Tom Ehrich 09-30-2014

Is the 'nuclear family' giving way to multigenerational housing? Photo via arka38/shutterstock.

For one year, my wife and I are living 2,700 miles apart.

She lives in a one-bedroom apartment here, south of San Francisco. Each weekday she walks two blocks to the home of our middle son and his wife, where she cares for their 9-month-old son.

“Granny nanny” is what they call this phenomenon. Once maternity and paternity leaves expire, grandparents across the country are moving close to their adult children, maybe into their homes, to provide child care so both parents can pursue their careers.

A six-hour plane ride away, I am back in our Manhattan apartment, where our youngest son, age 23, is living at home until he lands a job in the worst job-finding environment since the Great Depression.

Our oldest son, meanwhile, is adapting his country house to become a multigenerational household next year, when my wife returns east. I have already had a taste of caring for their 8-month-old daughter, and it is wonderful.

It seems we have joined a growing trend toward sharing living space: three generations (grandparents, parents and children) or two generations (parents and adult children).

Liz Schmitt 08-01-2013
Hiking. Photo courtesy PavelSvoboda/

Hiking. Photo courtesy PavelSvoboda/

During the week leading up to the “Summer Heat” demonstrations — protesting the Keystone XL pipeline and urging for action on climate change — about 25 people started a hike from Camp David to Washington, D.C. Midway through the 100-mile hike, they were joined by another 50 people at Harper’s Ferry, W.Va. They called their journey the “Walk for Our Grandchildren.”

The name gives away the motivation — the walker’s sense of duty to future generations to leave a healthy planet. When they reached DC, many were arrested in an act of civil disobedience at the offices of Environmental Resources Management, a consulting firm given the task of writing the environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline — a firm which also works for TransCanada, the energy company seeking to build the pipeline. Many others spent that Friday night at a church, and joined the Summer Heat demonstrations at the White House the next day.

Andrew Wainer 07-29-2011

When John Steinbeck's classic novel The Grapes of Wrath was published in 1939, it caused a sensation. It won the Pulitzer Prize and was the best-selling novel of the year. Just months later, in 1940, the book was turned into a film by John Ford, which was nominated for seven Academy Awards.

For readers today, Steinbeck's migration saga remains relevant as a piece of (dramatized) social analysis. It's essentially a road novel about the Joads, a poor Midwestern migrant farming family. Throughout the novel, the Joads fight to keep their family intact while fleeing the 1930s Oklahoma Dustbowl for the hope of farm work in California.

To become an undocumented immigrant requires very little but is a result of tremendous social, economic, political, and environmental forces; I offer my story as example.
Julie Clawson 11-11-2010

It's hard to ignore the children. As voiceless as children are in our world, when we hear stories of injustice being inflicted on children, it is hard not to be moved.

Rev. Gary Wiley 07-20-2010
My name is Rev. Gary Wiley, pastor of justice and care at Trinity Grace Church in New York City. I am an evangelical Christian.
LaVonne Neff 01-20-2010

[Continued from part 1] I have no idea how the United States will or can get out of the economic mess we've spent the last 50 years getting ourselves into. As individuals, though, we can take steps to avoid disaster.

Tracey Bianchi 12-02-2009
It's time to haul out the Christmas lights and stockings, Advent calendars, and odd-shaped Santa pillows from grandparents. Every year I sort of dread dragging all the chaos out of the basement.
Edward Gilbreath 11-04-2009
A Facebook friend sent me a link to a wonderful YouTube video.
Steve Taylor 10-05-2009
Recently, I learned that my parents' home is being foreclosed on.