Home > Uncategorized > If this is true, my parents are phenominal people.

If this is true, my parents are phenominal people.

I just finished reading Freakonomics by Steven Levitt. I am going to quote his work here so please go to his website and buy his book so I can call it advertising instead of plagarism. (I haven’t actually bought the book myself –  I borrowed Stella’s copy, which is a library book, so she didn’t buy it either.)
Regardless, he makes some interesting observations like why drug dealers live with their parents, how sumo wrestlers are like teachers and how the main reason for the dropping crime wave in the 1990’s was the Roe vs Wade decision.
Oh – and he also tries to explain why people are stealing from the honour-system snack table at work, but I won’t get into that here.
One of the points he made that I will mention was regarding how important/unimportant parents are in the success of their offspring. In essence, he concludes that it’s not what parents DO (culture, ballet, Baby Mozart), but what parents ARE that has an effect:
"…this is not to say that parents don’t matter. Plainly they matter a great deal. Here is the conundrum: by the time most people pick up a parenting book, it is far too late. Most of the things that matter were decided long ago — who you are, whom you married, what kind of life you lead. If you are smart, hardworking, well educated, well paid, and married to someone equally fortunate, then your children are more likely to succeed… But it doesn’t matter what you do as a parent; it’s who you are. In this regard, an overbearing parent is a lot like a political candidate who believes that money wins elections, whereas in truth, all the money in the world can’t get a candidate elected if the voters don’t like him to start with."
Interesting no?
He also discussed how it’s more likely your child will drown in a swimming pool than die from a gun accident and has a great paragraph on how fear is related to risk and how precautions are taken based on the ‘immediacy’ of your fear and the amount of control you perceive you have over it vs the ‘possibilty of realization’ of the fear. For example, more action is taken to thwart terrorism than heart disease, but heart disease is more prevalent, because fewer people are afraid of heart disease than terrorism – you can control your own exposure to heart disease, but not to terrorism.
"Compare the four hundred lives that a few swimming pool precautions might save to the number of lives saved by… child-resisant packaging (an estimated fifty lives a year), flame-retardant pajamas (ten lives), keeping children away from air bags in cars (fewer than five young children a year have been killed by air bags since their introduction), and safety drawstrings on children’s clothing (two lives)."
If all this is true, I’d be a pretty amazing parent. I have a university education and am moderately successful, have never been incarcerated, and don’t own a swimming pool.
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Unknown
    January 30, 2006 at 7:49 pm

    Yes they are and have been blessed with two wonderful offspring.  Great book hey kiddo.  I listened to it on my pod.  It made the drive to and from Calgary almost painless. 
    PS – If you liked it so much you may like The Tipping Point, by Malcom Gladwell.  Again some interesting thoughts.

  2. S
    January 30, 2006 at 8:19 pm

    You\’re such a techie… who would have thought the engineer would read the library book and the teacher would be using an ipod? he he.
    Also, tell your woman that I haven\’t forgotten about the scrapbooking supplies – I just don\’t know which box in the garage they\’re in and it\’s too darned cold to sit out there looking. brrrrr.

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