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This column reflects the opinion of the writer. To learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column, click here.

Opinion >  Column

The Slice: At some point, you risk sounding creepy

This might sound odd.

But I wish the parents I know would tell me more about their kids.

I’m totally serious.

Sure, a longtime stereotype suggests that many moms and dads are prone to talk too much about their children. But that certainly has not been my experience as a listener, at least not in recent years.

I am fortunate enough to know a few people who have some seemingly wonderful kids. Sometimes though, I almost have to pry loose any details about what their boys and girls are up to these days. There are exceptions, of course.

Anyway, here are my theories. (And as I cannot be the only person in this situation, I hope others will share theirs.)

• Mindful that Spokane has at times had a reputation as a place where some residents turned child rearing into performance art, certain parents here are pointedly close-mouthed about their offspring’s adventures and accomplishments.

• Some of my colleagues and friends fear that any kid talk will come off sounding like a spoken equivalent of one of those chest-thumping family Christmas-card letters.

• Fear that I will use their anecdotes as column fodder.

• Maybe it’s generational. I’m 59. When people my age were having children years ago, they tended to talk, talk, talk about their kids, which was fine. But subsequent waves of parents seem less apt to assume that everyone wants to hear it all. Again, there were and are exceptions.

• I don’t know the secret handshake. Some parents assume nonparents do not like children or stories about them.

• Luck of the draw. Perhaps, for some inexplicable reason, I am surrounded by highly self-aware individuals who edit themselves aggressively.

• I miss out on tons of kid news of widely varying quality because I am not on Facebook.

• Some people believe I judge them about their kids’ names, which I do. But I never hold it against the children.

Today’s Slice question: When you are watching TV, what percentage of the time are you also eating?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. If you rented a house and the landlord said you couldn’t post a certain political campaign sign in the front yard, what would you say to him or her?

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