LeBron Gets the Standing O, Not You
Is this another downstream, unintended
consequence of all of those soccer trophies given to every player whether his
team won or not? Or is this just self-esteem run amok?
What I am talking about is a new
phenomenon I had not noticed before. (Of course, given my level of perception
of the zeitgeist, I could have just missed this one like I did Game of Thrones,
the X-Men films and Kanye West).
The Beautiful Wife and I noticed on a
recent plane trip the abundance of fathers caring for children under 10. That’s
a good thing. What is not is that each of these men was seeking applause for
his efforts or worse, expecting our help in dealing with his children. Excuse
me, but why should I care? It may take a village to raise a child, but surely I
can opt to live elsewhere besides your village when I am confined to a metal
tube hurtling through the atmosphere at 500 miles per hour with no alternative
entertainment, food or civility among the crew.
These “peres nouvelle” allow their kids to
crawl anywhere, including over you. They encourage the use of electronic
devices playing Frozen at ear-piercing volume. (Can’t the kids have a pair of
headphones?) The floor by the seat of one of these traveling, paternalistic
disasters looked like Times Square on January 1 at 10 AM. There was rubbish and
food everywhere the little darlings had inhabited and surely Dad left it all
there for someone else to clean it up. Can you imagine a woman allowing that to
occur? Me neither.
Guys, I understand that you are trying to
help the wife get through the day. Perhaps she’s the main bread-winner given
this awful economy. Sure she deserves a rest from running after the kids you
and she brought into this world. But even if she doesn’t, I do. If you cannot
control your children or if you expect some recognition from me about the
wonderfulness of yourself for caring for your offspring—forget it. Not
interested. I had my time in the diaper
brigade and that was long before the invention of the multiple electronic
distractions you can put in front of your kids today. All we had was dinosaur
coloring books and Sesame Street cassette tapes.
But what really got to me was the poor
ability of most of these fathers to father—especially their daughters. They are
so overwhelmed with the fact that they finally had a woman other than their
mother who would make demands they could actually fulfill and be pleased by
their responsiveness to their requests that they couldn’t get over themselves.
Surprise! I can.
So here’s a proposal. If the father can
get the kids through the TSA line without holding it up in any way, they can
care for the kids on the plane. If not, give it over to Mom. It may not be a
matter of national security, but it sure would help my sanity.
That being said, this unfortunately allows
the men to get off easy by throwing the ball back to the women when it comes to
childcare, which may well be their plan all along. It was Bill Cosby’s when his
kids woke him up and he fed them chocolate cake for breakfast (Milk! Flour!
Eggs! Nutrition!) so his wife would yell at him, take over the child care and
send him back to bed where he wanted to be anyway.
But this is not fair. So how about this? If the men
want to care for the kids on a plane, they need to go through some kind of
screening, like pre-TSA. Let’s call it, pre-KoP (pre-Kids on a Plane). All
women need not go through this training. If the men plan to care for the kids
on the plane, they must be pre-KoP which will be stamped on their boarding
pass. If men are not pre-KoP and Mom wants a break, then the kids cannot fly.
It has now been conclusively shown
scientifically that humans need not be trained in order to have children. This
is unfortunate but true. But we can force them to be trained when they take
those children on a plane.
Better yet, have the men figure out a way
to parent that is uniquely masculine but still effective. (Not, as the
Beautiful Wife and I saw this weekend, have your kid waddle around the putting
green so that you can get your chipping practice in despite placing your off-spring in
danger of a high risk beaning. The toddler doesn’t know what to do when someone
One way to handle this is to get all the wives who
want a break from childcare in the air to send their husbands to their
physicians for the annual physical exam most men refuse to get, have their
prostates examined and get pre-KoP training. Given this training “prevents” insanity in the rest of the traveling public, the ACA should cover it.
But a better way is for men to learn to
parent and not be expected to get a trophy for doing so. Just because you
started the ball rolling when it came to making the baby doesn’t mean you have
any idea how to care for it. Learn. And do it without the expectation of a
standing ovation. My seat belt is still on.