Back in those days – and let me stress that I am not talking about the 19th century here, it was just a few years ago – no one believed that you could turn your child into a different human being from the one he started out being.
Suddenly, one day, there was this thing called parenting. Parenting was serious. Parenting was fierce. Parenting was solemn. Parenting was a participle, like going and doing and crusading and worrying; it was active, it was energetic, it was unrelenting. (…) Parenting began with the assumption that your baby was a lump of clay that could be moulded (through hard work, input and positive reinforcement) into a perfect person who would someday be admitted to the university of your choice.
‘Parenting in Three Stages’ by Nora Ephron, published in ‘I Feel Bad About My Neck And Other Thoughts On Being A Woman’.