Back by disturbingly popular demand, here’s the latest mysterious missive from the Evil Universe (EU?). Enjoy!
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
I think the “If anyone here has just cause…” section of the marriage rites (and in fact the whole marriage rites as we’re most familiar with them) are from the Book of Common Prayer which was put in place as part of England’s breaking away from Catholicism–so it’s C of E basically. I don’t know whether there was a standard marriage ceremony before the Reformation or not. One idea of the reformation was that marriage was a civil matter. I don’t know if that would have anything to do with asking if anyone had just cause to oppose a marriage?
Yeah, the whole advice thing is difficult, just for the reasons you talked about. I think I generally try to talk about a similar experience and what I got out of it to see if it helps the person figure something out.
It kind of reminds me of what I like about Moral Particularism as a philosophy. You can give somebody a general moral principle, like “It’s good to help others”–but then what happens if the other you are helping is stealing a car?
Parenting–it’s kind of like what Will was saying about giving an account of oneself–you’re not going to be right all the time, but you can try to figure out how to make it right and accept responsibility for your errors by apologizing. I think that’s why one of the most powerful things my Dad did for me growing up was to apologize for his contribution in something that had gone wrong. We were burning yard waste after a storm and he left me in charge of the fire while he ran to the store (I was 8) and I thought it would be a great idea to gather all the neighbor’s yard waste and throw it on too! Neighborly, and BIGGER FIRE! What’s not to love. No damage or injuries, but my Dad was really angry when he first got back and I got sent to my room. He came up later and apologized and said that while I needed to think about what was and wasn’t safe, he was wrong to leave me in charge without some better safety instructions.
When I was hurt or upset about something, my Dad would say “A year from now, you won’t even know this happened.” So of course, I wrote it down and reminded myself of it from time to time throughout the year, and on the anniversary I triumphantly announced that I had, in fact, remembered what had happened! My Dad shrugged and said “Okay.” This was to be the first of many disappointments in my childhood with being “right.”
I think one thing parenting advice gets wrong is that it’s an evolving relationship. So you can probably get parameters but not particulars. Which is both why I think it is true that “you can’t not screw them up,” but also that it probably doesn’t make much sense to think in terms of success or failure except at the extremes–and even then, I would say only the extremes of failure, and not in the way that Will is describing his parenting as a failure–I mean abusiveness.
I think at least some of my parenting skills I learned from my son. The example I always think of is when he was in elementary school and forgot an important project at home. I realized that he had and I brought it to school for him. I was visibly annoyed with him because I had taken time out of a busy day to do this, and he pointed out to me that I didn’t have to bring the project in; I could just have let him suffer the consequences. I would bring that to mind whenever similar circumstances came up. Now of course his ability to say that must have come from some combination of me, his Dad, and others, so I think that’s how parenting works–in that kind of feedback way, same as all relationships–whereas most parenting advice is kind of aimed at this agent, “the parent,” who is acting upon this object, “the child.”
I didn’t mean above that Will was describing his parenting failure as abusive; I meant that the one thing that could really be counted as a failure would be abusiveness.
Conversation about apologies reminded me of a scene from the movie “1000 Clowns” in which the protagonist stands on a street corner randomly apologizing to people. (Great movie if you haven’t seen it.)
Enjoyed the discussion on advice. It’s really difficult as a parent, particularly as I’m highly cognizant of the influence I have. And I think I might disagree with Other Tony, I wouldn’t say parenting is giving advice so much as influencing, and giving advice is one aspect of that.
It’s funny, almost every day I think back to a line from Indiana Jones 3, of all things – Indy has a moan at Jones, Sr. about something, and Sean Connery asks if he ever made him do homework, or chores, etc. So I try not to be negative (which is so easy to do) and prescriptive, while at the same time trying to explain why a thing can’t be done. Where it gets tricky is having to explain it the 15th time. The toddler can’t be reasoned with, the 6 year old is starting to get it, and the teenager is apathetic. And at the same time, you’re trying to learn from the mistakes your parents made, which you’re only aware of when you actually become a parent.
But yeah, I try to generalize advice, but rarely find myself giving it unless explicitly asked. I guess the exception is with my kids, when I think they might be receptive (not often!)
Please setup a Patreon so that I can subscribe and get Other William his 20 cents a month gas money.
The main problem I have with “Be Yourself” is figuring out who is being addressed with the advice. Who is that person, that has a self and yet they are not yet that self? Who in fact are they?
That dissonance between the person telling you that you will someday recover from whatever intense feeling–knowing that that is true, but still having the feeling–it helps me to think that I am not my feelings. ‘Cause for me, that’s the deception I’m trying to get past–the feeling seems to be so defining.
The Gods are always displeased with something.
Maybe it’s just me or you were running the A/C, but there’s a dull roar in the background of this episode’s audio that makes it sound like you’re on an airplane.
The horrible tube? Wouldn’t it have to be a series of tubes? Otherwise, the tube wouldn’t take the kid anywhere?
Yeah you know me, but are you down with OPP? Being from the Alternate Universe, you definitely must be naughty by nature….
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.