As a new mom, I have all sorts of ideas about what I want to teach to Tuco. I’d like to get these ideas into coherent words, so I’m going to be a total blogface and see how they come out here. I anticipate this becoming a series since there is so much I hope the boy will learn.
Today’s lesson for Tuco: DFW it when you can.
David Foster Wallace (hence the DFW in DFW it) is one of my husband’s and my favorite writers. He gave a fantastic commencement speech at Kenyon College where he talks about choosing to look at the mundane, sometimes infuriating daily routine in a different light. The choice DFW talks about is something we try hard to remember every day. For example, if my husband gets annoyed with another driver who is following our car too closely, I say something along the lines of “Maybe his wife just went into labor, and he’s trying to get home to take her to the hospital.” My husband does the same thing for me when I get annoyed about something that doesn’t matter. It’s what we call DFWing it. I hope that DFWing it will be an ever-present component of our parenting and that it rubs off on Tuco as he gets older.
This portion of DFW’s speech sums up the point nicely for me:
“But most days, if you’re aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her kid in the checkout line. Maybe she’s not usually like this. Maybe she’s been up three straight nights holding the hand of a husband who is dying of bone cancer. Or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the motor vehicle department, who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a horrific, infuriating, red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it’s also not impossible. It just depends what you want to consider. If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options.”
I truly hope we can make the choice to look differently at these day-to-day human annoyances that are impossible to avoid. Especially when Tuco is present. I hope it helps teach Tuco empathy and keeps him from turning into a ball-of-stress person who detests other people. In other words, I don’t want him to be like his parents. We’ve gone so long not making the right choice that now we need constant reminding to DFW it.
It’s hard to believe the über-cute kid in this picture could ever not just love everyone. *sigh*