Absolute elsewhere in the stones of your mind...

I was in the waiting room at my chiropractor's office. I had a book to read, but the scene playing out in front of me caught my attention:

There was a girl of about seven sitting directly across from me, with a book in her lap. Her mother sat at right angles to both of us, phone in hand, studying the screen and typing. The girl asked, "Mommy, can I read to you?"

Her mother grunted something that might be interpreted as a yes. The girl began reading and the mothers face remained fixed on her phone, her fingers still typing. Every 30 seconds or so, the mother would look up, and give her daughter about a one second glance. At one point, she corrected the girls pronunciation of "Himalaya."

The girl mentioned yetis, and read that they were "apple-like creatures." I was puzzled by this for a moment, and then realized that she had read "ape-like creatures," and did not know that the dash meant that she should break her pronunciation at that point. Her mother took no notice of the "apple-like creatures" roaming the Himalayas, and continued typing.

I am sure this mom is frantically enrolling her daughter in piano lessons and ballet classes and whatever else she thinks the girl needs to "get ahead." But the thing her daughter needs the very most, her mother's assurance that she is of some importance in the world, this mother cannot give her. Because she was doing something more important, like rescheduling the HR meeting that had been on for 10 AM Monday, and seeing if everyone could make it at 1 PM instead.


  1. fret not, I have been advised by Bryan Caplan that parenting does not matter.


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