Tuesday, October 24, 2006

so here's a question...

There are certain cause->effect pairs that don't seem too hard to understand.
If I set my alarm, I am more likely to wake up on time.
If I do laundry, I will have clean clothes to wear.
If I go to bed early, I am more likely to be rested the next day.
If I do my homework, I'll be more likely to pass my classes.

And their related pairs:
If I don't set my alarm, I won't wake up on time.
If I don't do laundry, I won't have clean clothes.
If I go to bed late, I will be tired the next day.
If don't do my homework, I won't pass my classes.

And some other general truths:
Time passes.
Gravity exists.
Entropy happens.
Life requires some measure of effort.

So my question is: what is wrong with teenagers that they think these things don't apply in their lives? It's not that they merely hope there will be an exception in their particular case, they appear to actually count on it.

They live their lives as though they've been given a special get-out-of-Newton's-laws-free card.

They choose an action A that 90% of the time results in effect B, and then cry when B happens.

When reminded of a certain cause-effect relationship, they either scornfully insist they already *know* that, or they cite a ridiculous example where the rule does not apply (Well, if I were Superman, I could fly around the earth really fast and reverse its direction and roll back time and get more sleep; or if I were a horse I could sleep standing up during the afternoon; so you see you're wrong, Dad -- you don't *always* have to go to bed early in order to feel rested the next day.")

And if *I* were a horse, you could shoot me. Aargh.


At Tue Oct 24, 12:24:00 PM PDT, Blogger bryan torre said...

PS. Like I said, some days are more frustrating than other days.

I am reminded of an article I read in a business magazine recently. Quick n dirty, what the owner wants (level of service, let's say) is represented by a salt-shaker in the center of a table. Employees will move the saltshaker off-center (ie, do something other than provide the svc the owner wants) for a myriad of reasons.

If the owner wastes time being angry about that, he/she is doing it wrong. The owner needs to just accept that the EEs by their nature will move the saltshaker off-center, and consistently, gently, and firmly move it back to center.

That's what I'd like to do more with my parenting. Being firm, gentle, and consistent in moving the shaker back can be hard. It's easier to get mad and frustrated and give the message "You're so stupid, why aren't you better?".

Buess I'll save that for my blog, where I can present it in a way that everyone -- Sam & David included -- can understand that it's more about catharsis and using my frustration for others' entertainment. Or something.

At Tue Oct 24, 08:59:00 PM PDT, Blogger Andi said...

At least you know where the shakers are supposed to be, you even know they exist...in contrast to most of the parents of my former students.

At Tue Oct 24, 09:42:00 PM PDT, Blogger jay are said...

I'm glad we're neither of us horses...if you find any answers to your questions, please let me know!!
Thanks for the laugh (though I know in the moment it isn't so funny).

At Wed Oct 25, 10:38:00 PM PDT, Blogger SoozeSchmooze said...

I am glad no one is a horse either.
That is a very nicely told story
...I sure enjoy everyone's kids.. they work so hard to make them into wonderful, kind, sweet, human beings...not to mention clever, entertaining, amazing, and multi-talented..I just want to say Thanks for all you do!! and ummm I guess it isn't everyone that does try so I really admire that part...
that you try!


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