The Parent Post
All throughout my teenage years, I was the one with the “cool” parents. I never had to ask permission to go anywhere. My friends had to beg just to be allowed to go to the mall; I could simply inform my parents that I was going on a week-long vacation to some province a few hours before I’m scheduled to leave. While most of my classmates had to be driven everywhere, I was free to go as I pleased via public transportation. I’ve also had a credit card since I was thirteen.
Yet there was more to my folks’ parenting style than being able to do whatever I wanted. Somehow they still managed to instill a sense of accountability in me. Even without being told, I knew well enough not to abuse my plastic and to never leave without telling them where I was going. Their parenting style may have been unorthodox, but except for the chronic laziness, I’d say I turned out okay.
I was actually teasing them the other day that they should publish a book on parenting just for the amusement of seeing how people would react to their more interesting techniques:
- They encouraged my inner artist to draw on our walls–with washable markers.
- Mom taught me how to climb up my bookcase a la Spider-Man when I was a toddler, so I wouldn’t have to ask for help to get things from high shelves.
- They also taught me to drink at the age of five. They’d take me to office cocktail parties after school, where I’d drink Boone’s Farm in my Catholic school uniform. By age twelve I had moved on to vodka tonics. I’d drink about four glasses every time my family would bar-hop to hear local rock bands perform. I got my first hangover when I was eight, and since I know how to handle my alcohol, I haven’t had any hangovers since.
- Mom was afraid I wouldn’t obey her orders to stay away from the stove while she was cooking, so to teach me the concept of “hot” she dipped my finger in a mug of hot water. I’d say the lesson worked marvelously–up to now, I still can’t cook to save my life.
- In another “successful lesson,” they helped me understand electricity better by threatening to stick my finger in an electrical socket.
Here’s a more recent example of their unique brand of parenting. A couple of years ago I was heading out to UP to attend an evening class wearing a very low-cut top and low-hanging jeans. Cue concerned mother.
Mom: You shouldn’t wear sexy clothing on Fridays, because you get home so late. Maybe you should change.
Me: But there’s a cute guy in my Friday class.
Mom: Oh, why didn’t you say so earlier?! In that case, just walk really fast when you’re out on the streets. Have fun!
Yes, I can see it now. “Just Walk Really Fast: Parenting that Works in the Real World.” It’ll be right up there in all the bestseller lists along with “I’ll Think of a Title Later: The Procrastinator’s Guide to Never Getting Anything Done.”
On a totally unrelated topic, check out these photos of my ridiculously handsome dogs, Oreo and TJ. You can click for a larger view.