Parenting: It’s Not Rocket Science (Or Is It?)

In an essay I wrote several years ago,
“Parenting: Maybe It Is Rocket Science” (in The Chronicle of Higher Education), I listed some of the ways my Ph.D. in chemistry prepared me for parenting.  In the intervening years, the list has grown, and I could add a number of new items to the original list of four lessons.

Here’s one that seems especially appropriate this week, when my four children (ages 23, 20, 17, and 15) are all together for the first time since last Christmas break:

Lesson 1:  It’s very challenging to find a solvent that works for four different chemical compounds.

One of my goals for the next few days will be to find activities and interests that will “dissolve” (i.e., actively engage) all four boys at the same time.  With their diverse interests, it’s going to be a challenge.  Here are some of these activities/solvents I’ll be trying:

  • Food (Feeding three omnivores and one vegan will be tricky.)
  • Music (Their favorite musical genres include trance, indie, “noise” and “nerdcore hiphop.”   I like Baroque.  Can you say “generation gap?”)
  • Board games (“Cranium” worked last year.  I’m going to try “Apples to Apples” this year.)
  • Road trip (We’re driving 200 miles together next Sunday.  Enforced togetherness will either be a big success or …)

Synthetic chemists believe that finding the right solvent is both an art and a science.

Wish me luck.

Published in: on December 21, 2008 at 8:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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