A notice to people who know my kids: Please tell them what to do.

One mom's strong case for letting your kid make lots of mistakes.

There was a kid running at the neighborhood pool the other day.

Photo via iStock.


The pool attendant asked him to walk ,  as pool attendants have done since pools existed. Then the boy’s dad  (a big-chested, serious kind of guy ) came over to the attendant and told him that as the child’s father, he was the only one who could tell his kid what to do. He said that if the attendant has something to say, it should be directed at him.

Basically, don’t talk to his kid, and this dad will decide if his kid needs direction.

The attendant kept his cool and replied — carefully — that it was his job to make sure that people follow the pool rules.

He explained that "no running" is pretty much the universal pool rule. The dad pushed back and added some aggressive posturing to intimidate the pool guy, saying that he didn’t see anything wrong with what his kid was doing. As far as he was concerned, the pool guy needed to back off.

In summary: The kid was free to run at the pool because the dad said so, screw the pool rules (this is America!), nobody tells my kid what to do except me.

There’s a weird sort of fear spreading among reasonable grown-ups.

My sister’s family had some friends over, and one of the adults gave one of my sister’s kids some polite direction about sharing. Then the grown-up realized the grave error in 21st century feedback rules concerning kids who aren’t yours and apologized to my sister for shamefully overstepping.

"Are you KIDDING?" my sister said. "I absolutely want you to tell my kids if they’re doing something you don’t think they should be doing! In fact, do more of it! They need to learn to hear things from people other than me."

If I’m the only one who can tell my kids what to do, I’ve failed them in every possible way by making sure they have completely unrealistic expectations of the world.

Also, I can’t ever die because my kids won’t be able to take care of themselves. Following Big-Chested Dad at the Pool’s logic, a lifeguard can’t lifeguard, teachers can’t teach, coaches can’t coach and, later in life, managers can’t manage ... you see where this is going, right?

Is cushiony perfection for our kids a new national obsession?

We all know That Mom in the neighborhood, who is literally at the school every day, escalating everything to make sure her kid gets an A, is chosen for student council, or gets placed in the gifted program. Later, when her kid is in college, professors will hang up on her and laugh behind her back because she’ll call about something that’s none of her business.

You know this kid. We all know this kid. Photo via iStock.

My middle-schooler and his project partner failed to turn an assignment in on time after many reminders of the deadline. The other kid’s mom (who I met once, briefly) came to my house and wouldn’t leave until I talked with her for nearly an hour about the injustice of it.

She was heartbroken for the disappointment her kid must be feeling at the failure and wanted to fix it somehow. She left, but I think it was only because I told her I had no idea how to reverse the course of what happened and suggested she escalate to a school administrator if she believed the teacher could be convinced to reverse his decision. I haven’t heard back from her.

I don’t mean to brag, but my high schooler fails at quite a few things, too.

None of them too epic, but there’s still time. We talked about it recently. I told him it’s my job to let him fail while he’s still at home with me because he needs to learn how to lose his shit and then pick it up and move forward.

That’s the most major of life skills —  in my experience anyway — and I’ll be damned if any kid of mine is going to fall to pieces his first semester in college because I’m not there to fix life for him.

You remember that person from your dorm days precisely because that person became an utterly forgettable shadow.

This is an open notice to people who know my kids: You can tell them what to do.

It’s really, really OK. Tell them not to put their feet up on your coffee table. Tell them to stop running, not to play with that knife, or not to touch your things.

Actually, now that they’re older, you’ll likely be telling them not to eat all of your potato chips and beef jerky and not to take that drink onto your freshly cleaned carpet.

Whatever the rules are at your place, tell my kid to fall in. I have a selfish motive.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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