Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Teacher Tom: Pretty Good Parenting

Teacher Tom: Pretty Good Parenting

Pretty Good Parenting

When you hear someone use the term "adulting," it's usually used as the punchline to a sarcastic joke about having tackled a responsibility that is associated with being a grown-up, like changing a tire, folding laundry, or paying the monthly bills. It's sometimes used to refer to the day-to-day grind, such as having conscientiously undertaken irritating, but necessary tasks, but just as often, it's a kind of self-effacing boast about having accomplished some relatively petty thing that we perceive of as uniquely adult. We didn't use the term back then, but "adulting" is how I felt the first time I belly crawled through the dust under our first house to change the furnace filter. It's how I felt when I grew my first edible tomato. And it's how I felt almost every day as a new parent.

How much better "adulting" is than "parenting." Both refer to the assumption of responsibilities, but the first, at least the way it is most commonly used, has a sort of light-heartedness to it, a wink that says that you can feel proud of having at least done your best even if it falls short of perfection. Whereas the second word, parenting, refers to a weighty business. There are so many tragic ways one can fail, and those failures will "shape" your child, "damage" them, causing them to grow into adults who are incapable of adulting. Adulting might still be stressful and challenging, but it's nothing compared to dead seriousness of parenting, which carries with it the connotation that you are responsible for manufacturing a whole human being and falling short is not an option. 

I've often noted here on these pages that we have seen a disturbing and steady rise in the incidence of childhood CONTINUE READING: Teacher Tom: Pretty Good Parenting