In the evenings during the summer, the parks in my neighborhood are full of families, mainly Pakistani, who bring blankets, food and relatives and set up camp until dark. The kids yell and play as the moms and aunts watch, many from behind face veils (a third of Pakistani women wear the niqab), and sometimes the men come to hold evening prayers out on the field.

Except when taking sons to the mosque, you don’t see the men out with their kids very often. Boys past the age of ten roam, mostly harmlessly, but with plenty of profanity and visible aloofness to the idea that women, including their mothers, should have any authority over them.

But in the mornings, there are seldom Pakistanis around at all–for whatever reason, they like to stay up past midnight and sleep in. Mainly you see white and Asian grandparents tending their grandkids while parents work. These are grandparents who, for some reason, find themselves living in our low-income neighborhood, though their children appear to be middle to upper-middle class.

They trace out the same day-to-day patterns my wife does: the park, the library, the thrift store, the little indoor mall. All with little kids in tow and the labor and stress that involves (but at 60 instead of 30). The parents are busy earning money so that they can afford to live in a neighborhood other than this one (the one in which they’re leaving their kids every day) and send their kids to a majority white public school.

My grandparents had the luxury of pretending their grandkids were angels. My parents have that too. The grandparents in the park don’t have that. They don’t get to spoil their grandkids, because they are the ones raising them.

What we have, our teaching on the family, is precious. A mother stays at home, in the neighborhood, and raises (and schools?) her children. She teaches her kids how they should speak and act in the world. She models motherhood and marriage for her daughters. A father joins in when he gets home. He teaches his sons to listen to and respect their mom and other women. He shows his daughters that goodness and honor aren’t too much to expect from men. Grandparents help, strengthen, and enjoy their grandkids, the sweetest fruits of their labor.

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