Nanny in NYC

A modern day Mary Poppins

Friday, March 31, 2006

Fatalism?

I've been enjoying reading the various reactions to "Up with Grups," some of it heartening, some of it not so much. On Alarm-Alarm (a film & culture commentary blog) I read this:
The one place where he might have found some unique material to mine was in the way these Grups raise their kids. But although he takes pains to make his subjects seem like bleeding edge parents who look out for their children’s musical tastes, he ends up exposing the Earth-shattering revelations that… parents want to raise kids with similar values.

Thus, parents who value strong aesthetics, whether in music, fashion, or whatever, will make that an issue with their kids. If these parents are different than a previous generation, it’s only because so many Boomers sought to instill their relativistic, figure-it-out-yourself ethos in their kids by not teaching them anything.


It reminded me a simple truth about raising kids that I think I'd overlooked when I was first reading Sternbergh's article.

My parents, as I've mentioned before, adopted two children after they had me "the old fashioned way." My father is a chef and my mother is a rather experimental cook at home. Both will eat pretty much anything, so they vowed early on not to raise picky eaters. They had various methods from force to manipulation to outright lies. They applied these methods to myself and my sisters, and as a result I will eat anything you put in front of me (except olives, they're the devil). Success, right? Wrong! K. (my middle sister, who happens to be Asian) hates fatty foods, red meat and anything dairy but her first trip to the sushi bar was like a return to the mothership, S. (my baby sister) on the other hand, eats chips, salsa, candy, dessert, eggs, cheese, iced tea, coke . . . and I'm pretty sure that's it. She once screamed when she saw an artichoke.

The point of this story? My parents had lofty goals, but the truth of the matter is that I was bound to be diverse in my palette because of who my parents are, not what they did to me. The same is true for K. & S. My parents probably broadened their horizons a tad bit, but that's all. Most of these things are simply immovable. Your kids are who they're going to be, plain and simple. If you're bound and determined to raise them to have a highly developed "aesthetic" and that is one of your major goals as a parent, and this article leads us to believe it is for Grups, most likely you'll end up with kids who have a highly developed aesthetic--but not because of any effort you put forth but because you made that child and you pass on your values as easily as you pass on your DNA.

There have always been this type of "cool parent" in the world, it's not a new phenomena. If Sternbergh can be believed, however, it's a sensation that is sweeping the nation, and that's what has me a little bit worried. In the blogoshpere, however, these worries don't seem prevelant. What is prevelant is an attitude of "Oh goodness, here's another article trying to make us believe that what a small group of rich, bored New Yorkers are doing will effect us all--but it won't".

That makes me feel much better.

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