding onto those for dear life.

S1: Yes. Oh, glimpses of independence during a pandemic are very helpful.

S7: Yeah. Yeah. It’s also I mean, it’s it’s such a weird time to for independence. But the other thing that I think is hopeful is that kids always are going to find a way to do whatever it is they need to do under whatever circumstances, even if we can’t envision it.

S6: We kind of just got to let them do whatever they do, kind of you’re so right, like taking the more I can take cues from them almost and respond to better, because in some ways they’re better equipped to shut out the noise. Well, they don’t have as much ability to go, especially the young ones like to go grab information and be weighed down by it. Right.

S7: So, yeah, yeah, yeah.

S1: Hey, Jimmy, how about you? So I think this is probably like the fourth or fifth time, hopefully not in a row that might triumph or fail has just been like a quote from Nyima. But those are they are so good. Yes, I’m right. Avery’s right. And I think, you know, again, I’m going to I’m going to claim this is a triumph, because even though she was essentially roasting me a little bit, I am very proud to have helped raise a child with this sense of wit in humor. The other day, I guess I told a joke or something, and then I end it with like a little bit, you know, like a little drunk high hat. And she was like, what did you just say? And I was like, you know, I was like I had like plans. Like, you never heard that before. And she says Now, Yeah, I have. It’s just lame to let it go and then you need to let that go. And it was just so like it just came out so naturally and I couldn’t be offended. I was just proud. I was like, that’s my baby. Like, she’s I didn’t even know she knew the words. Like, I was just like, this is this is awesome. Like the with the sniping, a little hurtful, but mostly proud of what I did to the world. Good. I couldn’t do anything but laugh. I was like, oh, I can do is laugh. And this was right on the heels of her explaining to me about episode twenty five so quickly she was saying that about her brother was acting and she was like he you know, when, when he acts out she has a five year old brother. You know, it’s even worse in episode twenty five. And I said, what’s that is I like that the Peppa Pig whistling episode because you know, people talk about that was like the worst episode in children’s television or whatever. And so and I’m so desensitized. Don’t showed it to me to, like, prove the point. And I was like, I don’t get it. Why is everybody upset about this anyway? And she says, no, it’s when I ate those twenty four Pepto, Bismarck’s at school and stuff. You all might remember that last year like a goofy I spent nine at a school with some Pepto gizmo and she ate all of them and I did not find that out for days and that’s called poison control. She was fine anyway, so. Yeah. Twenty four percent of it like sushi because they tasted like candy to her. And so like they never enjoyed the taste. She she’s got a nice guitar. She’s and she has she’s five. I said, well wouldn’t that be episode twenty four, you know. And she was like, well there were definitely twenty four bad things I did before I left I guess my mommy. And she starts recounting things from like when she was two or three. I remember that. I remember that. So I’m already sitting there like this kid is on another planet and then she comes back down to earth to tell me that I’m lame.

S6: I like that her life is her life is already episodes like that is like these are just plot lines and these are power lines.

S1: That’s literally she’s living in a little in a TV show that she’s constructing all by herself in front of us. And it’s it is something to behold. Yeah.

S7: I love how you always act like these things are just coming from nowhere. Really.

S4: Exactly. She is just channeling you. Like, I don’t understand what the mystery is.

S1: Right. How how could the child that I nicknamed Mini Me actually where might this be coming from? Where on earth could she be getting these tastes and manners from. Who knows exactly. OK, let’s get into our listener questions. But first we have to handle some business.

S8: Tune in tonight. It’s Thursday, August twenty seven to my Slate live show. The kids are asleep this week. I’m going to be venting about modern parenting with none other than Karen Feeding’s. Nicole Cliffe. You did not want to miss this. Tune in every Thursday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Pacific on Slate’s YouTube and Facebook page two weeks ago, Carveout joined me on the show. Last week I had one of my very best friends in the world, William Bryant Miles, telling all types of jokes and embarrassing anecdotes about me. It was great. And if you missed the love, you can still watch previous episodes. We’ll put the links in the show page now to stay up to date on all of Slate’s parenting content and shows, sign up for Slate’s parenting newsletter. It’s the best place to be notified about all of our good parenting stuff, including care and feeding. Mom and dad are fighting and much more. Plus, it’s a fun personal email from Dan directly to your inbox. So sign up at Slate dot com backslash parenting email. If you want even more parenting advice, join our parenting group on Facebook. It’s super active. It’s moderated so it doesn’t get too out of control. Just search for slate parenting. Finally, do not forget to tune in to our bonus. Mom and dad are fighting episodes. They appear in your normal podcast feed every Tuesday.

S9: All right, that’s. It into our first listener question, being red, as usual, by the fabulous Sasha Lanard, dear mom and dad, my eldest daughter just started college this last year and seems to be blossoming.

S10: She was always kind, spirited and fun, but it seemed like her newfound independence really made her shine. Like most, if not all college students in the US, her traditional college experience came to a screeching halt. This past spring, she moved home and fell into a funk. I think she feels like she got a taste of independence and the transition back has been hard. I mean, I get it. The pandemic has been a cloud over us all. But she’s having a hard time remaining close with the friends she made on campus. Her drive has diminished. She was already undecided on what she actually wanted to pursue in college. She was getting her Jen out of the way while she decided on a major while at home. She’s decided that she doesn’t want to return to school next year. The environment isn’t going to be the same. And she doesn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on ed courses she doesn’t care about. Since she doesn’t know what she does want to do, she wants to take a gap year. But here’s the thing, she hasn’t been putting in the effort to research so she can figure out what she wants to do. I’m not really sure how to advise her. I want her to do what’s best for her. The pandemic might be a good time to take a gap year, but am I wrong for thinking her gap year should still be productive? How do I navigate this without stepping on her newfound independence? Thanks, Carvelle.

S11: Before you start, I’m asking this of you specifically. Did you know what a gap year was?

S7: I remember the exact moment I found out what a gap year was. It was twenty feet and I was watching maybe a vine. It might have been. That was some joke about Gap years and that was a gap year. What is this? But I remember like learning about it then. But at that point I was already well into my thirties.

S5: So this was a new concept for me.

S11: I was definitely an adult when I found out that people like I mean, the idea of delaying school was not entirely foreign. Like I heard of people who needed a little bit more time, but like the idea of a gap year where you’re really just exploring and traveling and figuring things out as opposed to like, oh, he’s not ready for school. He needs to take some classes at the community college. He needs to get a job and say that was not a thing.

S5: I actually ended up it’s funny because I realized retrospectively I took a gap year between my junior and senior year of college. I went to school for theater that summer. I went and worked as an actor in Europe and I was with his company and I had this great time in Europe and I’m just feeling myself and I’m just like running around Europe and drinking and having affairs and acting, just having the greatest time ever.

S4: And I came back to New York and I just didn’t register for school. I just didn’t I didn’t plan not to. I just kind of didn’t. And then when I told the adults in my life, they were like, what the fuck? But I was like, it’s too late now.

S5: And that, quote unquote, gap year, I worked two jobs. I worked like I had a six a.m. job as a fundraiser for Congress of Racial Equality, where I work from six to twelve. And then I worked from one to seven as a bike messenger in New York. And I did that for a year. And after that, guess who was ready to go back to college with a quickness? Yeah. And I got out the senior year and was productive as hell. So that was it. Kind of a gap year. You know, I didn’t know that that was called a thing. I thought that was just me being lazy.

S11: Thinking about the Gap year episode of Network Plot Line on Blackish. Yeah. And how Jennifer’s parents, you know, dad is that was like this is like bullshit. And I often point that on a show like this. But I think that there is something like as somebody who took five years to graduate, perhaps in part, well, I’ve got a class second semester, senior year. I can’t really put it on like me not knowing what I wanted to do. But I think that had a lot to do with me not knowing what I wanted to do. I think that this is a good idea. Yeah, because to continue to pay for school, especially under these circumstances under which this young person doesn’t know what they want to be doing and won’t be on campus. So it’s like I’m paying just to be a part of it, to stay on the books and be, you know, to say I’m working to earn my degree. But I don’t know, it’s just degree my. And so, like, if you take, you know, ostensibly the general education requirements will work for you in most degree programs. I’ll say I also studied theater in college. So like I didn’t have any room to like if I had spent a year on Jenette, I would have also I would have had to add another year to my schooling, you know, so like, I don’t know, like this to me feels kind of like a good idea. But what’s important and see your time off gave you some perspective, right. You realize that being in school is a privilege to a certain extent. You know, it’s an easier lifestyle. I think that what this young person really does need to know and their parent is correct. I guess there should be a time of exploration that should not be, you know, just a time to rest. Right leg rest is certainly going to be a part of it. And you should be able to get a lot of rest. You know, the world is closed down. You can’t go around the streets and party just because you’re not in school, because you probably couldn’t get into the most of that stuff anyway right now, depending on where you live. But so far this year, even for this semester, to close without them having a good clue as to like what would make me happy, what I want to study, even if you’re not certain I like, what’s the job? If you’re like this is the area of study, this is the department I belong. And, you know, that should probably be a stipulation of the terms of this continued, you know, like because assuming that this parent, you know, this family is providing support, you know, the kid is back in the house. They’re not sending you know, they’re it doesn’t sound like they’re working or going to be working. That should be a term of the the break.

S5: What do you all think I would even suggest to these parents that there’s a reframing that can happen? In other words, the question is about the kid losing their independence. But what I see actually is a kid asserting their independence. Right. I see them just leveraging their independence in a different direction and a direction that to me strikes me as fairly sensible given the situation. Right. Like the thing that really strikes me about my kids now is that, like when I was growing up, our parents were preparing us for like entry into a system. It’s like go to school, get a good education, settle down, get a good job, buy a house.

S7: These are the things that will bring about happiness and comfort for you and future generations. And I then just sort of mostly told my kids that. But what they’re seeing is that, I mean, as much as I didn’t know coming up in Gen X, if that was a real thing, they know they already know. It’s not a real thing. They don’t even know if college what what is college even going to be? What is his career? What is Capulet? What is it? So it’s really hard to convince a kid, you know, you really need to, like, focus all your energy on building this, like towards a future when the future is so wildly uncertain, even feels more uncertain than it did when we were kids, although philosophically, the future is always uncertain. So what I see as a kid making a fairly good decision and using her independence as a way of saying, this is what I want to do with, may I remind you, my life at this point, I want to take a gap year. I think that’s great. I do think that if I was a parent, I would I would like be welcoming to the idea and then I would see if I could influence and put some things into the computer for them to process. Like, here’s a good way to take a gap year or here’s a good thing to think about it. But ultimately, if you want to support her independence, let her make this decision. She will find what she needs to find. She will see what she needs to see. The adults in my life couldn’t force me to register for class that year because I was in New York and they were ever and it just wasn’t going to happen. But turns out I saw what I needed to see. Like I looked out the world and the information I needed to have about how to grow up was right there available to me. And I suspect that’s what happens with most kids. They learn how things work and they respond accordingly. So I think you should let this happen. I think you should continue to try and influence, you know, how it works. But I think you need to think of yourself as an ally, helping her schedule and plan and organize and curate this experience rather than as the gatekeeper who must decide whether or not this happens. This is happening. You need to get on the team with her and be a code designer of it.

S6: I kind of came down on the same place in terms of saying, like, I guess covid in and of itself to me is not a reason to take a gap year because, like, I’m not entirely confident that, like, a year from now looks necessarily different, like I hope it does. So, like you said, preparing them to be independent in these moments, in these moments that are hard, I think, is what we can do for them. So to be able to say like commit in and of itself isn’t a reason. But maybe all these other things like that, you don’t know what that you want to do and that the reason you want it to be on campus were more for the social life, which is totally fine. And if that’s not there, then maybe it’s not worth the money. And I sort of made a list of things that I thought needed to be considered because I also think the child needs to make the decision. But I think you, as the parent can say, like these are the things that you need to think about. So one is kind of the financial obligation, like who was paying for school. If you take a year, does that continue to happen? You know, can you displace any financial aid, any scholarships like any of that? I know for me, like I had a scholarship at school and it was four years and if I didn’t get it done in four years, it wasn’t going to stick around. And that was motivation for me to make this whatever that took to make it work. Right. So and I also think, like, it’s not your job as the parent to go figure that out. You can certainly help them. I also think, like, what is your financial state going to be if they stay? Because the troubling thing to me was that says like, well, the child’s not really wanting to go find anything. So I think you can say, like, here is what we are willing to do for you if you stay. But here is what your part has to be. And like, if they don’t make a decision, where are you going to fall? I think that as a parent, like, we can’t control our children’s decisions, but we can say, like, these are the consequences. Should you either choose not to get a job or not to go to school, like, here’s where we’re going to be. But I think also guiding them through, like, what do you want to accomplish in this gap year? Like, are you going to take this gap year because you want to acquire a new skill? Do you want to earn some money? Do you want to like where is your focus going to be for this year, for this time period that you are giving yourself? And if that answer is like I just need rest, that’s an OK answer. And you can go forward from that to say, like, OK, you need rest, but, you know, you can’t just be loafing around the house. So are there tasks at home that this kid can now help with to help you have a easier life? I don’t know. I think guiding that conversation. But at the end of the day, you’re absolutely right. Like she says, I want to foster independence. The way to foster independence is to say you get to make this choice and here are going to be the natural consequences to that. And we’re here to support your fall. But also know that this is a this is an adult choice in an adult, you know, real world situation.

S5: Well, yeah, but part of the issue is and I don’t know what region of the country these people are in, but I would just say that one of the issues we’re facing is that, you know, you talked about consequences. It’s like our list of consequences if we’re being real, like a really real is fairly limited. What are we going to get out of the house like in the Bay Area when, like, we can barely afford rent? Now, there’s no for. I mean, like so like so I think that’s a thing, I just think that, like I mean, I agree with everything you’re saying and also there is a certain amount of in a covered world in which everything in which there’s no clarity about any of these like ways to navigate through, even for Dalts there there’s a limit to how much we can enforce certain consequences with kids in their 19, 20, 21 year old years.

S6: I think that there are some natural consequences if they stay home and you’re funding X, Y, Z, a natural consequences like, well, then we can’t fund X, Y, Z of this. So, like, I agree with you, like, I’m not suggesting that you throw anyone out in this time. And I think that this is a time of like where you need to be loving and understanding. But I also think that having a conversation that says if we pay for your full care here, feeding home all of this that we wouldn’t normally have had, that’s a year of what we would have covered in college. So what are we going to do? What are we going to do about that? Because you’re going to be a year later entering the job market. We’re at the age where it’s not like consequences. Like right now you’re grounded. But we’re at the age of saying, like, these decisions have an impact impacts. And here’s what that impacts is going to be. And we’re willing to work with you, but we also need to let you know, you know, like the situation that we’re in and how we can continue that. And we don’t know what this year is going to look like. Like we don’t know if everyone in the house is going to stay employed. You know, those are the conversations that we that we need to be having so that they understand the full weight of of their decision.

S12: I think those are all important things to think about. And I definitely I would just add to that, like, again, thinking about like how does the how do we keep the lights on in this place with no mouths to feed and like how a school being paid for before? What can I be doing aside from just the exploration of career that’s productive. Right. So it’s one thing to have to figure out what was it that I want to do? But is it a part time job or is it working remotely or online? Is it taking some sort of other classes? Is it a part time classes at a junior college class like. Make the most of this year, because you won’t get an opportunity like this again, hopefully, I mean, if we’re stuck in the house for two years, we’re talking about a whole different other set of challenges and issues. But ideally, this will be the only time in which a gap year, as acceptable as they are, I don’t think that there’ll be any other time where it’s like, of course, you took off to twenty, twenty, twenty, twenty one school year. You know, like that was a complete like you would be wasting your money if you didn’t. So letter writer, we’re wishing you all the best. There are certainly a lot of anxiety and stress that you all are facing right now as we all are. But I know that’s certainly exacerbated for folks there in such a big crossroads in terms of their futures. So wishing you and your young person super well. Before we get into our next letter, just a reminder, if you are interested in having a question submitted for consideration for our alimentation on the air, please send it to mom and dad. It’s like that. Come.

S13: All right. And now our second and final question of the week, again, being read by Sasha Leonhard.

S10: How do you talk about race with a five year old? There have been now at least two episodes of mom and dad are fighting where the hosts have urged white parents to talk to their kids about race. I’ve been hesitant to talk to my five year old about race, but not for the reasons suggested on the show, I’m not afraid of letting her know that the world can be ugly. I’m afraid of doing a bad job of it and accidentally making her racist. I’m not convinced that I can explain to her that some people think black people are bad without her getting into her head, that black people may be bad. I’m fine telling her things like don’t judge people on their appearance, but I get the sense that that isn’t what’s being encouraged. My wife recently took a stab at this, and it didn’t go very well. My wife tried to explain some of the history of racism and my daughter seem to think it was more of an exciting story than an upsetting history. She started asking my wife to repeat the story and started asking about whether people wanted to enslave or kill some of her black friends. But in a way that was more like it would be an exciting game than something scary or bad. We try to explain that she wasn’t really getting the point, but I’m not really sure how well that sank in. She seems to have dropped it now, but I’m concerned about getting a similar reaction if we try again. I’m also afraid of her saying something offensive or hurtful. Next time she sees her black friends, not that covid is really letting her see much of anyone these days, but she’s growing up in a liberal area of New York. So it’s unlikely that she’s going to join the Klan. But I know that that isn’t the only kind of racism. I do think we need to talk to my daughter about race. We live in the heart of white Islandia, rich suburb outside New York City, and she probably isn’t going to meet all that many black kids at school. There have actually been a few racist incidents in our town recently. So any suggestions on how to talk to a five year old about race without doing more harm than good?

S14: Thanks how briefly start by saying that is a difficult thing to have to explain to a child. Trust me, I know it’s a very it’s even more difficult when you’re explaining it to a child who is black. Right. Who has to step out into the world, whether they’ve experienced it yet or not. And more likely than not. By the time you have this conversation, they have that somebody has made them feel uncomfortable or has imply that something was inadequate or deviant about them or just seeing the lack of representation of themselves in certain spaces or just seeing that the default for the world. You would think if you look at pop culture and politics would be white folks, you know, particularly white men, you know, that everybody else is just trying to get in where they fit in and that we are very low on this food chain. Like, it’s not hard for a kid to start picking those clothes up. So even without you telling your child that some people may think that black people are bad, the world is absolutely telling your child that some people think that black people are bad. So hiding the truth from them is only going to make them more vulnerable to believe someone else’s version of events, which is that the hierarchy of the world is correct, and that what we describe as racism is actually just the natural order of things. You know, like you don’t want your child to be so clueless about these things that they’re open to a completely opposite perspective. The fact about them being somewhat titillated or excited at the prospect of their friends being killed or kidnapped into slavery is a little scary. But I also would I’m just going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say I imagine your wife, rather that there may have been some language that implied that this was not as devastating and terrible as it was and that it maybe sounded like a story at 5:00 in books, people die and come back and, you know, and are wizards and magic. And so I don’t know, like that conversation obviously didn’t go very well. I have more to add, but I do want to hear from my co-host. And I want to start with you, Elizabeth, because I’m curious now, because I have not had to talk to a white five year old about racism. I haven’t had to explain this to somebody who’s not going to be impacted by it in the same way as my child. How have you talked to your kids about race?

S6: Yeah. So I first want to say, like, it’s never too soon to start talking. So if you can avoid having your first conversation at five, that’s great. But it’s also never too late. So if you haven’t done it now and you think like, well, there’s just no like, well, we can’t start now. You can’t start now. So I actually think the reaction to me feels like the most like pure form of white privilege. Like this child has no framework for understanding racism. Right. Like a five year old hasn’t really been out in the world. If they’re not exposed to it and no one is telling them what they’re seeing, they don’t really know. So the child’s thinking like this is a story that I’m being told and I’m trying to kind of sort out where that fits in. So I think given that what you have to do is kind of like rewind and just approach it differently, I think because kids are getting the message from society, right, that like white people, white men particularly are in charge, like Djamila talked about, like they are what you are just seeing that one. It’s your job to point that out to them to ask, like when you are hearing a story or when you are reading something or when you see something to say to them, like, well, who wrote this and what were they trying to accomplish? And you can do that like even my little three year old when we are reading stories and we ask that is starting to understand and hear that like that. Each story has an author. Each thing that’s happening has a perspective like things you watch on TV and what is that advancing. So I think you can then start pointing out I mean, we’ve had other episodes we’ve talked about, like when you are driving around town and you you see driving through a low economic area and houses are marked for we talked about that in another episode marked to be demolished and then it condo goes up like these are opportunities in the real world where you can say this is what’s happening. Your child will see how you react to that and how you react to those situations. So I think one like you need to live the kind of anti-racist being the person who is an advocate and letting them see that so that it is not just like here is this lesson and this story. I’m going to tell you that they can see you being an ally to other people in your daily life, that your friends are not all white. The things you are doing, if that is not part of your life now, make it part of your life. And I am going to give you I mean, we’ve given examples on other episodes, but specifically I wanted to give you two resources letter writer right now. So the first is that I want you to take a virtual field trip to the Atlanta High Museum of Art. They have an exhibit right now called Picture the Dream. It is the story of the American civil rights movement told through children’s picture books. And while you cannot go there, they I mean, you can if you were living in it. And you messed up and did all those things, but they have posted a ton of their pictures and commentary on their website, my kids and I have been doing this just we do an art section and we’ve been using this as the host of our art thing while it’s online. And it’s amazing because it is already created for your children’s age. You don’t have to do any of that work of language or worried about how much is too much or any of that because it’s already been done for you. It covers all the way from like the first stuff is sort of the Rosa Parks refusing to get up, give up her seat. And there’s a big part of that. That’s the sixty fifth anniversary, which, of course, leads to the Montgomery bus boycott. There’s a bunch about that. It goes all the way through to modern picture books about Black Lives Matter. It’s wonderful. My favorite picture that we’ve done so far is a picture of a segregated swimming pool and all the white kids are in the swimming pool. The black kids are waiting outside with their towels and the pool water is all green. And my kids had so many, like, ideas about why the pool water would be great, like the like jealousy that that must have felt. And because these stories are told from the perspective of the black children, your kids are put in their shoes. And so you are also when you’re looking at this picture outside of the pool. And to me, my children had so many comments about that. And that is a great jumping off point. And it’s so concrete for them to understand instead of this amorphous like people think people are bad and some people think this like you’re actually saying there was a point in time in which your skin color determined whether you could use this pool. That to them is so concrete. And that led to them asking questions that I could then answer or look up answers to. So I think that is wonderful. And we will put a link to that exhibit in the show, notes the other resource. I want to give us that there’s a Charlotte Mason, which is the kind of homeschooling we do, which is all based in books. There is a woman called The Heritage Mom. She has a big blog and she puts out these curriculum packs. And we have been using them for several years. And they give you basically a book list, discussion points and videos to watch and that to jump off conversation. Now, it’s designed as a thirty six week curriculum. You could absolutely do one a week. You could put one in a night. But if you don’t really know where to start, this is a wonderful place to start. We have been using this year, it’s called Melanie Tattletales and it focuses on mythology and on fables and all of that from the African heritage. It covers some that were here you told by slaves. It covers some from different countries on the continent of Africa. It is a wonderful way to weave in again the idea that things come from different perspectives into like we’re doing a mythology study which, as presented by the curriculum, is only Greek mythology. So we are adding in some other cultures there is one for if you don’t know where to start again, there is one that we use last year called Amazing Africa that I really loved because each book is from an author, from a different country telling the story of their country. And it is that includes then at the end of the curriculum, you’re then reading stories of people that came to America the different ways they came and the African American stories here and about black culture and about there’s a bunch, though, so you’re sure to find one. This is a really easy way to, like, go have this stuff available. Her book lists are excellent and she’s already going to help you say, like, here’s a great way to start discussion on part of this book, because it seems like that all you need is like a little push to get the discussion on base for a five year old as opposed to necessarily like starting off with with these stories that there’s no not stories, but like the tale of civil rights and of racism that they don’t really have a context to. So I don’t know. That’s that’s kind of where we’ve started. I just try to make it part of what we’re talking about. Do I always do it right? No. Am I just trying? Yes. And that’s all I encourage you is to keep having even if it goes poorly, keep having the conversation and try something new. But I would love to hear what you guys have to say.

S5: So that was such a great answer. And I feel like it hits on three points that I want to make. Two of them have to do with perspective, and one of them has to do with just what we know about talking to kids about anything that is complicated. What you’re talking about, Elizabeth, is two perspective shifts that I think are really important. When people talk about race, when white people talk about race, that often doesn’t happen. One is the shifting, the perspective. These people in this message, this letter say I want to talk about race, but all they talk about is the horrors of race. And this idea that blackness is inseparable from the terrible things that happen around blackness is a major way in which people on the left propagate and continue white supremacy. The idea should be that blackness is a whole myriad of things, ways of being in existences in the world that are beautiful and valuable and layered and historical and go back centuries and that this is part of the experience for those people in this time and space instead of talk about race. Well, now we’ve got to start talking about lynching. Like it’s just like that’s one of the things that I find tremendously frustrating. And I recognize it because I think that the problem. Well, I don’t know if I was going to say I was going to try and be like I myself have felt that way. But if I’m being honest, I have it because my experience of blackness has been, yes, it’s been all the shit that I’ve experienced being much more layers, as much more layered, because it also has to do with like my Aunt Bertie, stuffing is like a thing of saying like and so there’s so I have all these different ways of thinking about the experience of being a black person. And I think for white people who are on the outside, the first way they know to approach the concept of blackness is through like tales of horror and suffering. So the stuff that that Elizabeth said about the museums, about the mythologies, these are ways to include more than that, because ultimately what you’re trying to get your kid to recognize is that these are people that this very painful thing is happening to. These are people like you. In other words, this painful thing is also happening to you. It is unfair. It is wrong. You are experiencing it. You are seeing it. And children have an inherent empathy that allows them to see that. That’s really what the conversation is. Yeah.

S15: The second perspective shift is that instead of thinking about what things are from a white point of view as like us thinking only think about where things are from, my point of view is like we’re outside of this thing. I don’t know what to do.

S5: What I really love about, especially the poor thing that that Elizabeth described, is that opportunities for your child to hear stories, see things from a black person’s point of view. This is like the fundamental reason that we do what we do as writers and the creators of content is to allow people chance to have a different point of view than the one that they that society has given them. And in my personal opinion, that’s a really big part of changing actual hearts and minds, is by allowing people to have points of view. They’re different than the one society gave them. I mean, I think you’re right that like what you’re experiencing in this first conversation with a child is just evidence of how deeply inset your white privilege is that your child can only view black people and the experiences of black people as this external thing with zero real consequences and only fun and games, because she has not had the experience of being connected to blackness, black people and the experience of seeing the world through the eyes of black people. And that’s what you have to change. That’s what you can change, and that’s what you have to change. The third thing I’ll say is that every difficult conversation with kids is never a conversation. There is no the sex talk of the race talk, the global warming talk. It is you. These talks go on forever. They get more information that come to you to process say a thing. They listen to what you say. Then they also start looking at you sideways, like, I don’t think this motherfucker knows what he’s doing. They go to their friends and then their friends say something and that is how they put stuff together. So. So don’t put too much pressure on yourself to solve this thing the first time you open your mouth about it, because that’s not going to happen. As you see. That’s just like that’s it’s going to go like this is going to be hella weird and your kid’s going to get the wrong idea. You’re going to be like, oh, I screwed everything up. That’s fine. That’s normal. Continue to have the conversation. I would also add a fourth thing that that Elizabeth also hit on. That was the first thing that struck me, which is like the thing I always say when I talk about white parents talking about race is. Kids learn 80 percent of their stuff around the world from what you do, 20 percent from what you say, give or take. So what are you doing about race letter writer is the question, what are you actually doing? Because that’s what your kid is saying. And so don’t put a lot of pressure on, like, what do you. How can I say the right thing and deliver the right speech? Because that’s not even going to be you could deliver the most beautiful sort of treatise on race ever constructed to a five year old. And they’re going to be like, that was interesting. But what they’re really focused on is how do you live on a daily basis? And I understand that you live in White Landesa, and I certainly am not encouraging you to drive out and start grabbing black people off the streets and being like, please join our family and be friends with us. But how are you protecting black people? How are you advocating for fairness and equal treatment for people in your community? What are you standing up for? What are your conversations around the dinner table like around that? What things are you refusing to participate in? Because you recognize, even though they’re not directly negatively impacting you, these systems and situations directly negatively impact other folks. What are you doing around that? That’s what your child will learn from. And if you get that shit together, it doesn’t matter what you say. Your kid will learn exactly what you want them to learn. So that’s kind of my summary on that. But I appreciate this letter and I know it’s hard. I don’t know that I’d ever want to be a white parent talking to white kids around race in the year of our Lord 20 20. That sounds like a nightmare. I also have to say here that living it and talking talking about it is a nightmare. And you don’t really want that smoke either, so much as we all need to deal with. This is what I’m saying.

S6: I love what she said about the dinner table conversation, because fundamentally, that’s a great way to be able to express and have your kids hear about stuff like letting them hear you and your partner, whoever is around, have these conversations because that really speaks to the heart of what you think and feel. And kids know that in the time of covid, if you can’t figure out anything else to do, at least be having these difficult conversations, discussing what you have seen in the news.

S5: You could even get away with never mentioning any bad thing happening to black people for a while.

S3: Oh, yes.

S5: Yes, it does expose these children to black perspectives, black culture, black experiences in and of itself. And they will put two and two together and be like, wow, it’s kind of fucked up that this shit is happening to these people when they’re just regular ass people. And so I would even like double down in that first perspective shift that we don’t need to talk about blackness as only as the recipient of this horrible stuff. We have to talk about it.

S16: The 360 degree with one of the things the letter writer said was that they try to, you know, one, cosigning everything that you said, but they mentioned that they want to teach their daughter not to judge people based on how they look. And I think it’s important that we expand that beyond, you know, that that’s a very simple way of putting it right. Just because they’re black, it doesn’t mean they’re bad. Essentially, it’s kind of how that, you know, can be taken. And just because they look like you doesn’t mean they are to be trusted or that they’re friendly are OK. Right. And so I think moving away from this idea of not judging a book by its cover and instead what you want them to be able to do is to understand why the cover would make them hesitant.

S17: Why would they they not feel as comfortable with a black person or a person of color than they would someone who looks like them. Why would they assume that a white you know, maybe a white guy who reminds them that their dad is a nice guy, only to find out that this could be the most dangerous person in the neighborhood. And you weren’t thinking to be on guard for that? Right. Ultimately, the most complicated thing about talking about race for white parents, I would imagine on some level is more than just what the one what are you doing? You know, are they seeing you, like, carveout that? What are they saying you do about racism? Are they saying you have friendships with people of other races are seeing you? Do you watch insecure when they go to bed? And, you know, do you read black authors? Do you know what I mean? Like, not saying they’re loving our culture is enough, but do they see you having, you know, black people part of your life in a meaningful way?

S11: Right. Like that’s important. And your empathy and your willingness to speak out and speak up about injustice. But it’s not just talking to your kids about black folks. You have to talk to your kids about white folks. That’s the part that, you know, that I think may be the most challenging that you have to talk about what your people have done, you know, and coming to a place where you can talk about that without feeling personally attacked or you know that you’re being assumed to take on more responsibility for something that you didn’t, quote unquote. Do you know, like that you have to tell the truth, that people who look like your grandparents, people who look like your parents and your friends have caused great harm, that those were children, you know, at those swimming pools making fun of the black kids who couldn’t get in, you know, or being happy that somebody poured in some bleach or something so they can participate like that. There were children outside of segregated schools taunting the black kids that were sent in to desegregate like.

S18: That part of their history is deeply complicated and, you know, and that there may be people that they’re related to, you know, people who they may love and certainly a lot of people who look like them, whether you can draw a direct connection between your family and acts of. Over the top, racism, you have to talk about whiteness that is giving you a pass to walk through the world without some of the challenges that other people have that is giving you unfair privilege, you have to talk about privilege. It’s not just about what black people don’t have or how we’ve been treated. It’s about how you’ve been treated. It’s about the things that the world, you know, like will say and do to and for your daughter, because she’s a little white girl, you know, and in the same way, you have to also talk to her about sexism and the fact that she’s going to be in situations in which she’s not going to be treated fairly or be affirmed in the way that she deserves to because she’s a girl. You also have to talk about the unfair privilege that she has. So, you know, like I said, you have a lot of conversations before you and these are conversations you’ll be having with your children, you know, hopefully for the rest of your life. I still have these conversations with my parents. And, you know, we’re all black adults at this point. We’re not just, you know, commiserating and trading war stories. Sometimes we’re talking theories. Sometimes they’re talking about why, you know, or what should we do? What is the strategy here.

S11: So letter writer, thank you so much. And we gave you a lot to think about. I hope it was helpful. Please feel free to keep us posted and reach back out and let us know how things are going. As a reminder, if you’re interested in having a letter read on the show, please send an email to Mom and dad. It’s Slate that. Com and before we get out of here, we’re going to do our recommendations. So start with you, Elizabeth. Anything that you are recommending this week?

S6: Yes, it’s a little device called the bug bite thing, and it’s almost looks like a teeny tiny plunger. And when you get a bug bite, you put it on and it stops the itching. I have no idea if this medically works, but it’s my one child. Oliver gets beat all the time and we’re now in, like, mosquito season crazy in Florida. And it it stops the giant welts and it makes him stop whining, which is maybe what I’m pitching by the bug bite thing. And then your child will stop whining about the bite. So quick little it’s in your purse. No medicine. It literally just looks like a teeny tiny like plunger. I don’t know. Anyway, that’s what I’m recommending. The bug bite thing.

S11: The great thing about the Carvelle.

S5: Yeah, I’m going to recommend something. This is for older kids and I’m going to recommend it because my daughter insisted I watch it and it was kind of uncomfortable. So you have to be at a place where you’re comfortable watching, like, adult content related stuff with your kids, which maybe happens around 15, 16, 17. But it’s the HBO show Euphoria. Some of us with that, a lot of money for that is that some of the some of the adult content stuff, really intense euphoria, has got like all kinds of sex and drugs. And it’s got to it’s just it’s got a lot. So my kids watch other stuff. But this was a new level. But the reason I recommend that shows because my daughter started trying to get me to watch that show from the I watched the first episode two days before she started high school, which was a nightmare to do. It was a bad idea, but she kept insisting that if you watch it for your dad, if you watched it and I was like I mentioned it to my therapist and she was like, your daughter’s trying to tell you something, Dad. She’s trying to tell me so. Gosh. And what I realized in watching it with my kids is that they’re trying to explain to me this is what being a teenager does feel like sometimes. And they’re also saying to me in other ways, it’s this is ridiculous. This is not what being a teenager feels like. I know this this is what you’re afraid is happening, but that this would never happen. The kids I hang out with don’t ever do stuff like this. But watching that show with both of them was so fascinating because not only was there all this discussion around things that were happening in the show, but there were times where we had to pause and as a family, hash out a very serious like issue that was brought up around abortion, gender, you know, like disagreements between my son and my daughter around various things having to do with, like, who’s in the right and who’s wrong in situations. It really became this catalyst for a way, a process and all of this complicated things. Now, as a parent, you have to feel like you have the range for those conversations because it will get real. But if you do feel that way and you’re looking for something that is like fun to watch, has good music, good acting, well shot a little bit over the top, but will also like allow you to like make space for difficult conversations around drugs, sex, consent, growing up, et cetera, depression that you may not have space for. If you just throw it out in the kitchen, then euphoria is the show for you. I recommend that again, mature content, I would say for kids six and up.

S13: Very good recommendation. Great show mine. I’ll keep it simple this week for folks who are gluten free or try to eat somewhere gluten free. I’m in the latter slightly intolerant and just fake, healthy. And always I try trying to find, you know, breads and desserts that are yummy and tasty and are not going to make me feel bloated or gain a pound overnight like, say, a bagel would freedom gluten free donuts. Like they are so good, I guess I’m trying to figure out how to order them online for a reasonable price, you may have to find your local you may want to start with, I guess, the card or your local grocery store. And see, I got mine from a grocery store here called Sprout’s.

S11: And these are cake donuts, sprouts. Sprouts is so good. I suppose it’s kind of like a cross between Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, like lots of fresh fruit, you know, great fresh produce and chicken and poultry and stuff.

S19: Anyway, these donuts are I had the glazed old fashioned. They’re so good. They’re so, so, so, so good. So if you need something to eat, you know, it’s two o’clock in the morning, you want to go eat something at the refrigerator without feeling bad or feeling as bad as you should. A little tiny freedom, gluten free doughnut. Please check your local grocery. They are off the chain. So good.

S6: Yeah, I got my lime juice but it just came. Oh good. You got to make your pie.

S20: So yes, I’m going to make mine this week too. I need to make one last thing.

S6: I’m excited. I’m so excited and full of key lime pie. Good donuts. I mean all they’re getting me through this Djamila.

S20: All of these are all emotional eating with that. That is our show. Thank you so much, Carvelle Wallace, for joining us. It’s always nice to speak to you and nice to have you back. Mom and Dad are fighting is produced by Rosemarie Bessin on behalf of Elisabeth New Campaign. Carvelle Wallace, I’m Jimmy Little you. Thank you for tuning in. And we will see you next week. Hello, Slate. Plus, listeners, thank you so much for supporting us. It means the world to us and we are happy to be here for a little bit more.

S21: Mom and Dad are fighting with you this week in the run up to the Democratic National Convention. Representative Alexandra Ocasio has had a virtual reunion with her 2nd grade teacher after she tweeted a poem by Dr. Benjamin Ismay’s her teacher. Miss Jacobs replied to the tweet, encouraging her and asking her if she remembered their poetry readings. The interaction went somewhat viral and got us to thinking like so Kaval and I, we’re both somewhat in the public eye.

S9: We’re writers. People find us from previous chapters of our lives because of our work.

S11: Have you Carvelle had any interactions, good or bad, with teachers from your past?

S15: Yeah, that’s really good. That’s a good question. I haven’t had interactions with elementary school teachers or teachers from very young ages as of yet. I did have the experience a couple of weeks ago that was so weird to me. I had written this piece for the New York Times magazine about parenting during covid. People had a lot of feelings about that piece, I think it seemed seem to touch a lot of people and certain emotional ways.

S5: So when you write a piece like that, then it’s like you’re kind of get this onslaught of emails and DMS and strangers hitting you up on Facebook and it’s a little bit chaotic for the first few days.

S15: So I mostly stay away from social media after a piece like that is because it’s you get inundated. So that’s what happened with that piece. But then suddenly I was you know, this was maybe like three months to the pandemic somewhere around there that that it ran. And I opened up my email and there is an email from one of my college professors, Steve Wang at NYU.

S5: And I’m forty five. So I haven’t seen this guy since nineteen hundred and ninety eight or whatever. Wow. And I open up the message and I don’t remember the exact wording of it, but it was, it was so concise and brief in the piece I had posed the question, I don’t even know if I’m doing this right. And I think maybe the subject of the email was like, are you doing this right? And then the message just said, you are you are doing it right. I swear to you, I read that one sentence and fucking lost it. Like I just lost it. I, like, fell out of this chair that I’m sitting in on the floor and had a cry like I have not had since pandemic began. It just overwhelmed me and shook me to my core. And some of it had to do with, like the intense emotional work that we did together because he was an acting teacher. But he taught in this way that was very personal, very emotional. And some of it had to do with like just returning me to that feeling of being a 17 year old kid newly in New York and just wanting to, like, express myself and like please an artist and be an artist. And like all of that stuff, it just it just rocked me to my core. And that was such a positive interaction with a teacher. And it was healing, too, because I you know, there’s been other threads about how many black teachers people have had growing up. And I had like. Zero, basically, like one or two. Well, I think and I mean, I had one an acting teacher in ninth grade, I had a substitute Spanish teacher in ninth grade, and I had an acting teacher in 11th grade, and that was it. So all the bad teachers I had for all the and I went to like 11 different schools because black teachers, period, not just black male teachers.

S11: Wow.

S5: Had black teachers, never had a black male teacher in any context, not being. Oh my God, science nothing. So my experience with a lot of my teachers was ranged from fine to actually kind of like this teacher to teachers who were downright hostile jackasses like terrible fucking people. And I joked the other day on Twitter that if I ever see my seventh grade math teacher, it’s on site. Like if I run into him now, I will write them out. So evil to me. And and so, so much of my experience with teachers was that kind of like latent aggression, people, teachers getting at me. I’m too loud just being mad at me for reasons I didn’t understand, just like not liking me in ways that I internalized. So healing to just have this be the one teacher that reached out to me even after all these years, he still got right to my core with it. It was beautiful. So that’s that’s my little story about it.

S11: That is beautiful and sad. No teacher is not liking it like it’s not it hasn’t been until I was an adult that I feel I think on some level as a kid, there be moments where I’d be like, you know, I’m little, right?

S9: Like maybe you shouldn’t be so mean to me or my classmate is little, you know, like because I wasn’t there were teachers who didn’t care for me very much. But for the most part, I wasn’t usually the target. I was easier, you know, for a lot of black girls in particular, we can kind of blend in. Yeah. You know, and I was at a black I was at primarily black schools for elementary schools, at a black school. So it’s like there were people who were demanding their attention. I was just kind of there, you know. So when I when my grades fell off a little bit, nobody noticed because there’s nothing wrong with Djamila, you know, but did something good. It was like, OK, nobody noticed because there’s nothing wrong with Djamila.

S11: But the fact is, so many children and even in high school, you know, it’s inappropriate, but it’s certainly worse even before that who are aware that their teachers do not like them? Like, I think that’s nothing.

S9: Just the weight that you carry with you forever. You know, it has it can have such a tremendous impact on your self-esteem and just your ability to function in a school environment. So I’m slightly younger. I’m thirty six. So Facebook was invented when I was in college. It was not hard to connect to high school teachers when I’d only been out for a few years. So there are people that have high school teachers I’ve been Facebook friends with for years.

S21: I’ve had some really sweet moments. Like early on my blogging career. One of my teachers had like moved away. He became a house husband and a blogger, you know, and he was Cindy encouraging, you know, stuff about my writing. And, you know, every so often he might just comment on Instagram. So I’ve had those nice moments, but like my second grade teacher and for taking one, I also wonder, like, ah, my second grade teacher, you know, my first and then great teachers alive, like, I hope so.

S20: You know, like there’s a strong chance, you know, they were older than my parents, though, who are in their late 60s, early 70s now. So it’s possible that they’re not around. But they were still like the moment the AOC had was so touching for me in particular, because my second grade teacher was one of those, like, indelible impact on my life. You know, like she’s a member of my sorority is part of the reason I wanted to be a member of the sorority. So I was my first grade teacher. So I wish I’ve gone looking. I’ve been afraid to look for them because I don’t want to find obituaries, but I’ve looked a little bit. That’s all I’d say. If anybody knows any of my teachers, please find me. That will make my whole life. So I guess we’re putting out a call for all teacher, not just my teachers and I, just Carville’s teachers, any of the mom and dad are fighting family. If any of our teachers are out there, please find us. Please send an email to mom and dad. It’s like dotcom. Don’t even reach out to us directly. Make it so that Rosie sees it and we can have a whole moment. You can go viral. This is your chance.

S21: It’ll be beautiful with that. Thank you so much, Slate. Plus listeners, we again, very grateful for your support.

S9: Thank you, Karvelas, for being with us this week.

S11: So happy to be here. Yes. We will see you next time.