Because Children Matter

The topic in one of my classes this week is Practice with Children. Therefore, my mind has been on children and the reality that all of us have — or should have — an interest in children being raised well. We are, after all, collectively creating our successors.

I am in Boise this weekend to both visit children, large and small, and to compete with dogs — two of my most favorite things.

Berkeley berner shirts.jpg

I have visited Boise at least once each month since Galen and Bethany moved here two years ago, determined that Berkeley and then Lincoln would know me. I want to give credit to Galen and Bethany for tolerating my visits, and to Dear Husband who is always willing to manage things at home so I can do this.

Because of my frequent visits, I am in an informed position to say that my daughter-in-law is — or should be — a role model to all other young moms out there.

Galen photo

Galen photo

Bethany is an intentional, thoughtful, and amazing mother to Berkeley and Lincoln. Her parenting skills are stellar, and the understanding of child development she brings to her everyday interactions with those two small humans reminds me constantly of the importance of education to effective parenting.

She parents with wisdom. Instead of arguing with an almost three-year-old, Bethany knows to offer choices.


Bethany creates opportunities for positive and desired behaviors, and avoids setting her children up to have unnecessary meltdowns. There are schedules and boundaries and limits so that each child has the freedom to grow, learn, and just become within spaces that are safe and appropriate for his/her developmental realities.

The children in this little family are managed with love and appropriate limits — inflicting pain through physical “corrections” is not part of Bethany and Galen’s parenting toolkit. I am so grateful for their awareness that using pro-social parenting techniques encourages similar behavior in children.

Galen photo.

Galen photo.

Parenting is not actually a private endeavor — it has implications for ALL of us because we all live with the consequences. Therefore, we need to be intentional and smart with policies and practices to support and educate parents — for the benefit of children, families, and the communities in which they exist.

Bethany and Galen are raising children in ways that maximize the odds Berkeley and Lincoln will make positive contributions to our shared world. They are taking what they appreciate from their own childhood, and appropriately and kindly rejecting what was not done well. As a result, they are embarked on their own wise, loving, smart, intentional — and imperfect — parenting journey.

It is an absolute joy to watch.

All Kinds of Fun

What fun to have the Heintzbergers living so close to Galen and Bethany!

badmitton game sept 2019.jpg

Not only are Cindy and Vic now Idaho residents, but so are daughter Kira and her family — this is her youngest, Aubrey, with Berkeley.

Berkeley and Aubrey Sept 2019.jpg

And John and his family also just moved there!!!!

Sparkle being edged out by a possessive Heidi.

Sparkle being edged out by a possessive Heidi.

And that means so did Heidi from the H Moon Litter!

Heidi Sept 1.jpg

Named for the original Almighty Heidi, Heidi is glorious and wonderful in all ways.

Heidi Heidi Sept 2019.jpg

These are two photos Galen took of Sparkle at Lucky Peak State Park near Boise — you can follow Galen’s photos at

Sparkle in Lucky Peak.jpg

Congratulations to Team Jordan (Sparkler) on a great show weekend, including a really nice Best of Breed win! And her Uncle Tristan (iPups) earned yet another QQ (agility) — we certainly have a versatile family ❤️

Progesterone testing begins on Thursday.

Watch Your Language

I was at a student training event yesterday. Completely unintentionally and without malice, the speaker illustrated a point by offering a group of people as an example of old-fashioned, not savvy, not with the times.

12189316_1158196127528723_942199392147361857_o (1).jpg

I can think of so many examples that could be inserted in that innocent sentence that would have sparked outrage — groups based on gender or ethnicity or education or religion — and that outrage would have been 100% appropriate.

But this group? Not so much.

When we do this — when we offer a group of people based on some characteristic as the don’t be like this group — we diminish them both as individuals and as a collective. We create a social caste system where some are less than simply because of ______________ (insert characteristic utilized to create “Other”).


But language is tricky — I acknowledge this. Further, I believe most of us are well-intentioned and would be horrified to know that we inadvertently insulted another and contributed to a social climate in which large groups of people are rendered irrelevant.

And we all make mistakes.

I recently described someone as sounding like he was from HeeHaw — do you remember that show? I realized later that it could have felt like I was insulting people from the South but that was not actually my intended comparison — it was mainly the big, booming, overly friendly and exaggerated voice that reminded me of a character from HeeHaw.

But I see now that my meaning could easily have been misinterpreted and I feel shame about that. Even with good intentions, we trip up — because we are human.

And those trip ups are simply learning experiences — if we can acknowledge them, which is admittedly not easy.

It is a special kind of painful to be in a social group whose label or title is considered an insult by the larger society. To be perceived as diminished in capacity, understanding, and value because of some role, feature or characteristic is a gut punch to the soul.


But even more — to suggest that grandchildren are the reason you are suddenly an example of Don’t Be Like That is to suggest that their existence is a powerful force of Destruction. Not cool.


Being a woman who is older already carries such social stigma — I feel that every day.

On the other hand, the sexual harassment I endured for decades has finally ended — either we are less desired as we get older or people know better than to mess with a woman at this age.

“Sontag — I want you,” said my supervisor when I was a lab tech for ATF as an undergrad.

That was not the first or the last time such a thing happened.

I was 17 when my boss said he wanted me to have his baby, and just 13 when a general surgeon, who was removing a small cyst over my eye, did a breast exam on well-developed adolescent me.

Every stage of life as a woman carries its own socially constructed and sanctioned House of Horrors.

And now, by virtue of three amazing new human beings, I have arrived at a stage in life where I am viewed as less than because of them. How incredibly insulting and infuriating is that?

Kai and a Tongue Out Dog 2008.jpg

So watch your language around me because I won’t be surprised into silence the next time someone uses “grandma” as a pejorative, no matter the intention. Instead, I will say, “Oh — you mean fierce, fearless, experienced, and much too full of love to let that kind of shit continue on in my grandchildren’s world?!”

Berkeley and Sparkle August 2019 (1).jpg