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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

parenting advice from a parenting pro

here is an exchange that mr. nice guy and his father had over brunch in brooklyn on monday morning:

pater nice guy: the thing about having kids is that you have to nurture them. you have to identify their talents and nudge them in the right direction--let them develop those strengths. but you never want to put undue pressure them.
mr. nice guy: ummm.
pater nice guy: i was never a strong piano player, but my father had perfect pitch. he really wanted me to play piano, though, so he pushed me. i think that's the wrong approach. find the thing the child has an innate gift for and encourage it to grow.
mr. nice guy: i, uh, couldn't agree more. [not said: who are you and what have you done with the man who raised me?] you really ought to try this wonderful homemade granola.

ah, yes. this, mind you, is the same man who told his 14-year-old son that he WILL PLAY FOOTBALL whether he likes it or not. let's state the obvious, shall we? mr. nice guy is not an athletic fellow. he likes music; he likes books; he likes prancing about in his mother's knickers. there was never no room here for no football. (five ... count them: FIVE knee surgeries later, pater nice guy refuses to admit he erred in "nudging" his child to develop that particular "talent")

and yet. AND YET, his father now says without irony that it is important to encourage one's child to explore its strengths and interests. delicious. he advises against "pushing" a child in a direction that said child is perhaps unsuited for. this, mind you, is the same man who 20 years prior called mr. nice guy's short stories and doodled drawings "artsy fartsy crap." also the same man who, when mr. nice guy failed to name all the schools in the pac 10, called
his son "pussy-whipped"--in a room full of strangers.

mr. nice guy would laugh if he could stop crying ... or prancing about in his mother's soft, soft knickers.


Blogger jjudge said...

this is the funniest thing that i have read in some time. fathers...they're great. it's like they forget about your childhood once you become an adult. i remember when i got an earring at the age of 15, my father asked if i were taking drugs. and he posed it as a serious question! boy how times change, he is now mr. acceptance with my nieces and nephews.

your dad sounds like a funny guy.

10/30/2004 6:45 PM  

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