DeWitt column: The ABC’s of Parenting 101
Columns share an author’s personal perspective.
Parenting should be a required course in every high school and college in America. Forget about sex education. That’s easy. You can learn all that stuff while riding at the back of the public school bus. It’s everything that happens after childbirth that’s tricky.
For starters, you can’t be a parent without being able to count to five under duress.
“Listen here, you little son of a biscuit eater!” my Mom would yell. “You have until I count to five to put that water hose down and stop spraying me or I’m going to give you an enema right here in this garden!”
Admittedly, counting to five would be Beginning Parenting 101 stuff, but your advanced classes would include lessons on how and when to count to 100, and how to take deep breaths and relax, so you don’t strangle or otherwise physically abuse your child when he or she comes home with a piercing, a tattoo, a Webcam to put in the bathroom and possibly a newborn baby.
For the good of the modern family and the American educational system, I have prepared the ideal Advanced Parenting Curriculum. Here is an overview:
Higher Math - After all, you won’t be much help with your kid’s homework if you think Algebra is a character in Disney’s “Aladdin” or “The Return of Jafar,” or if you think Trigonometry is a disease you get from eating undercooked pork.
Mechanical Engineering - This could be an optional elective, but only if you one day plan to put together anything complicated like a bicycle, a trampoline or a model airplane.
Spelling - This will be very handy for the days when you need to carry on a gossipy conversation with another adult while your nosy kid is in the room.
“Girl, let me tell you, I think B-O-B, from next door, is having an A-F-F-A-I-R with that W-H-O-R-E from down the street, and the bank is about to repossess their H-O-U-S-E because his wife, S-U-E, spends all their money on all that L-I-P-O-S-U-C-T-I-O-N and those B-R-E-A-S-T E-N-L-A-R-G-E-M-E-N-T-S,” your Momma might tell your Aunt Bitsy. “Well, that’s enough gossiping for now. I’ve got to drop this B-R-A-T off at momma’s house so I can take his mangy old D-O-G to the P-O-U-N-D and have him put D-O-W-N.”
Foreign Language - This will come in handy for many parenting situations, such as when you can only afford the smartphone that was on sale on Wish and the instructions are written in Mandarin Chinese.
Computer Science - This might help you from getting smoked, invaded, sliced, stabbed, shot, riddled, burnt to a crisp, annihilated, atomized or otherwise destroyed while playing those stupid video games with your kid.
Medicine - Should include such first aid basics as what to do when your kid sticks a garden pea up his nose or a pencil eraser in his ear or gets a bicycle chain wrapped completely around his leg while jumping a ramp or throws up in the Blu-ray/DVD player or gets choked up on a Happy Meal chicken nugget while you’re doing 65 mph on the interstate or ...
Psychology - Then you could effectively comfort and counsel your child when they come to you crying and in trauma because the internet is down.
A Complete Science Department - Let’s face it: kids ask a million questions. I would suggest taking every form of science you can, from Biology to Astronomy to Physics. That way you can be prepared to answer such simple questions as why are we here, why is the sky blue, why can’t I play with my device underwater, where do babies come from, why can’t I play with my device in the bathtub, why is blood red, why are all people not the same color, why is Daddy bald and am I going to be bald some day, too, why do girls have boobs and why are some boobs bigger than others?
Then you might even be able to explain why Mr. B-O-B from next door is getting a D-I-V-O-R-C-E and why the D-O-G had to go to heaven.
Michael M. DeWitt Jr. is the managing editor of The Hampton County Guardian newspaper in South Carolina. He is an award-winning humorist, journalist and outdoor writer and the author of two books.