Always lie to your kids

Lie to your kids - RachelI love my kids. That’s why, when they were young, I made a point to lie to them every chance I could. As any experienced parent knows, you need to lie to your young, impressionable children to help prepare them for their lives as adults – and to help you forge a trusting relationship with them.

Parents who care about their young children start lying to them early in their formative development – ideally while their offspring are still in the womb. Don’t wait until they’re in middle school. By then your chronic pattern of honest communication will likely have caused irreparable damage.

There are many reasons we adults lie to each other: to get out of cleaning the garage despite your wife’s nagging about it for the past three months; to deny that you scarfed down the last piece of your wife’s birthday cake; or maybe to hide the fact that you were really golfing when I, er, I mean you, told the wife you were helping a buddy move. Of course, there are also bad reasons for lying, but at the moment, they escape me.

But when it comes to children, caring parents know that lying is a way to avoid crushing their kids’ self-esteem. It’s not your job to destroy your child’s hopes and dreams by dispelling the myths of their childhood. That’s their future therapist’s responsibility. Your job is to keep telling your kids whatever you need to, to get them to behave, brush their teeth and maybe, just maybe, not kill the family cat, Bonkers.

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  • Published On Sep. 16, 2014 by TEJ
  • Rain, clouds, moss and other reasons I love Drip City

    Seattle - Space NeedleI’ve lived in Seattle for over twenty years and I still love it here. It’s known by various nick names: Jet City (because of all the Boeing jets built here) and The Emerald City (because of all the greenery). Personally, I prefer Drip City because it’s more accurate, thanks to all the rain and the fact that at last count there were at least 1,542 Starbucks locations in downtown Seattle alone.

    For many people in the eastern two-thirds of the country, Seattle is this mysterious, faraway place they only know about from Sleepless in Seattle. But there is so much more to this city than a spunky Meg Ryan (although let’s not understate Meg’s importance).

    Let me debunk a few myths about my adopted city:

    • Myth: It rains here all the time. That is simply not true. The weather here is gloriously sunny and mild with zero humidity – if you happen to be here in August. Otherwise, yeah, it does rain a fair bit.
    • Myth: The sun vanishes for nine months of the year, from October through June. Again, utter hyperbole. There are many winters where you may see the sun for long stretches of time – usually during the second week of August.
    • Myth: It is so damp here that the roofs of most houses are covered in thick moss. Actually, it’s more like a light dusting. And this also goes for the dusting of moss you’ll typically find on our lawns, driveways, patio furniture, and any toddler who has been left out in the backyard for more than 45 minutes.

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    • Ha!! Drip City - SOOOOO perfect!!! My new favorite name!
      Lee
  • Published On Sep. 10, 2014 by TEJ
  • Loser for Hire

    Sports loser - TimI love playing sports. My friends love to play me in sports, too. For years I thought it was because they enjoyed my company. They later told me that I tend to get on their nerves. So why do they keep playing me? Answer: Because they love the thrill of victory, which they are assured of experiencing any time they play me – in any sport.

    Ya’ know that old expression “He’s a jack of all trades but a king of none”?  Well, I’m more like the three of clubs. You see, as much as I love sports, I’ve never really been that good at them.

    Case in point: I’ve played the same guy in tennis for 12 years. Let’s call him “Steve”, because, well, his name is Steve. In that 12 years, I can tell you the exact number of sets I have won against Steve. Exactly zero.

    I’ve been golfing with another friend for 15 years. I’ll just refer to him as “Kevin from Ballard” because I don’t feel it’s appropriate to reveal his last name here – but since I know you’re curious, it’s “Breecher.” I have never beaten Kevin Breecher in golf – ever. Every year he increases my handicap advantage. He now gives me 29 strokes. He still always wins. Last month, he offered to hit all his tee shots blindfolded. He won by five strokes.

    One thing my friends Steve and Kevin have in common – besides being annoying winners – is that they always feel better about themselves after trouncing me. It never gets old for them.

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    • As the loving wife of "Steve", I'll confess that Saturday afternoons after the "Tim and Steve tennis games" are a …
      Pam N
  • Published On Sep. 01, 2014 by TEJ
  • When it came to the journey of parenthood, I took a guilt trip

    Guilty Parent - NapI have a confession to make. While technically speaking, I was raised in a Presbyterian household, I am sure that my parents secretly must have been practicing Catholics. Because for my entire adult life, no matter how hard I tried, I never felt my efforts were good enough. I’ve always felt guilty. Especially when it comes to parenting.

    When our two girls were toddlers, I mainly swung between three emotional states: totally overwhelmed, utterly exhausted and constantly feeling guilty. That guilt was usually caused by my feeling so overwhelmed and exhausted.  When I became so sleep-deprived that I simply had to take a nap, I felt guilty for napping. I mean, a good dad would surely tough it out and watch a Sponge Bob video with the kids – for the 475th time. What kind of dad was I! For shame.

    I felt guilty about my job in a dot-com start-up where for years I routinely worked 75-hour weeks. For some periods, I was essentially an absentee parent until the weekend arrived. And on those rare occasions when I was able to leave work before 6pm, I felt guilty because all the other managers (who were all 15 years younger, single and child-free) would still be there well past 8pm.

    I felt guilty that my wife unfairly bore the burden of most of the household chores, not to mention the 4am feedings and diaper-changes. And by the time I finally got around to pulling my share of changing our girls’ diapers, I felt guilty that it took me so long to pitch in. I suspect that on some level our girls probably resented the delay in my efforts, too, especially because they were seven and six years old by that time.

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  • Published On Jul. 29, 2014 by TEJ
  • A Survival Guide for coping with air travel

    Airline travel - delaysWhen Orville Wright first took flight over the beaches of Kitty Hawk, NC in 1903, he couldn’t have imagined that a century later, millions of people the world over would be getting into shouting matches with ticket agents, security screeners and baggage handlers over the nearly universal frustration caused by his invention. Thanks for the 12-inch gash in the side of my Louis Vuitton suitcase, Orville.

    Singapore, New Delhi, and Buenos Aires are just a few of the famous world cities I will probably never get to visit because I refuse to put up with the headaches required to fly there. Also because, like most Americans, I’m not sure exactly where those cities are on a map. (I think New Delhi might be in Belgium.)

    But sometimes air travel is unavoidable. If you simply must book a flight, here are a few helpful tips to reduce your stress level. These just might help you resist your urge to strangle the Delta Airlines ticket agent in Concourse C.

    Booking your flight – Choosing the right airline 

    The first rule of air travel is simple: Don’t fly if you can possibly avoid it. But if you absolutely must fly, for example, to attend a family reunion, I recommend Qantas, the official airline of Australia. The last time Qantas had a fatality was in 1951. Of course, if your family reunion is in say, Chicago, you may need to make a couple connections through Sydney, Tokyo and New York. But you will arrive there safely, albeit two days later than the rest of your family, who opted for the nonstop on United.

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    • Once I flew cross country when the airline was having a sale (they've stopped doing that...) and tickets were something …
      Shirley Freitas
  • Published On Jul. 08, 2014 by TEJ
  • Study says a dark day in America – Blacks are getting happier

    happiness - black man - white manBLACKSBURG, VA – A newly released longitudinal study reveals potentially upsetting news for millions of white Americans. The shocking conclusions: Black Americans are getting happier – much happier.

    The study by the University of Pennsylvania, tracking the “happiness gap” between black and white Americans since the 1970s, reports that the gap has dramatically narrowed in recent years to the slimmest margin since the study’s beginnings. Fortunately for white Americans, they are, on average, still happier than their black counterparts – but not by much.

    Even more alarming is the study’s finding that while blacks’ happiness has progressively improved over the past four decades, whites’ happiness has steadily declined. A spokesman for the National Association for the Advancement of Non-Colored People (NAANCP) argues that there can only be one conclusion to draw from this study: that over the past forty years, blacks have been deliberately and systematically stealing happiness away from whites, without even asking permission or giving so much as a thank you kindly, leaving millions of white Americans outraged and nervous about their futures.

    happiness - obamaThe study’s researchers claim there are other plausible theories for why blacks are getting happier: higher income levels, increased educational opportunities, a significant decline in lynchings, and dramatic strides in career advancement, all of which have fueled greater optimism about their future. In fact, in most states, blacks rarely have to fear getting arrested simply for sitting next to a white person at a Denny’s (with the notable exception of Mississippi and parts of Arkansas). “Why are black people in such a hurry to have more happiness?” asked NAANCP spokesman, Ferry White. “They stopped being slaves a long time ago. What more do they want, anyway?”

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    • Mighty edgy Tim. Nice . . .
      Peter Cohen
  • Published On Jun. 26, 2014 by TEJ
  • Welcome to cricket. It’s a lot like baseball, only even more boring.

    Cricket - batsmanGreat news, everybody. ESPN just announced it’s now broadcasting coverage of cricket. No, I’m not talking about televising small insects chewing through leaves – although granted, for many people, that might represent a more appealing TV-viewing option. I’m talking about the sport of cricket. If you’re someone who finds bowling on TV too exciting, or if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to enter into a self-induced coma, cricket could be just your ticket.

    I’m not exactly sure why ESPN decided to start covering cricket. Perhaps ESPN’s International-Sports-Nobody-Gives-a-Rat’s-Ass-About Channel wasn’t able to get the programming rights for Equestrian Dressage. Or perhaps it came down to making a difficult choice between televising cricket versus broadcasting five hours of dead air.

    Cricket is a sport that has been around for centuries. According to legend, it was first played during the early Pleistocene Era, in a match pitting the Leicester Clubbers against the always feisty Sussex Wooly Mammoths. The point is, it’s a very old game. Cricket is a lot like baseball – just slower-paced and without gloves or bases or David Ortiz Bobble Head Night or any coherent explanation for what is going on out there. Like baseball, it has a pitcher (which they call a bowler) and a batter (called a batsman). And like baseball, the main objective for most fans watching the game is to get as drunk as possible in order to keep their mind off the fact that the game in front of them is mind-numbingly dull.

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    • I love watching the real crickets. Have you ever watched them mate? I think the female ends us eating …
      Janice Strong
  • Published On Jun. 18, 2014 by TEJ
  • IMPORTANT HEALTH SAFETY WARNING: THESE FOODS WILL KILL YOU!

    bad food - food pyramidIt seems every week there is a new study about yet another popular food staple that has been linked to cancer or heart disease. It’s all very confusing. First experts tell you that grape juice is a heart-healthy beverage. Then other experts claim that it’s bad for you (containing as much sugar as soft drinks).

    As one of the nation’s leading nutrition experts, I have compiled a comprehensive list of unhealthy foods. Avoid these foods and you should be able to lead a long and healthy life – assuming, of course, you don’t live in Afghanistan, Somalia or Detroit, in which case all bets are off.

    FOODS TO AVOID

    Cake, cookies, candy and ice cream. When I first discovered that these foods were considered unhealthy, it came as quite a blow. For years I had considered these to be the four basic food groups. But apparently no longer. They are all high in sugar, carbohydrates and polyunsaturated fat. Avoid these at all costs – unless you prefer to be happy.

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    • Let's not forget that fruitcake can be used as a lethal weapon
      Dave driscoll
  • Published On Jun. 11, 2014 by TEJ
  • I am not a happy camper

    Camping - tentRecently I started worrying that my wife no longer loves me. No, I didn’t catch her with another man. And no, we didn’t have another nasty argument about the proper way to load a dishwasher. It was much more troubling. My wife actually said the three words I have long dreaded: “Let’s go camping.”

    Why would any woman who claims to love her husband force him to endure a weekend in the wilderness with no access to ESPN Sports Center? My wife thought it would be fun if the two of us had a romantic getaway. I was envisioning a cozy B & B overlooking the ocean. Or maybe a posh resort / spa where we could get a couple’s massage, whatever that is.

    But unbeknownst to me, my wife’s concept of a romantic getaway included physical and emotional torture – camping. When she first brought up the idea, naturally I thought she was kidding. When I realized she was serious, I apologized profusely for whatever I might have said or done to upset her. I even promised to do the dishes for a month. Turns out she wasn’t upset at all. She just really wanted to go camping.

    So she booked us a campsite for a long weekend at some God-forsaken state campground deep in the wilderness beyond any cell phone range. The nearest carryout pizza was 50 miles away. I believe there is a term for being forced to sleep outdoors in the cold and wet, with no bathroom, no hot running water, and no bed to sleep on. It’s called being homeless. And when is the last time you heard a homeless person say to his buddy, “Hey, I have a great idea. Let’s go camping!” You never will, because they know that compared to their lifestyle, camping would be a step down.

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    • Hilarious!
      Johanna
  • Published On Jun. 04, 2014 by TEJ
  • When it comes to our kids, winning isn’t everything. Whining is…..

    Winning - Whining girlFor too long, parents have been pushing their kids way too hard by doing outrageous things like telling them they need to get good grades if they want to get into college or harping on them relentlessly to practice piano for 30 minutes a week if they want to improve their skills. . Those parents are monsters!

    When I was a kid playing on various sports teams, year after year, the ruthless message drilled into me was that if you want to win, you have to try hard. And maybe even practice. I internalized this misguided achievement message at an early age. Little did I realize the long-term crippling effect caused by the constant parental pressure to “do your best” as a child. Years later, the damage is evident, as I now have a good-paying job and live in a lovely home in a safe neighborhood that has excellent schools with teachers and coaches who push my kids to do their best. When will this vicious cycle of achievement end?

    I have been as guilty as any parent, always sending the overbearing message to my daughters that if they want to get into a competitive college they might consider putting down their cell phone for two minutes and perhaps studying for tomorrow’s final exam.  In hindsight, I now realize that all this harsh talk about doing their best and applying themselves was actually undermining my kids’ fragile sense of entitlement.

    Finally, a sports league in Canada has gotten its priorities about kids and “winning” figured out. Recently, the Gloucester Dragons Recreational Soccer league of Ottawa, Canada came up with a new rule designed to protect children from the emotional scars of losing in sports. Their new rule? If a team wins a game by more than five goals, that team loses by default. The rule was designed to prevent blowout victories and to encourage good sportsmanship. Hats off to you, Gloucester Dragons Soccer League. Well done.

    Winning - kids playing soccerThe results so far have been impressive. Now, whenever a team goes up by five goals, their players usually stop playing, walk off the field, and head over to the playground to climb on the monkey bars in order to avoid accidentally scoring the losing goal. Now that’s true sportsmanship.

    I applaud the kid-friendly policy of this Canadian youth soccer league. Oh, sure, some people may criticize this new policy as yet further conclusive proof that the USA can beat the crap out of Canada anytime it wants. But I will ardently defend this enlightened new approach. Our kids’ psyches are extremely fragile from the first 18 months of life until the time when they no longer need our emotional and financial support – typically around age 37.

    We need to shelter our children from anything that might damage their self-esteem, such as losing 27 to 0 in a youth soccer match, as happened to nine-year-old Sarah Miller’s team last weekend. Sarah is the goalie. Think of what such a devastating thumping might do to her self-confidence. The last thing little Sarah needs is to internalize that she is a terrible goalie. (Although, as an aside, I have to say, Sarah really sucks at goaltending. She has no business being allowed out of the stands. But please don’t tell her parents you heard it from me.)

    As the Ottawa youth soccer league has taught us by its inspiring example, when it comes to our highly impressionable young children, life should not be about winning and losing, or showing up for practice, or getting cut from the baseball team just because little Jimmy can’t seem to figure out that the pitcher’s mound is not first base. Instead, our jobs as parents should be to protect our precocious angels from the real world that is waiting to beat them into submission.

    That’s why I’ve adopted a totally new parenting approach that focuses on preserving my kids’ belief in their greatness, regardless of evidence to the contrary. In the past, if a teacher gave my child a D on an important math test, I’d probably have a serious chat with my child and ask why she chose to stay up till 1am playing Candy Crush on her cell phone instead of studying for the test.

    But now I realize that such an interrogation might harm my child’s belief about her incredible brilliance. Now, if that same teacher were to give my daughter a D, I’d immediately berate the teacher for unfairly downgrading my child’s score simply because she gave incorrect answers. After all, when it comes to what’s right or wrong on a math text, who’s to say what the real answer is to 12 minus 5? It’s all so subjective. And I would be sure to praise my little princess on her outstanding choice of using a #2 pencil and remind her that she’s still an A+ student in my book.

    Winning - Angry boylChildhood flies by so quickly. You will have plenty of time later on to awaken your kids to the reality that life does not always even up the score to make sure everyone’s a winner. Let someone else teach them that the world does not owe them a six-figure income and a penthouse condo by age 25. Now is the time to remind your young superstar how special they are – even if they just tripped and did a face plant during a soccer game, and did so while only riding the bench.

    So, this summer, if by some act of blatant favoritism your perfect son or daughter does not get picked to play on your neighborhood’s Select soccer team, remember that your child is still incredibly gifted. It’s not your child’s fault that she skipped all the practices and couldn’t be bothered to show up for tryouts. That just means she has more time to work on that perfect tan this summer. She’s going to be a suntan superstar, I just know it.

    That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

    Tim Jones - Profile at Safeco - TinyPS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

    © Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2014


    • And we wonder why some children end up living BACK at home when things don't work out at age 28? …
      Charmel Bowden
  • Published On May. 28, 2014 by TEJ