Ah, June… Summer is at our doorstep, the days are (almost all of them) seeming to get a little bit longer, and for the second year in a row I am partaking in my daily blogging exercise, marginally focused along a theme I’ve simply called Those 30 posts in June. No planning. No writing stuff days ahead. Just this: each day a meanderingly vague prompt drives a meanderingly vague post… and today that post just happens to be:
June 3rd // Something You Have Read
…I realize that Calvin has had a fairly profound impact on my parenting style…
Originally I had something entirely different to write here… and then, sitting out on a beautiful local sunny day I found myself thumbing through my Google Plus stream and finding therein a post something about the such-and-such greatest Calvin and Hobbes quotes. It immediately struck me that, despite owning a complete and well-read collection, I’d not actually pulled those books off the shelf in a number of years.
Shame on me. Shame. Shame. Shame.
So I spent a solid hour, between sunning in the hammock to hiding in the relative cool of the basement, reading old Calvin and Hobbes strips.
I used to read those compiliations more regularly. I think, actually, I bought all those books back in Vancouver during my span there, and I’d keep them bedside so I could read a few strips before sleeping.But it’s funny — odd, maybe — that I cannot recall reading any Calvin and Hobbes since becoming a parent. I find it odd because of one very particular thing: relatability. In other words, I think I always saw myself relating to Calvin. I mean he was a bit of an odd duck, wasn’t he? He was philosophical, misunderstood, and lost inside the confines of his own imagination.
But now? Now I look at Calvin from the perspective of a parent and realize that once relating to Calvin has had a fairly profound impact on my parenting style: nothing so literal as I could give you Example X and say I learned that from Comic Strip Y. But there is an exhausted sort-of tolerance of youth that Calvin’s parents embody that I find myself noticing more, reading the strips again today. Calvin’s folks are not the main characters at all, but you don’t get the impression that they are meaningless in his life either; His dad models both a twisted sense of humour and a worldly cynicism with which he baits his son into questioning his local reality. And his mother tries her best to be a good mother, but still lets her son toe the limits of his curiosity and questioning-self before pulling him back again and stopping him from completely teetering over the edge. Both of them parent rationally — and realistically — which is odd for a comic strip. Odd for 2012.
So there it is… I’ve read a hundred or so pages of strips today. I have a few hundred more to get through over the next few days or weeks — whenever I find time. I missed Calvin. I think he taught me much more than I would have ever imagined.
Note: I found the attached image floating about the web and figured it was too relevant to ignore. If you know who created it, comment and I’ll attribute. Otherwise: awesome art, valiant artist!
EDIT: Given the popularity of this post, I wrote a follow up and expansion called Parenting Like Calvin and Hobbes.