by Conor Friedersdorf

"Nobody wonders how Minnesota parents raise such stereotypically stereotypical kids," Edie Larson writes, which isn't true – I've wondered. "They never wonder what these parents do to produce so many nice children or what it's like inside a nice family. Well, I can tell them anyway, because I've done it."

If it's not too much trouble and you have a minute, here are some things my daughters, Jenny and Cristi, were never allowed to do:

• Skip doing their homework
• Put their elbows on the table while eating supper
• Miss church (except for the day after prom, during deer hunting season, and on Super Bowl Sunday)
• Go to school in April without a jacket
• Get into a van with a strange man
• Use swear words in the house
• Forget to call grandma on her birthday

I'm using the term "Minnesota mother" loosely. I know some Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowan and Minneapolis parents who qualify too. Conversely, I know some mothers of Minnesota heritage, almost always born out of state, or Catholic, who are not Minnesota mothers, by choice or otherwise. All the same, even when other parents think they're being nice, they usually don't come close to being Minnesota mothers.

Probably this ends in a tie with trophies for everyone.

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