My Students Evaluate Their Parent(s’) Parenting

In response to a chapter on the downsides of “hyper-intensive parenting” in Ruth Whippman’s America the Anxious.

I’ve just started chipping away at the behemoth pile of essays, so this may be coincidental, but a theme of tough-minded, strict disciplinarian parents is emerging. The 18 and 19 year old students are mostly appreciative of their hard ass parent(s).

Except for one little thing, as a student who moved to the Pacific Northwest from Mexico at age 8 explained. She wrote eloquently about being afraid of her mom and emotionally stunted because she never had anyone to discuss her feelings with. A lot of the time she’s not sure what she feels, and when she has some modicum sense of them, she doesn’t know what to do with them. And she concedes, she’s wholly incapable of asking for help.

I used “little” above facetiously because emotional intelligence is THE BIG THING. They think their future success hinges on picking the exact right academic major or getting good grades. But their relationship success, professionally, but especially personally, will hinge in large part on their ability to calmly and constructively discuss their’s and other people’s feelings.

What say you, should I tell them or just let them discover that on their own through inevitable trials and tribulations?

My Fav 2017 Books

A longtime reader of the Humble Blog has a brief respite from reading his high schoolers’ French and German exercises. Consequently, he wants some book recommendations. PressingPausers take note, you too can make suggestions and requests of your benevolent dictator.

My fav books of 2017:

1. America the Anxious by Ruth Whippman. Subtitle: How Our Pursuit of Happiness is Creating a Nation of Nervous Wrecks. An endearing Brit deconstructs the commercial happiness industry. I’m looking forward to teaching it in January.

2. Janesville by Amy Goldstein. Since I’m an economically privileged, tenured university professor, a friend sometimes laments that I’m clueless about the “real world”. He underestimates the power of the pen and the imagination. Goldstein provides readers an intimate look at what it is like to build a middle class life through an assembly line job and then lose it.

3. Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. A group of Indians strike it rich when oil is found on their tiny, hard scrabble corner of Oklahoma. Whites purposely marry into the tribe and the proceed to kill them. So much for American Exceptionalism.

If your name is Alison and you’re allergic to non-fiction, consider fast forwarding to my first book of 2018, The Invisibility Cloak by Ge Fei. A “slim comic novel which follows the travails of a likable loser trying to stay afloat—financially and emotionally—in contemporary Beijing.” My literary sources are raving about it.

Studies Show That Religious People Are Happier Than The Nonreligious

From Ruth Whippman in America the Anxious:

“Almost all the studies show that religious people tend to have a greater number of social ties and stronger and more supportive communities. When the studies control for the increased levels of social connection, the link between religion and happiness almost always disappears.”

This is my fav positive psychology book. The one I’d recommend to someone brand new to the subject. I dig Whippman’s skepticism, insights, journalistic bent, and British wit. Only complaint, she could use some working class friends.