Scarlet Letters, Waking Up, and Social Engineering

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“Don’t Worry. It’s just a fake baby.”

A version of this essay also appears today in the Gray Matters section of The Houston Chronicle, 5 February 2015.  You can read it here:

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/gray-matters/article/Fake-babies-won-t-stop-kids-from-getting-pregnant-6064367.php?t=e86c7a4a6479b87a02&cmpid=twitter-premium

This essay was also published on 23 December 2013 in The Imaginative Conservative.

I have a friend, let’s call her Tancy, since that is her name, and she has a child attending school in Magnolia, Texas.  Now I cannot think of a more idyllic name for a Texas town, and it is absolutely beautiful and tree laden, but apparently small towns have their problems too.

They have rejected Rousseau and have public schools.

Anyway, her child has the following assignment: she can either carry a fake baby around for a few weeks, thus experiencing the perils of parenthood (it is hard to replicate the joys of parenthood with a fake baby), or, she can write a three page paper about a similar topic.

I kid you not. Continue reading