Bad Parenting 101

A Turkey Trots

As I was watching the boys run the oval yesterday during our Upper School field day, I was reminded of an annual race that used to take place at my sons’ school in Washington, DC.

On Thanksgiving each year, they held “The Turkey Trot” and one year, one of my sons was fortunate enough to win the race for his class. Bully for him and pass the gravy, please.

The following year, a day or two before the trot, I asked him if he was ready to go. When he told me he wasn’t sure he should run because he had a cold, I became quite concerned.

Was he afraid of competition? Had he already developed a fear of losing? Was his ego this brittle at his tender age? Is this the start of larger issues that might haunt him for the rest of his life?

After some paternal cajoling, my son did show up at the starting line, and while he didn’t win, I was relieved to see that he had the moxie to stick it out. After the race, he told me he felt terrible, so I took him to a doctor who took one look at him and said, “This boy has walking pneumonia. Surely he hasn’t had any exercise — has he?”

Suddenly, I felt like the “Great Santini” — and my hand was stuck in the cookie jar.

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