Parent Brain: How to prepare your child for the world when you have no idea what that world will be like

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Being a parent is the most rewarding job in the world. Also, the most demanding, exhausting, messy, stressful, maddening and hilarious. It’s no wonder that moms and dads can sometimes get a little… loopy. Hey, we’re not here to judge. But what we are here to do is bring a little insight (and a lot of levity) to these unique situations with help from the creator of The Ugly Volvo, Raquel D’Apice. We call this Parent Brain. Consider it proof that you’re not alone. Or crazy.

How to prepare your child for the world when you have no idea what that world will be like

Dear [ENTER YOUR CHILD’S FIRST NAME HERE],

Growing up is far from easy, and you have a long road ahead of you, but it is my job (as your parent) to set you up for success (however one defines that word) when you become an adult. Based on what I know of the world, here is my advice.

1. Get a good education. Study hard. Go to college and consider graduate school.
(Actually, wait. I’m not sure that whole “spend years paying off school loans when you could’ve gotten the information on the internet for free” model is going to keep working by the time you’re an adult. Let’s try this again.)

2. If college still seems relevant, go for it. Or, maybe just learn as much as you can online and wing it? Maybe create something you’re passionate about, and then try to get on a futuristic version of Shark Tank or something?

3. Follow your dreams. Unless your dream involves an occupation which will be primarily done by machines in the upcoming decades, in which case maybe follow one of your other dreams? Dreams that give you health insurance would be ideal here.

4. Try not to live in a constant state of stress. (Also, I want to stress that not living in a constant state of stress might be incredibly difficult if society has been dismantled and you’re living in tents in the Canadian wilderness, foraging for edible lichens in a desperate attempt at survival.) But at the very least, don’t stress about things that don’t really matter.

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5. Don’t spend your whole life looking at your phone. If phones have somehow been abolished in the future because of a freak pulse that destroyed the electrical grid, you can totally disregard this one!

6. Be kind. And if you can’t be kind, at least be civil. I will give you a big heads up that even today being kind and/or civil is sometimes really hard and who knows what it will be like two decades from now, but your relationships with people are maybe the most important thing you will have.

7. Be brave. I’m sitting here in 2018 saying, “be brave,” meaning, don’t be afraid to try new things (Kombucha! Who knew??) or ask for a promotion or tell someone you love them when maybe the type of brave you have to be involves defending your nomadic tent-city from the merciless waves of robot attacks. But whatever sort of brave you have to be, be it. Being brave and being kind are the two most important things on this list.

8. Remember that the path to success is paved with failures. Which might mean you keep applying to medical schools until one lets you in, or you keep submitting manuscripts to a publisher until one accepts your work, or you may have to keep sending up manned space mission after manned space mission until you find another planet with an atmosphere similar enough to Earth’s where you’d feel comfortable starting a colony. Whatever your futuristic obstacles—keep going.

9. Remember to call your parents. Unless of course there are no phones because the electrical grid is down or unless I somehow disappear in the Costa Rican jungle or move to the Arctic Circle or get sucked into the ocean near the Cascadia subduction zone. In which case just cup your hands around your mouth and yell, “I am trying every day to be the best person I can, even though it is so hard,” into the void. And as long as you mean it, please know that wherever I am, I am so, so proud of you.

Love,
Your parent

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