Tuesday, April 4, 2006

You Call <i>This</i> Coaching?



Register columnist

Every once in a while, I'm reminded that most of the world isn't Jewish.

Around Christmas, naturally. During a sporting event. But the latest vivid reminder of my minority status has truly boggled my mind: the increasing popularity of so-called life coaches.

As with bagels and gastrointestinal distress, the rest of the world is just a few steps behind the Jews on this one. For, while life coaching is just taking off with CEOs and actors, my people have enjoyed the work of life coaches for years. Except we don't pay our coaches. Or want their input. And we call them "Mom."

My own mother "coaches" me all the time: You should buy a house, you should sell your house, you should have a baby, you should have another baby, you should go back to work and let me take care of the baby, you never should have sold your house, selling your house was a very smart move, when am I going to have another grandchild?

Why people would pay someone to kvetch them to death, I don't know. But according to a recent New York Times article about life coaching, I owe Mom upward of $40,000 a month for her incessant ... her, um, help.

This, I guess, is just part of the increasing coolification of Judaism: Madonna practicing Kabbalah, non-Jews celebrating faux bar mitzvahs, my friend Chris always saying "oy." It's a trend, frankly, I don't care for.

I've said it before: Jews aren't cool. Our food isn't very good, and we have sinus infections, like, all the time. Emulate someone else. Like the Swedes. They have meatballs and functional furniture.

This latest appropriation of Jewish culture is particularly troubling to me because people don't realize what they've unleashed. There are now "credentialed" life coaches, which means schools have been set up to train people how to becomenagging Jewish mothers. To these schools I say, "Stop!"

Don't do that. Seriously. It's a bad idea.

If my mom realizes that she's been marketed and sold, she'll think her constant barrage of "suggestions" is part of a valued societal trend.

And I'll be doomed.

So, really, will everyone else. It's only a matter of time before life-coach casualties start walking around with hangdog looks of self-doubt. Before supermarkets are filled with indecisive customers, standing in the aisles paralyzed by their learned helplessness. It won't be long before once-normal people find they're avoiding calling their life coaches for a few days and then feel guilty about it. When people complain about their life coaches to their therapists, we'll know the trend has gone too far.

But we shouldn't wait for that day to come. We should put an end to it now. It's too late for my people - 5,000 years of history cannot be undone.

But for the rest of you, there's is hope. So, I beseech you people - you life coaches and life coachees - stop. You can have your Larry David and your chicken soup. But leave the ordering around to the professionals - not the handsomely paid coaches, but the Jewish mothers whose jobs they're doing.

If you really don't think you can survive another day without someone telling you what to do, wire me money, and I'll talk your ear off. I'm a Jewish mother, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment