Oct 31


At the moment I have several academic projects whose deadlines are looming–along with some demanding family responsibilities–so I’ve decided to go on a blogging sabbatical for the rest of 2008 in order to concentrate my limited time and energy on those other priorities.  I have no doubt I’ll eventually be drawn back to the endless fascinations of the Bloggernacle, but for the moment my self-discipline could use the reinforcement of this public commitment to a couple of months away (possibly more, depending on how things go).

In the meantime, best wishes to all of you until we meet again. I very much look forward to catching up on all of the exciting controversies, personal announcements of life passages, and thoughtful considerations of experience when I return.

Oct 18

Vaccinations: My Choice for My Children

Jana has a great post up over at Exponent about an experience she had with her son as a baby. At the end she asks these questions:

I am curious what experiences have contributed to your parenting styles/philosophies? Are there incidents that dramatically shaped your approach to nurturing or caregiving?

I wanted to answer these questions, but I didn’t really want to start a vaccine debate (which can get ugly) on someone else’s site, so I decided to post my response here.

The biggest thing that has contributed to and changed my parenting style and philosophies has been my oldest son’s autism. The biggest thing that it has taught me is to be aware of what is going on with my children and with their bodies. It has also taught me that things that are good for many kids are not necessarily good for my kids. Continue reading

Oct 17

Excessive Road Signs and Arbitrary Detailed Commandments

Do traffic signs make us safer? A couple of months ago in The Atlantic, John Staddon argued that, on the whole, they may not:

I began to think that the American system of traffic control, with its many signs and stops, and with its specific rules tailored to every bend in the road, has had the unintended consequence of causing more accidents than it prevents. Paradoxically, almost every new sign put up in the U.S. probably makes drivers a little safer on the stretch of road it guards. But collectively, the forests of signs along American roadways, and the multitude of rules to look out for, are quite deadly.

. . . [W]hat is the limited resource . . . in the case of driving? It’s attention. Attending to a sign competes with attending to the road. The more you look for signs, for police, and at your speedometer, the less attentive you will be to traffic conditions. The limits on attention are much more severe than most people imagine.

This problem–where well-intended safety measures multiply and ultimately make us less safe–reminds me of a similar issue that I think sometimes arises in the Church. The problem occurs when we receive commandments that are arbitrary and detailed.

Continue reading

Oct 15

There’s a Fly in My Room…

…and I want it to leave. I can think of two possible ways to get rid of it.

A) Turn off the light.

B) Kill it.

A is problematic because I would feel guilty about turning the light back on, since my husband is in bed asleep next to me. And I can’t actually go to bed yet because I have to switch the wash so my son can have a clean shirt for pictures at preschool tomorrow.

B is problematic because, well, my fly-killing skills are just not that good. I’d definitely have to go downstairs and get the flyswatter (and then I’d have to go back down and put it away, and who really wants to run the stairs a couple of extra times, especially in the middle of the night?). Even then, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be able to kill it.

So instead of doing anything productive I’m going to write a blog post complaining about the fly buzzing around my bedroom. That’s all. Maybe tomorrow I’ll write a real post. But then again, maybe not.