Playing Favorites

My favorite sons

Have you heard about Buzz Bishop, the Canadian radio host who recently published a blog entry in which he specifically notes that his older son is his favorite? I was flipping through some current headlines online when I saw a reference to his blog and had to check it out. Since his blog post, he has been both lambasted and praised for his honesty about his parental favoritism. Playing favorites has long been a topic among parents and children. If you’re of a certain age, you perhaps remember an episode from The Brady Bunch when middle daughter Jan is upset that everything is always about “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha.” My sisters and I have long joked about which one of us is Mom’s favorite, despite my mom’s assertion that she has always loved us the same equally.

I had to read more from Bishop to get an idea of where he was coming from when he wrote his blog. His assertion is that he loves his children equally but likes one more than the other. I’m sure there’s not a parent out there who can deny that in a bad moment, one child may seem easier or more pleasant than another, but I hope that feeling stems from a situational place and not a heartfelt one. I love both my boys and like them both for different reasons. They each present different challenges and they each provide different joys. Depending on the moment, I may feel closer to one than the other, but my heart knows no favorites. Beyond that though, even if my heart felt more strongly attached to one child than the other, I would never write about it knowing that someday my child might read my words and be deeply hurt.

My gut reaction to Bishop’s admission is that it was unnecessary. I’m a wholehearted supporter of  honesty in writing, but I also believe that there are some things worth keeping to yourself. This type of journalistic behavior, where we say whatever we’re thinking without giving a thought to the consequences of our message, is egotistical and self-serving. I’m sure it felt great for Bishop to get that information off his chest, but because he used such a visible platform for his disclosure there will someday be a ramification for his action. I have to wonder if then, when his son confronts him from a place of sadness and anger, he will think it was such a good idea. The written word, like the cockroach, lives on despite our occasional wish to quash it post admission. Sharing with your children your experiences is important. Sharing with them that they’re not your favorite? Well…that’s something better left unsaid. Sometimes I think it’s better if we keep some thoughts to ourselves.


  1. Thanks for the response to my entries.

    Just as you work out your thoughts and views on your blog, I do the same with mine. The piece was written in response to a comment on a previous entry and I flushed out my response.

    Trust me, the difference in like between my children is very minute. It’s a sexy headline the media has spun to great heights. I feel differently about different phases of my kids, it’s true. I trust that as my boys grow and get to know me, they will love and appreciate me for all I do positively, and my faults as well.

    I’m not a perfect parent. I struggle with things just as many of us do. I write about my struggles and successes honestly, and for that I will not apologize.

    I spoke an unspoken truth, but it has gained me the self reflection to realize and be conscious of balancing the scales between my sons. I’m coming out the other side of this having grown as a parent, and husband. So good came out of me working out my struggles in my blog. Positive change is coming from me saying an unspoken truth. The only regret I have is the intense media firestorm around something so ridiculous.

    Thanks for reading, and writing.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to reply to my post. I’m glad you are able to see something positive coming from all this. Writing with honesty is important, and it is therapeutic sometimes to use the written word to work out feelings in your heart. When you publish your words, though, you set yourself up in the court of public opinion. You don’t get to act surprised when someone calls you on it. As a radio host, certainly you must understand how media works. Parenting is a tough gig, and we all have our struggles. Wishing you and your family the best.

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