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.”

Zamboni is asked about Parenting

I, Zamboni was recently asked by someone, “why do I always feel I fail as a parent?” This was my response:

Yes, you are a failure as a parent.

But this is not only good, THIS IS your job as parent. I explain. We will all fail, Zamboni included, as parents, in various degrees. But is good to remember, not many interviews with genius artists do I read in Estonian Times when people say, “yes, my parents paid me much attention and always supported every dream and desire I ever had.” No. Is much more common you read, “my father spoke to me twice and my mother talked to the silverware.” Then the person explains, “so I retreated into my own special world of imagination and that is why I have now Nobel Prize.”

So, Zamboni is not saying to mistreat your child, just to ignore them a little more than you do, for their own good, not just for your own web surfing or golf time.

Zamboni have young son, Zamboni jr. I play much baseball with him, but sometime I say, “no, i dont feel like it”, and then I see young Zamboni pout a bit, then lie on floor and make little pieces of dust talk to each other. Now, you might say, “oh Zamboni, you are cruel, you make son talk to dust on floor!” But I say, no, Zamboni jr. having very valuable time talking to dust on floor. In those moments he builds mental strength, imagination, self-sufficiency. After all, who do we have to spend most time with in this life?


How would Zamboni jr. make it in life if he never learn to friend himself?