Small Wonders:

Mothers are doing a great job

May 08, 2010|By Patrick Caneday

In a bit of revisionist theology, here’s something early scholars may have left out of the Bible, and it explains a lot:

And when God cast Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, He handed them a manila folder, saying to Adam, “Take, for in this is a Google Maps printout of directions back to the garden for when thou have learned thy lesson.” And, while Adam looked at the map, turning it this way and that, God turned to Eve saying, “In this folder there is also an owner’s manual in which are clearly defined and indexed instructions for the care of your offspring. Copy it, PDF it, and make it available in print and by e-mail to all whom come after you. Follow these instructions closely for they are good.”

So Adam and Eve departed, looking for a nice affordable duplex to rent on a quiet street. And Adam, being the man, claimed he did not need directions, knowing exactly how to return to the garden. So he threw the manila folder in the trash, there being no recycle bins available at this time.


And lo, when Eve was soon with child, Adam exclaimed, “How did that happen?” Eve responded saying, “Bring me the manila folder which was given us on the day of our casting out. In it are instructions which we must heed in the event of this emergency.”

Hearing this Adam grew silent, and upon his face came “that look” which ever gave Eve great concern.

Adam spoke, saying, “What manila folder, honey?”

And each generation since has battled the seemingly unanswerable questions of how to raise children without causing parent or child lifelong psychological damage. In that lost Parenting Owner’s Manual would have been a helpful FAQ for any potential dilemma.

When I was 6, my brother and I awoke early one Saturday morning and began to destroy our room. My sleep-deprived mother stormed into the room with threats of imprisonment if we didn’t quiet down. So I pulled my little suitcase from the closet, packed my Los Angeles Rams sweatshirt and nothing more, zipped it up and ran away.

Q: What to do when a 6-year-old threatens to run away?

A: Let him.

I made it to the front porch and waited for someone to beg me not to go. Five minutes later, I returned to my room and unpacked just in time for Saturday morning cartoons and Cocoa Puffs.

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