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The Awful Power of Putting Things Out of Your Mind

Some of the unfettered joy and extreme discomfort of parenting comes from recognizing your own traits in your child. Not only does my eldest emulate my habit of wearing a queen-sized blanket around the house—and neighborhood on occasion, if he’s engaging in a game of hide-and-seek with the neighbor kids on a nippy day—but he has also inherited my habit of trying to get done as quickly as possible with crap that he's not interested in.

I can vividly recall doing the bare minimum necessary to get a piece of boring schoolwork done so that I could continue doing stuff I liked. (I can neither confirm nor deny that there is a similar work ethic afoot with my eldest’s homeschooling. All I know is that I am a lot more sympathetic about the level of exasperation I remember my parents exhibiting throughout my childhood.)

Much as it can be frustrating to see this habit recur in the next generation (the get-through-boring-things quickly habit, not the blanket-as-daywear habit), I have realized that it is our