Many of my phone conversations with my fiancé over the course of our relationship have centered around our hypothetical children. Very few have actually been serious. We’ve come to grips with the glaringly obvious fact that we will not be bringing an offensive lineman, point guard, or sumo wrestler into the world. In fact, He once said that he hoped we would only have girls, since he thought his genes were better suited for that. We are simply hoping for several offspring who fall into one of these categories:
1) stunningly attractive, but not particularly smart or socially adept. this one is obvious; it’s also the most shallow. i really don’t have to spend time convincing you that people get by in life with looks.
2) incredible smart, with decent social skills. as someone who has been around really, really, smart people who have NO social skills, i’ve found that this is crucial. shallow people will not realize someone is smart, and therefore appreciate them, if said smart person does not have the ability to communicate their intelligence to others. instead, they’re known as the kid who’s into RPG, Tolstoy, and doesn’t wash his hair. if he has good social skills, he’d wash his hair.
3) really, really, good social skills, but isn’t attractive and is relatively smart. Jay Leno. enough said.
Usually, after we’ve created our hypothetical kids, the conversation turns to how we will raise them. This is often where I take over the conversation and lament over how I’m going to raise my kids differently than the majority of the kids I run into while admission counseling… because the chief end of life is to impress your admission counselor, of course. Phone manners, the ability to write an email with proper grammar (spelling “college” correctly usually helps when asking about scholarships), and signing up for events in advance top off the list of parenting goals.
My main goal as a parent is to teach my child to accept “no” as an answer. This coincides with my financial goal of saving money. Telling my child that they can’t have a toy not only helps them become a more well-adjusted individual, but it just saved me $15 by not buying the toy Child 1.0 pitched a fit for.
I’ve also decided to celebrate candy-themed holidays several days late. This brilliant idea came to me today when I went to take advantage of the 50% off Valentine’s candy sale at CVS. I can save the difference on the price of the candy and deposit it into Child 1.0 and Child 2.0 (and maybe Child 2.5)’s college savings account. Brilliant! AND, in addition, I’m teaching my children the important lesson of how to handle disappointment (“I’m so sorry, sweetie… the Easter Bunny must have gotten lost trying to find our house…maybe he’ll show up in a few days”). On the flip side, this may mean when my child is turned down for a job interview post-college, they fully expect to get a call offering them work three days afterwards. It still needs some work.
Given the stage in our relationship, children are going to remain hypothetical. Oftentimes I think we (and by we, I really mean me) use it as an outlet for our frustrations at the actions of other people (“I’m going to teach my child to NOT wait 10 seconds before reacting to a green light in rush hour traffic”). It’s alot easier to say that I’m going to teach someone else how to act than take a good look at myself and try and fix what makes people frustrated with me. So, with God’s help, I’ll keep working on me until I have mini-me’s running around.