Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
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March 24, 2009 |
Post to the Host:
I am an old mother. I just had a baby girl at 36. I want her to grow up and be a good Minnesota kid but I live in southern California, although my parents grew up there and I have visited there my entire life. What is the secret Minnesota holds to raising a good kid?
Jerri and Lindsey
The risks of child-rearing are the same in Minnesota as in California, and any Minnesota parent will tell you so. I used to think winter made people more patient and kind but I don't think so anymore. I've met children raised in southern California who were beautiful children, outgoing, mannerly, warm-hearted, funny, thoughtful, and are growing up to become good people. What new parents don't understand, whether in Minnesota or California, is how time-consuming parenthood is. Kids need a lot of attention. Latchkey kids are at risk. Children of people who are happily absorbed in their own lives have a problem. It's hard to divide parenting equally between the two and usually one person carries a greater share of the load. But it takes an enormous commitment and I say that as a not very good parent. One advantage about Minnesota is that there's a large supply of uncles, aunts, and cousins. And we are a sort of cultural backwater, which maybe spares children the torture of trying to be cool. It's not really possible here so a kid may as well do the homework, shoot baskets, make the bed, wash the dishes, honor the parents, and save coolness for later.