Follow by Email

Monday, July 2, 2012

In Defense of Parents

Emma and I were watching "The Next Food Network Star".  Despite Emma's issues eating food, she actually enjoys watching shows where chefs are preparing it.  Food Network is a nice family compromise because most of the programming is pretty kid-friendly, and the contest/reality shows, Chopped, Iron Chef, Cupcake Wars, and The Next Food Network Star for example, are paced nicely and are interesting viewing even if you're not that into cooking. . . or eating.


From http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/
Last night the contestants were required to prepare a dish for Paula Dean and her brood, then make a kid's version of the same dish for a "beach party" themed challenge.  I'm getting to my point, I swear.  "Ippy", the 23 year old, broad faced, broad bellied, friendly Hawaiian, made a statement while he was prepping the meal, something to the effect of, - I think kids should eat what their parents eat.  I think if you raise your kids right, then everyone eats at the table together and you don't have picky eaters - .  


I said, sotto voce, "And that's because you've clearly never had any kids."


Emma overheard me, turned to look at me and said, "Why did you say that?"  


"Only someone who has never had kids could make such a positive statement about how best to raise them."


"What do you mean?"


"I mean, until you've had kids, you don't really understand what it's like trying to get them to eat.  You're sure that you know the best way, only because you've never experienced anything other than your own imagined success at it."


I was never a better parent than I was before I had kids.  I remember sitting with my girlfriend, Leslie (spoiler alert - we get married later in the film), at a Pirate game.  There was a mother sitting with her two kids.  We broke down all the failures in her parenting after the game.  She sat down in her seat, and the two kids sat to her left.  That, in my estimation was her first mistake (I'd have split them up, one on either side of me, or so I told my girlfriend).  She bargained, she threatened, she failed to follow through on threat after threat, she coaxed, and she cajoled.  We tsked to ourselves and thought about all the ways we'd never fail at parenting.  Until we became parents and failed at all of them many, many times.


And it's not just parenting.  It's everything.  I never knew more about politics than I did before I went out and got a job, got married, had kids and sent them to school.  I never knew more about other people's weight problems than I did when I was 6' tall and 150 pounds.  I never knew more about unemployment than I did before I left college to get a job.  I never knew more about disability than I did before I had a disabled child. 


Experience teaches so much, but overall I think the most important thing it teaches is how little we really know about anything, how important it is not to pass judgement on someone else's decisions or approach because unless you have experience with it. . . you don't KNOW anything.  It teaches empathy, or it should.  It teaches patience, or it should.  


I hope it's understood that the above implies I'm aware I still make the mistake of judging people without having experienced what they've experienced, but I do try.  I do continue to experience and learn and grow.  Sometimes it is important to remember that some of our harshest critics are just kids themselves, and as intelligent as they may be, if I may quote Inspector Douglas Todd from "Beverly Hills Cop", ". . . you got great potential, but you don't know every fucking thing."  There's some comfort in remembering that some of the most cutting rebukes we receive as a parents are coming from people who. . . for lack of a better phrase, just, "don't know every fucking thing."  Nobody does.


So we sat and watched Ippy pass his judgement on my past parenting blunders and I thought this:  
I thought I was a picky eater until I met my wife. I thought my wife was a picky eater until we had our first daughter, Emma. I thought Emma was a picky eater until we had our autistic daughter, Lily. I thought Lily was a picky eater until we applied for feeding therapy and learned that other children were being fed from tubes.

There's always something more. Someone always has it "worse" or "different". You don't KNOW what people are dealing with until you trouble yourself to learn or experience it first hand.

And that made me think about this post. . . the ironic idea that with every new truth revealed to us there is still so much about which we remain ignorant; our learning broadens our understanding of how little we know.


Apply this "lesson" however you wish, but if I'm to make this an Autism Community-Specific post, I'll say this.  It bothers me to see well-meaning parents harshly criticized by childless autistic adults.  I don't necessarily always disagree with their criticisms, but the repeated theme is that because they are autistic, they know better what to do and what not to do with your autistic children.  And that's just not a good argument. 


Emma said, "I know what kids would eat because *I'm* a kid."  


I looked at her and replied, "Yeah, but just being a kid doesn't mean you know how to RAISE kids."  


Being autistic doesn't mean you know how to raise autistic kids.  Some of the bluntest critiques leveled at parents of autistic kids are coming from newly minted autistic adults.  Razor sharp minds in that group, let me tell you.  I read their blogs. . . I often have to reread them because their brains are three steps ahead of mine.  But that doesn't mean they know every fucking thing.  


This post isn't about anything that's happened to me.  It's not prompted by any specific blogospheric occurrence, but it's something that I've thought a lot about in general during my brief stint here posting blogs, and reading others' blogs, observing the friction and factions and sort of just trying not to make waves.  And there have been a few posts I've read that got my blood boiling and made me want to engage. . . parents killing their autistic kids, parents seeking a 'cure', restraining/not restraining, etc.  Their are just some topics where, if I'd have read them in a vacuum I'd have thought, "wow, good point, I never thought about that, you're totally right," then reading the exact opposite view point (in the same vacuum) would have thought the exact same thing.  Reading the comments, the judgements, and the criticism by whichever side you wish is what makes my blood boil.  Too much judgement, not enough understanding.


We are all still learning.  The more we learn the more we find out we don't know.  Even our harshest critics may someday learn that the criticisms they leveled at us weren't justified once viewed through the lens of real experience.  So try to deflect a little of that criticism's cut with the understanding that the person expressing it may just not really get it, even if it does make your blood boil.  


Unless you're just a shitty parent.  Then I guess you got what you deserved.  


76 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I only get friendly commenters who agree here, for some reason. ;)

      Delete
  2. To quote another movie character: "Excellent!"

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes. I remember when I used to know everything. I'm working on being better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember a time when I didn't even understand when older people accused me of thinking I knew it all.

      Delete
  4. Let's say that for a nanosecond that this could be solely about all kids and all parenting and ALL judgement ( I know, too broad). I, too, am so very guilty. I thought I knew more. Me, the smart little major in ECE. Me, the preschool teacher who had no kids of my own. Me, who other parents asked advice from.
    I was stupid. So very stupid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it really IS about all kids and all parenting. . . I had to add that little bit to make it more special needs specific.

      Delete
    2. Same here. My undergrad was in Child and Adol. Psych. I taught in sp ed classrooms from ECE through high school. I volunteered in the NICU after my niece was born as a micro-preemie. I was the person that everyone came to for parenting advice. And I doled it out, right along with my judgement.

      This happened even after my first son-- as he (I now know) was one of the easiest infants/young children to raise. Then my second son came along, and changed everything. There is not a single thing that Ant does, says, or responds to that follows common sense or a textbook. He is the most unique creature I've seen in my life. I don't have an autistic or disabled child, but in some ways, I think every child has special needs. I didn't see my first son's until after my second son was born. I can't judge a parent on their choices with their children now, because I know that so many individuals wouldn't understand mine-- or my children, for that matter.

      Delete
  5. This is such a wise post. I am not autistic and do not have an autistic child, so what I'm about to say might totally miss the point, and please (please) correct me if it does. But is being an autistic adult criticizing parents of autistic kids any different than being a non-autistic adult criticizing parents of non-autistic kids? Kids grow up into adults, period. And once there, it's pretty easy to look back and snarl about how you would have raised yourself - whatever your particular set of needs and differences and challenges. It's almost impossible to know what you would do in a situation you've never been in, no matter how vividly you imagine it, because there's always some factor you haven't accounted for. (For example, I'd like to believe that come the zombie apocalypse I'll be TOTALLY BRAVE AND BADASS, but if I'm totally honest with myself I know I'm going to be a freaked-out little shaky kitten and probably get eaten first.) And staying humble about that, while sometimes very difficult does mean you don't wind up having to admit you were utterly and completely wrong quite so often...

    Also, we totally ate at the table together every night, we totally ate what my parents ate, they're great cooks, we had lovely dinners together, and my sister was still a picky eater. Not horribly, but it happened.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. no, you're right on target. At least to my point. . . that being an autistic adult doesn't qualify you to parent an autistic kid anymore than being an adult qualifies you to parent a kid. I mean, the BEAUTY of being autistic and raising an autistic child would be that YES. . . you know what your child is going through. But if you haven't raised an child. . . autistic or otherwise. . . your parenting advice has to be at minimum "suspect".

      Delete
  6. Excellent post. Quite often we're dealing with some kind of crazy challenges/issues with our son, and I may or may not write a post about said issues, but then I often remember how much "worse" or "harder" it could be. Truly, we are lucky because our son is healthy and, mostly, happy.

    And yes, we are all guilty of succombing to being judgy, I'm guilty too. Thanks for the reminder that we all need to check ourselves regularly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I judge this to be an excellent comment.

      Delete
  7. I too used to be judgemental sometimes. But when I had a son, that all changed quickly. Having a child with an ASD kind of forces you to look at things from a different perspective. And when I hear people make comments like Ippy, not only do I think about how they'll learn the hard way if they have kids. But I also try to imagine what they went through as a child. I was never forced to eat the same stuff as my parents, and I still don't like the look of beets to this day.

    It's almost like we're lucky to have been affected by an ASD. It gives us a tough lesson on accepting other for who they are. Which is something everyone could use.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do feel blessed at having Lily in my life. She's taught me so much about love and empathy, about parenting and patience. She makes me a better human being without question.

      Delete
  8. Just found your blog and really enjoy it! Post today is so true! I remember seeing a family at a restaurant allowing a child to sit, nose firmly pressed into a mini DVD player. I judged! Fast forward 4 years with my daughter and I say - whatever it takes to have a family night out.
    I am not always perfect but I definately judge other parents a lot less now. Except when it comes to car seats. A child not properly restrained brings about the full wrath of my judgement!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's at least covered by law. Stuff like "the law" makes parenting decisions easy.

      Delete
  9. All I can say is WOW! Some pretty deep stuff right here. And I couldn't agree more.

    I think by far, this is my absolute favorite thing you've written.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lisa. I think you just liked the Food Network reference! ;)

      Delete
    2. Damn! You found me out. I mean, who doesn't love the Food Network! I could watch it ALL DAY LONG. And I don't even like to cook.

      But that other stuff you wrote. That's good too ;)

      Delete
    3. Chopped. We're all about Chopped.

      Delete
  10. I think some decisions are indefensible. I might be preaching to the choir here, but I feel like there is a societal tendency to refuse to judge parents of kids with disabilities for committing a crime, in situations when we would judge any other parent. I feel terrible for anyone who kills or abuses anyone else, because I know terrible things are going on with them--but I also feel confident about saying their actions are wrong.

    That said, I agreed with what you were saying until you got specific and I started to wonder. I don't really get the whole trend (and sometimes business) of adults with autism giving advice to parents, because people with autism are not all that similar. Even if we were, having a lot in common with someone isn't the same as being able to be the person that they need (and overidentifying with your kid I'm guessing would not be a good thing either).

    The parent vs. disabled person conflicts tend to make me really depressed because it will feel like the parent (NOT you, ever) just doesn't "get" basic things about disability and isn't inclined to treat the average disabled stranger very well, but from their blogs you can always tell they care about their kids a lot. That actually makes me more depressed because it makes me realize what good intentions people have and how pretty much everyone starts out planning to do a better job than their parents and correct all their parents' mistakes. If I have disabled kids and try to raise them in a way that's positive about disability I will probably miss some huge other gaping hole in my parenting and they'll have to write a blog deconstructing everything I did wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really depresses me on both sides. The George Hodgins thing was in my head while I was writing this. It is indefensible that the media glossed over the victim of that crime and rushed to explain away the killer. That said, it touched off this whole idea that there was some epidemic of parents who feel justified killing their autistic kids hogwash and it made me really angry and sad at the same time.

      One of the few things in life that I've ever allowed myself to really feel passionate about is parenting, and because of that I see all the ways in which I feel like a failure as a parent daily. And unfortunately, it's extremely triggering to passionate parents to have their failings pointed out by people who have never had any experience with it. That doesn't always mean the criticism is unjust. . . it just makes for REALLY bad start to a meaningful dialog.

      I love reading your blog because of the insights I feel like I get from your experience. I don't feel unwelcome there, though I do sometimes feel out of place or awkward. There's soooo much I don't know about what it is to be autistic because I'm not. And unfortunately there's sooo much I don't know about being a parent even though I AM one. It's obviously a pretty personal deal to me.

      Delete
  11. Great post. Are you sure you're not an eighty-year old lady who watches the world from her front porch rocking chair? Lots of wisdom in your thoughts...if we're lucky, we all learn to give everyone some slack.

    The treat comes when you become a grandparent, and you see all children as gifts. It rocks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I sometimes find myself watching my kids develop into little adults. Emma moreso just because Lily's future isn't exactly extrapolatable to me right now. And I see the independence developing, and the rift that will eventually form, and I already miss the closeness we share now even though it isn't gone. . . and in those moments I find myself ridiculously looking forward to being a grandparent. *shakes head*

      Delete
  12. I sooooo wish that every childless person who gives me the "eyeball" while I grocery shop with my son (who appears to be a typical 8 or 9 year old, but is really a tall 7 yr old with PDD-NOS) could read this. & then I wish every parent without a special needs child who gives me the "eyeball" while I grocery shop with my son could read this too...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You hear it all your life but it's so hard to learn not to judge. . .

      Delete
  13. Great post! I used to side-eye a lot of things people did, then I got my pair of parenting shoes. Now, there are only a few things that cause me to judge, and they have to be pretty damn bad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still judge Britney Spears when her parenting blunders hit the media air waves. . . It's a guilty pleasure. Thanks!

      Delete
  14. When I was in school, I bought a small plaque for my dad for Christmas that read "Just when I knew all life's answers, they changed all the questions."

    So, yup... pretty much that. You nailed it, Jim.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I remember that little adage. Toss that one in with "judge not lest ye be judged" and something about walking a mile in another man's moccasins and we're right there!

      Delete
  15. Great post, Jim. It's tough not to be judgey. I think it's almost hard-wired into us to see something happening and think, "I wouldn't do it that way. I'D BE BETTER." As I get older, I catch myself putting myself in the other person's shoes a lot more often. Yes, I might do it differently - but who's to say what I'd do would be better? If it works for someone else, and as long as no one gets hurt - well, who cares, really?

    Also, I meant to watch The Next Food Network Star this summer and completely forgot. I'm just too busy. Grr. I really love that show, too. It's been one of my summer favorites for years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. its pretty brutal this year. i'm still upset that Aarti won last year. No idea what they're going to do with the cast of characters they have left to them THIS year.

      Delete
  16. I knew SO much more about raising kids before I had them. In fact, the longer I am in the parenting game, the less I know. Which should come as a surprise to no one.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I had a friend who raised three kids and he was sure he had it covered. He was always giving other people advice on how to raise theirs.
    But after his oldest stole all the credit cards and went on a spending rampage folllowed by his next oldest having two kids by two different fathers before she was twenty, he looked at me one day and said, "I don't know anything about kids."
    My response was that you do the best you can with the info you have at the time and the rest is up to your kids.
    I think you are describing the difference between theory and reality.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I don't think I was ever judgemental against parents before I became a parent, but I can say I was judgemental against children in general. I couldn't understand why anybody would want one of those things! Really. I had a cat and I couldn't imagine a kid being better than a pet. Laugh, but I'm serious. (I was young and stupid) And the idea of pregnancy! OMG! Obviously, my views changed and I did decide I wanted a child in my late twenties. It was the best thing I've ever done. I became so kid friendly that I even started a home daycare for awhile. Now I'm not only not judgemental against parents but I'm not judgemental against children either. I didn't even get that upset when the 6 yr old girl down the street threw a boulder at my car as I was driving past her house one day. I still like my cats though. My son actually thinks he's a cat. Pets are great. I'm not judgemental against pet owners either unless they let their dog poop in my yard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think your lack of judgementalness comes from living on the beach. If I lived on the beach I wouldn't judge anyone either. I'd just hang out. On the beach.

      Delete
    2. I don't live on the beach full time except last Fall to be closer to my son's college. We mostly live in Birmingham, AL. But here I hang out by the pool. I think it's the wine and the tequila that makes me less judgemental. It goes with me everywhere I go.

      Delete
  19. I had to snort because I saw the winner of last years food network challenge---she had her own show and she had 4 kids. I almost choked on my own spit when she said something along the lines of, "see, when I make chicken all of my kids will eat it. I never make more than one meal for dinner because they all eat it....and yours will too!" I wanted to choke her on her own chicken.

    Anyway, it's hard not to judge--no matter who you are or no matter what your situation. Right when I think I have things nailed, the rules change. Anyone who thinks they're above it all better be willing to throw that first stone into their own home......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it IS hard. And eff her! Is that Aarti? stupid FNC.

      Delete
  20. I feel like I'm constantly learning the lesson that people aren't just like me. And I don't mean they're "worse," I mean they're different. I always try and keep that in mind when I can feel that judgy-ness get going. Although I do still get quite judgmental when I see people doing the same things over and over and not learning from them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Which reminds me. . . I'm constantly seeing super friend updates and waiting til later to look at them and forgetting! You're judging me right now, aren't you?

      Delete
  21. Holy crap! Listen to you being all wise and whatnot! Really a wonderful post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's all in the irony. . . thanks, Kristina! You're still going to spam, by the way, but I see when you comment because it goes to email. Then I just mark you as "not spam". I wonder what the dealio is.

      Delete
  22. I never knew how little I knew about raising kids until I had my own. And despite my best intentions, I suck horribly at parenting. So I try not to judge, even if I'm not always successful at it. This was very insightful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you liked it. It sounds like we're all pretty much blundering through our duties as parents here. . .

      Delete
  23. I was a great parent who knew all the answers...and then I had my own kids! I know I've always had the answers...and miraculously lose them right when it's time to put them into action. Dang!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Jim, somehow in this blog post you expressed what I didn't know I was thinking. When I commented on the self-advocate parent dialogues at TPGA I was called well-intentioned.
    Now I read some of my old well-intentioned blog posts and wince a bit. But you know what? I am doing the best I can with what I know now. And I try to learn more. My darn situation keeps changing ;-) so I have to learn still more. It's my job, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a shame that well-intentioned is like a backhanded compliment. I think every parent who loves his/her child is well-intentioned. The implication is that you're well-intentioned but still fucking it all up. The more sure I am of something today, the more embarrassed I am by it tomorrow. I don't know. . . we're all adrift to some extent!

      Delete
  25. I am/was also a judger of parents. I judged every parent in the grocery store, then I judged Manfriend's parenting skills...Then I was left alone with Cinderella and realized that all the things I thought I would do when a fit was thrown or the child didn't listen to me didn't work the way I thought they would. I remember trying to get her ready for Halloween when she was 3 and she was throwing the biggest fit. Manfriend looked at me, I looked at him, and he said, "Is it wrong to be scared of your own child?" I suppose there is probably something wrong with that, but at that moment I felt like we were in it together, completely clueless. There really isn't any right way to do "parenting."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep! ^5. You have it even worse, because at least when you're fucking up your own kid you can puff out your chest and say. . . "what? It's mine! I can do whatever I want with it!" When you're helping the parent you not only are aware you know nothing but you're also aware that you may be stepping over some weird parental boundary. It's lose-lose.

      I have a friend who divorced and remarried. The dynamic between the new wife and the existing children is. . . complicated.

      Delete
  26. ***Standing ovation*** Truly, great post. You, sir, express yourself so well. I know I'm ignorant of many, many things. And I keep that in mind now, much of the time but I'm learning.

    I really want to say I don't judge but I think we all do it in our heads. And most of us are competitive - when you put together any competitive streak and outside world - you are naturally going to judge. Whether you are a "good" judge depends on the level of ignorance you acknowledge you have, right? I think it would be great if Food Network did a show where it taught you how to make multiple different dinners from some combo of like - 5 ingredients to suit several different picky eaters instead of trying to convince everyone that their food is so good that anyone would eat it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Karen, I would sooooo watch that show! With my 3 very different, and picky, eaters, it would be a lifesaver! Patent that idea--asap!

      Delete
    2. I could run that show. Although the ingredients would be completely different. Noodles and cheese for Emma, some chicken dish or other for us, hot dogs for Lily. Voila! Family dinner!

      Delete
    3. A good idea for a show! Maybe call it 5 Alive....

      Delete
  27. You said it perfectly! My child is not autistic, but undiagnosed. Developmentally she is about a year old. So at three years of age we get all the "well meaning" comments and advice. Some of it is warranted, and some of it makes me want to scream: Try dealing with a minute of my life the next time you have an hour to spare.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The implication is clear, regardless of how well-meaning, "I could do it better," or, "you're doing it wrong."

      Delete
  28. Wait. . . .Ippy's a dude??

    Excellent point, Jim. I never thought of it from this angle, but you really nailed it.

    I took my son to his first Phillies game last week. Against the Pirates. (Yeah, sorry about that. Ok, not really.) Luckily there were no childless Pittsburg fans sitting near us or they would have TORN ME UP.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He is. He has. . . unconventional features.

      Thanks, Grace. As for the Phillies. . . bygones. Go Bucs!

      Delete
  29. This is such an excellent post! It's so validating for those of us who have felt judged, and such a great reminder for those of us who have done the judging (pretty sure we've all been on both sides at some point.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I think it's pretty normal not only to do it, but also to regret it, when experience shows you your own hypocrisy. Or it should be.

      Delete
  30. I tried really hard to comment on this post a couple of days ago on my phone, but was ultimately unsuccessful. That is 15 minutes I will never get back.

    I don't remember exactly what I was going to say, but I think it was along the lines of the fact that I was also an awesome parent before I had kids. (I was also an awesome iPhone commenter before I had a comment, but that is neither here nor there.)

    Also, I believe that unless you are the specific parent of a specific child, you can't know what is going on with that child and probably shouldn't offer parenting advice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The iphone is not spectacularly suited for blog commenting. I'm sorry for the pain and suffering this caused. . .

      Delete
  31. Great post. My son is incredibly picky about what he eats. Heck, he doesn't even like soda because he says it's too "spicy." I never press him on it because I HATED when my parents forced me to eat stuff that I did not like.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hated it too! Peas. Peas and creamed corn. Ugh.

      Delete
  32. I don't know a thing about raising the little bitty people. I know we had to sit at the table until all our food was gone, and we didn't have a dog, so it was harsh. And now I can't stop eating if there's food in front of me. So it worked out pretty well, especially after I branched out into alcohol. Pretty sure I'd have been an ideal mother.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We had a dog, but the damn thing didn't eat table scraps.

      Delete
  33. I work really hard on not judging because I was a great judge until the day I was judged. True story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't really follow that. But I'm pretty sure it was "that" cryptic for that particular reason.

      Delete
  34. What really gets me as an adult sister of an autistic child who often cares for the child. Is when complete strangers come up to you and comment on how either thoroughly horrible the child is and how bad you are at "controlling" an obviously 'special' child, or how wonderful they are and that you are so great at it. Those that care for 'special' children are neither great or horrible we all find what works and doesn't work. My sister is prone to violent outbursts and is horrible at expressing feelings. She changes what she like and dislikes on a daily basis. As we like to say in our family we fly by the seat of our pants most days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People are "funny" that way. Judgement is the worst. The more sensitive I become to it, the more sensitive I am before judging others. Behavior is communication, they say, and it is never more true than when dealing with someone with whom communication is a struggle.

      I do a LOT of pant's seat flying. I'm a pant's seat pilot. Thank you for flying the friendly skies.

      Delete
  35. Hi Jim: I'm obviously coming to this convo VERY late :) but I just wanted to say:

    "Too much judgement, not enough understanding."

    Holy crap, you have hit the nail on the head with this. I was nodding all the way along to the notion of knowing more about parenting BEFORE becoming a parent myself. Now I realize I know almost nothing about everything parent-related :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, David! Welcome to ignorance, population: us.

      Delete