An excerpt from “Plato at the Googleplex’,’ the latest book from Rebecca Newberger Goldstein
Join us at the Y for what promises to be the highlight of the season. Zachary Burns, beloved columnist for the newspaper of record, will lead a discussion on “How to Raise an Exceptional Child.” With Zach will be best-selling author Mitzi Munitz, author of “Esteeming Your Child: How Even the Best-Intentioned Parents Violate, Mutilate and Desecrate Their Children’’; Sophie Zee, best-selling author of “The Warrior Mother’s Guide to Producing Off-the-Charts Children’’; and Plato, best-selling author of “The Republic.’’
BURNS: I want to thank all of you in the audience for coming out on this blustery, snowy evening. It’s a real testament to the three outstanding panelists up here onstage with me that not only is there not a single empty seat in the room, but we’ve had to accommodate the large overflow audience in additional rooms where they’re watching the discussion on closed-circuit TV. But it’s no wonder that so many would brave a blizzard to hear tonight’s exchange. Not only are we privileged to have with us three internationally acclaimed authors who have written extensively and controversially on the subject of child-rearing, but the subject itself is one that’s guaranteed to provoke visceral reactions. It doesn’t require the meme of the selfish gene to remind us that every generation is heavily invested in wanting their children to do well in life, what my grandparents used to call naches foon der kinder, naches from the kids. Wait a minute. Do I need to translate naches? It’s Yiddish and there’s no exact English equivalent. Anyone?
ZEE: Doesn’t it mean the pride that parents feel in the achievements of their children?
BURNS, laughing: You really are an overachiever, aren’t you?
ZEE, laughing: Well, I’m married to a Jewish man. I have a Jewish mother- in- law.
Audience laughter. Zee smiles radiantly.