Recently a reader, Mike Z, asked me, “Dear Zamboni, it seems like I am always failing at being a parent, why is this?”
Well, Mike, it might interest you to know, that in the ancient and obsolete -spoken by nobody anymore except Zamboni and my grandmother- Estonian provincial dialect known as Gershvartz, the word for failure and for parenting is indeed the same, “kornfeldtx”.
Why is this? Because children are very hit and miss. It’s sort of like toasters before the Singing Revolutuion when my Estonia lived under iron fist of USSR. The Russian-made toasters were very inconsistent and unreliable. Some worked, some blew your face off. It is like that with children. Yes we “made” them but really they are gifts given to us for temporary custodianship and what we get is what we get. Smart parents can get a thick-brained nogoodnik- dense parents may get a Nobel prize winner.
Does the environment they are raised in count? Sure, look at me and my identical twin George Clooney. George was raised in the Hollywood mileu and became great actor. I, Zamboni was raised by illiterate cheese farmers and then adopted by a great Baron- see?
My point is this Mike: parenting is a rough road. Your children will have as many problems as you, just different problems. You can’t prevent this. Well maybe some you can, but no one is perfect. My advice to you is this- change the way you think of this concept of, “failure”. Also, if you aren’t the brightest bulb in the six pack or maybe you wear Crocs with socks- then get your child to be around friends and family who are a little wittier or at least have nice shoes with some style. Your child will always look up to you most and first- but that doesn’t mean they don’t need coaches, cool aunts, cool teachers, and groovy grandparents…
So…. I encourage you to keep failing, keep failing…
Like my old Squash coach used to say at Estonian A&M: “Zamboni, you either learn to fail, or you fail to learn.”