All posts tagged: young child

Why “adulthood” is impossible to define

Why “adulthood” is impossible to define

[ad_1] The markers of “growing up” are constantly evolving. Adam Maida / The Atlantic / Getty January 27, 2024, 8 AM ET This is an edition of The Wonder Reader, a newsletter in which our editors recommend a set of stories to spark your curiosity and fill you with delight. Sign up here to get it every Saturday morning. What does it really mean to “grow up”? As my colleague Julie Beck noted in 2016, markers of adulthood are always evolving, and a set definition is impossible to come by. (When I was a young child, I was convinced that turning 11 would signal adulthood in a significant way—something about the double one felt impossibly mature—but that didn’t really prove to be a helpful framework.) Each possible meaning of “adulthood”—financial independence, living alone, having kids—brings with it an assumption about what should matter, both to an individual and to society. Today’s newsletter explores some of these assumptions, and how the concept of “growing up” has changed. Americans Can’t Decide What It Means to Grow Up …

When Milton Friedman Ran the Show

When Milton Friedman Ran the Show

[ad_1] Well before Milton Friedman died in 2006 at 94, he was the rare economist who had become a household name. A longtime professor at the University of Chicago, he had been writing a column for Newsweek for a decade when he won the 1976 Nobel Prize in economics. Then, in 1980, his PBS series, Free to Choose—­a didactic, yet not at all dry, paean to the free market—­made the diminutive, bald economist something of a star. The weirdness of the show is hard to convey, but “Created Equal,” the fifth of 10 episodes, is representative of its blunt, unwonky approach. The episode opens with shots of wealth and poverty in India. Friedman’s voice-over reminds us that inequality has been a topic of human concern for hundreds of years, courtesy of do-gooders who claim that the wealth of the rich rests on the exploitation of the poor. “Life is unfair,” he says. The camera then zooms in on Friedman, sitting in a seminar room. “There’s nothing fair about Muhammad Ali having been born with a …

A Halloween Reading List for Adults

A Halloween Reading List for Adults

[ad_1] Channeling the joy of the most childish holiday Annie Otzen / Getty October 28, 2023, 8 AM ET This is an edition of The Atlantic Daily, a newsletter that guides you through the biggest stories of the day, helps you discover new ideas, and recommends the best in culture. Sign up for it here. “I believe in chasing the ghost of my former lighthearted self,” my colleague Faith Hill wrote last year. And “if there’s one day when I might almost catch up, it’s Halloween: the most ridiculous, inherently childish holiday, and perhaps the one grown-ups need most.” As we get older, experiences of pure, full-body fun and joy become more fleeting. Faith argues that adult Halloween is the perfect opportunity to get in touch with that kind of fun, and the freedom it can yield: “When everyone is wearing a dumb outfit and surrounded by tacky decorations, you all withhold judgment together. You might even remember, just for a second, who you were as a young child: unencumbered by pretensions and insecurities, present …

Louise Glück Saw the World Like a Fairy Tale

Louise Glück Saw the World Like a Fairy Tale

[ad_1] Louise Glück, the American poet and Nobel laureate who died last week, was repeatedly drawn to stories about families. Her last published book was a short novel about twins in their first year, Marigold and Rose. And children appear throughout her 1975 book, The House on Marshland, in which she developed her instantly recognizable intimate voice. By placing children and mothers, in particular, at the center of her poems, Glück explored a world made of equal parts myth and reality, sketched out by her precise, timeless language. When I learned that Glück had died, I found myself drawn first to “The School Children,” which begins with a trip to school: The children set forth with their little satchels And then switches to the home: And all morning the mothers have labored To gather the late apples, red and gold, Like words of another language. Glück places us in a familiar setting—almost like a picture book—but the somewhat formal language of the poem (“set forth,” “have labored/to gather”) introduces a degree of unease, as if …

The Atlantic’s October Cover: “Jenisha From Kentucky”

The Atlantic’s October Cover: “Jenisha From Kentucky”

[ad_1] Artist Didier Viodé illustrates Watts for the magazine’s cover September 13, 2023, 8:07 AM ET After growing up in Lexington, Kentucky, Jenisha Watts came to New York City as a young journalist determined to make sure that no one would ever know her past. But Watts, a senior editor at The Atlantic, now writes with remarkable candor about the heartrending circumstances of her life for the first time in the cover story of The Atlantic’s October issue. In “Jenisha From Kentucky,” Watts details what it was like to grow up in a crack house in Lexington, and how she survived it. As a young child, Watts became a de facto parent to her four younger siblings; the children routinely witnessed crack use by their mother, Trina, as well as by neighbors and strangers. “Sometimes the cops would come, four or five at a time. My siblings and I would lie in bed as they walked through our dark apartment with flashlights, their staticky walkie-talkies impossible to understand. In the morning we’d see that they’d …

The Surprisingly Mature Lessons of ‘Bluey’

The Surprisingly Mature Lessons of ‘Bluey’

[ad_1] Last week, I posed a question to my wife that could have been about any number of our friends: “Do you think Bandit and Chilli will have another baby?” She pondered this, then shook her head. “Probably not. They threw their crib out, remember?” Of course. My wife was referencing not a listing she’d seen on Facebook Marketplace but “Bedroom,” an episode from the third season of the Australian children’s show Bluey that she and I have each seen at least a dozen times. Our familiarity with Bluey is richer than with possibly any other show on the air, given that we both watch it over and over again with our 2-year-old daughter. But it wasn’t our shared knowledge that surprised me—it was that we were talking about a pair of cartoon dogs like they were people we knew. When you have a young child, you passively end up watching a lot of children’s television, and my screen-addicted self can’t help but pay some attention to how it delivers gentle life lessons or energetic …

Public Pools Are a Blessing

Public Pools Are a Blessing

[ad_1] In this summer of heat domes and record-breaking global temperatures, finding a place to cool off is more important than ever. You can go to a movie or a museum—if you want to buy a ticket. You can head to an air-conditioned bar—if you don’t have kids who also need to escape the heat. Or you can just stay at home and blast your own air conditioner—a rather lonely prospect, if you ask me. But there’s a better way to cool down, no air-conditioning or entrance fee required: America’s hundreds of thousands of public pools. Cool water, fresh air, exercise, babies, teenagers, seniors: They’re all at the pool. In a time of increasing heat and social isolation, public pools are a blessing. Where I live, in Manhattan, we have several outdoor pools smack in the middle of the sultry cement jungle. For that, my neighbors and I can thank, among others, Robert Moses, the urban planner who was instrumental in creating New York City’s public pools. Moses was a staunch advocate for public swimming. …