As a mother, I feel caught between this yearning for happy endings and my sense that it is my job to stand for reality. I want to raise a son who retains his sensitivity but is resilient enough to cope. If only we could sip reality in small doses -- a spoonful of sugar to help us cope with tough times.
Sometimes bad parenting kills people. No amount of input from a teacher can save a child who has not yet even learned how to read. Nor can it always prevent a child from being harmed by his parents' hyperreligiosity, laziness, substance abuse, tendency to commit acts of domestic violence and/or gun fetish.