"This work is unlike any other, in its range of rich, conjuring imagery and its dexterity, its smart voice. Carroll-Hackett doesn’t spare us—but doesn’t save us—she draws a blueprint of power and class with her unflinching pivot: matter-of-fact and tender." —Jan Beatty

Posts tagged ‘parenting’

Daily Prompt Love <3 Dad

13 May 2019 

Happy Birthday, Daddy ❤ 

Make art about fathers, about fathering, about a dad.

daddy 2

Daily Prompt Love <3 Daughters

3 March 2019 

Today is my daughter’s 32nd birthday. She is beautiful and brave and smart and loving, and I am grateful and humbled to know her. She has been and remains one of my most important teachers. 

Make art about daughters.

Lia me dancing


Daily Prompt Love x 2 — On Teaching Children, and Feeling Safe

27 January 2018

When I was a child, my parents, who very much lived lives of service, took us little kids with them when they volunteered, at migrant farm camps, at the soup kitchen, while working with refugee families or others, wherever their volunteerism took them. Today, I was blessed to work with amazing parents who are teaching their children by setting the same examples, modeling for them lives of service. The children worked with us, learning what I learned as a kid—that we are, in fact, our brothers’ keepers, and that, yes, a single act of kindness, of service, can make the world a better place.

Make art about what we teach children by our actions.


28 January 2018

Make art about feeling unsafe, about steps you take to make yourself feel safe again, about taking down your own dragons.

unsafe dragon

Something a Lil Different: Teaching My Sons About Rape

I can’t even read anymore about the Stanford rapist. As the mother of sons, and as a survivor, I literally felt nauseated at the father’s statement. My oldest son was nine years old when he quietly asked me, “Mom, what does ‘rape’ mean?” I was washing dishes, my back to him (as I learned, raising boys, was often the case when they wanted to ask questions that made them uncomfortable and didn’t want their over-explaining Mama to sit them down for a long-winded talk). The quiet fear in his voice as he asked still rings in my ears, even now nearly twenty years later.

He was afraid to know. But he needed to know. He knew he needed to know.

I knew it had taken him a while to come ask me, so I honored that, didn’t turn to face him, kept my hands moving slowly and methodically in the hot soapy water, asking him where he’d heard the word. “At school,” he said, his voice low. “A sixth grade girl at another school was raped, they said.”

My gut clenched, my throat ached, for the girl, for all the girls, and for my beautiful innocent boy, with his straight-as-a-stick toss of blond hair, his guileless eyes so much like my own mama’s, in their deep blue, in the way they looked on the world–all of it–with wonder and delight. My heart ached, because I knew I was getting ready to take away some of that innocence and awe, that I had to answer his question, and had to begin to expand what I’d already worked to teach him of respect for all others into an area of understanding that would reveal darkness and violence and pain and trauma as parts of the world, of this life, he loved so much.

I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to tell him.

I wanted him to know only Light and Love and Compassion. I didn’t want to be the one who revealed this darkness to my beautiful beautiful boy.

But I did. I explained it. I explained what rape was.

I explained the physical act of violence. I explained the emotional and psychological and soul scars it leaves. I explained that it was not about sex at its core (We’d already begun to talk too about the miracle and sanctity of sex as a way of expressing deep Love), but about power and violence and deliberate harm.

I explained the best I could to my child, my son, not even in middle school yet, about the respect he must show to everyone, especially to women, and elders, and children younger than himself. I explained that his sacred duty as a man, as a human being, was to protect those unable to protect themselves, and that, later, when he was a teen, a young man, a man, that that included young women who might make the bad choice of drinking too much, or find themselves vulnerable for other reasons, that then, even more, he had a sacred duty to protect, never ever to take advantage or to harm.

I spelled it out as I dried dishes, glancing back now and then to where he sat at the table behind me, the same table where he’d goofed and been, you know, nine, while we ate dinner. He nodded solemnly when I asked, “Does that answer what you wanted to know?”

He stood and slid the chair back in under the table, and said, “I’m gonna finish my homework now.”

“Okay,” I said, watching as he slipped quietly from the room. I folded the kitchen towel and hung it back into place, so small and normal a gesture in that moment that it felt surreal. I took my glass of iced tea from where it sat sweating on the table, walked out to the front porch, where my kids couldn’t hear me, and I cried, cried until I couldn’t cry anymore.

That night broke the mother’s heart in me. But I did it. Because as a parent, it was my duty, my sacred responsibility, as the mother of sons.

Years later, I would find out from my students that my sons, both of them, were, in fact, men who took that role of protector seriously, that they had both been known to step in and take care of young women who had imbibed too much, who found themselves in vulnerable positions. My sons themselves never told me. I heard it from grateful young women who told me and thanked me after. I asked my youngest son, that Manchild, once about it, and he shrugged it off, simply saying, “It’s what we’re supposed to do. Take care of people, right?”

Yes. Yes, it is.

silhouette of a mother and son who play outdoors at sunset background

silhouette of a mother and son who play outdoors at sunset background

Daily Prompt <3 On Boys and Men

8 June 2016

This was one of my mama’s top favorite poems. I have so many memories of her reciting it, again and again. Thinking a lot lately about the sons I’ve raised, about the young men I teach, in a culture where there’s so little guidance, so many confusing messages, on what it means to be a man. 

Make art about boys, or about what it means to be a man. 



Daily Prompt <3 On Mothers and Making Home

7 June 2016

My sweet daughter Lia, a brand new mother to an amazing baby boy Max–I call him Little Star–is beautifully maneuvering her way with Love and tenderness through the new dance of parenting, and marriage as a parent, and her own professional work.

Another sweet young mother I know, one of the daughters of my heart, is in the process of making a new home for her two little ones, having made the courageous decision to leave a marriage that wasn’t working or healthy, for her or her babies.

So I watch them in awe, as my own son used to say, “like we were just us, a crew on our own little pirate ship!”when his brother and sister and he and I were in the same place, me a mom making a home for us 🙂

How these young women astound and inspire me 🙂 how I admire them ❤ 

Make art about mothers, or about the daily rituals that go into making a home. 


Art by Katie m. Berggren





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