Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Organic Parenting

If you’ve ever watched daytime television, you have probably run across the sleazy talk shows that huddle together in the early afternoon. The hosts of these shows draw out the worst impulses of the most pathetic people on the planet. They yell. They cry. They throw things. It really makes you feel better about your own family.

Anyway, the themes of these shows are frequently a conflict between couples: “My Mother Hates My Wife,” “Prove the Kid Is Mine or I Walk,” or “Is He Cheating On Me?” One of the most common themes is a battle between the housewife and the working husband. Over and over again, husbands are shown complaining that their food isn’t ready when they get home or that their wives don’t clean the house often enough and that they think their wives just sit around all day long. The wives always respond the same way: “Raising children is a full-time job!”

(As a side note: I once asked my mother how she managed to raise two children, cook three meals a day, keep the cleanest house I have ever seen, become a college professor and then dean if raising children is a full time job. Her response: “Doing the laundry is a full-time job if you want it to be.”)

Having children of my own, I’ve come to accept that, while raising children may not be a full time job, it’s certainly a grueling, part-time job. Here are some of the daily tasks a parent of young children must accomplish:
  • Dress child while clothes are thrown at you.
  • Feed child while food is thrown at you.
  • Change child’s diaper while poop is thrown at you.
  • Brush child’s teeth while being bitten.
  • Get child to school while being screamed at.
  • Put child to bed while being hit.
It can be overwhelming until you take the organic perspective. Yeah, you read that right, we should parent like organic farmers. Organic farming is based on the idea that doing things the natural way is the best. No artificial herbicides or pesticides, no genetically modified crops, just growing food the way our ancestors did. In fact, there’s a group of diet books called “cave man diets” which take that philosophy one step further; they feel you should only eat what our ancestors ate 9,000 years ago. So, why not parent the same way?

Here’s some of the priorities in raising a child that the modern (non-organic) parent has:
  • Teach child to read, write, and do math
  • Instill proper moral and social values
  • Feed child healthy, well-balanced meal
  • Teach tolerance to all peoples and respect for diversity
  • Gently but firmly punish harmful activities
  • Expose child to foreign languages
  • Make sure child get exercise and tries a variety of sports
  • Ensure child is properly immunized, but not so much that the child develops autism
  • Save for college
  • Dress child fashionably enough so they aren’t ridiculed but not so much that they become a snob
  • Teach manners
  • Help child make many friends
  • Help child think about possible future careers
  • Keep child alive and free from harm
  • Keep child psychologically healthy
  • Show no favoritism between children
  • Create a warm, nurturing environment

In contrast, here’s the priorities of an organic parent:

  • Make sure your child reaches adulthood alive

And that’s it! Think of how much easier our lives would be if we just followed the examples of our ancestors. No more devoting all of your spare income to a college fund. No more worrying about how much television or junk food your child gets. No more parenting books, age-appropriate toys, or after-school activities. No more worrying! Parent-teacher conferences will be faster (“Still alive?” “Yup.” “Okay, thanks!”). Parents will feel free to spank their kids in public again. In fact there will be no point in even getting involved in your children’s lives unless you see them playing with firearms or chasing oncoming cars.

So, parents of the world, rally behind the flag of organic parenting. You have nothing to lose, except a few of your children’s fingers!

Who’s with me?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sex = Fun?

I’m a bit of a word freak, having eighteen or so English degrees, and lately I’ve been having trouble with an expression: “Sex is fun.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying sex isn't fun. However, the word “fun” isn’t really an appropriate to description. It’s a gross simplification at best and a complete misrepresentation at worst.

I mean, baseball is fun... Well, alright, it isn’t, but people pretend it is so they can have an excuse to drink beer and eat hot dogs for all sixteen hours of the game. Anyway, if baseball can be described as fun, how can we possibly describe sex, with all its cultural significance and taboos, with the same word?

I doubt my wife would divorce me if she found me playing baseball with another woman. There aren’t any states that have laws banning baseball between people of the same gender. We don’t keep lists of people who were convicted of forcing children to play softball.

Now that I think about it, that last one is a good idea. We should get started on it.

Maybe I’m wrong, though. Maybe sex should be treated exactly like baseball. We should build giant stadiums (Trojan Stadium, KY Field), form teams (Ontario Orgasms, Florida Foreplays, Texas Teases), and start little league teams.

Who’s up for a tailgate party?