Ready to Go

Klara says two girls at her preschool have daddies who aren’t living with them.

The Christian school she’s attending for kindergarten can’t start soon enough.

17 thoughts on “Ready to Go

  1. I thought Klara was attending 1 school , not 2.

    Are you afraid those girls may have a bad influence on Klara? Not all divorced or one-parent families are disfunctional, and if somebody goes to a Christian school, their parents may be divorced too.

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  2. And, conversely, not all intact families are functional… Is it wise to give one’s kid a signal that appearances matter that much?

    And what is your long-term plan? Suppose at this stage of Klara’s life you manage to build/create/maintain a bubble consisting only of intact functional Christian conservative families who can afford to send their kids to a private Christian school… But what next? You are obviously a smart person, so you understand that this is a very specific bubble, very different from the society as a whole. Do you hope that by the time Klara goes to middle school some conservative revolution will happen, that will not only eliminate CRT from the curricula, but make all families Christian, conservative, intact and functional? OK, suppose you find a private Christian middle school… What next?

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    1. Maintaining some sort of a bubble until the child is older and better to deal with the world is not necessarily a bad thing. Let her enjoy her childhood without thinking about oppression, broken families and ugliness that exists in the world. Everyone understands that eventually, she will have to deal with all of that as she lives in the world. But she does not have to deal with it at 5-years old. Protecting a child’s innocence is not a bad thing.

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      1. Random reader, I agree with you to some degree. I just do not think that ANY intact family, how ever dysfunctional, is better than ANY family where, as per the original post, “daddies [] aren’t living with them”. This is the information Clarissa chose to provide for some reason, I presume because she believes it is important. She did not provide any details on how specifically this translates into any potential bad influence. My definition of “ugliness” includes a lot of things that occur in formally intact families. And I do not mean only physical or sexual violence, I mean also a lot of less obvious behaviors that cause psychological trauma to the children.
        In other words, I am trying to say that, IMHO, Clarissa is taking it too far using too formal and simple criteria. To me this is a whole new qualitative level of conservatism, compared to being unhappy with CRT.

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        1. I can’t help reading this as: “The world is full of ugly. You can’t shelter your kid from all of it, so why bother sheltering your kid from any of it?”

          Just FYI, there were kids with absent dads at the parochial schools I attended as a kid. Big whoop. They were embedded in a culture that understood that this was tragic, and not normal or desirable in any way. The cultural difference between those schools, and the public schools I also attended, was monumental. Trying to explain that away by saying some intact families are dysfunctional (I know! I grew up in one!) is like saying that because housewives in the fifties often used amphetamines, it would have made no difference if their kids hung around with dope dealers and winos… since drug use was everywhere, you know? It’s a false equivalency.

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          1. —“The world is full of ugly. You can’t shelter your kid from all of it, so why bother sheltering your kid from any of it?”

            I was sure somebody would read me this way…

            Not what I said though. I said that for me non-intact family does not automatically mean “ugly” (and conversely, intact family does not automatically mean “not ugly”), without additional details explaining what specific features of a particular family dynamics make it “ugly” or “not ugly”. In my opinion some kid bringing some ugly family dynamics from home and into the school (the obvious example is a bully who is bullied at home) is much more dangerous in terms of bad influence or even just physical safety than simply knowing that some families are not intact.

            It is also my experience as a parent that one’s child is not susceptible to most kinds of bad influence if it does not resonate and if parents do not create a forbidden fruit out of it. I will give an example from the time my daughter was 5, roughly the same age as Klara. There was a girl in her preschool, her father drank, eventually killed couple of people while driving drunk, the parents quickly made another baby to get more leniency from the court, etc. How do I know that – because they were not even hiding it. On top of that they were religious in a bad way, using God to scare the girl into doing or not doing things, including the things that were clearly a result of unhealthy family environment, like bed-wetting… Our daughter just was not particularly interested in spending much time with that girl… She did not outright reject the girl in a “I am better than you” manner, she just was not particularly interested.

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            1. Have you ever experienced the cultural difference between an ordinary US public school, and a small parochial school? I think you are missing the point, by nitpicking about whether single parents = dysfunctional families. They’re a bellwether. It is undeniable that the higher the proportion of single-parent families, the higher the rate of dysfunction. It’s not that there are two single-parent kids in her class. It’s that she knows there are two, already. What does that say about the actual stats?

              I mean, it’s all fine and good to point out the unhealthy exceptions everywhere. They exist. But don’t pretend that just because there are exceptions, there’s not a huge difference. Yeah, I had classmates at parochial school whose families were dysfunctional. Mine was, too. We were the exceptions, and it was a blessed relief to go to school every day and be in an environment compost MOSTLY of nice kids from functional families. They were the majority, and they set the tone for the whole school. Bullies were not tolerated, and major behavior problems meant you were not invited to enroll the following year. It wasn’t perfect, and I never fit in socially, but it was still SO MUCH BETTER than every second I spent in public schools, where dysfunction was the norm, and dysfunction set the tone for the whole institution. No matter what the exceptions are, it’s not the same, it’s not remotely equivalent, and we all know what Clarissa is talking about.

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              1. Of course, she’s going to find out one day that dysfunction exists, miserable families, abuse, addiction, all that. She’s going to find out. But at this point in her life, the basic understanding of how the world works is being formed. I don’t want any of that stuff in her basic worldview. I found out when I was 6 that my uncle cheated on my aunt and gave her an STD. This gave me great anxiety because I wasn’t intellectually equipped to process it. Of course, everybody finds out eventually that STDs exist but this knowledge isn’t necessary or helpful at 6.

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            2. I don’t really believe in “bad influences,” especially at the age of 5. Klara asked me not to invite these girls to her party next month. She said they were being mean and hitting everybody. I had no idea why but of course I said we can’t exclude anybody. Now I’m understanding what might be the problem.

              But it’s not that I’m afraid they’d influence her in a bad way. I don’t think that’s possible. I just want to spare her the wondering about “what if my daddy goes away? etc.”

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        2. Klara doesn’t know that divorce exists. I don’t want her to realize it does just yet and start wondering if it’s possible in her life. She also doesn’t know about child abuse or crime beyond speeding and bank robbing. She doesn’t know that there are parents who don’t think the most enjoyable thing in life is to play with their kids. She doesn’t know about the erosion of the nation-state model of governance by forces of liquid capital. I’m looking forward to debating this with her but much, much later in life.

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      2. That’s exactly my position. My kid is leaving in a world where mommies and daddies adore their kids and each other, everybody is sweet and kind, and things always turn out amazingly well. The world is beautiful, people are wonderful, and magic is real. In psychological terms, this is called “creating a positive mother complex,” and it’s the most precious thing one can have in life.

        Can you imagine what it would feel like always to know that things will turn out amazingly well for you? To look in the mirror every day and see the most beautiful person on the planet? To know that, in small things and big ones, I’m loved by the universe, I’m favored by good fortune, and I’ll always come out a winner? Wouldn’t that be an amazing way to live?

        That’s what I’m creating here. Yes, everybody eventually finds out about the ugly realities of life. But only some people have this relationship to the world that I just described. It’s the most priceless thing ever. And if you don’t have it to give, let’s not criticize those who do.

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  3. Your post reminds me of a decades-old joke, when multiple marriages and divorces were common among celebrities but not in middle America:

    Two Hollywood schoolchildren talking.
    First Hollywood child: “I have a new daddy at home.”
    Second Hollywood child: “Well, I know you’ll like him. We had him last year.”

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