Carolyn Jabs, photo by Rachel Sarah Thurston

The greatest reward of freelance writing is being able to go where your life leads you. My career started on a farm in upstate New York where I wrote about living off the land. Dozens of magazine articles and two books grew out of those fertile years. The Heirloom Gardener was one of the first books about genetic diversity for a lay audience. Re/​Uses, a lively and innovative look at recycling, had over 100,000 copies in print.

When my husband and I started a family in 1983, my interest shifted to child development and family relationships. I’ve written about children, psychology, and family life for publications such as Reader’s Digest, TV Guide, Redbook, Working Mother, Woman’s Day, Sesame Street Parents Guide and many others. My essays have appeared in Newsweek and the Op-Ed page of the New York Times, and I’ve won the CMP Media Award and the Easter Seals EDI Award.

As the Internet became a household word, I shifted gears and started to write about how it was transforming American families for Home PC and Family PC. When those publications went out of business, I started Growing Up Online, an award-winning monthly column targeted at regional parenting publications. For over twenty years, the column provided parents with much-needed guidance about how to help children be savvy, safe and responsible online.

About the time my oldest headed off to college, I went back to school to study Practical Philosophy (aka Ethics) at Bowling Green State University. There I met a professor who challenged me to rethink everything I knew about being a good person. We have now published Cooperative Wisdom: Bringing People Together When Things Fall Apart. The book describes five social virtues that are highly effective at helping people dissolve conflict and restore cooperation in families, workplaces and communities.

Although I’m now semi-retired, I am grateful to have been part of a profession that allowed me to investigate, think and write, making sense of matters, large and small, public and private, that have shaped my life and times.