This Thursday, August 27 at 6:00 p.m. PT/9:00 p.m. ET we will discuss the ubiquitous problem of relationships and kids. Can they co-exist (well)? Gina Schreck is our special guest on this topic.
My wife took me to see Nancy Meyer’s new movie, It’s Complicated, which stars Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin. She had seen it a day or two before and wanted to see it with me saying, “It would be good for us.” Honestly, I do tend to like what is typically labeled “chick flicks” but don’t like director Nancy Meyer’s perfect world, perfect rich characters, perfect looking people, dressed and coifed just perfectly. But, for the sake of marital harmony, I agreed.
I didn’t expect what followed. Throughout the It’s Complicated, my wife was jabbing me in the ribs whenever she wanted me to notice a point being made that she felt related to me or us. So, I left with bruised ribs, which ached even more towards the end of the movie during the one, truly hilarious scene. I really enjoyed laughing that hard, in spite of the pained ribs, which I’ve totally exaggerated for sympathy anyway.
Raising kids, like many things in life, involves many factors but luck is a key factor. Raising kids takes a lot of luck. I’ve faced recent reminders about this when I attended the Bar Mitzvah of a young man with severe learning disabilities, whose parents had the poor luck that he had these problems. Or, the recent visit from my best friend who shared a conversation he just had with his wife in which they were each trying to figure out what they did wrong that resulted in their three adult children lacking any career focus in their lives. And, finally, the two men I know who are suffering the horrors of dealing with late teen or young adult drug addicts.
In the world of show business, to illustrate another world and example, do you really think the big stars in Hollywood are the most talented? While I love Jennifer Lopez and do indeed think she is quite talented, there was a certain degree of luck that they were making a movie about the life of Selena when J.Lo was just beginning her career. If her first movie had been a flop, would we be seeing her in every celebrity magazine?
It isn’t just a factor in Vegas. It’s a factor in everything in life. And, I believe it’s one of the biggest influences in how our kids turn out. Yes, every yuppie thinks they will do it better than every generation before and many of us do make parenting a bigger priority, but I assert raising kids takes luck!
Coming from a showbiz background, I saw how luck was a contributor to so many people’s success. Why did one actor “luck out” and get a career-making role like J.Lo in “Selena” while another whose name we don’t even remember got their “break” in what turned out to be a flop? Luck.
Cosmo, the wonderful Donald O’Connor star of “Singin’ In The Rain” sang “Make ‘Em Laugh” in that seminal musical number, but I say “Give ‘Em Luck,” for life and kid success. A little laughter along the way won’t hurt though. In fact, I’d suggest watching that number whenever you need a lift. We all know parents that have done everything “right” yet have kids who are addicts, failures at school, and more. We also know many lazy, lousy parents whose kids turned out great.
I don’t believe we should just rely on luck, but don’t discount it either. And, don’t beat yourself up when your kids disappoints and blame yourself or your spouse, or your divorce, or your own problems. That can make a difference, of course, and we all should do our best job at parenting. Luck is a non-negotiable, uncontrollable factor but, what do I know; I’m just a guy. But I will still assert – raising kids takes luck!
I know my column is from my personal perspective, and often about my personal life. Yet I feel this topic is more confessional than many others and affects me too often. I take things too personally. Having this deficiency is truly toxic when you are raising kids or beginning a new marriage, both of which define my present state of affairs.
Let’s give some examples and see how many of you relate to them. Easy ones are when ShortRib (my wife) isn’t smiling, isn’t talking much, or doesn’t respond quickly to an e-mail, or text of mine. I always assume that it’s my fault or something I’ve done.