The video below is making the rounds. It’s a 17-year-old kid named Mike who is practicing guitar in his room when his mother stops in to give him some valuable life advice (valuable if your goal in life is becoming an empty husk of a person, that is).
Now I’m going to give Mike’s mom the benefit of the doubt on this and assume that she was just having a bad day, even though in his comment on the video, Mike says this is the tame half of what she said to him. (He promises he won’t upload the other half, which is a wise move, Mike; she is your mother no matter what and you should respect her privacy). And I’m going to assume she’ll be mortified if/when she hears this in all its shaming, soul destroying glory. But man this is hard to listen to, even (or perhaps especially) for those of us for whom all of these voices are strictly internalized.
Someone needs to take Mike’s mother gently aside and explain the 10,000 hour rule, which, as Malcolm Gladwell proposed in his book Outliers, is the idea that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become proficient at a particular skill. This is equivalent to 6X6X6, or 6 hours per day, 6 days per week, for 6 years. That’s a lot of sitting in your dark room, strumming along on that stupid guitar.
It’s funny, because my generation of parents is always getting crap for praising our kids out of all proportion to their accomplishments. Mike’s mother, on the other hand, is decidedly old school when it comes to praise, which is to say she prefers simply shredding her child’s self esteem like it’s a wet paper towel.
Here’s is a sample of Mike’s playing, which is quite good. He plays death metal in a band called Logistic Slaughter. Keep rocking, Mike. And on this one thing at least, do not listen to a word your mother says. And whatever you do, do not make her shit your own.