You know, you do your best to raise your kids properly; teach them right from wrong and how to be good global citizens. They still end up rebelling and breaking your heart.
My wife, Danica and I saw the first signs of trouble when our ten-year-old son, River asked for a smartphone for his birthday.
“Why on earth would you need a smartphone?” I asked.
“So I can keep in touch with you two and my friends. Duh!” he said.
“Son,” I said in return. “You see your friends all day while you’re at school. You all live on the same street. You live in the same house as us. How hard can it be to stay in touch?”
“If I can’t have that, can I at least have a subscription to Forbes or The Wall Street Journal?”
That request confused us even more than the first one, and made us worry that he would hate what we had already bought him for his birthday – a book on how to grow organic fruits and vegetables. It was a toss up between that and a book on building your own yurt. We felt that he was still a bit young for handling tools, so we went with the fruit and vegetable one. We were right – both on the tool handling front and that he’d hate his gift.
Things went from bad to worse once he reached high school and joined the Young Republicans Club.
“I knew we should have never stopped homeschooling him,” my horrified wife said. “Next he’ll let it slip that he’s been secretly visiting fast food burger joints for years.”
The real dagger to the heart, though came when he rushed into the living room and told us that he had been accepted into Harvard Business School.
“Business school?” I said while trying to look for the positive in this bit of news. “That’s great! Were you thinking about one day starting your own co op, or perhaps an organization for those less fortunate?”
“Hell no,” he told me. “I’m going to run my own investment firm and become a consultant on all those business shows you see on TV.”
“How would you know anything about business shows?” I asked. “We’ve never owned a television.”
“Oh Dad,” he said with a hint of ‘You hippie freaks are all the same’ resignation in his voice. “This living off the land, and hugging all the trees, and selling tacky homemade arts and crafts to raise funds for people in a country no one else has ever heard of is your thing. My thing is trading in these itchy hemp clothes you’ve made me wear my whole life for a suit and tie, then trading stocks and bonds until I’m rich beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. Don’t worry, you can come and live with me in my mansion once the arthritis you got from working in the fields all these years makes it too hard to be on your own. Or would you prefer to live on my yacht? Oh wait, being out on the water would be too cold and not good for your arthritis. You can have the West Wing.”
My Grandmother once told me about a great uncle she had who was a snake oil salesman. I’m just going to tell myself that my son is the way he is due to genetics and not anything Danica and I did as parents.