Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Praise You

Last week's This American Life is killing me a little. It was a show called “Is That What I Look Like” and the last story is with Molly Ringwald and her daughter, Matilda, as they watch The Breakfast Club together. In one section Matilda identifies with the character whose parents push him to do well in school. This surprises Molly who gets emotional (they both do). Eventually it comes out that Matilda resists homework and when she does Molly tells her daughter that she could do better and that Molly wishes she did better in school herself.  

In terms of parental pressure, this is nothing compared to what I’ve had. Yes, her daughter is 10, but when I was 10 I knew that my parents didn’t get to go as far in school as they would have liked due to financial issues. My dad left school after grade 6. Grade 6. I am about to get my Master’s. I knew then and now that I was given a gifted mind and the lifestyle to achieve the education I desired. There was pressure, internally and externally to do well. Very well. My parents didn't push it, but I was aware. I feel this made me the person I am today. Hub’s mom was tough on him. She forced him to spend summers learning flashcards, not letting him up until he could go through the pack flawlessly. He rebelled, as you can imagine. I was hoping to walk a fine line with Kins: encourage but not force,  push just hard enough, inspire natural curiosity without everything being about education (though really, it all IS about education).

Hearing this story though, such a little thing has caused this little girl to feel pressured. Matilda mentions that Molly doesn’t do it anymore, and Molly confesses that it’s because she no longer does homework with Matilda. Parenting is so hard.

Then at the end, another exchange to mull over. Molly's brother died, before Molly was born. Her mother was devastated and was potentially suicidal, thought never "tried anything". He was her first child. Her mom believes that she conversed with a spirit and she was told she was alive for another purpose. When Molly was born, she knew it was for Molly.

This was a story that Molly heard all of her life. As she relates the story, Ira Glass, the host, says "That's a lot to put on you" and Molly sighs emphatically "Yeah, it's heavy- really heavy".

She was the reason her mother had to stay alive.
She was the joy in her mother's life.

She was the rainbow baby.

Is this in and of itself a burden to Kins?

Ira Says: "You know, you just can never know what things that you say to your kids are going to stay with them. You know, just little things said in a passing moment, that are going to bounce around in their heads and lead them to conclusions that you don't intend or expect in anyway."

We've come a long long way together,
Through the hard times and the good,
I have to celebrate you baby,
I have to praise you like I should

Fatboy Slim, Praise You

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