The NY Times Blog solicited from their readers the best advice they received from their parents. Here are the winners, and my reactions…
Don’t be rude to the wait staff. This is generally good advice. I’ve been waitstaff, so I know how it feels to be treated rudely by a demanding customer. Many waiters are on their feet running back and forth and trying to juggle several tables at once on a busy night. I think customers should try to be understanding and forgiving of mistakes, and if they feel mistreated by the waiter, let the tip go down to ten percent (never 0% unless your food didn’t come at all or you were punched in the face). For a good blog by one of those full-time waiters go here.
If you need help, ask for help. Duh? This is good advice? I’m slightly annoyed by this advice because sometimes I want my kids to take care of themselves. I guess it depends what kind of help we’re talking about. The maxim doesn’t really specify whether this is help in an emergency or help opening the peanut butter jar. Maybe it doesn’t matter, but I’m anti-helicopter-parenting, so that is where that comes from.
It’s okay to go up the slide, even though the rules say you may only go down. This is the one that seriously drives me crazy. Speaking as someone who is non-traditional and subversive, I don’t understand why you would let your kid go up and down the slide and trample all over the little toddlers trying to slide down. I see this so often at the playground, and it makes me so irate. First, someone could get hurt going up a tube slide when another kid is going the appropriate direction. Second, it’s bad manners to go up a slide and disobey the rules. Third, your kids in the damn way- get off the slide, ya crazy kid!!!
Learn the words “Thank You.” How to say it. How to receive it. Now the trick is getting my daughter to say “thank you” without being prompted. It drives me bonkers that I have to remind her to be gracious and apologetic when she should know by now (age three). Shouldn’t she know? Bonkers!
Always go outside when the sun is out. Never when it’s raining? That might be fun. What about at dusk? Catching fireflies can be cool, right? Oops…cloudy outside, better stay in because Mommy’s advice says always to go out when the sun is out. I think this could be more specific, like “quit whining and go play outside if you’re bored.” As an overly-critical aside, this advice doesn’t play well in Death Valley or the deserts of Australia.