How parenting has changed
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5 min read
We all like to think we know our parents well, that we have a pretty firm grasp on who they are, how they parented us, the kinds of things they would or wouldn’t do.
Then, every once in a while, they surprise us. We learn, for example, that our dad and his college roommates once set all their furniture on fire to heat their apartment.1 Or that our mom was really into racquetball.
My parents were, and are, truly A+ parents. They were loving but firm, selfless, incredibly organized. They’d go above and beyond. Each holiday season, for example, they’d orchestrate a herculean assemblage of traditions—cookies, advent calendars, perfectly formed ash footsteps left by Santa2 (on newspaper, to avoid ruining the floors), beautifully wrapped gifts. Having raised six kids into generally well-adjusted adults,3 I consider them to be a model for what parenting should be.
So upon becoming a parent myself, I’ve been surprised to learn how often they were just…winging it.