Tips on how to excuse parenthood

Sometimes the day gets away from you. Sometimes you get away from the day. Others, one supposes, are pleasantly predictable, moving at just the right pace, each thing approaching as you expected, addressed, completed and reflected upon. In between there are days that have some combination of all of those attributes.

Today was none of those things. Which is not bad, or good, just a thing.

The students at the Crimson went strong until about 3 or 3:30 this morning. That is imprecise, but chronometer precision isn’t a necessary function of my world at that time of day. The late hour, being an early hour, also informs the day.

That’s what I’m getting at here. It was late. Today was early. Things moved accordingly.

Have I told you I work at a special place?

“The Samford University men’s basketball team added a new member this weekend, 7-year-old Nathaniel “Biggie” Henderson.”

I work at a special place.

That little boy has a disease that has only been diagnosed about 100 times worldwide, and he’s already endured a host of surgeries. Now he’s got a new team on his side:

Had a fun critique meeting today. The silliness overwhelmed us, but work was done. A little more levity in the middle of the week never hurt anyone, and don’t you think that cutline needs better punctuation?

You can see the online version of this week’s issue of course.

Ran into a former student this evening. She’s graduated. She completed a high profile internship in D.C. She now has a distinguished sounding title at her new job. Charming young lady and talented, with a great future ahead of her. I wonder how many times I say that a year.

Things to read that I thought you’d enjoy. Here’s your daily dose of silly. I remain of the opinion we’re going about this all wrong, but, this story got to use “‘Gestapo’ tactics” in an American headline, so there’s that unfortunate development:

Vaillancourt was one of thousands of people who found themselves in a national park as the federal government shutdown went into effect on Oct. 1. For many hours her tour group, which included senior citizen visitors from Japan, Australia, Canada and the United States, were locked in a Yellowstone National Park hotel under armed guard.

The tourists were treated harshly by armed park employees, she said, so much so that some of the foreign tourists with limited English skills thought they were under arrest.


The bus stopped along a road when a large herd of bison passed nearby, and seniors filed out to take photos. Almost immediately, an armed ranger came by and ordered them to get back in, saying they couldn’t “recreate.” The tour guide, who had paid a $300 fee the day before to bring the group into the park, argued that the seniors weren’t “recreating,” just taking photos.

“She responded and said, ‘Sir, you are recreating,’ and her tone became very aggressive,” Vaillancourt said.

The seniors quickly filed back onboard and the bus went to the Old Faithful Inn, the park’s premier lodge located adjacent to the park’s most famous site, Old Faithful geyser. That was as close as they could get to the famous site — barricades were erected around Old Faithful, and the seniors were locked inside the hotel, where armed rangers stayed at the door.

The longer this goes on the more absurd the stories will get, it seems.

This young woman is studying to be a classical soprano in Scotland. She started following my campus blog today. I’ve been listening to some of her performances. It isn’t every day you meet talented singers. She fulfills the requirement. That link takes you to her performance as Eponine.

And now a few paragraphs pulled from this unfortunate essay about the nature of parenthood:

Parenthood, like war, is a state in which it’s impossible to be moral. Worse, the moral weakness of parents is always on display, for children bear witness to their incessant ethical hairsplitting. It may be delicious fun to tut-tut over the corrupt child-rearing customs (and to pity the progeny) of the aggressively rising class: the mother who, according to Urban Baby legend, slept with the admissions officer (with her husband’s consent!) to get her child into the Ivy League, or the one who sued an Upper East Side preschool for ­insufficiently preparing her 4-year-old for a ­private-school test. But such Schadenfreude elides a more difficult existential truth, which is that ever since Noah installed his own three sons upon the ark and left the rest of the world to drown, protecting and privileging one’s own kids at the expense of other people has been the name of the game. It’s what parents do.

Your child constantly puts you in quandaries, but everyone is right there, so ignore the lice, do their homework, hold your kid back, game the system. Everyone is doing it!

Not being a parent, I can only pretend to understand. Surely I’d want the best, and to see my child was well prepared for this and that as possible. But I’m also fairly certain that, on the off chance I did not have a perfect child, I’d want them to learn from any struggles and imperfections, so that they could, maybe, appreciate the things that come easier to them and see those less ideal moments for what they really are.

But, then, I have probably fewer answers than the author of that piece, I know. I’m only trying to be a member of her “aggressively rising class” a frame through which she portrays the most condescending examples of life you’d find in almost any other magazine, but just feel so delightfully tacky here.

Most parents don’t think of themselves as the kind of people who prize winning above all. Most hope to teach their kids what used to be called “good values,” which a previous generation learned in scouts or church: kindness and compassion, respect and responsibility, to “do unto others” and be grateful for small things.

Society now looks back and down upon solid values as quaint relics of a past age, because moral equivalence has diminished even the Golden Rule.

And then: “All the data show a generation far less ethical than their parents.” Soon after we’re learning of “a hazy space where right and wrong seem porous” which is just a logical excuse to allow for more modern superiority through the ill-defined virtues of a mantra that says no one is wrong, unless their righter or wronger than me: “There’s lots of room to wiggle here. Especially when the transgressions get you where you want to be.”

So we suggest that parents do all for their kids yet haven’t transferred a moral foundation which just makes things somewhat foggy and non-descript, but, hey, it’s for the children and so then all bets are off.

This is an article indulging our judgmental lapses. So you think I don’t raise my children according to what I read in New York Magazine, thank heavens. And you read the wide-ranging examples offered by this mother of a 9-year-old and you wonder about the ethics of others. It is, as she says, tough out there. You get the feeling it is the most difficult when she intervenes, though.

Finally, a few things from the multimedia blog that I forgot to mention yesterday:

Protip: Think before pressing “tweet”

Why geography is important in newsrooms

Release your inner RebelMouseAnd, now, an evening where I’ll be in bed before midnight.

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