Question: Are your kids back in school?
Answer: Yes, thank God. These vacations are too long. They [the kids] don't know what to do with themselves and there is an end to what we [the parents] can do with them. We certainly love being together, but it's good for them to have a little more structure in their lives in school.
Conductor Edo de Waart, former Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra and current “Artistic Partner” of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, in a recent interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune
De Waart has two children in elementary school in Middleton, Wisconsin, where de Waart and his wife maintain their permanent residence.
De Waart is 71 years old. From outward appearances, he is not in the best of health. At his age, de Waart should be preparing for the role of great-grandfather, a role that—in normal circumstances—he would encounter and be expected to embody within the next few years. Instead, he now finds himself in the role of a man who, ideally, should be three or four decades younger than himself.
To bypass the question of the sheer foolishness of a man in his sixties fathering children, one may note that, in the de Waart household, both children and parents clearly suffer from stark imagination deficits. For normal children, there simply are not enough hours in the day for them to do everything they want to do. For normal parents, there simply are not enough hours in the day for them to do everything they want to do with their kids.
In fact, the “not enough hours in the day” regret is one of the eternal verities, a lifetime principle that holds true for productive and well-adjusted humans of all ages. If that principle is not at work in the de Waart household, where both children and parents strain to come up with something to do to occupy time, something is amiss—and unhappiness and dissatisfaction lie ahead.
And if parents cannot provide “structure” for their children, surely no one else can.
I smell trouble, current and future, in Middleton.