Once a parent, you will never look at potential dangers and misfortunes in quite the same way. Stories of kidnappings or terrorist attacks, once regarded through the dispassionate lens of conditional probability, now seem like imminent threats to your young, specifically.
You worry. Even if you’re not a worrier, trust me, there is now an entire department of your mind, conscious or not, devoted 24/7 to the task of disproportionately assessing risk. The Nerve Center of Nervousness, if you will. I’m pretty sure you can’t shut it down, but if you’re a healthy, sane person, that part of your mind is relatively small and quiet, like an anxious co-worker that everyone mostly ignores.
And (said every new parent in every era ever), our modern times present unprecedented perils. It’s not enough that children must be born into mortal flesh, vulnerable to injury, disease, and moral corruption. Now they can choose from an extravagant array of fancy new:
(Five) Things I Hope Our Kids Never Do:
1. I hope our kids never become contestants in a reality show.
Never before did I realize that all those attractive young embodiments of stereotypes with zero impulse control trying to marry strangers or drinking donkey urine or brawling with Snooky actually have PARENTS. (In fact, Snooky herself, not only has parents, but even is one. And her parenting tips are about as helpful as anyone’s.)
Please darlings, just don’t. You want attention? I WILL GIVE YOU ATTENTION! I promise. I will play with you and praise your drawings and your somersaults and answer your endless questions from now until eternity if it prevents you from “starring” in The Bachelor or Jackass.
And speaking of reckless human tricks.
2. I hope our kids never decide to go tightrope-walking over a 400-foot canyon to a handwoven human spiderweb of rope about 200 feet away from the nearest cliffs.
Because apparently that’s what some kids are into these days. They do this thing in Moab, Utah, and call themselves the “Moab Monkeys.” And yes, I think they are (mostly) wearing parachutes, BUT STILL.
I do not want my babies doing that. I’m ok if they want to climb a tree or even jump off their swings (eventually), but they do not need to be slack-lining over a Martian-like abyss.
And speaking of Mars…
3. I hope our kids never volunteer to colonize Mars.
I would not approve. They don’t need to live on the same street as me, or even the same state. In fact, barring maybe Australia (who put Australia so far away?), go where fortune call thee, young ones! As long as I have the means and wherewithal, I’d love the excuse to travel.
Just not Mars. Please? I’m already feeling too old for frequent time zone shifts, so don’t make me change planetary orbits to come visit. It would take six months to even get there. By the time I arrive, my grandbabies will have outgrown all the presents I brought them!
I may be old-fashioned, but I’m partial to the Mothership, and if she goes down, I’m going too. NASA’s Scott Kelly can’t even be up there a year without getting all stretched out. And we all remember what happened to Ren and Stimpy. I get the desire for humans to survive the demolition of the Earth, but something tells me it’s a cuckoo crusade.
And speaking of sci-fi nonsense…
4. I hope our kids never become YouTube conspiracy theorists.
Sure, it’s amusing to occasionally watch those videos, with their charming futuristic fonts and spooky music, and claims of celebrity cloning. Until you realize that these are made and viewed mostly by individuals without full formed frontal cortices. In fact, Youtube conspiracy theories are probably the most convincing argument against easing popular access to marijuana.
Sure, they can synch up The Wizard of Oz with Pink Floyd all they like. But if either of my children ever starts talking in earnest about a secret vortex swallowing up Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 or about The Simpsons being some kind of leaky oracle for the Hollywood Illuminati, then we’ve got a problem. I mean, think about it! Why would anyone incur the expenses involved in replacing Raven-Symoné with an organic robotoid?
Youtube conspiracy theories demonstrate why we need a stronger educational system with an emphasis on critical thinking (and proper grammar).
But most importantly..
5. I hope our kids never become vegan.
Oh my gosh, I’M KIDDING. I love you so much, vegan friends! I love your strength and your integrity. (I just might love cheese a little more.)
Jokes aside, I would admire and enthusiastically support my children should they go vegan. I would even appreciate the challenge to my ethical thinking (or relative lack thereof) on the sustainability of my food stuffs.
But they better not expect me to change any essential to Thanksgiving dinner. They can abstain all they like, but on that day at least, they can expect a real-live dead turkey and just about everything else cooked in real butter. Because, quite unlike any alliance forged between early white settlers and native peoples, some things are sacred. And in my home, turkey gravy happens one of those things.