Unless of course I’m paying $500 specifically to have someone tell me what to do.
In Brooklyn there is currently an Adult-Pre-K course run by Michelle Joni Lapidos. Her website is here: http://michellejoni.com/
At this Adult Pre-K grown women (and 1 guy) pay for sessions that mimic Pre-K activities; such as nap time and finger painting. This story briefly hit pop culture a few weeks ago, with predictable pundits complaining about things they didn't understand.
To be clear, part of the American Dream is finding ways to get fools to part with their money. Ms. Lapidos has clearly realized there was a market for Adult Pre-K classes and she decided to fill that market and turn a profit. Good for her. Anyone hating on her is misguided or jealous or, more likely, both.
Rather than criticize Ms. Lapidos it is much more instructive to look at why someone would want to attend such a class.
The pitch for the class on Ms. Lapidos website is here: http://michellejoni.com/preschool-mastermind/
Sure, it seems like Ms. Lapidos is selling Pre-K activities, like snacks, story time, and coloring. But those are all things any participant could easily do at home on their own time. Yet they are paying to instead do those things with Ms. Lapidos. This should tell you that the customers are really buying something else, something that Ms. Lapidos doesn’t directly articulate, but that they are connecting with on a non-conscious level.
For insight into that, some quotes from the class participants are illuminating.
They were all interviewed for this piece at WSJ.
If it’s pay-walled sometimes clicking to it from Fbook can help (https://www.facebook.com/wsjsmallbusiness/posts/885207451530562)
“Steven Chu, a 30-year-old website developer and photographer who lives on the Upper East Side, hopes the class can dissolve his creative blocks and boost his entrepreneurial spirits. Four-year-olds don’t take ‘no’ for an answer, he notes. “Where did it happen, in growing up, that I let one ‘no’ or one person’s advice shut me down?” he says.”
This an extremely inaccurate perception of 4-year olds; a great deal of their time is spent taking no for an answer. 4-years is when children are still testing boundaries and learning their place in the world. They are also completely and totally dependent on others for everything. So a “Don’t touch that” or a “Do this now” is typically met with compliance by 4 year olds. That’s the basics of survival, even if there is an occasional temper tantrum before “No” is indeed accepted as an answer. So what the hell is Mr. Chu talking about?
He wants to “boost his entrepreneurial spirits” and he lets “one person’s advice shut [him] down.” He blames others for his lack of ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ which suggests he’s still stuck in adolescence, unable to accept his failures and shortcomings as his own and not the result of external forces/people. So what is he at the class for?
It is worth noting that the class has a “Parents Night” where the participant’s parents or surrogate parents come and view their finger painting. Yes. Really.
“They discussed the upcoming parent night. Some had invited their families to visit and view their art projects.
“My parents are psyched,” said student Sarah Fader.
“My fake parents are psyched,” said Ms. Devereux.
“I need to find some parents,” said Mr. Chu.”
Truer words have never been spoken by Mr. Chu about himself.
[Bonus Observation: If you’re over the age of 30 and you are having your parents visit you so they can see your ‘creation’….- if that ‘creation’ is anything other than a grandchild, you’re a selfish immature jerk and your parents hate you. This is a fact.]
Reading the Pre-K website, and the WSJ piece, for all the talk about “Play” and “Creativity” what becomes clear is that there is a massive amount of structure within the Adult Pre-K class.
There is predetermined nap-time, snack-time, reading time, taking photos-time, finger painting time, folder making time, coloring time and so on.
Despite the claims of “creativity” - You get the sense that no student stops finger painting and insists on having their own reading time instead. In fact, to prevent such independent behavior one of the course activities listed on the website is a “buddy system (a BFF to keep you accountable for awesomeness)”.
Not only are there structures on time, there are structures on speech as well, as all students are instructed to speak in rhyming couplets. Dance time is also choreographed and structured, rather than a free form chaotic individual dance; everyone had the exact same silly dance:
“The students jumped around in a sort of Snoopy dance, fluttering their fingers and shaking their hips.”
Huh. That’s odd. So, keeping in mind that all of these activities could easily be performed by the adult students on their own, and for free, what are they getting out of the class?
They’re paying for the structure. They want an authority figure to tell them what to do.
Keep in mind where this class is. It’s in Brooklyn. And its attendees are all ‘liberal hipster goofballs’; that’s the official scientific term. (For example, Jenna La Flame is shockingly not a pseudonym. http://www.jenalaflamme.com/)
Liberal Hipster Goofballs in Brooklyn have many things in common. But one thing you may not think of immediately is that they are all secular.
These class attendees are all borderline personality disorder lunatics; and borderlines are usually women (from WSJ the class appears to be 5 women and 1 man)
For more on borderlines click here: http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2007/01/borderline.html
It's not that they want to be creative, and it’s not that they want to relax; it's that they want a Clear Authority Figure who will tell them exactly what to do and when to do it. (FYI - This is subconscious) The people paying for this class want to be told when to eat, what to eat, when to sleep, when to read, what to read, when to play, HOW to play, when to speak, HOW to speak, and so on down the line. They want to completely submit themselves to authority. They crave structure because their lives are a meaningless mess. Google all the participants, who shockingly did use their real names; everyone of them is a meandering undefined mess, unable to decide on a specific job title or role, jumping from identity to identity depending on the situation.
They are lost, immature, totally lacking a sense of self. Combine that with the fact that they are secular and you get Adult Pre-K. Bonus Observation: if they lived (or were raised in) in a fly-over state, they’d just join a Church instead.
What do you know? Nietzsche was right- “God is Dead” and these hipsters want him back. But they'll settle for anyone in a pinch.