Get You Thinking, Get You Acting

How to Raise a Child, Pre-Conception, Abridged

“An Open Letter to Future Parents, Right Now”

or “Molding the Year 2059 through Reproduction”

There were a few potential working titles for this one. I took the high road.

Our children will be the future of humanity. Current parents already understand that sentiment in their bones. But do any young, non-parents feel that pressure yet? I do. It doesn’t keep me up at night, but I’m already brainstorming my own future approach to child-rearing.

From conversations with others at work and elsewhere, I know I’m not alone in this.

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We can be decent. We can be kind. We can be better than those who came before us.

But those things alone are not enough to influence those who follow us in this world. As daunting as they seem, it’s going to take so much more than those mottos for us to build the future in a positive way. What’s needed, in addition to those above ideas, is for us to observe ourselves. We must learn to constantly evaluate our place in society, as externally as possible.

Obviously, there’s a fine line between constant self-consideration and overthinking to the point of anxiety, but I think it’s necessary for us to aim for the balance in between. The only way that we can know that we’re helping the world—and not just remain self-absorbed on improving ourselves—is to stop and think about our passing days. Are we leaving the Earth a better place, physically and ethically, for our children? A journal would help retrospection. So would a blog.

Wink. Wink.

Something I try to do is imagine that the scientists of the future invent a time-traveling screen that allows future-people to watch past-people. Think one step short of time-travel. Who would they watch? Important people. Famous people. Themselves.

Their ancestors.

I know it’s weird, but I envision it quite frequently. Some people feel God judging their every action, or the government spying on their every movement through cameras. Meanwhile, I’m over here imagining being watched by my descendants, none of which exist yet, through a time-screen.

Doing the dishes alone at home. At work, making awkward conversation. Dancing stupidly at a party. The impossible possibility of my kids and grand-kids watching me inspires me to be a better person, while forcing me to acknowledge in detail the example that I wish to set for them. I might not remember most of the little things by the time the kids come around, but I know that I’ll continue to repeat the actions, habits and thought processes that I view favorably.

I’ve had this idea bouncing around for years now—maybe since all the way back in middle school. I’m sure that it positively affected who I am. Pretending that we’re always being watched maybe isn’t the best of ideas for the paranoid of us, but it’s worked for me for all these years. It’s absolutely guided my outlook growing up, and has matured me to where I am today.

I hope it can help you, too.

Go forth and read, my minions.

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