None of my neighbors subscribe to my Substack newsletter, as far as I can tell. That’s fine with me. I don’t talk much about my vocation around here. We’ve lived in this house for many years (although we will be moving in a few days), and during that whole period I’ve never spoken to anyone on our street about my writing. From their perspective, I’m just another family man who works from home.
I love this, but you say you didn’t home school them and then detail all the amazing things you did to enrich their education! I am taking notes.
Thank you for this. It's along the same lines as https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-case-for-the-ldquo-self-driven-child-rdquo/
Ted, sorry to say, but you were an uber tiger parent. The tigerest among tigers.
Well, nature-nurture. The most important thing parents should learn is to stop imagining that they are "responsible" for their childrens' outcomes. You could have three kids, and one might become a canonized saint, one might be a bland citizen, and one might become an ax-murderer. My mother, when asked her philosopy about child-rearing said "I try to keep my kids from accidentally commiting suicide until they are about 6 years old, and there's not much I can do beyond that." This is not to say that my parents didn't work assiduously to "empower" (hate that word) my brother and me, and provide us with every opportunity. But mother truly understood the situation . . .
This was beautiful, practical, and touching. Thank you.
Ted, this makes me less nervous to have kids!
I enjoyed reading your reflections on parenting, Ted. Thank you for sharing them. As a parent of 10, 8, and 1.5 year old boys, I've been thinking a lot lately about parenting. After recently reading Atomic Habits by James Clear, I have been thinking a lot about how to help my kids establish good habits. Your essay provided me with a lot of food for thought about which habits might be good to focus on.
This is an excellent piece, Ted. I endorse everything you say here. I am forever grateful that your two boys were among all the great kids that came through my classroom and played Apple Tree with me. It was a very special treat to meet up with Mickey in Aix during his studies and explorations in France and to hear him speak of his passions. Both he and Thomas are pursuing passions, not just degrees and career paths, and as you write here, that was the goal. Their lives and our world will be the better for it. Bravo to you and Tara !
Thank you Ted, this was an enjoyable and profitable read.
I'm wondering though, how do you navigate the sometimes tension between having fun and striving for quality? Because inevitably the latter if done in earnest will at times lead to frustrations, which at least in the moment will rarely feel "fun". Further, a focus on fun has in some quarters led to a focus on "edutainment", which I'm curious what your thoughts are on.
Thank you for this article. As a parent of young kids, I found it both immensely clarifying (capturing a lot of my default behaviors, but explaining them so well) and inspiring (so many more things I could do to help my kids' development!)
I love this, Ted. I'm not a parent needing college prep tips but if you know me, you know I kept on reading. I wasn't surprised at how much I would admire how your wife and you raised your sons. I wish every parent could read this.
PS I would have loved taking that "Humanities Enrichment Project" at that age!
Loved this piece, but--as a huge fan of DFW--I'm dying to know what David Foster Wallace book/essay you read with your son!
Best thing since chocolate Ted. Thank you so much!
Nice piece, Ted. An insight into the family. Thanks.
Beautiful article. I wish I had done some of these things with my own son.