Parental lectures

I’ve been thinking about doing a little series on my top most-used parental lectures, because I’m all done using them. They’ve either taken root or not, so I think I’ll stop haranguing these poor young people, and offer them up to you for your offspring, co-workers, people on the bus, etc.

The Importance of Being Interesting

You, my lovely child, have so much capacity to be interesting. You are charming, delightful, intelligent, and thoughtful. Please use these traits to be fascinating. Even though, I, your mother, will try to listen to every detail that you choose to share with me, I caution you that the world will not do the same.

Because you are beloved to me, I try to be fully attentive to your recap of a video that someone else saw, even if it takes twice as long for you to describe as it would to watch. Or listen raptly while you recount exactly how your left foot, and then your right foot behaved during the skateboard maneuver that you’re learning; I will even try to imagine what your arms were doing during at the time. I will watch you act it out, although I’m also cooking, making a list, signing the endless forms that come home from school, moving laundry about, and trying to get us out the door on time for something else. I truly will. But, my dear one, be aware that the rest of the humans you encounter will not do so, and at times, although I love you more than you can even begin to comprehend, I also struggle to listen.

My point, young person, is that being interesting is a critical survival skill. We all need some amount of attention from other people on the planet, and you must spend your childhood honing the trait of being interesting, or you’ll end up being that guy. Yep, you know the one, the guy everyone avoids because a simple question leads to a long detailed account that no one cares about.

“How’s work, Frank?”

“Oh, I developed a new filing system for my business. The yellow folders, well, they’re legal size, and I bought them on sale, I think it was last Tuesday. Or was it Wednesday? Oh, I know for sure it was Tuesday, because I had my bowling bag in the car. Anyway, the yellow folders are for copies of letters I’ve mailed in months that don’t contain an “r” in their name, and the red folders...”

I know this lecture may seem harsh, my dear one, but trust me, I will be doing you no favors if I give you the sense that you needn’t make effort to be interesting. There is absolutely no excuse for being boring. It means you’re not paying attention to what’s going on in your life or the people around you; it means you just aren’t trying. Please don’t waste our lives that way.


  1. I guess that explains why you don't hang out with me any more.




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