Game Show Theory

I’ll take “Misspent Youth” for $200, Alex!

I have a new philosophy on motherhood. I call it “The Game Show Theory,” and I’m convinced it will be the big new trend in raising responsible, intelligent, happy children.

My one-year-old son watches very little TV — frankly, most shows just don’t hold his interest. Except game shows. Wheel of Fortune is by far his favorite, although he’ll also clap and cheer for Jeopardy or Deal or No Deal.

As a new mother, I swore that my son would not watch any TV. After all, some studies suggest that more than two hours a day can contribute to everything from ADHD to Autism. But then I got pregnant with my second child, and realized that by the time “Wheel” comes on at 7 p.m, I’m beat and Tom is still going strong.

Half an hour of TV time seems to do us both good. He loves to cheer and clap when people do well. But he also sends out sympathy applause when contestants lose. He’s learning that on TV, as in life, people don’t always win. And it’s teaching him how to be empathetic to others’ losses.

But more importantly, he’s getting an education — right? I’m sure he’s absorbing random tidbits of knowledge from Alex Trebek. Any day now I expect to ask myself out loud, “I wonder what they use to make Camembert cheese?” and hear him answer, in the form of a question, “What is Penicillium camemberti?”

My only worry is that one day, when his elementary school teacher asks him to spell “cat,” his first response will be: “Can I buy an ‘A’?

Article © 2007 by Stacey Duck