Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 749

The things kids say for which I have a standard response:

"Mum, how is rain formed?"

Well, that's not a simple answer, it's quite scientific.

"Hey Mum, how come sharks can only go in salt water."

Well, that's not a simple answer, it's quite scientific.

"Mummy, what happens when people die and they are buried?  Do their clothes stay nice or do they wrinkle? Do their undies get all smelly and need to be changed because of bottom juices?"

Well, that's not a simple answer, it's quite scientific.

"Hey Mum, what makes snot go from clear to green?"

Well, that's not a simple answer, it's quite scientific.

"How does the Dad's baby seeds get inside the mum to make a baby?"

Well, that's not a simple answer, it's quite scientific.

And then the question last night from Miss 12 (who, by the way, has big dreams of being a world class supermodel and who studies books like "The Idiot's Guide to Becoming a Model" and all things Miranda Kerr including an information pack from her agency Chic Management) which went something like this:

"Mum what do you think the chances are of me becoming a model?"

Ummm.  You already are darling ... if you believe you will achieve!! (haha .... that'll keep her pleased for a few more months).

"No, I mean, what are the chances in like percentage form out of 100.  What is the chance of me really being a model?"

Shit. Umm.  Ok. It depends how badly you want it and your level of commitment.

"I know all that.  But what do you think my chances are ... as a number ... out of 100."

What I should have said was: Well, that's not a simple answer, it's quite scientific. But instead I did a quick think of encouragement versus reality and optimism versus pessimism, and my motherly belief of her absolute beauty versus an agent's view of society based measures of beauty, and I said 75%.

"Ok, so 75/100 that I will be a model versus 25/100 that I won't?"

I guess.

"Thanks!"  and with that she walked off to do whatever it was she was doing.

I've gotta tell ya - optimistic parenting with appropriate levels of resilience training (and preparation) is not a simple answer. It's quite scientific.

PS Afterwards I found a piece of paper on her desk with the percentages and it seems she asked Daddy and baby brother the same question.  Daddy's response was 30% yes and 70% no, and Darby's was a clear 50:50 (he's such a good bet hedger).  Interesting ... and clearly scientific. 


  1. Thats a hard question to answer! I attended a pd this year where the speaker said that we do children an inservice of encouraging them to pursue things that they are clearly not good at or telling them they can achieve the unachievable. She said that it sets them up for failure and gives them a complex that they can do anything and so when they cant then they feel let down or bitter at the world. I listened to this and I looked at this woman and I thought about how incredibly depressing and horrible childhood would be if you were told that you had no chance in hell of being a fire man or astronaut or lawyer simply because of your social standing or academic skills at the age of 8! Who are we to put down the dreams of youth?

    (I do understand her point but I also think it is a very dangerous one if not handled properly)

    I love the way in which your daughter asked all of you for your opinion on the percentages :). I'm interested in what percentage she gives herself of success? because isn't that the most important percentage of all? :)

  2. Bah ha ha! I need to practise that one for when the baby seeds question gets asked...
    Oh the hard questions!

  3. Jen - I would also be sad if kids weren't encouraged to move towards greatness. There are definitely flaws with learned optimism and positive psychology generally if not handled properly ... but there are even more flaws of not being able to soar due to lack of belief and support. And you're right. Her own thoughts are the key. I will ask her :)

    Suzi ... it's a great standard response. I use it often as you can see (LOL)

  4. I finally remembered to ask Tahlia what she gave herself out of 100 and she said 70. Nice to see her so optimistic but still with a tad of "reality" ...


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