Love, Marriage and Sexual Beliefs in the World’s Oldest Cultures

sexual beliefs

Sexual beliefs and their social implications vary widely from culture to culture. In some cases, sexual rituals may act as a means of initiating adolescents into adulthood. In others, the practices may have a more practical, economic purpose — controlling an increasing population, for example, or ensuring that an estate survives for generations. Whatever the purpose, sexual beliefs and rituals, though sometimes shocking to outsiders, have a distinct function within their particular culture or tribe. Here are a few unique practices and rituals from around the world. 1. Polygamy (Wodaabe tribe of Niger in West Africa) In the Islamic Wodaabe tribe of Niger in West Africa, polygamy is not only accepted; it’s encouraged. In September, near the end of the rainy season, members of tribe gather to celebrate Gerewol, a festival of music and dance, which lasts for seven days and nights. The primary highlight of the festival is a        …read more

What Is Gender Neutral Parenting, And Why Does It Matter?

gender neutral

Gender neutral parenting is getting a lot of a buzz lately, but it might not mean what you think it does. Gender neutral parenting has become a hot topic in the last couple of years, with many people debating it before fully understanding it. Rather than trying to assess if gender neutral parenting is good or bad for children, I think we would do well to try to wrap our heads around what is actually happening in families with a less traditional approach to gender. At two and a half, my own kid hasn’t expressed any particular feelings about gender. Like many parents who don’t want to push gender on their kids, my approach has been something of a hodgepodge. While I’ve decided to use the expected he/him pronouns, I’m trying very hard not to push all of my gendered expectations on a two-year-old. This, for many folks, is weirdly        …read more

12 New Board Games to Add to Your Gift Wish List

board games

Retire the classics for these innovative board games. We live in a board game golden age, but sometimes it’s hard to take a chance and dedicate the time to learning a new one when there are so many classics that have remained popular for many decades. Given the sheer number of board games available today, the endless options often lead us back to a familiar game of Monopoly, Clue, Battleship or any number of staples in our storage closets. Maybe this is the year to break that pattern. Rather than playing the same board games over and over again, here are 12 great contemporary board games to add to the mix. 1. Codenames (2-8 Players) Codenames is Available on Amazon From Czech Games Edition, Codenames is a party game for up to eight players (it works best with at least four). You’ll spread 25 codename cards (out of 200) in a five-by-five grid,        …read more

Give Them a Tech Edge with 10 Fantastic Coding Apps for Kids

coding apps for kids

Get your children into tech with these excellent coding apps for kids. (Even better: Many of these are free!) With our increasing dependence on technology, coding has moved from a niche pursuit to a much-needed skill. Since computer programming is essentially learning (a) foreign language(s), it requires a vast amount of learning and practice. While a great many universities offer computer science degree tracks, too often the students who enroll in these programs are experiencing coding for the first time — at the collegiate level. This means that, in all likelihood, students who would’ve otherwise excelled in the field may be too wary to take the plunge during the ever-important college years. Or they may flounder from a lack of a foundation. The sad truth is only approximately 25% of middle schools and high schools offer computer science courses. While that percentage will surely continue to grow, as of now a        …read more

What Becomes of a Child Prodigy?

child prodigy

How likely is it for a child prodigy to blossom into a successful adult? She-e Wu essentially became a child prodigy the day she noticed a music store. When she was three and a half years old, she and her mother walked past a store where music was playing inside. Wu heard the sounds and pressed her little face to the window. “My mother said it was time to go, and my face was stuck on the door,” Wu says, describing her earliest memory. She refused to leave. “It was the point of no return,” she says. Wu’s mother signed her up for a trial class, and the toddler advanced to percussion lessons when she was six. With a two-step stool, she could reach her teacher’s timpani. Three years later, at the age of nine, Wu booked her first professional gig at the opera. Concertos and competitions soon followed. Wu        …read more

Twinning 101: Sorting Twin Facts from Folklore

twin facts, fraternal twins, identical twins

Identical twins have piqued curiosity for centuries: secret twin languages, ESP, twin trickery. Let’s dig into some twin facts as we attempt to tell the world’s most infamous pair apart: fact and fiction. “They like the same clothes. They like the same food. They like the same boys. But they need different doctors.” This was the 1990 Health Chicago ad campaign that my identical twin sister and I posed for at age 12. It was in some business magazines and on a few Chicagoland billboards. While the ad included cute phrases and identical curly-haired girls, it is clichéd with one of the most common misconceptions about twins: that they like the same things (though it does accurately point out that twins may have different health concerns). Growing up, my twin sister and I were frequently asked certain questions to which we had ready replies: “Do you feel each other’s pain?”        …read more

Has Snapchat Taken Things Too Far with the Snap Map?

With internet-facilitated crimes on the rise, the Snap Map increases the vulnerability of social media users, especially young people. At times it’s hard to remember life without the constant beckoning of the internet, whether by computer or cellphone. Today we’re more “connected” than ever, cultivating personal relationships with the help of Facebook, professional networks with LinkedIn and our social networks with Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook (again) and more. This couldn’t be truer for today’s youth, who are growing up in an increasingly tech-saturated world. It’s more normalized to share Instagram stories or Snapchat “snaps” than to pass handwritten notes in class. The world is literally at their fingertips, both the good and bad parts, and with unlimited access, it’s scary to think what they can access, or who is trying to access them. The technological landscape is advancing, and internet-facilitated crimes, like sextortion, are on the rise. Sextortion is a        …read more

5 Outdoor Games the Whole Neighborhood Used to Play

outdoor games

Get your family unplugged this summer with these favorite old-school outdoor games. Summer evenings growing up in the Midwest were as magical and fleeting as the fireflies we chased. Late bedtime. Chirping cicadas. Bright, deep-blue moonlit skies. Scents of fresh-cut grass and bug repellant. Sweaty, sticky fingers sandwiching sweet, smoky marshmallows and Hershey squares between honey grahams. All in the backdrop of the joyful screams signaling the main event: outdoor games. We played a hundred different outdoor games on a hundred different nights, but there were always those favorites, the ones we were sure to include each day. I tell my own kids about these outdoor games, and we try to copy them in our neighborhood but can usually find only a handful of kids outside in comparison to the hordes I remember as a child. While you can still walk around many neighborhoods in the U.S. on summer evenings        …read more

Happy Father’s Day to a Hero of the Foster Care System

foster care system

How a corrections officer ran a home within the foster care system, and how his boys beat the odds. When I hit middle school, I was less than unpopular. But with the help of my foster brothers, I found my niche: stealing cigarettes and Swisher Sweets from the gas station and selling them out of my locker. Not only was I making money to buy my own BMX gear, but I was learning how the world works. There was a demand, and I supplied. It was a month before I learned the kids weren’t smoking the Swisher Sweets but using them to roll blunts. Life lessons of this sort aren’t Rockwellian, but they’re necessary for those of us in need — that is, in need of knowing not merely how to survive but how to be relevant. And in my home, where my parents took in boys from juvenile corrections        …read more

10 Thrilling New Theme Park Rides Worth Vacationing For

theme park

From Disney World to Star Trek: Operation Enterprise, discover 10 theme park rides opening around the world in 2017. The sun is shining, school’s out, and it’s time to find something fun to do. A theme park vacation is a great idea, as they have something for everyone. Around the world, there are new, exciting rides and experiences to enjoy. So grab your passport (you’ll need it for some of these destinations) and Dramamine (a must-have), and embark on an adventure to one — or more — of these new theme park rides for 2017. 1. The Extraordinary Journey When in France, see the Eiffel Tower and enjoy a baguette, then head to Futuroscope for The Extraordinary Journey. On the ride, you’ll be seated on a vertical platform and flipped 90 degrees. With your feet hanging free, a curved screen in front displays real and computer-generated images with on-board effects        …read more