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Published: Sunday, June 30, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Gap between generations is sometimes a gulf

Last July, I wrote a column for The Weekly Herald about how much my family enjoyed watching the Stormtroopers march in the Edmonds' Fourth of July parade.

A local veteran contacted me, absolutely irate. He thought I was demeaning veterans by saying that they were Nazi Storm Troopers. I was sincerely sorry for offending him, but actually, I was referring to members of the 501st Legion who dress up like characters from "Star Wars."

Stormtroopers come from a galaxy far, far away. Storm Troopers do not.

What a difference a space makes; not just the space between two words, but also the space between two different generations.

My 8-year-old knows the difference between Stormtroopers and Storm Troopers because I'm cramming his brain full of history every chance I get. But the ordinary history of each generation is becoming harder and harder to understand, especially when it comes to parenting.

So are you ready for some fun? Here's my quick quiz to see how old you are, based on your response to the following parenting dilemmas.

Question 1: On the Fourth of July do you a) load up on fireworks and get a bucket of water ready, or b) have long, drawn-out discussions with your spouse about the inherent risks of introducing pyrotechnics to young children?

Question 2: On a hot August day should you a) coat your children with paraben-free, zinc-based sunscreen and then closely supervise them in your back yard, or b) give them money for the ice cream truck and tell them to look both ways before they cross the street?

Question 3: Back to school in September means a) you'll finally have time to clean out your linen closet, or b) you're going to have a lot of homework?

Question 4: At Halloween, do you a) take your child's candy to the airport to be X-rayed for razors, or b) sort through the candy looking for red dye No. 40?

Question 5: It's Christmas and glass ornaments are dangerous. Do you a) cage off the Christmas tree, or b) keep your child safely caged in his playpen?

Question 6: On May 1, do you a) help your children bring little bouquets to your neighbors, or b) what's up with May 1 again?

Bonus question: It's your child's birthday! Are you planning for a) a family party, b) a kid party and a family party, c) treats for school, a kid party and a family party, or d) a nut-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free celebration at home, school and Pump it Up?

Answer section: Wait! Who said anything about answers? Did I say there were right answers? No, surely not. I'm still trying to figure out question 4.

Maybe I should Google it.

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at

Story tags » Parenting

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