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How to Raise a Texan Long Distance

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flickr.com/zeldman
Jake Silverstein is trying to raise his five- and eight-year-olds in New York with some semblance of their Texan heritage.

Loving Texas is one thing. Teaching your children to do the same when they no longer live here is something else altogether.

Jake Silverstein left his post as editor of Texas Monthly to head up a little outfit called The New York Times Magazine - a tough job but someone’s gotta do it. But back when he was at the helm of Texas Monthly, he was responsible for one of its most popular issues: It featured babies in cowboy boots under a banner asking, “How Do You Raise a Texan?”

So how hard is to raise a Texan when you don’t live in Texas anymore? Silverstein currently lives in New Jersey and he faces the challenge of teaching his kids to appreciate their Texan roots.

“We have books on the shelf that we bring down and read,” he tells Texas Standard. “My kids do miss Texas, so we talk about it and read about it. Of course, we’ll be visiting a fair amount as well so it will stay in their bloodstream that way.”

Though Silverstein was not born in Texas, he was here long enough for the word “y’all” to stick – and he doesn’t see it going anywhere any time soon.  The real way to separate the true Texans from the pretenders, he says, is their ability to write the word “y’all” in an email.

But Silverstein admits he misses Austin quite a bit and can see himself coming back, especially to Marfa, where he has a “falling down adobe” home he loves.

As to Silverstein’s advice on how to raise a little Texan? “I think the key is that before you move away, you have to establish something that the kid is gonna genuinely miss and want once they’re gone,” he says.

His five-year-old son particularly enjoys brisket or what they call “black edges barbecue.”

“He’s always asking me if we can go have black edges barbecue and that always does my heart good when I hear him ask that,” Silverstein says.

This story was prepared with assistance by Brenda Lau, Sarah Alerasoul and Jan Ross Piedad.