November 01, 2006


Gnat woke up with an earache on Halloween, which led Lileks to write this intensely insightful tidbit:

The school party was off, though, and that was a crushing disappointment. At least she didn’t say “it’s not fair.” You never know quite how to respond to that. You want them to believe that things are fair and good and happy and full of sparkly unicorn-dust, and your inner Drill Instructor wants to bark “Suck it up, half-pint! There’s a whole lot more unfairness rolling down the road and you’d best learn how to get out of its way! Now drop and give me 20!” It’s not fair has an impotent and powerless ring to it, and I’m glad she doesn’t say it much. I think I drummed “just my luck” out of her early on, too; that one’s poison. Luck is like Communism – believe in it if you like, just don’t base your actions on it.

My husband and I have begun to talk more and more frequently about how we want to raise our imaginary kids. And this gem of parenting advice -- thrown willy-nilly into The Bleat as only James Lileks can do -- really spoke to me.

My husband loathes people with an external locus of control, people who whine that it's always circumstances or bad luck or fate or someone else's fault that things didn't go their way. We talk constantly about how we can instill personal responsibility in our imaginary kids, and I think this nugget from Lileks is one idea we can keep tucked in our brains for future reference.

Posted by Sarah at November 1, 2006 02:17 PM | TrackBack

EXACTLY. We are only victims of our own self. Period. At least that's how I look at things, and it sure does make it easier to get through lifes disappointments.....

Posted by: Tammi at November 1, 2006 06:17 PM

My high school physics/calculus teacher always responded to students who complained about something not being fair that "A fair is a place where you ride rides"

Posted by: Peg at November 1, 2006 09:53 PM


I think you will like this, Cat blogged on it...

she died laughing

Posted by: armywifetoddlermom at November 1, 2006 10:16 PM

We have always taught our children that there is no luck. They control the outcome with their actions.

I currently work with a large group of civilians and whenever they have personal problems and begin to complain they come by my desk and state "but my life isn't as tough as yours, Vonn".
Response: "Suck it up. If you can't fix it don't whine about it, truck on!"

Did a lifetime of military association give me this attitude? If so, how can we teach it to civilians? I love my co-workers, but I can't only watch a married man struggle so much, because he wife is out of town on business for 3 weeks and he has to care for his 8 year old son alone AND function at work. Not to mention, Grandma and Grandpa live down the street. Sob, sob, gag!

Posted by: Vonn at November 1, 2006 11:45 PM