The Transitive Property of Parenting

This conversation between my cousin and his kid just happened at my dinner table:

My cousin:  Do you want ketchup?
The kid:  Yes.
My cousin:  Do you want ketchup?
The kid:  Yes.
My cousin:  Do you want ketchup?
The kid:  Yes.
My cousin:  Do you want ketchup?
The kid:  Yes.
My cousin:  Do you want ketchup?
The kid:  Yes, PLEASE.

My cousin to me:  The key to effective parenting is repetition.

You guys!  The key to effective parenting is repetition.

HOLY COW!  I’ve been on the lookout for years for the key to effective parenting.  And yet I somehow didn’t expect to find it while eating meatloaf.  The world is full of surprises, I tell you.

And I’ll also tell you, if parenting is all about repetition, I have this in the bag.  I repeat crap All. Day. Long.

And now we’ve come to the mathematics portion of the day.  Because I was right in the middle of my open-mouthed meatloaf revelation when my husband quoted Rita Mae Brown out loud:

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.

Get ready, folks.  There’s some serious math logic ahead.  This is JUST LIKE that time when that guy, Newton, had an apple drop on his head.  I mean, we all know the dude wasn’t the first to get beaned in the noggin with a piece of fruit.  But he was the first to call it gravity, and that changed the world.

Are you ready?  OK.

This is the Transitive Property of Equality:
a = b

b = c,
a = c.

And this is the Transitive Property of Parenting:
parenting = repetition expecting different results
repetition expecting different results = insanity,
parenting = insanity.

Parenting equals insanity, guys!

I know.  We all had this apple drop on our heads a LOOOOONNNGG time ago.

But now we have proof.

ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
  1. This is brilliant! It explains a lot about a lot of parents (including me) and now it’s official. Love it 🙂

  2. Rita Mae Brown, huh? I always thought Einstein said that…….

    1. And you’re not alone! That quote is commonly misattributed to Einstein, which meant that researching it was a bear. THANK YOU for making the research all worthwhile by allowing me to note it here. I love it when a plan comes together.

      P.S. Spell check doesn’t like the word misattributed, but I’m standing by it. I’m loyal that way.

  3. I teach high school math and I have been reading your blog for several months now. I always love it but this is great.

    1. Thanks, Teal, for saying hi!

      P.S. I blame this post on my marriage to a mathematician. 😉

  4. This, my friend, needs to be a demotivator poster!

    1. Ha! I’d probably suck at writing demotivator posters the same way I suck at twitter. Anything with a limited word count is SO not my strength.

      Although, I must say the Blogging demotivator is inspired: “Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few.” Bahaha!

      Loquaciously yours,

      1. what’s a ‘demotivator poster’?

        ps: what’s loquaciously? 🙂

        1. pps: never mind on the ‘loquacious’ part… apparently my translating-programme-thingy doesn’t accept me misspelling words that I’ve never heard of… way to be helpful there!

  5. Brilliant! We knew it all along, but now we have PROOF! Just what I needed. Now at least I know I’m not crazy!

  6. I have long hoped that something good would come of your hanging out with The Science Nerds (i.e. your husband and your cousin) and the hope has come to fruition! Beth doing mathematics – who would believe it?

    1. Hey, now, Pops! I was darn good at math for approximately 45 minutes in the 7th grade. You’ve let 99.95% of my education overshadow that brief and shining moment.

      1. What’s especially impressive about this post is that you got this brilliant despite the fact that you only got 30 minutes per day of actual education out of all your schooling. In honor of the math theme of the post, I offer this breakdown:
        -You admit that 45 minutes comprises 0.05% of your education.
        -That means there were 90,000 minutes total, or 1500 hours.
        -Now, you did K-12, plus 3.5 years of college.
        -1500(hours) / 16.5(years) = 90 hours per year.
        -The average academic year is 180 days.
        -90 (hours) / 180 days = 0.5 hours per day.
        Half an hour. Way to maximize your edjamacashun!

  7. I just have to say, “Wow!” You, Beth, are BOTH amazingly beautiful AND brilliant!

    1. Hooray! SOMEONE read that post on being pretty. 😉

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