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Gosh Darn It, Your Children Like You

stuart-smalley-posters2Many, if not most, of yallz are to young to remember Stuart Smalley, one of Saturday Night Live’s funnier characters of the 1990s. Stuart, a whackjobby former addict who’s gone a little too far into recovery, was played by Al Franken in his pre-Senator days. Stuart Smalley had a show called Stuart Smalley’s Daily Affirmation, and after burbling a few minutes of self-help book style recovery-speak (“I am a human being, not a human doing!”), he ended the show with the following affirmation: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me.”

I tried to find video for you people, but it appears now that Franken has a serious grown-up job, the Internet has been scrubbed of all Smalley video evidence. Trust me, though, this was funny stuff.

It also ruined me forever for any susceptibility to affirmations, including pissing off my husband while he was pursuing his masters in social work by falling over laughing when he told me he used them with a client. I find it hard to believe that saying it makes it true. But, on the other hand, if you find yourself all full of negativity, maybe changing the story you tell yourself is helpful.

So I’ll hold the snark at Effective Family Communication’s “12 Affirmations for Successful Parenting.” They suggest repeating these as often as you need, meditating, or journaling about them. They include “I am a loving parent” “I will speak respectfully to my children” and “I will get to know the fears, hopes, and aspirations of each of my children.” Nice enough. But honeslty? This just reminds me of writing sentences on the board when I was in school — “I will remain quiet in class…”

But hey, if you go in for this sort of thing and find yourself in a rough patch of parenting, it can’t hurt and it might even help.

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