Jewish World Review July 1, 2004 / 12 Tamuz, 5764

Lloyd Garver

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

College Kids: They're Ba'aaack | Like many parents, my wife and I have our college-age kids back home for the summer. While they were away, we missed them and were proud of their accomplishments. We beamed when we saw evidence of a newfound independence. We were pleased as they bravely tried new things. When we visited them at school, we could actually have a conversation with them without getting any snide remarks or rolling of the eyes. We marveled at the responsibility and maturity they demonstrated away from home. I just have one question: What happens to all that independence and maturity the second they walk back into our houses?

Away, they can figure out how to get around new and even foreign cities immediately. At home, there are times when they can't navigate the route from the couch to the ringing telephone. At school, they can read "War and Peace" in the original Russian, but at home, they can't seem to read "Help Wanted" in the window of the local Radio Shack. They can instantly see the solutions to difficult mathematical problems, but they can't see those dirty clothes that they step over on their way out of the house. In the dorm, they're able to share the tiniest living quarters, but they feel their space is constantly being invaded in a three-bedroom house.

For months, they're able to feed themselves, do their laundry, make appointments, and pay their bills. By the third day they're home, we're doing these things for them. Why? Do colleges offer a secret course called, "How To Get Away With As Much As Possible During The Summer?" Or maybe they act this way because they feel sorry for us, and want us to still feel needed. Nah, that can't be it.

Donate to JWR

I tried to look at this from college kids' point of view. (Of course, I couldn't use that point of view until after noon.) First of all, parents also regress during the summer. Often they just automatically go back to doing things for their kids. And if we offer to make their breakfast, do their laundry, or make phone calls for them, they're not going to say, "No, thanks, you just relax. I prefer to do all that myself."

And let's remember that they've been completely on their own for months, and suddenly we're asking them questions like, "How did you sleep?" "Is something wrong today?" "You call that a breakfast?" When they were away, somehow without our questioning, they managed to eat, sleep, and get through the day.

It's also time to expose an ugly parental secret: Sometimes we'll say anything in the hope of getting them to talk to us. Admit it. When they're reading a book, we might say something brilliant like, "Good book?" There are times when I'll walk into the room, see them watching TV, and ask, "What are you watching?" Couldn't I wait a couple of seconds and try to figure out on my own what they're watching? Besides, why should I care what they're watching and why should they have to tell me? So, are some of those snide remarks and rolling eyes really that big a mystery?

So I'm not blaming kids or parents. It's one of those no-fault things like when a tornado picks up two parked cars from different parts of town and then smashes them into each other. The summer is just an adjustment for everybody, and parents and kids are going to get on each other's nerves. Nobody should feel guilty if every once in a while they find themselves looking forward to when they're going to miss their kids in the fall. You can bet they're looking forward to missing us, too.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from "Sesame Street" to "Family Ties" to "Frasier." He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover. Comment by clicking here. Visit his website by clicking here.


06/11/04: A real sucker
06/03/04: What America really thinks
05/28/04: Fly the nice skies
05/20/04: A margin of error
05/06/04: TIPtoeing Around New York
04/29/04: The trouble with tall people
04/22/04: It's over for the Yankees
04/15/04: Silver bullets, tarnished excuses
04/08/04: A basketball fan's Nirvana
04/01/04: Something you're dying to write
03/25/04: Trumping Trump
03/11/04: Spelling still kounts
02/10/04: Leave the Amish alone
02/05/04: 'The State Of The Column' Column
01/15/04 Being Fat And Fit?
01/12/04 How to win the lottery
01/05/04 Sign Of The Times
12/27/03 Your Checklist Of Football Cliches
12/19/03 Clean getaway for holiday shoppers
12/15/03 The Cadillac Of Columns?
12/08/03 Dearest (Insert Name Here) ...
12/01/03 If they advertise it, we will buy
11/21/03 Feeling young, small and intimidated
11/14/03 The ulterior motive behind changes in those airline passenger meals
10/30/03 Real Money From Virtual Reality
10/23/03 Seeing red on new greenbacks
10/10/03 A sorry state of affairs
10/02/03 Revealed! Celeb-authored kids' books arriving just in time for the holidays
09/25/03 Just say 'yes' to dinner
09/11/03 In search of cool
09/04/03 Taking 'Intelligence' Out Of 'CIA'
08/28/03 Relaxation makes me nervous
07/31/03: What empty nest?
07/17/03: America's Big Hang-Up
06/27/03: Mental gymnastics
06/19/03: Why do we lie to our doctors?
06/02/03: Driving around in circles
05/28/03: These writers don't monkey around
05/19/03: Testing the water
05/13/03: New car hell
05/05/03: Bed and breakfast bewilderment
04/28/03: Sexy? That's a laugh!
04/10/03: When 'all A's' isn't good enough
04/04/03: A kibosh on complaining
03/13/03: Cut those billionaires some slack
03/05/03: Will they ever run out of celebs? The pols hope not!
02/26/03: Unfortunately, we can hear you now
02/19/03: Just say what you mean

© 2004, Lloyd Garver