Saturday, August 22, 2009
“Nobody remembers Shakespeare’s children.”
As I’m not a parent, I like to wax eloquent on the subject of raising successful children. I don’t know many nuclear families, or many dues paying mothers and fathers, or many children between the ages 4-12, so I think my qualifications speak for themselves.
Here’s my main theory: The road to a child’s success is paved in parental mediocrity. You, the parent, not only set the bar, you are the bar. Make it a friendly bar; a bar that is a little overweight or works in lower management or drives a Toyota. You can sketch, sculpt, sing, and screw around, just don’t do it often or too well. Moderate your alcohol intake, feign delight in straight A’s, and stay out of the running for a Nobel Prize.
Not what you hoped for for yourself, I know, but your kids will be plotting their vaults at a very young age.
Set your bar too high, and they’ll just walk under it, all the way to 10 years of junior college. Set it too low, and you can forget about ever laying claim to his or her bedroom as a home gym.
I knew the son of the man who invented, well, let’s say, a very, very important pill. And though the son of this man inherited great wealth and smarts, he had an air of quiet desparation. Kids are born with a drive to best their parents, but how can you trump a father who has played a world-winning hand.
So the son moved to the arts, not because (and I’m guessing here) the arts were in his mind and soul, but because it seemed a territory to which his father did not lay claim.
Funny how we may choose a path by virtue of its opposing direction.
Anyway, back to my advice. Lead by good example, such as eating your fruits and vegetables. Just don’t lay all the food on the table. Let the kids stay a little hungry.
*Another take entirely on Faulkner quote by fellow blogger here .
Labels: Parental advice in altadena