Friday Fragments: Parenting Edition
I read last week about the Association of Community College Trustees and Head Start teaming up to place more Head Start locations on community college campuses.
It’s a fantastic idea. Yes, yes, yes.
Students who have children have a much harder time focusing on their studies. That’s particularly true if their childcare arrangements are unsatisfactory and/or precarious. Knowing that your child is safe and secure in a nurturing setting while you’re in class can free up mental bandwidth to focus on the class itself.
As a bonus, Head Start locations can make excellent placement opportunities for students who are studying early childhood education.
Early childhood is one of those “moral dilemma” fields of study, along with social work. It’s honest work and desperately needed; I’d bet that much of the “labor shortage” of the last couple of years stems from people not being able to find reliable childcare. It’s needed, but it pays badly. If students want to study it, I strongly encourage them to choose a community college as the place to do it. Don’t pay premium tuition for a profession that doesn’t pay much.
Professionalizing early childhood education – which necessarily involves public subsidies – can help. Here’s hoping that the alliance gets traction.
“Dad jokes” are good for children’s development, says science.
Reader, I feel vindicated.
As a kid, I used to endure my dad’s groan-inducing puns and jokes, and wonder why he kept adding to the repertoire. As a parent, I get it. I’ve carried on the tradition, though my jokes tend to be shorter. His typically required a two-paragraph setup, with a punchline that was essentially a compound pun. I prefer the proverbial rimshot; when the joke doesn’t land, at least you haven’t lost as much time.
“Dad jokes” – they aren’t limited to men, but the term sticks – walk a fine line. They have to be structured along the lines of a classic joke, pun, or shaggy dog story. They have to be relatively simple, so that a child can understand them. They can’t be topical. They have to be clean, or clean-ish. They usually involve a brief pause as the listener comes to the sickening realization that a terrible joke has just landed. (“I couldn’t figure out why the ball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.”) My proudest ones have been spontaneous, like when The Girl was considering a particular gift for her cousin: “The box says 8 to 12 years. Is that okay?” I replied that “It shouldn’t take nearly that long.”
The look on her face was worth it.
The scientists claim that experiencing “dad jokes” in childhood teaches kids how to handle awkwardness. I like to think that having humor as a routine part of daily life brightens the day, and forms the basis for a later appreciation of irony. The ability to appreciate absurdity goes a long way in many jobs. Best to start early.
When I forwarded her the article, my wife responded drily “thank you for your service.” I’ll take it.
The Boy graduates from UVA in May, and he has a job lined up! He wants to take some time to work and make money before heading to med school, and he has found a terrific opportunity to work in medical research in a very respected facility.
As parents, we’re doing the end-zone dance.
That first full-time job is always the toughest to get. This job may help with medical school applications, or it may help him move in another direction if that’s what he decides to do. Whichever way he goes, though, we’re proud of him.
It was mostly him, but maybe the jokes helped.