Feeling bad about my parenting skills

The “tiger mom” shit was bad enough, but this video has me feeling really terrible about my efforts as a father to make my daughter smart enough to help save the planet when she gets older. I’m ashamed to say, she knows the whole backstory on every single minor character in Harry Potter, including the owls, but not a single element by sight… let alone their atomic weight.

Maybe I should go ahead and let her get that tattoo now.

And, yeah, this is what I chose to write to you about today instead of the unbelievably cruel behavior of the Mubarak thugs in Egypt. I just couldn’t find the words to express my outrage. I found myself gobbled up by depression instead.

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  1. Anonymatt
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    You were feeling proud when Clementine was 2 and could identify a cashew.


  2. Edward
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    If it makes you feel any better, that little girl is in daycare somewhere right now getting the Gallium kicked out of her.

  3. Alice Krum
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Parenting is fucking hard work, and we all second guess ourselves. We all think that maybe we aren’t pushing our kids had enough. That’s what the whole Tiger Mom meme took off like it did. It got everyone defensive. I don’t know what the solution is. Maybe, as you point out, we need to be more forceful, for the good of the planet. We need a generation of brilliant people who can someone undo the damage that’s been done this past century. But that doesn’t mean they all need to be engineers. The best that we can do, in my opinion, is expose our kids to a lot of stuff and see what they take to. Then, help them learn as much as they can about those things. Oh, and we can also feed them well, shelter them from the assault of popular culture, and make sure their friends are the kind of kids that will push them in a positive direction. I think, in the end, that would get you better results than strapping them to the piano bench for several hours a day and forcing them to memorize the table of elements.

  4. Ted
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    When the shit hits the fan, those cards of hers will be meaningless. I’d much rather have a daughter like Clementine who can skin and de-bone nutria blindfolded.

  5. Kevin
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Parrots can talk. But when was the last time a parrot asked a good question?

  6. K2
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    That Egyptian footage you linked to is among the most disturbing things that I have ever seen. I cannot fathom what could have been going on in the driver’s mind.

  7. T Timmons
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    You can’t see the electrodes they have strapped to her legs.

  8. dupxtmdshto
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    There are worse parents. Did you read about the woman that shot both of her kids a few days ago for being “mouthy”?

  9. WeekendAtBernie's
    Posted February 5, 2011 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    “We need a generation of brilliant people who can someone undo the damage that’s been done this past century. ”

    Or maybe we need a generation of retarded, lazy, slackers who do nothing at all. That should take us right back to where we were before your dreadful past century.
    That would be a lot better than geeky little turds quoting the elements at us as we get old.
    Think about it. Will anybody, and I mean anybody, get within pissing distance of that little girl when she gets to be a teenager?
    Memorization of the periodic table is a parlor trick that only a parent could love.
    But to know what a cashew is, now that is a horse of a different color.

  10. Posted February 5, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    What? A toddler playing with some science cards gets that much hatred? Why? And Mark, I’m sure Clementine would enjoy learning about the elements. Start by inhaling helium.

  11. dan
    Posted February 5, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Maybe it’s just a matter of motivation, and knowing which element to start with.

    Correct thread.

  12. WeekendAtBernie's
    Posted February 6, 2011 at 1:47 am | Permalink

    I don’t hate the little kid.
    I just can’t stand that damned strontium.
    And the video was way over long.

  13. Posted February 6, 2011 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    Good link, Dan. I like the way you think.

    And I don’t know why exactly, but I’ve always kind of hoped that Clementine might grow up to be a scientist. Maybe it’s just my self-loathing. I have very little scientific aptitude, and maybe that’s why I want her to excel at it. And I know there are other ways to contribute toward the future well-being of our world. I’d like to think that I do some of it here, on this site, in a very limited way. I just kind of like the idea of Clementine being a more aggressive learner than I was…. I know this isn’t clear, but it’s late and I’m tired.

    Good night, my invisible friends.

  14. Equinox
    Posted February 6, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    While we’re on the subject of troubling footage from Egypt, someone got video of a young man being gunned down by security forces in cold blood, after removing his jacket to show that he was not armed. Very disturbing.


  15. Drugoon
    Posted March 4, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    My parents, Ritalin and Television, did a fine job of raising me, and would probably not mind taking over for you if you’re feeling you’re not up to the challenge.

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