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It was that time of year again this past weekend at the Philadelphia Convention Center. The heroes, the costumes, the comic books, and a neverending blend of nostalgia and pop culture that permeated the surroundings of the 14th annual Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con.


Once again, visitors were able to meet their favorite television and movie stars while exploring a bevy of t-shirt options featuring their favorite superheroes or sci-fi characters, as well as sit in as well as take pictures of  iconic cars from the small screen as well as silver screen. In addition to the Back to the Future DeLorean, TV’s classic Batmobile from the 1960’s Batman television series, K.I.T.T., the classic car driven by David Hasselhoff from the 1980’s Knight Rider, also made an appearance at Wizard World. Joe Fiduccia from Northeast Pennsylvania personally customized the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am to look like an exact replica (and yes, he talks too!). Joe’s vehicle is also available for booking, and you can check out his Notchback KITT Facebook page here!


Fans are also given the opportunity for photo booth pictures with their favorite stars as well as panel discussions, which are always a highlight of the experience. Some of this year’s notable guests included Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno, Back to the Future’s Christopher Lloyd, Karate Kid’s Ralph Macchio, Norman Reedus and Lauren Cohan from The Walking Dead, favorite son David Boreanaz from Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and Angel, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan from Dr. Who,  WWE SuperStar John Cena, Academy Award Winner Whoopi Goldberg, Firefly alum and Castle actor Nathan Fillion, and actors Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. 

Philly2Philly’s Diane Cooney will have a writeup of several panel discussions that took place as well as a photo gallery. In the meantime, however, check out some of our photos from the fun and exciting weekend. You can check out the rest on our Facebook page. Wizard World will return to Philadelphia next year on May 7-10, 2015!

Wizard World 2014: Philadelphia

Wizard World 2014: Philadelphia

Wizard World 2014: Philadelphia

Wizard World 2014: Philadelphia

Wizard World 2014: Philadelphia

Check out the rest of our Wizard World photos on our Facebook page!


Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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A few weeks ago I had one of those first-time conversations with my eight-year-old daughter, who’s looking forward to her upcoming birthday in July.

She asked: “Mommy, can I get a cell phone when I turn nine?”

“No,” I responded.

“How about when I’m 10?”

“No,” I said again.www.kidsperks.com

I was surprised we were having this conversation, as I was driving with her buckled in the seat behind me. It seemed like only yesterday that she was fastened in a car seat with a five-point harness. In fact, I had only recently let her venture out on her first sleepover. Should I have anticipated that she’d be asking for a cell phone next?

“Well, how old were you when you got your first cell phone?” she inquired.

As I was laughing, I quickly realized this conversation was likely happening in many families. With little or no precedent to follow, how do parents decide the right time to let their child have a cell phone? Many of today’s parents didn’t have their first cell phone until they were in their 20s, the age I was when I first carried around a mobile device.

Without a doubt, there are many advantages for young people to be connected. Cell phones allow children to text or e-mail their families and friends regularly. Many parents agree that giving their child a mobile phone is a step toward ensuring their safety when either parent or child is not at home. We know parents whose children send them a text message when arriving at a friend’s house after school, providing some peace of mind when they and their children need to be apart.

But what about the implications of having a cell phone? Obviously, there’s a very real financial component. Cell phones aren’t cheap, and many smart phones cost more than $100, a price tag not including the monthly bill and associated data charges.

Secondly, with more well-deserved attention being focused on bullying through social media, parents may be naturally hesitant to have their children accessible to their peers during the hours away from school. Cell phones can also be a big distraction, especially for young drivers behind the wheel. What’s a parent to do?

For me, the decision is easy to make today. My eight-year-old will not receive a cell phone this year or next. For some reason, 12 seems like a more reasonable age, when she has the maturity to be responsible for such a gadget. For the most part, her time away from us amounts to sports practices, birthday parties and Girl Scout meetings. None of these activities—in her father’s and my estimation—requires her to carry a cell phone.

When it comes down to it, this is certainly a decision each family needs to make on its own. Every child and teen is different, and some exhibit more capabilities for responsible behavior than others. This is why parenting expert Deborah Gilboa, MD (Dr. G), says there really is no right age for a child to get a cell phone. She does, however, make the distinction between whether the phone is something the child wants or if it’s the parent who prefers to be more connected to a child.

“If the phone is for them, use it to teach some responsibility. Your child should earn part of the money to pay for the phone and sign a contract with you for how it may and may not be used,” she says.

Dr. G believes that the first cell phone a child receives shouldn’t be a so-called “smart phone,” with apps to social media sites. Yet if parents choose to let their children online through other methods, she feels following social media sites’ age guidelines an important first step.

“Allowing kids to dip their toes in social media can be a great learning experience. Just don’t lie to get them online,” says Dr. G. Most sites like Facebook and Instagram require users to be 13.

When children do have the freedom and reach the age to be fully connected, it’s always wise for parents to keep apprised of this activity for all of the reasons mentioned above. Technology has many benefits for these young members of society, but parents should always pay attention to their children’s mobile device and other online activities.

To help with this task, programs and apps are available for parents trying to keep their children safe while using technology. Some apps have GPS trackers and can even help prevent cyber bullying. You can use your favorite Internet search engine to research “apps to keep kids safe online,” to access some of these resources.


Julia Sherwin is a freelance writer and mother of three who lives in Chester County. She is a former college journalism instructor who enjoys running, biking, swimming, traveling and cooking.

Email her at jsherwin73@gmail.com  and followe her on Twitter @JuliaSherwinPoPYou can also follow her other parenting articles at juliasherwin.wordpress.com.

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Photo: www.kidsperks.com

I came to the conclusion recently that my children simply have too much. A Saturday afternoon where I helped them clean their rooms and clear some clutter gave me a lot of perspective. In the process, I recognized something becoming increasingly apparent. The more stuff my children have, the less they seem to respect those material possessions.

My three children may be able to identify a tiny piece of plastic (which could be separate from the original set of toys to which it belongs) with the same precision a paleontologist uses when examining a rare bone. They can even tell me exactly when and where they received these flimsy pieces, evoking memories for all of us. I’m thrilled they recall the happy, little details that make up their young lives. I also realize the blessings our family has, as many don’t have the ability to give their children essential needs, let alone the extras.Photo: www.npnparents.org

The problem is, my children don’t actively care for these items or seem to respect their value.

Shame on them or shame on me?

Similar to other parents, I love my children very much. Yet over the years, my husband and I have taken that love and joy we get from seeing their happy faces light up with a new toy or gift to a sort of routine, perhaps extreme.  Love, although we both know this, should never be equated with material things. Like a few other well-meaning parents we know, we have given our children mounds of craft items, Legos, and other small toys they often stash under their beds. I try to ignore the basement, as it too is a haven for all things that seem to constitute kid clutter.

So if I had to do it all over again, here’s what I would recommend to my younger mom self about to embark on the parental journey for the first time:

-Set rules from the beginning with regard to toys and other children’s belongings. Decide where they will be played with and stored, and do your best to stick to the plan.

-Talk to your spouse or parenting partner about which occasions children will receive gifts and toys. Are they just for birthdays and yearly religious holidays, or are they going to be given freely throughout the year for any occasion? Will you bring presents to them after vacations or business trips?


-If your child breaks a precious toy, don’t rush to replace it. Let her experience that loss. With time, she will learn that these items require care and attention.

-As children get older, teach them to give back. Have them help you donate their used toys to younger children, preschools, churches or to other charitable organizations. They may even learn something about business from selling them at a yard sale. Give them the money received for these items, and maybe even open them a bank account.


-If your child continually asks or something, have her explain why it’s so important to have that item, and make her wait a reasonable time for it (future birthday, holiday or school accomplishment). Delayed gratification has numerous benefits, while teaching children who are developmentally ready (usually around six or seven) to value and appreciate a good thing after waiting.


In parents’ busy lives, it’s often easier to acquiesce and make our children happy immediately. Yet studies have continually shown the benefits of delaying gratification. In a culture that almost demands immediacy, this may remain a challenge. So many of us want what we want now, and I’m finding my family isn’t much different. I can’t change the past mistakes we’ve made with respect to over indulging our children. All the while, I can model behavior and communicate clearly with my children the importance of saving, sharing and donating. They’re starting to get the hang of it so much so that when I ask them to go through their old toys and make a sell or donate pile, they’re excited to help. The answer to whether they’ll become philanthropists or entrepreneurs may be another exercise in waiting—this time for their parents!

Julia Sherwin is a freelance writer and mother of three who lives in Chester County. She is a former college journalism instructor who enjoys running, biking, swimming, traveling and cooking.

Email her at jsherwin73@gmail.com  and followe her on Twitter @JuliaSherwinPoPYou can also follow her other parenting articles at juliasherwin.wordpress.com.

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Photo: www.npnparents.org

I remember a time when people put an effort into their marriage and commitments to one another. Divorce was unheard of many years ago. People weren’t quick to marry and just as quickly to divorce the minute a struggle presented itself to a married couple. Even more so, today many couples, married or not, have a child.

I am the last person to suggest that couples should stay together and be miserable simply for the fact that there are children involved, but I was recently having a discussion with a woman I had met at an event. While we chatted over wine, I had mentioned I had done some work helping fathers seek equal rights when it came to parenting. She seemed shocked and a little appalled. She actually asked if this was true. Were more fathers actually fighting for equal rights?  For the first time in a long time, I was speechless. It made me think, since when did it become ok to treat fathers like sperm donors and paychecks, and not ok to help them fight for equal rights? Since when was it ok to have a mother dictate the amount of time a father gets with their child?  When did it become difficult for a father to fight for fathers' rights?  Then the ultimate question came to my head; since when did a father have to fight for those rights in the first place?  Why isn’t he given those same rights from the birth of the child just like a mother is given?Photo: ancpr.com

I have been on both sides of children involved in the court system. I have seen the ugly and the good. My husband, for example, is a dedicated father to two children who loves and supports the both of them. He had to jump through rings of fire and back in order to get joint custody and a fair child support arrangement. His story is similar to many fathers out there: fighting for a right to be in the children’s lives and not getting the equal chance.  

I too am a mother, and I understand the bond that mothers share by carrying that child for nine months and the pain and agony of delivering that same child. I have heard many mothers speak about the bond they share with the child by being able to be pregnant and how fathers don’t go through what they go through in order to bring a child into this world. Here is a reality check ladies: it’s not their choice that they do not get to carry and deliver. It was life’s decision for females to have the strength and design for child creating and birthing. Why make such statements as if the man chooses for us to have the children? Did we forget it is physically impossible for them to do so?  Why hold it against them? Seems kind of silly to me and a poor argument. Let’s also not forget the fact that without fathers, there would be no children.  Remember that saying it takes two to tango? A father has just an equal right to a child as the mother.  

I’m sure many woman are gritting their teeth in anger or disbelief with the last sentence. If you are, ask yourself this question. Are you holding resentment towards your child’s father?  Maybe he was the one who ended the relationship? Maybe he was not a good husband or life partner? Did you ever think that he may not have been the best in the relationship department, but maybe he is an A-plus of a father?  Stop using your resentment to punish him. How does that affect the child? By using resentment and by keeping a good father away from their child, you are not protecting that child, you are hurting them.    

Our society needs to realize that fathers are not just every other weekend babysitters and paychecks. They are influential and essential to the upbringing of children. Yes, unfortunately you have those fathers who do not express an interest in sharing the responsibilities of raising a child, but must all fathers be punished for so few? If that’s the case then all single mothers must be deemed as drama-filled, money hungry individuals.

That moment that you decided to give life to a human being, you made a pact with life to put your needs aside and do what was in the best interest of this life. You agreed to mold and grow this new life with every best interest in mind. This did not mean to exclude the other half that contributed to the coming of this life. Fathers are fifty percent contributors making them equal to women in the making of this life. So we as women need to get off our high horse and come back down to reality. Give the fathers the rights they deserve and stop holding up the court system with the constant need to take a father for every penny he has.  

To those fathers who are fighting the battle every day to have a relationship they deserved from the very beginning, I stand before you, as a mother and wife and a woman and I applaud you for your dedication and commitment in being a father. There was a time where women did not have equal rights and it was through our own perseverance and dedication that we finally received the rights we tirelessly fought for. You too will get the rights you unfortunately have to fight for.  A right that, by Mother Nature, you shouldn’t have to fight for. That little being you fight for will one day realize and appreciate the fight.  

Ladies, how about we put down the shields and swords and sign the peace treaty for every father. It’s bound to happen and you can either be a positive contributing factor to this movement or a negative factor fueling the fire. It is your choice. Many questions are asked in this article, and I hope those who are truly sitting and asking themselves the questions find the right answers.

Karen Stebbins is a mom of four and wife of a loving husband who shares her love of sports (or else she wouldnt have said yes). Karen is an experienced paralegal and freelance writer on a variety of topics. Sports is her passion and her love of the game is undeniable.



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Photo: ancpr.com

You may have seen reports in the news media recently, highlighting the efforts of celebrity moms like Jennifer Garner and Beyoncé, who are rallying together to ban the word “bossy.”

They argue the word can limit the capabilities of girls, making leadership characteristics appear negative. Since then, LeanIn.org has partnered with the Girl Scouts of America on the “Ban Bossy” public service campaign. You can read more at http://www.banbossy.com.

Although I never really considered the implications of using the word, I’m in agreement and happy this conversation has been started. As I thought about it, the only time I’ve really ever heard “bossy” associated with a male was when my four-year-old called my dad “bossy” last week during a disagreement involving play dough.  I challenged myself to pay more attention, realizing the word is almost exclusively associated with females, whether in pre-school or in their adult years.Photo: ahchealthenews.com

Thinking back to when my oldest daughter was in kindergarten and I attended my first parent-teacher conference of her grade school career, I was told that she can be, at times, “bossy.”  I was quietly elated, only expressing my excitement upon returning home and relaying the story to family members. I was grateful my daughter had found her way in school and wasn’t being pushed around. What could be wrong with that?

I may have even felt a certain vindication that I had done something right. After all, this was the daughter who head-butted us when she didn’t get her way at 11-months of age. At five, she was on her way to becoming a self-assured little girl. She became known as the creator of all-girls clubs on the playground during recess. At a time when I didn’t know other parents’ names at birthday parties and school events, I would introduce myself as her mom.  On one such occasion another mom replied:  “Oh, yes, she’s the one who’s started the clubs.” At this young age, she had already made herself heard and known in her little world.

Although proud, I still talked to my daughter about the consequences of being overly aggressive, explaining that being a leader is good, but being fair and inclusive is also pretty important. I suggested that she start admitting boys to her recess club, and she agreed that made sense.

Erasing an adjective, as metaphorically as the cause may be, raises awareness but requires more from parents.  The “bossy” conversation needs some context, while we also highlight characteristics—not just words—that leaders should possess.

After all, as little girls grow, we don’t want those leadership skills to go awry. Could leadership behaviors we know to be very valuable turn into bullying? I believe parents can provide a lot of guidance here, fostering their young daughters to become leaders who also stand up for others, possibly even bringing dissimilar groups together. Being a leader is not mutually exclusive of being—simply as it may seem—nice.

Whatever words are used, there are actions that may be more reflective of that negative connotation that bossy brings. Young girls should be taught to pursue their goals with fervor. Yet, let’s face it, people who are unrelenting in any quest for self-gain may alienate others. Any well-thought, long-term strategy for success should be based on building relationships, forming bonds with others and achieving trust. Compromise is part of that equation. Let’s encourage young girls to be forthright, confident and also receptive to others’ feelings and opinions.

I’m grateful the celebrity moms started this conversation, even if they didn’t quite tell the entire story. Girls should be applauded for exhibiting leadership qualities without undermining the necessity of other skills—adaptability, empathy and objectivity. Real leaders listen to others, learn to assess the best ways of handling situations and manage these behaviors compassionately.

Julia Sherwin is a freelance writer and mother of three who lives in Chester County. She is a former college journalism instructor who enjoys running, biking, swimming, traveling and cooking.

Email her at jsherwin73@gmail.com  and followe her on Twitter @JuliaSherwinPoPYou can also follow her other parenting articles at juliasherwin.wordpress.com.

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Photo: ahchealthenews.com





Diana Torralvo

(215) 893-4287 office




Local nonprofits join together for MUSIC video

highlighting good work taking place in Camden

The Goodness Project will feature locals through its own “HAPPY” video production


CAMDEN, N.J. (March 21, 2014) – Inspired by the popular music video for Pharrell Williams’ Oscar-nominated song "Happy,” staffers and volunteers from 12 local nonprofits will be featured in their own music video to express their own happiness about working in Camden as part of The Goodness Project, whose aim is to promote all the “good” works that nonprofits are doing in the often-maligned city of Camden.


"The video is not about what we are doing as much as it is about who we help,” said Lauren White, development director for the Ronald McDonald House of Southern New Jersey, who is serving as one of the organizers for the Goodness Project.The video will be released just before the Easter holiday – on Good Friday. We hope it goes viral to shine a light on the good work happening in Camden.”


Under the direction of three-time Emmy® nominated producer Steve Acito, who resides in Haddon Heights, New Jersey and owns Bluewire Media, the video production will take place on Thursday, April 3rd, in Camden at various nonprofits whose work ranges from caring for families affected by cancer, to inspiring youth, to feeding the hungry and more.


Acito is teaming up with Steadicam operator David Schwartz of Haddonfield and are both donating their talents to help film the project. Schwartz has more than 28 years of production experience including the 2004 feature film The Woodsman and the NBC television series Do No Harm. Drexel University's Film & Video Department is also donating several staff members and some additional equipment to assist in the production process.   


Among the participating nonprofits are: Boys & Girls Club Camden, Cathedral Kitchen, Camden’s Children’s Garden, Camden Sophisticated Sisters, Camden CYCLE Program, Cramer Hill Little League, Guadalupe Family Services, Hopeworks, Ronald McDonald House of Southern New Jersey, The Salvation Army, Settlement Music School, Taps Drumline, and Urban Promise





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The Delaware Valley Stroke Council (DVSC) held its 18th annual Stars for Stroke Gala on March 15th at the Sheraton Society Hill in Philadelphia and raised $150,000 to continue its community advocacy and stroke awareness programs. This black tie affair also honored stroke survivors, caregivers, doctors and those dedicated to reducing the incidence and impact of stroke, which is the third leading cause of death and number one cause of adult disability.


Most notably, the Delaware Valley Stroke Council honored Congressman Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania’s second congressional district with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his career-long dedication to neuroscience research. In 2011, Congressman Fattah commissioned the Fattah Neuroscience Initiative; an innovative, non-incremental policy effort seeking to achieve groundbreaking progress in understanding the human brain and neurological conditions like stroke.


In addition to honoring Congressman Fattah, the Delaware Valley Stroke Council recognized Dr. John Roussis, physician liaison for JeffSTAT Medical Transportation Services with a Volunteer of the Year Award for his unwavering dedication to the DVSC.  Roger and Peggy Myers received a Stroke Survivor and Caregiver of the Year Award for their relentless perseverance against all odds. The Delaware Valley Stroke Council’s own Medical Advisory Board, which consists of a 30 member team and includes many of the area’s finest stroke care physicians, was presented a Special Recognition Award for providing expertise on stroke and the latest healthcare trends.


Founded in 1995 by Toby Mazer, whose late husband, Dr. Howard Mazer, was a stroke survivor of nearly two decades, the DVSC works to provide advocacy for area stroke survivors and raise awareness of stroke symptoms. “Someone dies from a stroke nearly every 3 minutes in the U.S., but sadly, very few people know the symptoms of stroke,” Mazer said. “To help individuals identify stroke, we developed the F.A.S.T. acronym, meaning the face must be observed for a droopy smile, raised arms checked for a downward drift and speech monitored for slurring. If any of these conditions persist, then time is of the essence to call 911 because the person is suffering a stroke.”


Along with raising awareness of stroke symptoms, the DVSC helps individuals access high quality stroke care. “Our mission is to help stroke survivors and caregivers navigate the complex healthcare system so they can fully focus their efforts on recovering,” Mazer said. “Additionally, we partner with hospitals and rehabilitation centers to ensure that state-of-the-art stroke care is available to everyone in the region.”


To volunteer with the Delaware Valley Stroke Council and learn more about additional upcoming events, visit http://www.phillystroke.org/.


Congressman Chaka Fattah, Helene Katz, administrative assistant for Delaware Valley Stroke Council, Cameron Fattah, Renee Chenault-Fattah, Chandler Fattah, Honey Zozofsky, executive director for Delaware Valley Stroke Council. Credit: HughE Dillon.

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 Toby Mazer, founder of the Delaware Valley Stroke Council with Volunteer of the Year recipient John Roussis Credit: HughE Dillon.

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 Dr. Guy Fried presenting Congressman Fattah with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Credit: HughE Dillon.  

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Maria Jabbour and Dr. Pascal Jabb


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No gala in Philadelphia is complte without a Mummers appearance 

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In the fall of 2007, Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” made him an international symbol of strength and hope. Dr. Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, already well known for his captivating lectures, was dying from metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Pausch continued his insightful lectures in this phase sharing his stories with others about living life with childlike wonder.  Although he was hesitant about taking away precious time from his family, he knew this would be a way of video cataloging wisdom for his three young children. In fact, his video has been viewed by millions online.Photo: www.wisdomportal.com

I remember listening to Pausch during that time, and his words moved me to tears. Years later, I can vividly recall how he spoke so endearingly of his parents—telling a story of how they allowed him to paint on his bedroom walls.

“Anybody out there who is a parent, if your kids want to paint their bedrooms, as a favor to me, let them do it. It’ll be OK,” said Pausch, whose lecture was also published into a book.

Dr. Pausch passed away in July 2008 at the age of 47, yet his words echoed in my mind recently when I overheard parents discussing some of the messy inconveniences of having young children. Believe me, I’m part of that group, too. As parents, many of us can relate to spilled paint, balls of dried up play dough caked in the carpet or hundreds of Lego pieces scattered across the floor. On those days, it may serve us some solace to keep Pausch in the forefront of our thoughts.

It’s not easy. I still have delusions of my house looking like a spread in the Pottery Barn catalog. With three young children, the piles of clutter certainly add up. Lately, I’m finding scraps of paper everywhere, and pens and crayons in their bedrooms—usually forbidden by their dad and me. So when I recently found a paper with the messy scribbling of my son’s attempt at writing his first name, I stared at it. How was it possible that this little person--who it seems like just yesterday was learning to feed himself and sit up--was now writing his name?

When your children are in school or quietly napping, you may notice a note, drawing or painting that one of them did, and it will probably melt your heart, too. When things are quiet in my house, I look at these items and realize that my children created them with no instruction, or any preconceived ideas of what constitutes good art. They tapped their own budding creativity, paving the path for their brains to make bigger decisions in the future.

See, Dr. Pausch really got what life was about. The material things are nice, and most of us enjoy the idea of a well-decorated home, with all of its pretty accompaniments, but Pausch knew that experiences are what matter most. He never forgot how his parents, despite a fairly conservative upbringing, allowed him to be himself, expressing the creativity that would later earn him a Ph.D. His childhood memories survived this time of battling cancer, giving him a happy respite to share with others. All those years later, he remembered how his parents truly understood him.

Let your children paint and mix the colors of the play dough. Let them take walks in the backyard while it’s raining. Let them build a habitat for a slug. The memories they will give your children in the years to come are worth the minor inconveniences they pose today. It will be OK.


Julia Sherwin is a freelance writer and mother of three who lives in Chester County. She is a former college journalism instructor who enjoys running, biking, swimming, traveling and cooking.

Email her at jsherwin73@gmail.com  and followe her on Twitter @JuliaSherwinPoPYou can also follow her other parenting articles at juliasherwin.wordpress.com.

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Photo: wisdomportal.com

If you’re an everyday Philadelphian, chances are you’ve taken SEPTA. The guide below, which was made by a gentleman named Mike Simmons, pretty much sums it up.

 Let us know if you agree!

Attribution: www.centercityteam.com

The Unofficial SEPTA Etiquette Guide



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Without a doubt, children ask some provocative questions. Innately a curious person by nature, I don’t mind the challenge when my children interrogate me on a number of subjects. Sometimes I’ll admit though, it’s hard to explain situations that are far from their reality.

Here’s a scenario I certainly never anticipated. My eight-year-old daughter is somewhat fascinated with HGTV’s “House Hunters.” So recently when flipping through the channels to try to catch an episode, we happened upon the TLC network’s “Sister Wives” instead. Insert gulp here.

“Oh, you probably won’t be interested in that show,” I say. “What is it?” she asks. I tersely tell her it’s about polygamy—a word I know she’s never heard. Surely she’ll learn about it in a Sociology class in college, in about ten years from now. Photo: www.anglican-mainstream.net

So my attempt at an explanation goes something like this. “Polygamy is a marriage where someone can have more than two spouses. In this case, the man has several wives.”

I say it without judgment or emotion. As a Sociology minor in college, I learned about lots of other cultures, religions, and ideologies. I want my children to live in a household that teaches acceptance and broadens their world view, but this is one I found a stretch to explain in a way that would make sense to a child.

She furrows her eyebrows and laughs, uttering this question: “So then who’s the mommy of the children?”

I haven’t had enough coffee for this conversation, yet I take another crack at enlightening her.

“Well, the actual, biological mom is the one who gave birth to the baby, but the other ‘moms’ help out.”

I begin to ponder the arrangement myself and wonder if, as monogamists, we’re the oddballs. Clearly, raising three children and tending to numerous household tasks could go more smoothly with a few other bodies in the home.

I keep these strayed thoughts to myself, knowing I simply did my best to explain a lifestyle that is downright foreign to her. I know I have the best of intentions as her mom, her first teacher.

The truth is, many conversations we’ll have with our children will be awkward. Some topics are categorically difficult for them to understand. Waiting for a child’s inquiry is probably better than providing information he or she isn’t ready to digest. A child’s age and maturity level can matter a lot in these circumstances.

The obvious areas many children question—death, illnesses or natural disasters—clearly aren’t the only subjects that may prompt questions. Lifestyle, family and social/economic differences surround us every day. Children may ask why their friends received high-priced electronic gadgets for the holidays when they didn’t. It’s important for children to learn that families have different rules, different budgets and different commitments.

Most experts agree that simple explanations work best. Yet simple explanations are often hard when a child’s frame of reference is so different from what he or she views.

Parents may want to follow these steps when their children ask difficult questions:


Test the Waters: Find out what a child already knows about the subject you’re discussing. Children hear a lot other places, such as school.


Be honest: Asking questions often takes a lot of courage for a child. Make sure you earn your child’s trust by giving accurate information.

Keep it simple: Avoid complex information and details, as they could be confusing or overwhelming to a child.

I’m thankful now that I had an opportunity to have this unique conversation with my daughter. I watched her expression as she put her faith in me for clarity on something bewildering to her young mind. This open communication brought us even closer, a step I know will be extremely important for parenting her in the years ahead.

Julia Sherwin is a freelance writer and mother of three who lives in Chester County. She is a former college journalism instructor who enjoys running, biking, swimming, traveling and cooking.

Email her at jsherwin73@gmail.com  and followe her on Twitter @JuliaSherwinPoPYou can also follow her other parenting articles at juliasherwin.wordpress.com.

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