Thursday, January 17, 2008


My husband's former girlfriend Emily sent me a quote today as she is known to do.

Emily forwards great things and I do appreciate it.

The quote she sent was this one:

"When we adults think of children there is a simple truth which we ignore: childhood is not preparation for life, childhood is life...

The child is constantly confronted with the nagging question, 'What are you going to be?' Courageous would be the youngster who, looking the adult squarely in the face, would say, 'I'm not going to be anything; I already am.'

We adults would be shocked by such an insolent
remark for we have forgotten, if indeed we ever knew, that a child is an active participating and contributing member of society from the time he is born.

Childhood isn't a time when he is molded into a
human who will then live life; he is a human who is living life.

No child will miss the zest and joy of
living unless these are denied him by adults who have convinced themselves that childhood is a period of preparation.

How much heartache we would save ourselves if we would recognize the child as a partner with adults in the process of living, rather than always viewing him as an apprentice.

How much we would teach each other, adults
with the experience and children with the freshness.

How full both our
lives could be.

A little child may not lead us, but at least we ought to
discuss the trip with him for, after all, life is his and her journey, too."

- Professor T. Ripaldi

I pause.

I consider.

I write...


January 17, 2008

The House of Joy
1234 Park Ranger Lane
Windy, GA 78521

Dr. T. Ripaldi
College of Parental Knowledge
867-5309 Jenny Street
Baloney, OH 98765

Dear Professor T. Ripaldi:

Thank you so much for your thoughts on the ways in which I might enrich my life by
partnering with my children in the process of living!

Golly, I can hardly wait to begin, but first
I have a few questions.

First of all, why is it that whenever I try to "
discuss the trip with him," my son repeatedly screams "NO" and tries to kick me in the knee?

Secondly why does he refuse to wear a jacket (or any item of clothing with buttons) on his journey?

Finally, when you ask me to imagine how "full both our lives could be" I wonder if you have seen my schedule. I'm not sure I have the capacity to achieve a higher level of fullness.

[Unless we are talking about whether or not I have room for dessert.]

I anxiously await your answers because I know you must be a true genius. I mean that part about "
children with the freshness"?... TELL ME ABOUT IT!!!!

Sincerely yours,


(Forgive me, Emily! It was just too fun.)


Bon said...

you saucy thing. i laughed. mostly b/c you surprised me, oh irreverent one, as i was all ready to embrace the, erm, fullness or freshness or whatever, and then you pointed out that perhaps really there's another way to look at such wisdom.

and full? i've always got room for dessert, too.

WILLIAM said...

"How much heartache we would save ourselves if we would recognize the child as a partner with adults in the process of living, rather than always viewing him as an apprentice."

My kid is not considered a partner til he starts paying room and board.

"Childhood isn't a time when he is molded into a human who will then live life; he is a human who is living life....and they suck the life out of the parents.

Anonymous said...

Oh, bless their cornball hearts but your reply is so true!

flutter said...

Jess, I totally love this, you crack me up

Anonymous said...

This guy has never had kids I take it, or should I say, he has never been an active participant in raising them.

Paige said...

You know, and I know, that there is no discussing anything with these small partners in life. Give 'em an inch and they'll whip your ass.

Now it's my turn to say "word" on your blog,

meno said...

Earnestness such as this quote always sets my teeth on edge.

Does this T. Ripaldi HAVE any young children?

slouching mom said...

I love it, J. And why do I think that you won't be receiving a reply?

Jenn said...

I'll take "Bet the Prof doesn't have kids for ten thousand", Alex.

WA said...

I think I once saw Professor Ripaldi give a lecture at Jackass University. I think he has tenure there.

Omaha Mama said...

Tee hee.
Okay, you've got him there.

Why won't my kid wear pants at home? At.All.
And the kicking, screaming, etc?
So not part of the journey of which he speaks.

You are great.

mothergoosemouse said...

Those child development experts think they know everything, don't they?

You tell 'em, Jess.

Jennifer said...

And there I was, getting all sniffly and sappy. For a second.


crankybee said...

*jaw drops*

You never wrote that to him, did you? LOL!

jakelliesmom said...

I liked it, I was going with it, then I thought about little Master and young Miss Bossypants who live in my house who are always telling me what I should do, what I need to do for them, and recalled that they are not my partners. They are my children.

I've found myself among the consensus of your commenters in determining that there is no way this expert is a parent.


Jamie said...

Uh, that was the longest "quote" ever. And if my child is indeed " active participating and contributing member of society..." then I'm not sure what to think of the world, because right now he is into flushing random objects down the toilet and playing with his wee-wee.

mamatulip said...

Seriously, I hope he replies.

Mrs. Fussy Fussypants said...

Brilliant Jess!

Mwah! Thanks for the chuckle.

Julie Pippert said...

Thank you for your sarcastic reply letter. Oh THANK YOU!

Currently? In my state? After all that has been going on?

I read that and thought, what a lot of faradiddle. Does he even HAVE kids?

I'm not an utter cynic just...weary (and I mean weary, not leery, although that fits too) of experts telling me how I am doing it wrong and need to instead be more FREE! OPEN!! JOYOUS!! EMBRACING! I'm too tired for that. My kids are on an neverending journey that doesn't includes rest stops I'm afraid.

And they are so my apprentices. Why do you think I bought them the mini cleaning set for Christmas?

(I mean, it's a sweet sentiment, sure.)

floreksa said...

Such deep thoughts and I'll I've got now is Tommy Tutone on the mind and will be singing phone numbers in my sleep...


Mamma said...

bad day, huh?

Don Mills Diva said...

I did not see that letter coming but it cracked my shit up! Too funny.

Sugarplum's Mom said...

Love it! Love the made up addresses

suchsimplepleasures said...

my partners!!! not at all! even my husband, it's dubious sometimes, as to whether or not, he's my partner...
but...i wonder if that guy has kids and, if he messed up they are?!
hmm...just a thought!
pretty funny stuff, though!

Geologychick said...

My child was asked the question today, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" ...and she replied, "a turtle." I love my child!

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Thank you b/c these types of quotes from 'experts' always make me feel like I'm severely lacking as a mother.

Shannon said...

I want to ask T. Ripaldi:

"Why is it when we're on a journey with our children (like say, to New Jersey) they ALWAYS ask, 'Are we there yet?'

If I use your line of thinking, I should say, 'We're already there.'

Wouldn't THAT confuse the hell out of them."

A Mom

Little Monkies said...

If my kid looked at me and said something like "I already AM", and for a second I thought "HOLY MAN, HE'S GOING TO BE LIKE THIS FOREVER" I would have to lock myself up. Seriously.

(I know I am taking his words out of context, but that's the first thing I thought of...being stuck with an obstinate 4yo FOREVER...AHHHHHHHHHH)

BOSSY said...

Ohhhhhhh lordsy lordsy - hilarious.

mauniejames said...

you get right to the nitty gritty..
your fabulous...toddlers are advice is easy..


~JJ! said...

I can always depend on you to pull out the truth in everyone!

You so rock!

Aliki2006 said...

Good for you for not being able to resist that response! I'm wondering where having your kid chuck a tinker toy part at your face in the a.m. fits in with the journey as well...

JoeInVegas said...

Oh, and I was so looking forward to going backwards, moving to Depends and no teeth and being obstinant. (not that I'm not now, but not the no teeth part).

bew said...

Room for dessert? How can you NOT have room for dessert? My dad taught the my boys, "Life is too short! Eat Dessert FIRST!!!"
Well, that's when he takes them out, anyways.

The guy that wrote that must be the one that never colored out of the lines.

~stands behind you on this...then remembers "the mighty winds" and stands off to the side instead~

Emily said...

Jess - I forwarded that to many friends and got responses like "oh, that was so touching" and "thank you for sharing that". Now I know they were really thinking "What a bunch of baloney! Why does Emily send me this shit?!" Glad I was able to help you with a blog topic yesterday :-)

cce said...

For every good quote or saying there is an equally good proverb that means exactly the opposite. I love that you point this out!
Afterall... Two heads are better than one finds its opposite in the proverb, Paddle your own canoe.
Some believe it's better to be safe than sorry while others espouse the notion that nothing ventured is nothing gained.
It's all about perspective and I think I'm with you on this one.

Circus Kelli said...

hee hee!!

I've been trying to tell Buddy how much more full his life would be if he would just consent to pooping on the potty every day, but he doesn't seem to believe me. As one of his "partners in living life", I only have so much power.

(jamie's comment totally cracked me up!)

Jen M. said...

Oh THANK GOD you had the response you did.

As I read that I felt like such a LOSER because I basically parent the complete opposite way. Probably not a good thing - I know I need to insert some balance in there.

Sigh. I like you more for that.

Amy said...

i like your style.

Elaine A. said...

I was all taking this seriously and pondering it myself, but then you ended with a great laugh. I am new to your blog and enjoyed my visit. Thanks for the humor!

Avery Gray said...

What a hippie dippie crock of bull. Hard to believe how many people buy into that!

Lori at Spinning Yellow said...

Didn't anybody notice the address, but me? 8675309 Jenny St, Baloney, OH - couldn't be funnier, OTJ.

Michelle O'Neil said...

I loved the initial quote, AND loved your response to it!

Slackermommy said...

Amen, sistah! a perfect world...

JD at I Do Things said...

Hey, there! I see you don't really respond to comments, but I hope you'll take a second to answer a quick question.

(First: very funny post!)

I'm copyediting a book that has this quotation. From everything I can find, the quote is attributed to John H. Taylor in the book Notes on an Unhurried Life.

But the author of the book credits "Professor Ripaldi" too. I can't find any information on him. I want to confirm that the author is indeed John H. Taylor, so can you let me know where you found the Ripaldi connection?

Thanks so much.

JD at I Do Things