When Abigail turned six, in 1994, her parents changed. Spankings went from every two or three weeks to every three or four days, for tiny offenses, like if she said “mom” too many times. Her new baby sister cried during playtime, but her parents didn’t seem to respond much. A year later, when the baby moved into her room, the little girl would cry in the middle of the night. Abigail would console her, not Mom and Dad.
There were so many new rules. Suddenly, she was forbidden from interrupting her parents. “I wasn’t allowed to say, ‘Hey, Mom, there’s something wrong,’” Abigail, whose name has been changed for this story, tells me. “I had to put my hand on her arm and wait for her to acknowledge me.’” Another rule: “I wasn’t allowed to ask why.” Abigail, now 35, was taught “first-time obedience”—if her mom asked her to do something, she had to say, “Yes, ma’am,” and immediately do it. If she hesitated or didn’t verbally respond, she got spanked.
Abigail’s parents learned these rules at their evangelical church in northern Alabama. They joined a parenting group that used Growing Kids God’s Way, a Bible-based book written by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo, which incorporated “prayer, observation, experience, personal study, common wisdom, and most importantly, the Holy Spirit.”
Through their organization, Growing Families International (G.F.I.), the Ezzos have been churning out parenting programs since the early 1980s. Their teachings are based on the belief that babies are little balls of sin that must submit to parental authority. “Children do not have within themselves the resources to move toward godliness,” they write, so parents must “mold” them with “principles of moral conduct.”
If Abigail’s mom asked her to do something, she had to say, “Yes, ma’am,” and immediately do it. If she hesitated or didn’t verbally respond, she got spanked.
In the 1990s, Aella’s parents, an evangelical radio-show host and a housewife, found Growing Kids God’s Way through their church, too. “Obedience was paramount,” Aella, 31, tells me. Growing up outside of Boise, Idaho, Aella joined a home-school group with a dozen or so other Ezzo babies. “I have a photo of me as a child with my friends holding up the word ‘obey,’” she says. One family with a local manufacturing business started making leather straps for spankings.
Aella desperately wanted to obey. Even so, one day, when she made a minor mistake and her dad called her over for a spanking, she paused, anticipating the pain. For that hesitation, she got another spanking. She paused again. “This repeated 12 times,” she tells me. By the last time, “I just had completely broken,” she says. When he called her over again, “I immediately came without hesitating.” After that, her father often said to her, “You’re broken. You’re going to obey me instantly.”
Aella’s childhood friend Melanie was also an Ezzo baby. Melanie’s father was drawn to the Ezzos’ emphasis on original sin, the belief that babies are “not born morally good but with a natural predisposition for moral waywardness,” as the Ezzos write.
In their backyard, Melanie’s dad created a Garden of Eden, a corner with fruit trees. He forbade his three daughters from touching the fruit. “My dad knew that if he made this, it was testing to see if we are listening,” says Melanie, 31. “Like, ‘Are we sinners?’”
The Ezzos’ first book, Growing Kids God’s Way, is a 350-page-long interpretation of “the practical side of biblical truth,” from a father’s “mandate” to “cultivate a sense of family identity” to the need for kids to have a “discipleship relationship” to their parents. Their most popular and controversial book is Preparation for Parenting, which touts a highly regimented “feed-wake-sleep” cycle. Starting when babies are a few weeks old, the Ezzos encourage “Parent-Directed Feeding,” which means feeding a newborn on a three-hour schedule, not “on demand,” whenever the baby shows signs of hunger.
At 10 days old, “the practice of non-intervention” begins—that is, letting a baby cry for 20 minutes before responding, especially when put down to sleep. (The biblical source for this is Matthew 27:46: dying on the cross, Jesus “cries” out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?,” and God ignores the cry.) By doing so, the Ezzos promise a seven-week-old will sleep continuously for seven to eight hours, without needing a night feeding. This is to be applied to all babies, because “uniqueness does not change the standard of ethical training.”
The key to the Ezzos’ programs is discipline. At 14 months old, spankings start for acts of rebellion, “a heart issue that includes defiance, disrespect, disobedience, and any willful failure to learn to remember.” Offenses range from pouting to playing with food to being too shy to say hi to authority figures.
According to the Ezzos, who declined to be interviewed for this story, between 1988 and 1996, G.F.I. provided books and programs to more than 12,000 churches around the country. Within a few years of publishing, Preparation for Parenting sold one million copies. The secular version of the book, On Becoming Babywise, enjoyed a brief stint on the New York Times best-seller list in 2016, and is currently a best-seller on Amazon.
Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo’s teachings are based on the belief that babies are little balls of sin that must submit to parental authority.
Gary Ezzo is a former pastor who has studied neither medicine nor children. Much of his advice runs counter to the recommendations of pediatricians and psychologists.
In response to G.F.I.’s popularity in the 1990s, the American Association of Pediatrics (A.A.P.) issued a media release reaffirming its stance that “the best feeding schedules are ones babies design themselves,” warning that an exacting, generalized feeding schedule “may put babies at risk for poor weight gain and dehydration” and later stated that it “does not take into account differences among breastfeeding women and babies.” (In an e-mail, the Ezzos said, “Unlike the standard attachment parenting critics … we rely on actual science.”)
Over eight months in 1999, Matthew Aney, a pediatrician associated with the A.A.P., collected about 300 examples of Ezzo babies who exhibited a “failure to thrive,” or failed to gain adequate weight and grow normally. The Child Abuse Prevention Council of Orange County condemned the Ezzos’ books because “the issues of control and authority seem to override the elements of compassion, child advocacy, and real developmental needs.”
Sarah Van Etten Leupold, an Ezzo baby who grew up on Camano, an island off Washington State, remembers wondering, “‘Why can’t I just talk with my mom? It was so formal, it felt like a classroom setting,” she tells me. “There just wasn’t a heart-to-heart connection.”
Gary has been excommunicated by two churches, disavowed by most major Christian newspapers, and discredited by the medical establishment. Even so, Gary and Anne Marie are still publishing books and G.F.I. is still hosting parenting classes. Just last month, after a summer getaway to Mykonos, the Ezzos embarked on a four-city tour in Australia to spread their gospel Down Under.
An Ezzo Baby Is Born
In August, I enrolled in a three-week, condensed parenting course, which I purchased on the G.F.I. Web site. For $55, I got the Preparation for Parenting book, six streamable video lessons, and weekly hour-long Zoom classes during which a nice Christian couple who live in Michigan with their four kids led discussions about G.F.I.’s principles.
The video lessons, to be watched before class, star Gary and Anne Marie, who are now in their mid- to late 70s. The Ezzos are always smiling as they recite passages from their books. The videos are long, about an hour, and often boring, as Anne Marie talks about how “God gave you the ability to assess your baby’s needs” and Gary goes on about “the ripple effects” of a baby’s metabolism. A notable exception is a five-minute interlude in the first video, during which the story of Genesis is written on screen as apocalyptic music plays.
There were 13 couples from around the country in my first Zoom class. Most of them discovered G.F.I. through friends at church or in-laws. As we talked, soon-to-be-moms worried that sleep deprivation would trigger postpartum depression, and how their families would change with a demanding newborn.
We talked about “couch time”—a daily 15-minute period when kids must watch mom and dad hang out while knowing that no matter how hard they try, they will not be acknowledged. We learned that during couch time, a child should only be given attention if he or she is either bleeding or not breathing. On the day of our babies’ birth, we learned, if a nurse suggests feeding on demand, we should just smile, nod, and ignore.
Camera off, microphone “broken,” I was asked when I was due. Panicked, I wrote December in the Zoom chat box. That meant I was six months pregnant, my belly popped, my pants no longer fitting. This was a lie. I was not pregnant. I’m not a Christian, so I don’t worry about sinning. But I still feel a low-level nausea when I think about how cavalierly I treated something as sacred as having a baby.
The biblical source for “non-intervention” is Matthew 27:46: dying on the cross, Jesus “cries” out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?,” and God ignores the cry.
Some variation of this parenting class has been taught ever since G.F.I. began at Grace Community Church, in Sun Valley, California, in 1984.
Grace is not just a church—it’s a mega-church. Under the leadership of John MacArthur, a fifth-generation pastor from Burbank, the church doubled in size every two years for a decade. By 1977, the church was so popular that it outgrew its home and expanded into an auditorium that fit its 3,500 worshippers. By 1990, Grace had 8,000 members, making it the ninth-largest Protestant church in the United States. Jerry Falwell’s church in Virginia, which had 11,000 attendees, was fourth.
Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo found Grace Community Church after moving with their two daughters, Jennifer and Amy, to the Los Angeles area in the early 1980s. (Before that, the family had lived in Laconia, New Hampshire. They went West after Gary was asked to step down as a pastor, teacher, and elder at His Vantage Point Church—now known as Lakes Region Bible Church—over his “authoritarianism, exclusivism, and division,” according to the Christian Research Institute.) Soon after joining Grace, Gary became an associate pastor and worked with the family ministry.
What would become G.F.I. started in 1984 as weekly Wednesday-night parenting talks among the Ezzos and five other couples at Grace. The group was alarmed by how permissive American parents had become, that couples were listening to secular psychology, becoming preoccupied with “what is psychologically sick or healthy,” not “what is morally right or wrong,” as the Ezzos write in Growing Kids God’s Way.
They talked about the “related evils” threatening parents’ grip on their families: “downplaying the significance of the husband-wife relationship” and “falling into the entrapment of child-centered parenting.” What children needed was to “surrender their self-will for God’s moral will as directed by their parents.”
“It’s the way my parents raised me, with a little bit of a New England flavor to it,” pastor Scott Harris, a former friend of Gary’s who gave notes on early versions of G.F.I. material, tells me.
He trusted Gary’s advice because Anne Marie had been a nurse, and the Ezzos’ daughters “were very respectful young ladies.” Gary and Anne Marie had “obviously done a good job with them.”
The informal discussions turned into classes held at Grace, which quickly became popular. Harris and others in G.F.I.’s orbit brought the materials to churches around the country, many of which started offering the classes, too.
MacArthur was, and still is, an evangelical celebrity. His backing a parenting program is the Christian equivalent of Oprah’s recommending a book. In 1990, the Ezzos started broadcasting their program on a weekly radio show that was eventually picked up by roughly 100 stations. They distributed makeshift books—Xeroxed pages of lessons clipped together in three-ring binders—through Grace’s media outlet, and recorded video lessons so families could host parenting classes for friends at their homes. By the end of the decade, an estimated 70,000 parents around the country attended a G.F.I. parenting class every week.
John MacArthur’s backing a parenting program is the Christian-evangelical equivalent of Oprah’s recommending a book.
Originally, G.F.I. was set up as a religious nonprofit run by those six couples in 1987. In 1989, at the beginning of the G.F.I. boom, the nonprofit was dissolved, and Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo established Growing Families International Educational Services, a nonprofit registered only under their own names. They also created a for-profit-corporation version of G.F.I.
The Ezzos always elicited some skepticism. Esther, who requested anonymity for this story so she may live her retirement in peace, joined Grace Church around 1972 but did not come across G.F.I. until she and her husband moved to Washington State, where she became a midwife and started hearing about the program at conferences and classes. She found it odd that Gary went against accepted infant-feeding protocols by insisting on strict feeding schedules and claiming there were negligible benefits to breastfeeding past six months. (In the 1980s, the C.D.C. recommended breastfeeding for at least six months.)
On one trip back to Grace in the late 80s, Esther stopped by the church nursery and saw a written-out feeding schedule for the 20 or so one-year-olds in it. “Every single one of them said bottle at 6:30, bottle at 6:30, bottle at 6:30,” remembers Esther. “Southern California can be really, really hot. What if the kid is thirsty? You’re going to make him wait two hours for a bottle?”
Concerned, Esther asked Gary for a meeting. During it, he “wasn’t, like, ‘Hey, we can have a normal conversation here.’ It was just pound, pound, pound,” says Esther. “I felt that I couldn’t trust him, because it seemed like every answer was not what I had been learning in my schooling and training.”
Parents who embraced the program came to have doubts, too. In the 1990s, Tia Levings, an attendee of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, was 20, in a bad marriage, and pregnant with her first child. Although she worked as a nanny, she was scared to take care of her own baby, so she joined her church’s G.F.I. classes. “I didn’t believe that babies were manipulating their parents by being hungry or crying at night,” Levings tells me. Yet she followed the G.F.I. program religiously and gave copies to her pregnant friends. “These are our spiritual leaders,” she says, “and they have this answer for how God wants us to structure our homes.”
Similarly, when Jill Richards got pregnant with her first child at age 23, she was nervous. “None of my friends had babies,” she explains. “I was like, what am I supposed to do?” Her high-school youth pastor and his wife gave her and her husband a copy of Growing Kids God’s Way. “We were that first generation that weren’t living around our parents…. I was so young, and I didn’t have anybody else really.”
“Growing up in a church that taught original sin, I do believe that we all are sinners,” says Richards, now 50. Even so, “I don’t think babies come out with any ability whatsoever to know that they’re doing the wrong thing.”
The 1990s were especially fraught for fundamentalists. Ronald Reagan and George Bush were replaced by Bill Clinton and his administration of abortions, womanizing, and neither asking nor telling. “The level of fear out there was just overwhelming,” Ginny Barker, a real-estate agent in Asheville, North Carolina, tells me. While she noticed G.F.I. parenting classes popping up at her local church, she was a respond-immediately type of mom. “You could feel judgment [from G.F.I. parents], especially from the more rigid parents,” she says. “You could cut it with a knife.”
Because Aella, like many Ezzo babies I spoke with, was home-schooled, her exposure to non-Ezzo kids was limited. Outside of people at church and her home-school group, she saw only her cousins.
When she was 10, Aella’s parents banned her from seeing them alone after one cousin made a joke about a monkey biting off a man’s “willie,” which is how Aella learned about penises. This didn’t upset her because “I didn’t have the concept that this is something I could be unhappy with,” she explains. “There was no outside world.”
Gary’s fall from Grace started around the time he stripped his books of Bible verses. By 1993, Preparation for Parenting had sold one million copies. That year, he decided to tap into the secular market with On Becoming Babywise, which was widely released by Multnomah Publishers, a small Christian press, beginning in 1995. Technically, it’s co-authored by a pediatrician named Robert C. Bucknam, a Christian who had used G.F.I.’s materials to sleep-train his first child.
I say “technically” because On Becoming Babywise is essentially the same book as Preparation for Parenting. In the biblical version, Ezzo writes that “marriage represents a special bond between two people, unique and totally without parallel.... great marriages produce great parents” because “that is how God designed it to work.” In the secular version, that sentence becomes “marriage represents a special bond between two people that is matched by no other relationship. At least that was the original idea.” The “feed-wake-sleep” schedule is exactly the same.
The fact that most of the book’s claims aren’t backed up with sources or references is easy to ignore when you’re already overwhelmed. Plus, well-respected pediatricians, such as William Sears, are referenced in it. It’s left out that Sears advocated for a child-focused parenting style and called the Ezzos’ approach “damaging,” saying “it hurts babies” and “ignores a very fundamental principle in child rearing, the difference in temperaments among children.”
Doctors were quick to discredit On Becoming Babywise. Within a few years of its publication, more than 100 pediatricians and nurses sent a “Letter of Concern” about the Ezzos’ books to the A.A.P., raising questions about “untrue, misleading, or unsubstantiated” claims in the book—like, for example, the statement that infants who eat on strict time schedules ingest more calories per feeding than babies who are fed on demand. (Via e-mail, the Ezzos said that “the medical advice offered and track record of our critics is not very impressive.”)
While Gary Ezzo claimed there was an advisory board reviewing his books, he never revealed who was on the board. Via e-mail, the Ezzos said that “all critiques are reviewed, and if any critique has any moral, medical or theological value, (i.e. something more than someone’s opinion) we adjust accordingly.”
Within a few years of its publication, more than 100 pediatricians and nurses sent a “Letter of Concern” about the Ezzos’ books to the A.A.P.
The original G.F.I. families started having issues with Gary around this time, too. By 1995, the elders at Grace were concerned with Gary’s “elitist attitude,” “repeated tendency to avoid accountability,” and the ways G.F.I. “proved to be a threat to unity” at the church, as Grace pastors told the Christian Research Institute. Attempts to broker peace between Gary and Grace, including hiring a mediator, failed.
In October 1997, Grace excommunicated Gary and Anne Marie, and MacArthur personally denounced Gary, later releasing a public statement in which he said Gary was not fit for “Christian leadership or public ministry in any context.” After the excommunication, former members of Grace started a new church called Living Hope Evangelical Fellowship, which the Ezzos joined.
Harris, who has worked at both Grace and G.F.I., remembers the fall-out differently. “Every organization, even churches, are filled with people,” he tells me. “Gary ended up being blamed for causing splits in the church.”
By the end of the 90s, pastors and Christian newspapers were publicly calling G.F.I. “cultish,” “rigid,” “legalistic,” and “severe.” Frank York, G.F.I.’s editorial director from 1996 to 1998, was supposed to quash these criticisms but quickly found that “in Ezzoland, there are only three kinds of people: Blindly obedient employees, Ezzo worshippers, and enemies.” As he wrote for Midwestern Christian Outreach, Ezzo is “a mixture of two characters: Humpty Dumpty and Mafia Godfather Michael Corleone (portrayed by Al Pacino) in The Godfather trilogy.”
“In Ezzoland, there are only three kinds of people: Blindly obedient employees, Ezzo worshippers, and enemies.”
While Gary publicly endured controversy, Bucknam, his co-writer, who had never received much attention, was discreetly going through his own.
The year On Becoming Babywise was published, Bucknam started Cornerstone Pediatric, a medical clinic in Louisville, Colorado, which is still open today. In August 1998, a new patient was born. According to a Letter of Admonition sent by the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners in 2004, the infant’s parents “expressed repeated concerns about vomiting, irritability, feeding problems, and poor weight gain,” but Bucknam “did not document many of those concerns.” The baby was born in the 50th percentile for its weight but was so undernourished that it dropped to the 5th percentile by its first birthday.
The parents found a new doctor, and within a month the baby was diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease, a condition that Bucknam and Ezzo refer to as “often missed” in On Becoming Babywise (and one they recommend seeking “immediate medical attention” for). Consequently, Bucknam was required to enroll in a six-month-long program at the Center of Personalized Education for Physicians. (Bucknam did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)
Ezzo is “a mixture of two characters: Humpty Dumpty and Mafia Godfather Michael Corleone (portrayed by Al Pacino) in The Godfather trilogy.”
A financial scandal regarding the misappropriation of $364,433.71 worth of G.F.I. funds by Robert Garcia, Gary’s son-in-law and G.F.I.’s vice president, coincided with Gary Ezzo’s second excommunication, this time from Living Hope. (The church called Gary “biblically disqualified from all public ministry” because of “untruthfulness” and “impenitence.”)
Ezzo chose not to press charges against Garcia at the time, but the hoopla triggered a review of On Becoming Babywise. In 2001, its publisher, Multnomah, tasked Jeff Gerke, an editor who had worked on several of G.F.I.’s parenting books, with investigating the claims that On Becoming Babywise contained inaccurate and potentially dangerous information. As Christianity Today reported, Gerke wrote in an e-mail that “we started the investigation merely so that we could say that we’d truly looked into it” but that after the investigation, he was “personally convinced Gary Ezzo and his infant care materials are dangerous.” In e-mails, Gerke also revealed that Multnomah didn’t have a medical editor, so no one had reviewed the information in the book.
Of all days, Multnomah chose September 12, 2001, to announce that it would no longer publish On Becoming Babywise and would return the book’s rights to Gary. Since October 2001, it’s been published by Hawksflight & Associates, a tiny, Oregon-based publishing company started by Blake Weber, who had worked in sales at Multnomah
Amid all this change, Gary and Anne Marie went south, to the Carolinas. He dissolved the original G.F.I., re-established the company, and set his sights on foreign markets, creating G.F.I. companies in Singapore and Australia.
Eventually, Gary pressed charges against his son-in-law. In August 2014, Gary e-mailed Garcia, threatening to have him and his wife, Amy—Gary’s daughter—arrested and their assets seized. (Garcia did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)
Gary and Garcia had signed a settlement agreement in 2001 which included a modest monthly repayment schedule. In 2004, after repaying just $14,250, Garcia’s payments stopped, yet neither Gary nor his lawyers ever sent notices of default. (According to Garcia’s counter lawsuit, Gary verbally promised Garcia that he could make just a few payments, evade public scrutiny, and the matter would be quietly resolved.)
After two years, the lawsuits were settled out of court.
Asked about the many scandals surrounding G.F.I., from the ex-communications to the allegations made by former employees to legal strife within his own family, the Ezzos’ assistant, Lori, said that “ad hominem ‘emotional claims’ of displaced or wounded people … can never rise to the level of ‘factual truth’, which has sustained the Ezzos over the course of their ministry.”
Word to the Babywise
Today, G.F.I. has modernized. Not in content—gay people still don’t exist in the G.F.I. universe—but in format. Most of the material is available online, in streamable videos, downloadable charts and graphics, and Facebook videos. It even has a Babywise Nap App, available for $1.99. The Ezzos have been releasing new e-books, such as The Toddlerhood Transition and Life in the Middle Years, co-authored by Rich and Julie Young, a middle-aged couple who feature prominently in the latest batch of G.F.I. parenting videos.
The Babywise brand exists on a separate Web site. It has branched into e-commerce, with online-shopping offerings that range from fitted crib sheets to beanies that resemble carrots. Under the “Hear from more parenting and medical experts who support the Babywise principles” section, the Web site quoted Kim West, a longtime social worker and therapist, who has written several books about infant sleep training. West had no idea her name was used. “They just pulled these sentences from my book,” West tells me. Her approach to sleep training, dubbed the “sleep lady shuffle,” is quite different from the Ezzos’. (After our interview, West contacted the Web site to have her quote removed.)
If you Google “Gary Ezzo,” the first result is a Web site called Ezzo.info. Started by someone named Steve Rein, the site compiles hundreds of complaints, archived documents, and newspaper articles about the theological and medical backlash to Ezzo’s books. Thousands of Ezzo babies and reformed Ezzo parents have taken to Reddit, Facebook, and Instagram to warn people about the Ezzos’ books, with posts ranging from “GOD THE LEATHER SPANKER. that shit HURT so bad” to “that book and the thinking that gave rise to it are utter inhuman trash with zero positive attributes.”
There are still devotees, too. Harris, who used the books to raise his three now-adult sons, “found it very successful.” On their podcast, Couples Co-Op, Natalie and Byron Tahtinen recommend On Becoming Babywise. They love it for the schedule, which helps them plan their days instead of “just guessing when the kid is going to take a nap,” they tell me. They’ve seen the criticisms online. “There are so many opinions out there,” says Byron. “Maybe Babywise isn’t suited for every single situation.”
Jill Richards stopped using G.F.I.’s books when her first baby was a few months old, because he was a bad sleeper. “The book made it sound really easy,” but every night for three months, her son would cry, not for 10 minutes but for over an hour. She worried that all the crying was bad for him, but initially she stuck to the Ezzos’ advice because “I felt like, oh my gosh, I’m going to ruin our marriage. I’m going to make him selfish.” In the end, G.F.I.’s rules simply didn’t work on her son.
Richards still worries about which of her son’s issues can be traced back to those first few months. “I haven’t forgiven myself,” she says. “I don’t know that I ever will, as much as I try.”
“Growing up in a church that taught original sin, I do believe that we all are sinners.” Even so, “I don’t think babies come out with any ability whatsoever to know that they’re doing the wrong thing.”
Now the first generation of Ezzo babies is all grown up.
Aella, who abruptly left home at age 17, remembers how “fucking great” it felt doing something as seemingly simple as “making facial expressions—like the sensation of being able to demonstrate being unhappy.”
Sarah, who is now married with a six-month-old baby, says she didn’t become aware of how severe her family was until her mid-20s, when people were shocked to hear her childhood anecdotes. “I’m still realizing how much of my emotions were buried and not expressed,” she explains.
Sarah has noticed that “I’m very compliant as a way of surviving in the world,” she says. “For instance, I recently ended up reporting [my boss] for sexual harassment, but it took me about two years to actually follow through and do that because it was so hard to stand up for myself.... I kept telling myself, ‘Oh, he’s mostly a nice guy,’ or ‘I don’t think he means it.’”
“I know my parents loved me so much,” Sarah says. “I know there had to be a really pervasive impact for them to treat me that way, because I can’t imagine spanking my child or forcing her to talk like a robot to me.” As a mom, she’s realized that “kids are emotional sometimes. I’m allowing that.”
Jensen Davis is a Senior Editor at AIR MAIL