The future is one of many undiscovered countries.
It’s one of those places we always wish we could see before we get there, but know we can only ever guess. The best guesses are based on taking what happened in the past and then projecting those activities forward in a logical manner. And, even then, past performance is no guarantee of future results.
The worst guesses about the future involve pulling something out of your somewhere the sun don’t shine area.
I bring this up because we, as parents, are tormented by the future. We understand that whatever decision we make today, right now, is going to have possibly significant repercussions in the future.
That is, if we force our young dude to take piano lessons, will that make him hate music for the rest of his life? If we make our young dudette take an art class, will that cause her to doubt her own creativity for the rest of her life?
Admittedly, those are some rather lightweight consequences, but I’m trying to keep it light here and not get into depth about cutting off, say, an adult son who is content to do nothing, go nowhere and regards college and work as things that happen to other people.
Just, you know, for instance.
Young dudes and dudettes act without thought for the consequences all the time. It’s one of the more obvious definitions of being a teenager: the thought that you’re both invincible and invulnerable.
A lot of times non-parents can simply do something because they want to do it and have no thought of the future. They can do this because, to them, the future is somewhere out there. It’s not a real thing. The future is, to them, something that might happen, but . . . eh, no biggie.
To healthy, financially stable young adults, the future isn’t really real.
As parents, we know the future is as real as the diaper we just changed or the screaming fit we just endured because we took away the television and forced a young dude to go outside and play.
We see the future every night when he or she goes to bed, think about the future and worry if it’s okay while asleep, and smile at it when it wakes up in the morning all grouchy and grumpy but still the cutest thing in the world.
Parents know that the future is not stable, that it can change. This is evidenced by the way our little dudes and dudettes continually grow and become almost completely different people over the years.
The future is as real as the look on your little dude’s face.
So we parents know the future is real, but here’s the thing, the reason why I’d love to have Madame Leota (the floating head in the Haunted Mansion’s crystal ball in Walt Disney World) on retainer: We’re terrified that we’re going to screw the pooch regarding our kids’ future.
Mostly because we — all of us parents — have absolutely no idea what we’re doing.
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