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Wow! It’s Wednesday! Things We Might Want To Teach Our Children

I’ve grown out of the habit of reading child-rearing books, but as Betty gets older, I feel like there are a lot of books that I would just love to read, but I’m not seeing including …

1. The Art of Self: Teaching Your Kid How To Be Happy Being Herself. I really want Betty to be herself. And more than that, I want Betty to want to be herself. I love kids that represent for themselves, but how does one teach that? I had a hard time learning this one my own dang self.

2. Hey Big Talker: Speaking Skills for an Articulate Future. As someone who really has to struggle not to stutter too much and to speak in coherent sentences, I find it annoying that only stutterers and young actors are given elocution lessons these days. Really shouldn’t there be a ton of books on how to raise an articulate kid? Good elocution will only improve your child’s life, no matter s/he decides to do.

3. I Don’t Care What You Think: Being Okay With Not Being Liked. One of the best things that happened to me growing up was not being liked. It taught me how to be okay with being strange, and it allowed me to go after what I wanted, without the crippling need for approval. Of course we live in a country that is bent on getting you to seek out other’s approval, so that you’ll buy more makeup, clothes, and other crap that you don’t need. Women, especially are at a disadvantage under this system. We often spend money we should be saving on clothes and other non-essentials. For example, I always thought I couldn’t afford art classes, but when I saw the pile of clothes from my starving writer years at our recent garage sale, I realized that I had spent money that I could have used for art classes on wardrobe. I hope Betty can see the wisdom in buying a four or five nice outfits for work and using the rest for life-enhancing, not looks-enhancing.

4. Social Skills 101. Though I’ve made my peace with being unpopular and I’m okay with not being liked, I do wish I had more social skills. Social skills are like money. You don’t technically need a lot of them, but having a lot of them certainly makes life easier. What’s even more upsetting is that the more I practice my social skills, the better they become. Imagine if I had been practicing them from childhood, then I’d now have enough social skills to feel confident in my own ability to teach Betty social skills. But alas, that is not the case, so cue Awkward Kid the Sequel.

5. Do What You Love. I love being a writer. But it took 28 years for me to learn to be okay with that. It’s like seeing a guy you want, and saying, “I love that guy,” then doing everything but trying to talk directly to that guy. I wish I had gotten in writing’s face as soon as I realized that I loved it. I wish that instead of whispering about my crush behind writing’s back, that I’d declared my love and gone after the career I wanted from the age of 7. I joke a lot that I don’t want Betty to become an artist, and the truth is, I really don’t. But in the future, if she says, “Mom, I want to [insert whatever artistic endeavor here].” I’ll say, “Okay, honey, then commit to it, and if you discover that this really is the career you want to spend the rest of your life with, hold on and never let go.”