In discussion of this article, a reader shared how the other mothers at the playground didn’t appreciate that the reader’s kid could safely climb up high without needing a parent hovering at every moment.
I want to talk about this. I want to talk about how my kids learned to climb.
The boy was climbing before he could walk. That’s the nature of the boy. He broke his collarbone twice in twelve years doing ordinary kid things with feet on the ground (tripped over a rug; bonked by another kid playing tag), but has climbed his way through 18 years without incident. By “without incident” we include the time he slipped into a rocky crevasse and fell perhaps twelve feet onto the ground beside a raging stream below, but was just fine, because he was in the habit of practicing falling at his friends’ house. By “without incident” I mean: “Without injury.”
The boy was going to climb things.
We live near a playground. We would go to the playground, and when he was a toddler (not yet two years old), I would stand behind him as he climbed and spot him. What it means when you “spot” a climber is not that you are there to catch them. It means that you are there to prevent serious injury. I would verbally warn the boy to hold on tight, and I would warn him if he wasn’t being careful. And then if he fell despite my warnings, I would let him take the fall.
So he felt a few falls. He wasn’t injured, because I was there to make sure he fell in a way that didn’t cause injury.
By the time he was two, he could climb anything at all, and he had a grip that wouldn’t quit.
That’s how you teach kids to climb. We taught our daughters the same way, and I will say the one drawback is that our youngest complains bitterly about ordinary hikes on smooth ground. She only really likes trails that require constant scrambling through technically-challenging rocky terrain.
That’s how you teach kids to do anything. You have to find a balance between giving them risks, but managing the risks. One of my grandmothers-in-law told of teaching her boys to cross the street in downtown Baltimore. First she’d teach them by example. Then she’d make them practice with her present. And then she would send them out alone, and discretely watch from a distance to be sure they were doing as she’d taught them. When she was satisfied they had learned how to safely cross every time, she quit watching and let them roam free.
My own grandmother told the story of coming to visit us, and passing my little sister as she was walking home. Grandma stopped and said, “Would you like a ride home?” My sister kept walking furiously, refusing to make eye contact.
Why? My mom had taught her not to accept rides unless the two of them had planned it ahead — no getting in the car even with someone you know. She’d told my sister that one day she would test her by having a friend see if she could get my sister into a car. My sister assumed this was the test.
Professors I know are talking about how kids are coming to college less and less able to cope every year.
The attack on “negligent” mothers feeds into this.
What are you teaching your kids? Are you teaching them to be perpetual babies, always needing someone to follow them around and rescue them from the least little risk?
Up at the Register: How to Be Catholic When Your Bishops Are Not. I am not gentle in this one. A faith that depends on eyes-half-shut and pretending all is well in the Holy Catholic Church will not withstand the present onslaught, unless you’re extremely expert at lying to yourself. I don’t think lying to yourself is a good option.
Meanwhile, let’s talk about praying for your bishop. Here’s a thing to understand: Your bishop was chosen for his cowardice.
Perhaps over the years you have wondered why your bishop seemed unable to accomplish much of anything. You might have wondered why every statement out of the diocese was more watered-down than a glass of ice cubes on a summer afternoon. You might have wondered why your parish and diocesan leaders seemed to find the clear and certain teachings of the Catholic faith just. so. difficult. to. praaaaactiiiiiiiiice.
Now we know. It turns out that in the eyes of the Church’s top leaders, fecklessness in a bishop is not a bug but a feature.
With Cardinals like McCarrick at the helm, it’s a miracle the clergy accomplish anything at all.
Well, God can use that.
Because you know how God shows off? By doing His work through the crappiest instruments He can get.*
Are you a terrible person? Then God can use you. You can pray things like, “Lord, I am almost as wretched as my faithless, weak-kneed toad of a bishop, and so I know what dreadful danger he and I both face. Indeed, were I in his shoes, I might be even worse than he. After all, Satan hates bishops even more than he hates me. Under full attack from the enemy, I’m not sure I’d last half an hour. So if you could somehow spare us both from eternal damnation, and maybe even accomplish a few miraculous acts of virtue through us, I’d be most appreciative.”
The 14-year-old, she of recent heart-surgery fame, got to talking about wanting to be the one to design the rooms for a much-wanted minor renovation of our living space. (Tip: When your children double in size, they need slightly more bedroom space than back in the glory days when you could squeeze them all into bunks like pint-sized sailors.)
The girl likes to design and decorate. She keeps begging to design my classroom for this fall (yes, me with a regular teaching job — whoa!). She has built whole neighborhoods in Minecraft, year after year of new communities. She went through a phase where she played World of Tanks with the prime object of driving around looking at the houses. And of course there have been countless 3-D models built — wood block, plastic block, cardboard doll houses, you name it.
So I told her if she wanted to design her brother’s new bedroom, she needed to get on Google SketchUp and do it there.
She grabbed the good computer (smart kid — knows when she can get away with claiming the parents’ computer) and started searching around. Periodically she’d call out with a question from the other room, but after enough times of me calling back, “Look up a tutorial on YouTube and watch that,” she quit asking for help and just figured it all out. Which was necessary, since I have never actually used SketchUp. I just knew it existed.
Five or six hours in, she declared,”This is addictive. It’s like Minecraft for adults.”
Which is when I quick started googling architecture schools. I kinda like the look of Benedictine’s program — nice balance of real art and real engineering courses (you have to dig up the student handbook-catalog to see the whole program laid out — wish they’d stick the course of study up on the website directly). By nightfall her father was already giving her the talk about how if she wanted to be an architect she’d need to spend a summer framing houses. It is possible the parents can be a little intense at times. But he’s right, of course. I pointed out she’d end up wickedly fit, and SuperHusband added she’d end up with a killer tan. The latter seemed to pique her interest.
We’re on day two of the SketchUp marathon, and if nothing else, she’s found a way to pass a long and uneventful post-op recovery. Whether it turns into a profession or not, it’s good for a teen to discover she can teach herself genuine adult professional skills.
In other news: The boy made it to his apartment in France despite getting delayed and re-routed. I was pretty proud when I learned he’d managed to get himself and two other beleaguered travelers across Paris to catch the last TGV of the night to their destination city — complete with standing his ground with the evasive SNCF employee who was reluctant to let foreigners know national secrets about catching trains. (Eventually a supervisor showed up and insisted the minion answer questions because it was obvious the boy wasn’t going to leave until he was assisted, and the supervisor wanted to go home for the night. Mr. Boy reports all the other Parisians were quite helpful, there was just that one throwback from the days before the French discovered that “customer service” is a thing that can help draw customers to your tourist-centered economy.)
Is it nerve-wracking wondering if your sweet little baby whom you swear was only born five minutes ago is going to have to find a place to sleep in a strange city late at night? Sure. But sooner or later, a kid has to learn these arts. And he had the sense to know that if you arrive at your destination at midnight, you scrap the plan to walk to your apartment and hail a cab instead. When you let your kids practice the adult skills, they start developing the adult instincts. It is good.
So imagine for a moment that in the space of two weeks you learn that your kid has a potentially life-threatening (but otherwise probably benign) tumor in her heart, and then you travel out of town to get it removed via open-heart surgery, and then you come home after and basically you’re done.* In two weeks.
That’s crazy. Far too crazy to be eligible for fiction, what with no foreshadowing, no crises, and a shocking denouement in which you get home and have to forbid your kid to clean her room, until you finally break down after a couple hours and let her clean her room.
Also it can’t be fiction because everyone was fine. A little edgy, sure, definitely some adrenaline happened. Garden-variety hospital snafus happened (ex: The Night of the Beeping Monitors). There was sunburn during the lead-up to the climax, and also my sister sitting alone on the beach nobly guarding my phone, which was actually with me in the beach parking lot talking to the insurance people. But mostly everything was fine.
Truth: While we were busy with our dramatic medical incident, many friends were enduring much worse suffering. That is, if by “worse” you mean people-actually-died ‘n stuff.
Since there can therefore be no riveting memoir, here’s my how-to quick guide on How to Throw a Successful Medical Crisis in Just Two Weeks!
1. Try to recruit about a thousand people to pray for you. If you do this, then your most anxiety-prone child of the bunch can be the one who needs to have her sternum cracked and her heart sliced open, and it’ll be fine. By “a thousand” what I mean is: The actual, literal number 1,000. That’s my ballpark estimate of how many seriously praying people were on this job. Do that. You want these people. What they do matters.
2. Happen to invite the exact right relatives to come stay with you. Try to get them to arrive for vacation the day before you go in to receive the shocking diagnosis. Whom to invite? The ones who keep the house clean, provide competent medical advice, have a couple cousins of just the right ages and personalities to provide 24/7 emotional support for the kids, and who are restless enough to keep everyone busy with activities so you don’t have much time to sit around dreading things.
2a. Dessert. The children insist you want to invite the relatives who firmly believe in running out to the store to buy three boxes of brownie mix, because there weren’t any brownies in the house. I say if you do the dishes, vacuum, and wash the sheets before you leave . . . you make all the brownies you want, I can be healthy again after you go home.
3. Go to the beach. Oh, you just want to sit around googling statistics about rare surgical procedures? That’s why you arranged for your sister to show up: Because she is going to take you to the beach, and once you’ve viewed one excision of a right ventricular mass you’ve viewed them all. Go to the beach. Your kid is gonna have a very boring and painful summer once surgery happens. For goodness sake go to the beach.
4. Comparative Advantage for the win. So you are going to ask all your friends with relevant experience for their advice, and then you will take it. One of the things you’ll learn is that there are different types of work for different people at different times.
The aunt who is perfectly capable of watching your healthy kids is the person who needs the power of attorney so she can do her thing and not need to call you at just the wrong time.
The ICU nurse who has gotten your kid stable post-op, and she is not tired, and she is one-on-one with your kid, is the person who should stay up all night after surgery watching your kid while you go to the hotel and get as much sleep as you can.
The spouse who does better on disrupted sleep should take night shift in the step-down unit.
The spouse who does better at asking hard questions and won’t be intimidated by the platoon of physicians descending on your room during rounds should do day shift.
The people who cook astonishingly good food available at local restaurants should feed you during shift change.
5. A sane parent is a priceless treasure. There is no substitute for a parent who is willing to do whatever it takes to support a child in a medical crisis. Thus more sides to the shape of parental-sanity:
(A) If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to do the whatever it takes when the need arises.
(B) Whatever it takes includes doing some hard things, but not all the hard things. If you don’t have to be there doing a thing, go do something that makes you better able to do the things only you can do.
So yeah: I totally made a teenager deliver me my good cruiser so I could go on a bike ride when it was my turn to get out and get some fresh air. Yes, the spouse and I got out for couple-time during shift change, so we could see daylight, talk to each other without interruptions, eat something good and be ready to go back in for more.
6. You can just be real about the situation. Back to that whole 1,000-person prayer team: Yes, the SuperHusband and I, and everyone else, were worried and scared. Left to my own devices, not only could I worry about this child’s impending doom, I could also conjure up scenarios in which other children met tragic fates while we were all distracted by the one having the official crisis. Drowning? Fatal car accident? Nobody’s safe! Ever!
Nobody is ever safe. Our kid came through surgery just fine, and other people were receiving bad news. Our days were getting better and better while other people’s lives were getting worse and worse. It’s a fallen world. You don’t have to pick a single All-Purpose Mood that somehow perfectly matches the gravity of the situation, because the truth is that the situation is complicated, and some really good things are happening and so are some bad things. So just whatever. Don’t feel beholden to the Feelings Police.
7. Eternity is for real. The thought of my kid dying is unbearable. Also: It could happen on my watch. Indeed, the expected death rate for my children is 100%, so unless we all die in the same train wreck, some of us get to be bereaved.
This is awful. Believing in God doesn’t take away the intense grief that comes with losing someone you love.
But here’s what it does do: It means you aren’t hanging all your faith on doctors. You can be sensible and do practical things to try to ensure the best odds possible on your kid’s survival, but the weight of Everything Forever And Ever Amen doesn’t hang on your shoulders, and it doesn’t hang on the doctors’ shoulders. When you know that God has everything under control, you don’t have to be in a non-stop panic, frantically trying to save your kid from eternal nothingness.
You ask God to spare you the suffering, and hopefully He spares you the suffering. But you also know that the separation of death is temporary, and no matter how bad things get in this life, no matter how black your grief, no matter how much your life sinks into the abyss of loss if the worst should happen, it isn’t the end of the story.
And then if your kid’s not dead and actually she’s recovering pretty well, you can leave her to the spouse who has day shift and get out for fresh air and sanity.
*It’s not done until Pathology says it’s done . . . but we’re not going there right now.
Ableism is the counterpart to “racism” or “ageism,” the often-insidious discrimination against people with disabilities. Ableism is happening when a parish that has three wheelchair-accessible entrances decides to lock all doors except the one with the stairs. No malice, just complete indifference.
When you park in the handicap spot even though you don’t need it, that’s ableism. It’s also ableism when you assume the person with the tag must be faking just because you can’t identify an obvious disability.
Here’s an example of how pervasive ableism is:
We’re at the “atrium” of the children’s hospital today, a big sunny play space where kids can do fun stuff.
L. is in the teen corner doing arts and crafts, and it gets to be a few minutes before closing. The other family there is a patient with her dad and a sister. The dad calls clean-up time, and I get up and go help with putting away all the craft supplies. I’m not really paying attention to who is doing what, other than that I start with putting away the things we personally got out (because I know where they came from) and also I tell L. to go sit in her wheelchair and hold all our junk for the trip up.
Here’s the entrenched-ableism mindset: In my brain I compose an explanation for why my kid is not helping clean up.
My child has a broken sternum from open-heart surgery less than 3-days earlier, and I am feeling the need to be ready to explain why she can’t walk around putting things away. In a children’s hospital. Where everyone else is there with a kid (or is the kid) who also can’t do all the things.
Mind you, not a person batted an eye. But you know you are used to living in an abelist world when you just automatically prepare to fend off stupid accusations against a kid with an invisible (and thankfully temporary) disability.
Which is why we have parishes that lock people out of Mass if they can’t climb stairs. And that’s a problem.
Still, the pediatrician came into the exam room and did a once-over to make sure the girl was healthy before giving the shot. Eyes, ears, nose, mouth, lungs, heart.
It was all pleasant chit-chat until the stethoscope came out.
I quieted down so the doctor could listen, and the listening grew more and more intense. She asked to L. to lie down, and did all the possible angles with that stethoscope.
And then she said she was referring us for an echo. “Sounds similar to a common benign murmur that occurs at her age, but I think it’s a little bit more pronunced than it should be. We should take a look.”
Okay. No big deal. The referral went into the black hole of office bureacracy, and honestly the chief reason I got on the stick and made administrators get an appointment time pinned down was because the kid wanted a clean bill of health for sport camp.
The echo tech told us she’d do the ultrasound, and later in the day a cardiologist would look over the files. He’d send a note to the pediatrician, and she could follow up with us if need be.
I watched with interest, but also with the confident ignorance of people who have seen enough ultrasounds to know that the shapes on the screen don’t look like the pictures in the textbook.
And then as she wrapped up, the echo tech said, “I’m just going to go speak to the doctor now and have him look at this.”
That was when I knew things were up.
So one thing that kept grabbing my eye during the echo was a pulsing ball at the middle of the screen. It looked kinda like a ping-pong ball bobbing in a lake. I told myself it was probably a weird view of some body part being caught at just the wrong angle. It was inconceivable to me that it might actually be a pulsing ball of . . . something.
Here’s a picture of the human heart, not drawn to scale:
At the bottom in blue is the right ventricle. One does not store a blue ping-pong ball in one’s ventricle.
But there it is, a probable myxoma, extremely rare for a young teen, extremely rare in this location. For various reasons, most of them called you do not want a pulmonary embolism, out it must go.
We were not expecting this. We were expecting to be told someone’s valves were going through a growth spurt and would be ship-shape again in due time.
We were not expecting: Please keep your heart rate down until we can open your chest in a couple days and get this thing out.
The kid cried, not at the prospect of pain or death, but at the prospect of missing out on sport camp. Also she had grave reservations about hospital food.
She’s a good Catholic all around.
There’s something else about expectations that happened.
When the cardiologist came in, he joked around a bit. He had a little banter about no boyfriends until you finish grad school, and later: Don’t be an orthodontist kid, be a surgeon! It was all couched in the expectation that of course you’ll go to grad school. He was the good dad of jocular firmness, the kind that cracks terrible puns and grounds you until your homework is done.
I don’t know if he plans that talk or it’s just how he is.
Here’s what he knew about our kid before he walked in the room: She was referred from the pediatrician who works at the non-profit clinic in the ‘hood, and she needed open-heart surgery.
Kids in either of those situations can feel like they don’t have much of a future.
In two minutes of joking, he communicated this: You have a future! You’re gonna do great things!
God provides. If the appointment referral hadn’t fallen into the black hole, we would have had all this information two weeks earlier. Because there was a delay — a delay that has done no harm, even though it could have — we are hitting just exactly the moment on the calendar when we have a maximum of support through a tough week, and exactly the right amount of time to get through extended recovery before school starts.
Also, the hospital the cardiologist wants to work with lets you order your own meals, and there’s food the kid likes on that menu.
I couldn’t have expected any of this. But the silver lining is so bright right now it’ll make your eyes water.
For some perspective, Fr. Reese is charged with carrying out an 18-hour ordeal in which, at its peak, he dragged his wife in front of the altar (Fr. Reese is a married priest, yes the Catholic Church has them) and beat her there.
There are no counter-charges that Mrs. Reese was in some way abusing her husband and he was merely physically defending himself. This is not a case of brawling. This is assault and battery.
And yet — and the argument is even more deeply entrenched in cases of emotional abuse — some people labor under the idea that abusive behavior is “provoked” by the victim.
This is false.
Why the confusion?
We know a few things about healthy relationships:
You can make your relationship stronger by being kind, considerate, and generous.
You can help each other grow in virtue and avoid sin by making an effort to avoid tempting yourself and others.
So, for example, if you want to get along better with your workmates, greeting them cheerfully and completely your work promptly can help you all form a better team.
If you and your date are determined to remain chaste, choosing to avoid actions the other finds alluring can make it easier to abstain.
If you and your neighbor want to live on good terms, observing quiet hours can make it easier to get along.
These things work when everyone involved wants a healthy relationship.
It is the nature of abuse to try to pretend there is a “good reason” for the abuser’s behavior. But there isn’t.
It is normal to get a little frustrated at other people’s faults. A normal married couple might argue over who should do the dishes. A normal married couple will not physically assault each other over who should do the dishes.
That’s what makes abuse different from normal behavior: The action or reaction in no way matches the circumstances.
How to Have a Better Marriage
If you and your spouse are both desiring a happier, more joyful marriage, there are things you can do to help with that. You can pay attention to your spouse’s preferences, and find little ways to show consideration. Maybe that is by taking on a chore your spouse finds tedious, or by giving attention to some detail that other people might not care about, but which especially pleases your spouse.
She likes tulips not roses, so you bring her tulips. He hates cilantro, so you serve it on the side. Of course you do these things, because you love each other and you want to please each other. You might go so far as to choose an outfit that your spouse particularly admires (and which you agree is becoming on you and fitted to the occasion), even though left to your own devices you yourself wouldn’t spend so much time on your appearance.
An abusive person is not abusive because you brought the wrong flower or served the wrong meal. An abusive person isn’t going to be “cured” by your selecting a nicer outfit next time. Healthy people don’t beat their spouse over failing to coordinate the day’s plans, or failing to keep the house clean, or failing to make the children settle down. Healthy people don’t kidnap, rape, and beat their spouse even over suspected infidelity.
Healthy Responses to Very Bad Behavior
If you thought your spouse was cheating on you, healthy, proportionate reactions might include:
Asking your spouse to explain his or her behavior.
Attending counseling, with or without your spouse (or both).
Asking your spouse to cut ties with a specific person he or she committed adultery with previously.
Refraining from intercourse if there is reason to be concerned about sexually transmitted diseases.
Insisting your spouse be transparent about internet and social media use.
Considering whether a civil divorce or other legal action is a necessary way to handle the fallout from marital infidelity.
Some of these actions are very serious responses to very serious concerns. None of them involve assaulting your spouse.
I’ve been writing about the allegations of sexual molestation against Cardinal McCarrick over at Patheos:
Soldiers for Christ Hiding Under the Bed is about the connection between covering up for sexual predators and the inability of the Church to be an effective witness to wider society. Not a surprising connection, but one that needs to be made.
Promiscuous vs. Predatory: How to Tell the Difference is a response to the suggestion that McCarrick was guilty of simple sexual immaturity, not predatory molestation and sexual harassment. It contains links to my growing collection of essays related to the topic of abuse in the Church.
Rod Dreher has been covering this topic as well, from the point of view of a journalist who investigated McCarrick in the past, but was unable to pull together a story he could break. In Uncle Ted & The Grand Inquisitor, he shares a disturbing comment he received from a reader:
We MUST protect our brand, our shield, our faith!
I fully support Pope Francis and his softened tone, and even swipes at capitalism because the media love him. And image is everything. Similarly with Cardinal Dolan, I will fight to the death to defend him, and would go to extreme lengths to protect him because he is so well liked in the leftist NYC media.
In short, we must handle these issues swiftly, legally, but privately! As a successful advertising executive in NYC I am looked up like an alien because I am a weekly mass attender, and a conservative. I am respected by my liberal media friends because I loathe the Trump-Palin-Brietbart wing of my party, and trumpet my cause in a more Bill Buckley.
Image is everything, and when it comes to the One True Church we MUST protect her!
Dreher’s reader is wrong.
Let’s see what the Bible has to say about fighting the Church’s enemies:
11 Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. 13 Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. 14 So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, 15 and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all [the] flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
What are our weapons? Truth, righteousness, the Gospel, faith, salvation, and the word of God.
Covering up for sexual predators does not fit on that list.
If the allegations against Cardinal McCarrick are true, the man should have been removed from pastoral ministry decades ago. By all means, when you see a priest, or anyone, doing what they ought not be doing, if no laws are being broken, begin by confronting the sinner privately. We all sin. Would that we were all given the chance to quietly confront our own failings and rectify them.
But when you have evidence of decades of predatory behavior, with untold hundreds of clerics at every level of the hierarchy complicit in silence and cover-up, and how many lives of young men ruined by the crimes inflicted upon them . . . there is no quietly cleaning this up. “Discretion” does nothing to help the Church. There is a time for genuine public penance, and now is that time.
Dreher’s reader is correct: the Church’s image matters. But when we hide behind some limp notion of “handling things privately,” the rot festers. No one is fooled. The public rightly views us as hypocrites of the worst sort.
When I was a kid we had Pat the Bunny. It’s a little board book that shows Judy and Paul doing various activities, and then you, the reader, do that thing too:
Judy can play peek-a-book with Paul. Now you play peek-a-boo with Paul.
Judy can read her book. Now you read.
And so forth. There’s a tiny book-inside-the-book you can flip through when it’s time for you to read. There’s a piece of cloth for you to lift up when it’s time for you to play peek-a-boo. The title comes from the page where Judy pats the bunny, and then there is a fuzzy bunny-shape on the page for you to pat. Hard not to like a book like that.
This was just what I’d hoped the boy would learn from last year’s adventures, but I don’t think I was quite ready when he came to us a couple days ago, observed how he has been a very low-budget child to raise up until now, and would we kindly chip in towards him spending a month wandering around France this summer?
This is what young adults do. Some of them go off and get their own apartment. Some of them take a summer job on the other side of the country. Some of them hit the road and travel around.
Can he do this? Yes, and he knows how. He’s done international flights and trains and public transit. He’s done hotels and apartments and restaurants and grocery stores and hut-to-hut hiking. He’s familiar with the French obsession for regulation headshots slapped on anything and everything, and how to hunt down a photo-booth when you need one. He’s even demonstrated his ability to read a French neighborhood and know whether it’s one non-locals should be wandering.
What he hasn’t done is doing the thing all by himself, with the parents tucked away on another continent. Of course not, he just turned 18.
When his great-grandfather was 18, he was wandering France, too, though with somewhat more supervision and quite a lot more danger.
18-year-olds are adults. They are young adults with not much experience. It’s the job of parents to give them experience. First you do it with your kid, and then your kid does it on his own.
Yes, he even knows about taking pictures of the map.
*I’m a firm believer in doing adventurous outdoor things with your daughters, too. Girls are different from boys, but they benefit from outdoor sports just as much, sometimes for the same reasons, sometimes for different reasons. Humans are made to play outside. It’s good for us.
I spent an hour on the phone with the bank today trying to figure out why my daughter couldn’t log into her new bank account. Everyone else’s online access was working fine, including my ability to see into her (joint) account from my own ID.
The tech guy finally suggests we try logging in using someone’s mobile app. Two phone-wielding teenagers are lurking in the living room. There is assorted stalling, but finally IT Boy Young Man is drafted for the job.
I show him the new password we’re trying to enter on the “change password” screen that is our gateway to the new account. (You can’t proceed with the bank-issued password, for obvious reasons. Kindly choose something the lady at the bank doesn’t know.) This is where we keep failing. We fill out the form and nothing happens when we click “continue” but there is no error message either. Just nothing.
ITYM starts to enter the data on the post-it-note I hand him. The new password ends in a question mark.
Um, okay. That sounds like something you would say, child of mine. “So how about trying the password but without the question mark at the end?”
He tries it. We’re in. I try it on the PC, we’re in.
I helpfully tell the tech guy at the bank what the problem was, since we can’t possibly be the only people ever who accidentally thought up a password that looked to the machine like a deadly weapon.
We’re not convinced the bank guy is taking notes.
I’m thinking: I could have saved an hour if I’d used my in-house guy instead of calling customer service. Also, I’m glad the bank has thought up a few security precautions, even if their help desk team does dwell in ignorance.