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Crib notes: Let's take a field trip to the Castro, kids!

Fill out the permission slips, it's field trip time -- to the Castro, San Francisco's famous gay neighborhood. One private school in San Francisco took a class of 7- and 8-year-old boys on a walking tour of the neighborhood, taking in sights like the Hope for the World Cure (AIDS) Mural and the camera shop owned by Harvey Milk (the ground-breaking gay activist and politician). While most parents a

Fill out the permission slips, it's field trip time -- to the Castro, San Francisco's famous gay neighborhood. One private school in San Francisco took a class of 7- and 8-year-old boys on a walking tour of the neighborhood, taking in sights like the Hope for the World Cure (AIDS) Mural and the camera shop owned by Harvey Milk (the ground-breaking gay activist and politician). While most parents approved of the outing, some are up in arms, thinking it was an inappropriate excursion for such young kids. Is a field trip like that a refreshing lesson in tolerance or exposure to too much too soon?

While dogs get a lot of credit for being man's best friend, one dog recently proved he was a toddler's best friend. A 2-year-old boy in South Carolina who was missing for more than 12 hours (in 40-degree weather, wearing only a diaper) had his dog watching over him the whole time. The dog followed the boy when he wandered off and stayed with him through the whole ordeal. Bet that dog's allowed on all the furniture in the house now.

With the constant onslaught of news stories related to sexting, cyber-bullying, and under-age substance abuse, it's surprising that more parents of teens don't try to lock their kids in a protective bubble. However, some say that the sense of a generation going to hell in a handbasket is actually a misconception, and that things are better now for teens than they were a decade ago. Today's teens are actually having less sex, more likely to skip alcohol and cigarettes, and committing suicide less often than in the past. One can almost hear the collective sigh of relief.

Hey kids! Getting teased about those big ears? Why not get a little plastic surgery? While some are now advocating that children who are bullied for their appearance go under the knife to correct "that which ails them," others are saying it's sending the wrong message and placing the burden to change on the victims of bullying, rather than on the bullies themselves.

Every life comes with its share of heartaches - from divorce to job loss to death, we either go through it ourselves or know someone who has. As adults, we are (sometimes) able to comprehend the reasons behind these difficult events, but how do we explain them to kids? Some say your best bet is by speaking truthfully (mostly) and simply.