Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Quite the young Word Smith

I don't often delve into the world of what celebrities say about stuff because a) who cares what they say and b) I don't either.

But when they start handing out bad advice, I need to clear my throat and speak up.

Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith (she's a Baltimorean; her stepfather is diminutive defense attorney Warren Brown, often seen on the news defending people who should behave themselves) have an interesting way of raising their kids.  "We don't do punishment," the erstwhile Fresh Prince says.  "The way that we deal with our kids is, they are responsible for their lives. Our concept is, as young as possible, give them as much control over their lives as possible and the concept of punishment, our experience has been—it has a little too much of a negative quality.

"So when they do things—and you know, Jaden, he's done things—you can do anything you want as long as you can explain to me why that was the right thing to do for your life."

By the way, thanks to the 100 of my Facebook friends who "liked" my salute to my late father last week on the occasion of his 100th birthday.  Dad certainly would have found Will's comment amusing.  The Smith School of Raising Kids stresses that the kids can do what they wish, as long as they feel it's the right thing to do for their lives.  I wish I had that alibi in hand when my parents dealt with some of my adolescent capers.  "But Mom and Dad, it was the right thing to do for my life, to cut school and spend the day on the sunny shores of Loch Raven, guzzling beer and Ripple with my ne'er-do-well friends!"

"OK then, son."

Never happened.  But maybe that sort of "parenting" leads to pronouncements like these recent Twitterances from young Jaden Smith, who, at 15, is already as wise as a 4-year-old:
“School Is The Tool To Brainwash The Youth”

“If Everybody In The World Dropped Out Of School We Would Have A Much More Intelligent Society.”

“If Newborn Babies Could Speak They Would Be The Most Intelligent Beings On Planet Earth.”

TV's entire Smith Family
Listen.  There's a time to be 15 and strut around like you know everything.  Any adult could take this youth aside and say, Son, your parents are doing you a horrible disservice, and even though the money they have made from your father's movies will be enough to support you and your children's children's children for a long time, you will have more respect for education when you have one of your own.

Of course, the fact that the Smith family fortune was "earned" in one of the few fields in which not much in the way of formal education is required would be lost on him as well.  We can only hope that he never needs medical attention or legal advice of any sort.  The thought of him having his broken ankle set by a dropout, or his broken partnership disincorporated by another 15-year old visionary, is too sad even to consider.

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