In the episode “Beaver Takes A Walk” one man’s junk is another man’s treasure or in this case June thinks Ward’s old pedometer is a broken watch. Ward tells her all about the pedometer given to him as a child before June comments, “Sounds old fashioned to me” making our modern understanding of old fashion, well a bit ironic. Ward eager to gain Beaver’s interest in the pedometer exaggerated the miles he walked as child like the familiar cliche of a parent who walked to school up hill both ways, without shoes (all together now) in the snow! At school, Gilbert tells Beaver the 20 miles his father supposedly walked was “boloney,” and beaver believing his father defended him by accepting a bet to rack up 20 miles in one day. Meanwhile, Beaver setting out to prove Gilbert wrong starts walking and reaches only three miles by the end of the day. Ward feels proud (not knowing about the bet) and tells June, “It’s a very nice tribute for a boy to want to be like his father,” but June bursts his bubble with a little zinger, “I suppose. As long as he doesn’t over do it.” Well, Beaver lost the bet he made with Gilbert; therefore losing the baseball glove, and he retreats to his room to sulk just like all kids do. Ward finds out that Beaver is mad at “everyone” after asking him to play ball outside and instead Beaver locks himself in the bathroom! Being a chill dad he gives Beaver space to calm down rather than taking the door off the hinges like some parents would do (I may or may not be referencing Roseanne). A chat with Wally explains the situation, and this is where Ward learns that kids believe anything a parent tells them. Ward then admits to Beaver he exaggerated the miles and in the end Beaver is back to himself- searching the walls in his room for a secret door. Also, Ward replaced the baseball glove because he felt somewhat responsible, but of course it was followed with the classic phrase, “I hope you learned your lesson.”
Parenting Tip: When you exaggerate your childhood stories to your children- they will believe you; therefore be ready to apologize when they get themselves into a fine mess over it.
In this episode, Lumpy earns a scholarship to college, but Wally was denied despite his good marks. Ward and June are supportive enough to allow Wally to throw Lumpy a party. Lumpy starts getting attention from friends, even girls, and Mr. Rutherford (Lumpy’s father) is thoroughly taking the opportunity to boast about his big shot son. Meanwhile, Mr. Rutherford receives a notice that the scholarship was canceled due to a bad grade. Lumpy receives a call at the party from his dad who calls him, “a big boob!” Lumpy feels horrible for the rest of the night. The next day, Rutherford talks with Ward complaining about how Lumpy made him feel; however Ward suggests that Rutherford should consider how it has made Lumpy feel. In the end it works out that Lumpy can go to summer school, and still get the scholarship. Rutherford didn’t change, and returned to his typical boasting.
Parenting Tip: Give some thought to how failures make your children feel and avoid feeling like they’ve done something to you. And, don’t criticize your kids with harsh names!
Even back in the day, middle school teens wanted to conform to whatever was trending, even if ridiculous like this jelly roll hairstyle that Wally is sporting. The important parenting tip is to stay calm and realize in time your teen will mature or the trend will change. Like Ward, I think it’s best to allow youth to express and experiment with personal style. To me with all the trouble that teens can get into, hair style is the least of my worries. In this episode, June didn’t quite trust Ward’s judgment, and went to speak with Wally’s principal in hopes that the hair style was against the rules. The principal assured her these matters have a way of taking care of themselves. However, June spoke to Wally about how the hair style made her feel, and decided he would rather not embarrass his family. I think his decision showed respect, but the parents allowed him to make that choice. The important thing to remember as parents is we can tell our kids how we think or what we feel, but in the end some things just need to be their choice.
Parent tip: Youth conform by not conforming. Like Ward said, “It’s practically impossible for parents to make a boy see themselves through parents eyes.” So don’t be “so cruel as to force them to be different.” Choosing a hair style is one of the first forms of self expression.
I’m in a modern romance with the old show, Leave It To Beaver. Really I’m far too young to have grown up watching the show, but now that I’m married with two kids, well gee the show is just fine. Admittedly, and sorry that I’m about to paraphrase that famous line from Jerry McGuire, but Beaver had me at “Say.” I’m hooked, and what’s more is I’m inspired by this picture perfect family that completes me. Now, when parenting my children I find myself asking, “What would Ward do?” Let me tell you, as a professional in the field of child care and as an early child care education student, this show has some wise techniques for today’s parents. Just leave it to me to tell you how.