Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Seinfeld's Poison Ps

He's not only a comedian folk... or maybe it's because he's a comedian that he's delving into social critique?
Either way, Jerry Seinfeld has issued his Poison P list and hopes other parents take note.
He starts with Praise...  apparently we parental-units dole it out a bit too freely and it stops kids from pushing themselves to be the very best.  I mean really, I know the picture wasn't a photographic-style portrait rendering of the family, but I should be allowed to praise my kid's Picasso/Dali inspired efforts, right?  I admit that I am insanely proud of my daughter's penchant for freely belting out a tune so full of warbled vibrato that it sounds like she's riding in the car as it bumps along a gravel, pot hole-laden road.  I have loved every wildly interpretive dance and every insanely creative expression she's posed for the camera with.  And her makeup skills?  That cucumber-in-place-of-eyeshadow idea and her three-year-old efforts in Mommy's Mac collection were pretty impressive.  And her continual favoring of the dark brown skin tones over the "peach" (light brown) tones of certain family members is completely adored by me, because society doesn't always see the beauty in it.
Sorry, Seinfeld, if my kid is doing what makes her her, I'm gonna praise her until I pass out.  If she doesn't get pride in herself from home, where's it gonna come from?
Next comes Pleasure...  It's the second Poison P.  Apparently, we parents provide too much opportunity to seek pleasure over other alternatives.  We let our kids have excess pleasure and refuse to cheat them out of a little fun.  Hmm... I think Chi's teacher agrees with this philosophy, because she hasn't had recess since September when the substitute accidently took them outside when they had completed the lesson plan for the day.  Hull-o.  She's seven.  There cannot possibly be that much history, science, or mathematics to learn.  Oh but reading?  Please don't cut that out because some kids need a recess in their heads, and books are great sources of escape.
And finally, there is [lack of ability to resolve or have] Problems... 
Poor Chi.  She needs to be told she doesn't have any problems.  She'll be shocked.  She'd insist you were mistaken.  She's dealt with bullies.  She's battled being hopelessly behind because she couldn't read at grade level.  She's dealt with the seeming loss of her biological father to his new family - complete with replacement children - that have pushed the phone calls further apart and insured that visits will not be more frequent than the every 3-4 year trend we've had.  She's dealt with knowing that her baby brother might not be born alive - or might be very ill if he were to be alive (and she's prayed over a blubbering Mommy who forgot to "be the adult" and shield her sadness many a night).  She's felt the insecurity doled out by our mortgage company and knows that she has $1000 in the bank and Mommy can have it, if she has to pay a bill and can't.  She's refrained from asking for toys, fancy trips to exotic places, and anything beyond necessity because she is acutely observant of budgets.  And she's so much more intuitive than a seven-year-old should ever be because she has lived more life than many people of more comfortable circumstances will ever live.
Seinfeld says "Problem-solving is the most important skill to develop for success in life, and we for some reason can't stand it if our kids have a situation that they need to 'fix.' Let them struggle –it's a gift." 
Trust me, my baby is gifted...
I wish we more modest living people had soap boxes to preach from.  I've got some observations I could share, too.  Will people give mine as much notice? Doubtful.

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