Today is Wednesday, the day our local newspaper publishes John Rosemond’s Parenting column. Rosemond is a family psychologist who preaches what he calls “traditional parenting” – a common-sense approach to childrearing that emphasizes discipline and responsibility. Rosemond is upbeat and encouraging (to his credit, he doesn’t advocate hitting kids), and I enjoy the little anecdotes he sprinkles through his columns.
But it’s also true that he’s been writing the same column every week for as long as I’ve been reading him. No matter what’s going on in the world, you’re going to read a little treatise about how Grandma knew best.
This morning, for example, the rescue of the Chilean miners is very much on the minds of people everywhere. Last night I saw a small boy waiting with his mother for his father to make the terrifying ride through the rescue shaft and emerge at last into daylight. I heard a psychologist on TV talk about possible post-traumatic syndrome problems for the rescued miners. What about their children – and children with no personal connection to the miners who, nevertheless, may be subjected to nightmares about being trapped underground?
You won’t read about it Rosemond’s column. He rarely ventures beyond a few familiar topics – homework, chores, potty training, and everyday misbehavior.
Now for some writing advice. Forget the “Write What You Know” advice beloved of editors and writing teachers. Expand your experience. If you have a blog, read over your last five or six entries. Are you circling around a few familiar and safe topics? Or has the larger world found its way into your writing space? Here’s hoping it has.