05 January 2008

Parenting Objectives: CC's Take

I admit I haven't really gotten used to Google Reader nor Bloglines previously (dork noted). Anyways, I had a shared EconLog site I'd never heard of which responded to a Steve Levitt post who I've met a few times (author of Freakonomics with one more WSOP cash than I have). It has to do with what are our goals as a parent or maybe as a father. I'll add my own view following those of Levitt and Bryan Caplan (author of EconLog).

"I can't believe how much I disagree with Steve Levitt's goals as a father. Here's a line-by-line contrast:


[Steve] I care most about raising kids who are happy and successful as adults, even if that happens to mean that they aren’t very happy as children.

[Bryan] I care most about raising kids, who, like me, believe in enjoying every single day of life.

(CC) I care most about raising kids who become capable, caring men, are not limited by the decisions of their youth, share my values and faith, and have virtually unlimited opportunities through the choices of their youth.


[Steve] I want my kids to like me when they are grown up, but I also want them to do what I tell them to do, the first time I tell them to do it.

[Bryan] I too want my kids to like me when they are grown up. But I'm happy to amicably negotiate with them except on issues of imminent danger and daily routines.

(CC) I want to have a real relationship with my kids when they are grown up, but I want to have an ever-growing relationship with my wife once they are grown. I want them to respect their mother throughout their youth. I want each of the boys to strive to live up to his commitments. I hope that each of them builds a capability to be proactive in their daily life, a skill that is a strength of my wife's and one she actively works with them on.


[Steve] I don’t want my kids to be sissies, the way I was — I want them to be tough, and able to take whatever criticism and misfortunes the real world has to offer.

[Bryan] Laugh if you like, but I want to give me kids a better life than I had. I don't want them to be bullied or mocked by teachers or other kids. Since adult life is far more civilized than childhood, sheltering your kids is not "delaying the inevitable"; it's skipping pointless suffering.

(CC) I want each of my boys to define themselves less in how others see them and more in how they see themselves. I want them to choose the tougher road, to be the one to lift up the less fortunate or less accepted in their midst.


[Steve] I also want them to be creative, and to take risks (but not too many risks).

[Bryan] For once, Steve and I almost agree. I hope that my kids are creative, and I hope that they take intellectual and social risks. Why? Because they're intrinsically valuable, and instrumentally profitable. At the same time, I hope they avoid physical risk-taking, because they're neither.

(CC) I want each of my boys to be creative as they see fit, not in an area or direction I might desire for them. I'm understanding more and more that your children are each unique and won't share the same skills, capabilities, and personalities. Honestly, I haven't thought as much about risk taking, so put me under uncommitted there.


Awkward question for discussion (from Bryan): Suppose you could have either Bryan, Steve, or CC as your dad. Who would you pick - and why? And what are your own answers?


Blogger The Wife said...

You know I'd pick you . . . Steve is far to black and white for the world . . . I've admired your spiritual but practical grounding since I have known you.

You will raise wonderful children CC . . . your wife is lucky.

The Wife

PS, I'll not tell them you suggested I steal a car.

1:55 PM  
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