The Family Weekly
Welcome back to “The Family Weekly.” Every Saturday morning, we’ll send you a selection of our favorite stories from The Atlantic’s Family section. We’re excited to have you join us as we explore questions about family life and human relationships.
This Week in Family
The movement that emerged in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, has been driven by young people—but it has also revealed interesting dynamics between young and old. Rachel Gutman, an editorial fellow at The Atlantic, was surprised when her grandfather, who hadn’t been to a demonstration since the 1960s, traveled from Florida to attend the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., last Saturday. What led him to protest? As her grandfather put it: “I said to myself, you know what, you have missed so many moments in history because you hesitated and didn’t pay attention. Don’t miss this one.”
And teens are genuinely interested in a conversation with the generation before them: Today’s rebels are, in a break from history, seeking more in the way of adult protection and support. “Kids demand that their voices be heard, but they aren’t pushing back against adult vigilance,” observed The Atlantic’s literary editor, Ann Hulbert. “They want more of it, not less.”
Rachel Gutman’s grandfather attended the March for Our Lives demonstration in Washington, D.C., last Saturday. (Rachel Gutman / Katie Martin / The Atlantic)
The Big Question
What does regularly scheduled family time mean to kids and parents? A 100-year-old Mormon ritual, for which families gather once a week to pray, play games, and spend time together, keeps the ideal of family time alive:
More than 100 years after family home evening was conceived, it has taken on new relevance in a modern, fast-paced culture. … [Parents] talked about how useful family home evening is in pushing back on this speeding-up of the everyday. One parent we interviewed said that one of his kids finds the ritual boring, and while he says his child is not always wrong, he notes “every once in a while it just clicks. … It’s a real feeling of oneness as a family.” One young teen we talked to felt similarly. She said family home evening “brings you away from all of the stuff of the world” and “gives you a chance to realize that they’re your family.”
Every Wednesday, the psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb answers readers’ questions about life’s trials and tribulations, big or small, in The Atlantic’s “Dear Therapist” column.
This week, a parent worries when she hears about her 18-year-old son’s dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian—a career path she fears will find him living in her basement at age 35. Lori’s advice:
It’s natural for parents to feel that our job is to impart wisdom to our children—in part, it is. But sometimes we forget that our children have wisdom to bestow on us, too. Throughout their lives, in hundreds of ways, our children are teaching us about control—how illusory it is, how futile our attempts to maintain it are, and how liberating letting go can be, for everyone involved. The good news is, you don’t have to choose your son’s path for him—because the reality is, you don’t get to.
Send Lori your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.