The Bowdoin community does a fantastic job celebrating the successes of our own. I remember as a student feeling that the Bowdoin homepage was filled with a never ending stream of content featuring students receiving awards, professors producing groundbreaking scholarship, and alums making a difference outside of the Bowdoin Bubble. 

Now as an alum, I visit less frequently, but the Bowdoin Magazine and Facebook fill the void in my life with profiles of people like Edwin Lee, San Francisco’s mayor, and proud commentary from friends on our ascension up both prestigeous and inane rankings like the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges and Glamour’s 25 Horniest Colleges in the Country. When you throw Bowdoin’s Twitter feed and the Orient’s coverage into the mix, it seems that just about every major and minor accomplishment related to the Bowdoin community gets documented. That’s awesome and I’m proud to be a part of such an incredibly supportive community. 

Every once in a while, however, something slips through the cracks. Stories can get lost in the shuffle because of bad timing with the calendar or because they contain a streak of controversiality—falling out of step with the lowest-common-denominator values of the Bowdoin community. Whatever the reason, I’m writing to make sure that we stop and take a moment to recognize and appreciate Director of Student Life Allen Delong’s excellent article on the Huffington Post on November 25. 

In the article, titled “Lucky-Dad parking,” Delong describes raising his two adopted sons as a single, gay dad in Maine. In the article, Delong challenges the conventional narratives of what it means to be the parent of adopted children. He rejects society’s inclination to label adoptive parents as saviors. Instead, he frames himself as a proud parent like any other, lucky to watch their kids succeed, fail, and do eccentric “kid things” on their way to adulthood. 

By criticizing the traditional vocabulary society uses to talk about unconventional families, Delong takes an important step in calling bullshit on the idealization of the heterosexual, homogenous nuclear family.  The fact of the matter is that American families increasingly look nothing like the unrealistic standard upon which everyone is evaluated. As the New York Times recently reported in an article titled “The Changing American Family,” families are more racially, ethnically, religiously, and stylistically diverse than a half generation and even a half year ago. 

Whether because of its Thanksgiving-week publication date or because it felt less relevant to a community that’s been notably heavy on the straight, upper-class, and conventionally married demographic, a great article by a valued member of Bowdoin’s community didn’t get the recognition it deserved from us. So a belated “hear, hear” is in order for speaking out on behalf of the modern family which is becoming increasingly present in Bowdoin’s community.

Eric Edelman is a member of the Class of 2013.