Sometime during the Winter Olympics, a commentator on women’s slalom made the comment that skiers refer to the twists and turns they make around the gates as “a series of linked recoveries.” It’s a good metaphor for lots of things, including parenting: You are faced with a challenge, forced to make a decision, and that decision will inform the next sticky turn in your child-raising life. No one handles these turns perfectly–but by the end of the slope, you’ve created a single performance, unlike anyone else’s.

That’s where the metaphor ends, however, because parenting is not a competitive sport. In The Independent‘s new Parent/Child section, we will not put forth any claims about the “correct” way to raise children. We will present essays from parents and kids about their experiences. Their feelings and decisions may not reflect your personal experience, but together we can learn from each other by talking, thinking and sharing, in the realization that all of these stories take place on the same course.

–laura hatmaker