Jerry Seinfeld Teaches a Parenting Lesson
Posted August 05, 2019.
This summer has been a lot of fun, as usual, it’s a fantastic time of year. We have so much to do all around us. Recently our oldest son, Judson turned 11, which reminded me that I have now been a father for 11 years. Wow. Time flies fast. It also reminded me of something I learned from Jerry Seinfeld that relates to parenting. This principle also relates to exercise, friendship or anything else that requires hard work and discipline in life.
A few weeks back we were visiting New York City with some friends and one of the couples invited us to a comedy club. Comedy clubs aren't usually my thing, but our friend convinced us by explaining that sometimes big name celebrities would show up there. We thought we’d take a chance. It was a weeknight, so we didn't think it was very likely to see anyone famous, but we went in hope to see someone special perform. Anyway, the opening act was pretty funny, but without any warning, the great Jim Gaffigan was the second comedian to hit the stage. We were blown away and rolling in laughter in the first couple of minutes of his routine.
Jim is one of our favorite comedians and always puts on a very good show. He is absolutely hilarious. One of my favorites is his “McDonalds” bit, look it up on YouTube if you haven’t seen it. Not only do I love his style of humor, but I’m impressed at how he maintains a straight face throughout his performances. The club was small, but apparently a place where comics come to try out some of their new material. As soon as Jim stepped off the stage, up came and even bigger name you may have heard of...the one and only Jerry Seinfeld.
We couldn't believe it. The other comedians may as well have gone home after that, because how can you trump Jerry Seinfeld. I'd hate to be the comedian following his act. Whether you like the comedy of Seinfeld or not, you have to respect his long career and how much hard work and discipline he put into becoming a household name and the creator of one of the most successful sitcoms ever. Even though his sitcom ended years ago, my parents and siblings still quote lines and scenes from the Seinfeld series all the time.
During his stand up act that night, he had a great bit where he made fun of Sun Maid raisins and how it took them nearly a century to figure out people actually wanted chocolate covered raisins, and how Raisinets successfully beat them to the punch so many years ago. He also joked about how raisins are always stuck together in the box. (Always true in my experience.) One very surprising and down to earth things he did was leaving time at the end of his segment to allow for question and answer time from the audience. People got to ask him all kinds of things, and one of our friends in our group was able to ask if he felt like he had to be funny all the time off stage, and he gave a simple “no, I don't really care what people think,” with a big smile on his face. Now to my whole point about Jerry on parenting. Something you may not know about Seinfeld is how he became such a great comedian.
His secret was keeping a big giant calendar on the wall and he would put a red x on it as he marked off each day. He wrote something funny, big or small, and kept on it day after day after day. Rain or shine, in the mood or not, plugging away at it. This is how he built such a great career as he maintained the discipline to do what he needed to do every day. Plus he uses his ability to make people laugh to help us maintain our sanity. That’s the reason I love and appreciate good humor so much, because we can’t take ourselves too seriously. I believe this applies to anything we want to become good at in life, including parenting. It's not easy, but it's very fulfilling and a great opportunity for us to see our kids learn, grow and develop.
I also believe Jerry is the kind of person who truly loves what he does because at this point, he probably doesn't need the money, fame or even to keep performing at all. However, he keeps at it because it's his thing. It's what he does - and it’s a valuable lesson for us all.
I hope you have a great month, and keep up the hard work at what you do best.
Until next month,
Dr. Tyler Williams, D.D.S.
P.S. It looks like Jim and Jerry are buddies, because they left the club laughing together. I imagine Jerry has been a mentor to Jim, and Jim keeps Jerry on his toes.