By M. Alexander
Dr. Wendy Mogel, author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee and of The Blessing of a B Minus, came to Beit T’Shuvah on Saturday, October 30. She spoke to residents and guests about the epidemic that has spread throughout our country, the curse of terminal uniqueness.
Parents’ lives revolve around their children. They go to their child’s school, attempting to get them the perfect teacher. When this teacher turns out to be incompetent or not “the best fit”, mommy or daddy returns to the school and tries to switch the child back to the original teacher. These helicopter parents do not let their children make their own mistakes; instead, they try to make their little angel’s life “perfect”.
The child can become “anything they want” when they grow up. Mommy tells little blind Mikey that he can be an air force pilot and cute Matty with one gimp leg that he can play for The Lakers. Daddy tells tone-deaf Johnny, who wants to be in The New York Philharmonic, “perfect pitch is relative”. Soon Michael, Matthew, and Jonathon begin to believe that the world revolves around them.
When I realized that I probably could not be the leader of the free world or the number one golfer in the PGA, I became completely disillusioned. How could I possibly mop the floor at Burger King? I have no ability to put in hard work, to complete tasks, to do “menial, mindless” work. I was a cocky man-child with extraordinarily low self-esteem. I was the greatest piece of shit that the world revolved around. I was only able to see in black and white. Either I was the center of the world or I was meaningless. I could not do anything for myself because it was always done for me.
Dr. Mogel quoted The Talmud “It is the obligation of every father to teach his son how to swim”. My father cannot always swim for me; he cannot just buy me a boat. Eventually I have to go through life on my own. I have to swim away from him and teach my son how to swim after my father is gone.
- The Blessings of a B-Minus (parenting.blogs.nytimes.com)