Thursday, August 21, 2014

"Excellent Sheep" by William Deresiewicz


NYT

He speaks directly to students, giving this advice, for example, about cracking the mold while at college: “Don’t talk to your parents more than once a week, or even better, once a month. Don’t tell them about your grades on papers or tests, or anything else about how you’re doing during the term.” He concludes this litany this way: “Make it clear to them that this is your experience, not theirs.”
(Note to my children: This is excellent advice. If you take it, I will kill you.)


This excerpt is from a review of "Excellent Sheep" by William Deresiewicz which appeared in the New York Times.

The parenthetical statement was made by the reviewer, Dwight Garner, in the middle of the review. I find that comment strange and somewhat disturbing, and not just because the fellow just threatened to murder his children.

Thanksgiving chez Garner might be a bit awkward this year.
 
 
One of the points of college is for young adults to separate from their families of origin, i.e., to gradually demonstrate that they no longer need their parents. To do that, they need time and space away from their parents, and a minimum level of parental interference in their lives. Parents who attempt to micromanage their kids' college years usually claim that they are protecting their educational investment or helping the kid do what he cannot do himself. What they are actually doing is ensuring that the kid delays maturity for as long as possible. Why? So they (the parents) don't have to move into the next stage of their development -- the no longer necessary parents of adult offspring.

Mr. Garner is moved to homicidal madness by the threat that he will no longer be a central figure in his childrens' lives. This is the height of narcissism.

 
 
 
 
 




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