Thursday, July 4, 2013

4 lies we tell our children

Any parent knows that once in a while we aren’t completely honest.  Maybe we tell a little fib to save someone’s feelings, or we don’t tell the entire truth because the kids wouldn’t understand all the details. IMG_20130703_171958_273 But I’ve heard 4 whoppers that I just have to share:

  1. “If you work hard enough, you can accomplish anything!” -- Nope.  Not true.  I will never be an opera singer, no matter how many voice lessons I take.  My husband will never be a jockey in the Kentucky Derby (he’s 6’2” and over 200 pounds).  My son will never be an egg donor.  Success is 80% showing up and working hard, and 20% luck (do you have talent?  support?  money?  opportunity?)  When I was a kid, I wanted to be an Olympic long jumper.  Fortunately, I’ve always been a hard worker with lots of drive.  Unfortunately, I’m not a gifted long jumper.  I spent an entire summer jumping into a baby crib mattress, trying to “reach my dream.”  I ended up on crutches with torn cartilage in both knees, but not with a spot on the school track team.  We should encourage our kids to dream; encourage our kids to work hard.  But we also have to let them know that sometimes things don’t work out and that’s OK – they’re not failures if they gave it their best shot.
  2. “You can’t judge a book by its cover!”  -- Actually, a lot of times you can.
  3. “There’s no such thing as a stupid question!”  Oh yes there is.  Anyone who’s been a parent for 30 minutes or a teacher for 30 seconds has actually heard one of these stupid questions.  Example:  I’ve just explained to the class how to read the syllabus (which outlines test dates, etc) AND explained that the first test is on March 1.  The student in the back row, who’s been secretly (he thinks) checking his phone for texts from his girlfriend, raises his hand and asks, you guessed it, “when is the first test?”  Stupid.  stupidstupidstupid.
  4. “We can use technology to fix any environmental damage we create.”  And you were wondering when I’d get to the environmental stuff!  We can use technology to create many environmentally-friendly inventions that will make our current way of life more sustainable, including renewable energy and engineered wetlands that clean stream water.  But there are some issues that can only be addressed through conservation and preservation.  The biggest of these issues is biodiversity.  Only by actively protecting and preserving species, soil, and land can we hand these resources down to future generations.  Once soil is gone, it takes thousands and thousands of years to make more.  Once a species is extinct, it’s gone forever, despite what you saw on Jurassic Park.

Got any other lies you’d like to share?

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