Top 10 family stories of 2013

In case you missed them, here's an encore performance of Modern Parenthood's top ten most-viewed stories. Click through to the end for a bonus track with the top 10 editors' picks for 2013.

9. Mermaids: Are they real? NOAA says 'no,' but Mom and Animal Planet say ...

Sam Hundley
Are mermaids real? As real as you want to make one: Here is a mermaid coloring page from Lisa Suhay's book. Enlarge this image, save it to your computer, and print. Kids can color them, add sequins, glitter, and even feathers. Then cut it out and glue to a popsicle stick to make a mermaid puppet for summer fun.

It was Animal Planet’s series on "Mermaids: The Body Found" vs. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and kids and parents alike chose to believe in the legendary sea creatures. We like NOAA better when it teaches us about the weather than when it tries to debunk our dreams of mermaids.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

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