May 4, 2006

"I never treated Tiger like a kid. I treated Tiger as an equal. We transcended the parent-child relationship..."

A magnificent athlete had a magnificent father. But I wonder whether whether, in general, that is is good parenting advice.

IN THE COMMENTS: Joan brings up "TSST!" -- last night's episode of "South Park," the one with The Dog Whisperer. Earl Woods ≈ Cartman's Mom.

12 comments:

Joe said...

Maybe that was a bit of an over generalization. I don't think you can always have treated a child as an equal, especially when they are young. Hopefully as the child becomes an adult, the parents are able to trust the choices their child makes. It is a fine line between being there to provide advice and becoming overbearing toward an adult child. But I am very lucky to have 2 well balanced, mature, poised and brilliant daughters.

Bissage said...
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Bissage said...

Mr. Woods said: ""I never treated Tiger like a kid. I treated Tiger as an equal. We transcended the parent-child relationship and became best friends a long time ago."

I take that to mean Mr. Woods made a special effort not to be condescending or dismissive.

And that, I think, is the best parenting advice of all.

SteveR said...

Its hard to argue with the results. I know my parents allowed me to mature and earn trust and I have tried to do the same with my children. Sometimes you have to be a parent though, but I think Bissage has it right.

paulfrommpls said...

And then there are those of us who were dealing with our parents as children from the get-to. (I'm kidding of course.)

Jennifer said...

At first blush, I would say no. Children need parents not just a world of equals.

But, clearly Earl Woods raised a wonderful man in Tiger. So who am I to argue?

I would say that Earl Woods seems a little given to extraordinary soundbites. I'm surprised that someone who made it all the way to Lt Col in Special Forces would feel they were not given a fair shake.

Bissage said...

Jennifer said: "I'm surprised that someone who made it all the way to Lt Col in Special Forces would feel they were not given a fair shake."

What surprises me more is the editorial decision to print so ordinary a gripe in an obituary.

Bee said...

I once saw Earl and Tiger on Oprah. Oprah was recounting a story about Earl's parenting style. (I'm paraphrasing from memory, so details may not be accurate.)

Apparently, when Tiger was young--three or four--they were both to attend a golfing event. Earl asked Tiger to pack up his gear, including golf clubs. For some reason Tiger didn't do it, and they left with Earl knowing full well that Tiger's equipment wasn't in the car.

When they got to the event, Tiger looked around for the equipment, and was crushed to find that it wasn't there. He couldn't participate, and he was upset.

I remember Oprah saying something like, "You left knowing full well he didn't load his equipment? But he was only three years old! You couldn't have just loaded it for him, and then teach him a lesson by pretending it wasn't there?'

Earl: "Got to learn quick."

I loved that. I think about it all the time with my own four year old. It's often easier to do things for kids, instead of letting them learn or fail on their own. Every time I'm tempted I hear, "Got to learn quick."

Joan said...

Bee:It's often easier to do things for kids, instead of letting them learn or fail on their own.

It's always easier to do whatever-it-is myself than to teach the kids how to do it, and help them do it properly. But it's almost always worse, too, because that infantilizes (is that the right word?) even the kids who aren't infants anymore.

Every child deserves respect and love, but not every child can be treated the way Earl Woods treated Tiger, because not every kid is Tiger Woods... but we can come close. If we're going out, I let my kids know with plenty of time to get ready. Many a time my youngest has found himself in the car without his favorite toy, but that's his problem, not mine: "Oh, well, next time you'll be sure to go and get it when I tell you we're getting ready to leave."

This story dovetails neatly with last night's "Dog Whisperer" episode of "South Park", which was brilliant from start to finish.

Truly said...

I always wondered how the other Woods kids must have felt, having their parents' attention focused on the world champion golfer. Must make being a average kid pretty unimpressive in comparison.

They must miss him terribly. I wish them all the best.

perry said...

I can't help but (over?)generalize the last few posts to think bigger picture - the more we are infantalized by the state, the less we know how or care to know how to do for ourselves. Much easier to try do everything for people than to let them try and fail and learn to do it themselves.

.. just a quick 2 cents.

Jennifer said...

Jennifer said: "I'm surprised that someone who made it all the way to Lt Col in Special Forces would feel they were not given a fair shake."

Bissage said: "What surprises me more is the editorial decision to print so ordinary a gripe in an obituary."


On reflection, I think maybe what Earl Woods meant was that he had to work much harder to achieve that level than other people did. Maybe that's why they would include it in the article? As a true measure of what he was able to accomplish?

I don't think you could go any higher than Colonel in SF during Vietnam. So, that kind of makes Lt. Col. equivalent to the rank of a 3 star general - just in the sense that you could only go one level higher. Maybe not, maybe that's a civilian way of looking at it.