There’s a weird sort of fear spreading amongst reasonable grownups. My sister’s family had some friends over. Or, maybe my sister’s family went over to their place. I don’t remember, doesn’t really matter. Anyway, one of the adults gave one of my sister’s kids some polite direction about sharing or something basic like that, you know, stuff people tell kids. Then the grownup realized the grave error in 21st century feedback rules concerning kids who aren’t yours, and apologized to my sister for shamefully overstepping. “Are you KIDDING?” my sister said. “I absolutely want you to tell my kids if they’re doing something you don’t think they should be doing! In fact, do more of it! They need to learn to hear things from people other than me.”
If I’m the only one who can tell my kids what to do, I’ve failed them in every possible way by making sure they have completely unrealistic expectations of the world. Also, I can’t ever die, because my kids won’t be able to take care of themselves. Following Big-Chested Dad at the Pool’s logic, a lifeguard can’t lifeguard, teachers can’t teach, coaches can’t coach and, later in life, managers can’t manage… you see where this is going, right?
Is cushiony perfection for our kids a new national obsession? We all know That Mom in the neighborhood, who is literally at the school every day, escalating everything to make sure her kid gets an A, is chosen for Student Council, or gets placed in the gifted program. Later, when her kid is in college, professors will hang up on her and laugh behind her back because she’ll call about something that’s none of her business.