November 25, 2010

Overheard: Chopping Onions

I’m celebrating Thanksgiving with family in St. Louis. My brother was chopping onions for the stuffing and his seven year old son wanted to help.

“Can I chop onions too?”

“Sure. Here’s how you hold the knife. Hold the onion like this.”

My nephew’s eyes began to tear. He squinted and shook his head.

“What’s going on? Why do my eyes hurt?”

My brother saw this as a learning moment.

“That’s what happens whenever you hold a knife.”

“It does?”

“Know what makes it go away? Reading.”

Update: Okay, okay, you guys. He didn't stop there. It was funnier to leave off the immediate correction and truthful explanation my brother offered. My nephew is quite used to his dad's antics and was already onto him.

November 17, 2010

Those Darned Kids

An email to Andrew Sullivan, about the fuss over Willow and Bristol Palin:

I am dismayed at all the online hysterics over the immature behavior of Sarah Palin’s children. For the record, I am no fan of Sarah Palin and I don’t understand how anyone could support her bid for attention, much less a role in government.

That said, I have to speak as a parent: the idea that we have control over what our children say and do when we are not present is a complete illusion. We do what we can to inculcate the proper morals and concomitant behavior, but children eventually figure out that they don’t really have to do what we say. It is our hope that the realization is delayed until they reach a level of maturity that leads to good choices. It is an uneven road to that time, and some choices are better than others.

Kids still don’t understand the impact of the Internet, and they will write things online that they say in private conversation. And yes, they will say stupid things that are not okay. Who among us has not? Thank God I didn’t have the Internet to permanently catalogue my mistakes when I was a kid. And either way, I know as a former Language Arts teacher that poor spelling is no indicator of intelligence or ethics, cringe-inducing as it might be.

Palin’s children did not grow up in the urban landscape of big-city politics. They do not have the political experience or understanding that, say, Bush’s children would have had. Alaska is populated by smart and independent people who say what they think, in my experience. The idea that one must be circumspect is not a natural conclusion in an environment in which survival depends more on community and outdoor skills than political savvy.

Lay off the kids. They’re not changing the political landscape; we are, by the choices we make.

November 9, 2010

Tornwordo: It Gets Better

Canadian-American Tornwordo talks to himself in high school and makes an insightful comparison of "norm" and "normal."

Torn's blog is one of the first I discovered on the Interwebs. If you haven't read it, you're missing out. He shares his upbeat philosophy about life with his husband and dog. Great read!