Children are rewarded for the most trivial of tasks. Whilst I understand that nurture is a great aid to development; that people have an inherent, impellent inclination to be nice to the young; and that progress is often valued as highly as achievement, I do still find this bizarre at times. I think the problem lies in my competitive nature. I can tie my own shoelaces too. And I can do a better job of it.
This less-common point of view does, however, have the advantage of making me an excellent playmate for the wily toddler dabbling with reverse psychology — there’s no way I can resist the cheeky cry of “you can’t catch me”. Yes I can. Watch. See? Easy.
Children become addicted to this constant evaluation and praise. Without it, there is seemingly no value in their actions and they will take many years before they can so much as hope to attach value to something for its intrinsic worth, or to one of their own actions carried out for individual pleasure. There’s an argument to be made that the need for external validation, deeply ingrained from an early age, will mean they can never truly know self-worth in isolation. Traditional Zen approaches to parenting negate this cycle of redundant praise entirely, rewarding emotional growth and maturity rather than the completion of basic tasks.
This has rather drifted away from my original point which is that, my mam is coming to visit in 24 days. We so excited.
Much though I’d love to think of myself as self-actualised and emotionally mature, and despite the obvious fact that I’ll simply enjoy having her here to talk to and have fun with, there remains the inordinate urge to have her see and be impressed by my new city. All of it. And, whilst any loving parent can glance at the clichéd child on a diving board and force a smile, I do occasionally wonder if my mother really is going to be impressed with every tiny detail of the things I love about living here.
In the end though, it doesn’t really matter. Because I have a week off work and I’m going to spend every minute with my mam in the greatest city in the world.
And that’s ffantastig.