• 05.16.08

Work/Life: Finally, American Idol Has Something Important To Teach Us



  • The meddlesome father who was recently banned from the setof “American Idol”–for trying to orchestrate every level of his son DavidArchuleta’s performance on the show—did his best to stay involved this pastweek, shouting out his recommendation, through cupped hands, that his son singnot first but second.   (Ilearned this through researching on the Internet.  I’m not a fan of the show or anything.  I mean, my daughter watches it, so whenit’s on, I’ll watch it and everything, but…oh, never mind, no sense digging thehole any deeper.)   
  • Anyway, it was difficult for Mr. Archuleta to stay out oftrying to control the process by which his son may catapult to fame andfortune.  I understand this compulsion,and I recognize it because it is exactly the same kind of impulse I have tocontrol regarding my relationship to my work.  Which may well point to the fact that Jeff, and otherparents like him, have crossed into a tricky area, in which what was supposedto be their life has somehow become their work, and an obsession at that.   Kind of a “Twilight Zone” ofwork/life issues.  I can hear RodSerling now: “Submitted for your approval tonight, one Jeff Archuleta.  A man whose tiny world is about to beturned upside down by the inner workings of his own mind.” 
  • The act of raising children is a hard job in and ofitself.  If there is a “work” partto being a parent, it’s the constant learning curve of understanding how to doit as right as you can, and how to deal with the myriad ways in which you aretested on a daily basis.  The workof parenting should not also include your child being an assignment.  If you’re bucking for an A+ on thatassignment, you will burn the candle at both ends just to craft and mold itinto what you consider good enough.  Not to mention, you might just end up expecting a big, fat return onyour time investment, and heaven help you if your adolescent wunderkind doesn’tprovide that payoff.  I’d hate formy kid to become a job that I ended up hating.  After all, it’s hard enough not to resent having to sockaway the money I wanted for that flat screen on the college fund (kidding!). 
  • There are any number of pat psychological explanations forwhat causes such over the top behavior in everyone from stage parents to thedads who start fights over a bad play at middle school hockey games.  Chief among these is the idea that aperceived failure in the adult’s life has led them to overcompensate by livingout another chance at glory through their children.  I have to admit, I always wanted a career in sports, andwould have wanted my son to be the next Mickey Mantle.  Thankfully, I have two daughters.  Although if one of them should showsigns of being say, a Michelle Mantle, I might be hard pressed to butt out ofthat particular career track.