This past weekend I was having a conversation with someone about the challenges of working from home when there's a toddler in the house. The boy has been incredibly patient with both Reiko and I over these past sixteen months while she and I have invested time in building a house, looking for furniture and curtains online, negotiating with landscaping companies, and generally trying to get work done while he's awake. It hasn't been easy to balance the responsibilities of parenthood with all the other things we would like to do, but we're getting better. Eventually the topic of the boy's possible future came about, and how I would react to various "what if" scenarios.
Hypothetical questions involving human development are generally worthless as they lead to hypothetical answers, but some of the questions I was asked were just downright asinine at times. Here are three softball questions I was asked:
What if he hates computers?
That's fine by me. I do not expect my children to enjoy all the same things I do. If they do that's great, but it's unrealistic.
What if he wants to be a musician or artist?
I would love it if he wanted to do something creative with his life. While there is not a great deal of money to be made in either music or art unless you're in the top 0.01%, I would not prevent the boy from putting in the effort to do something he loves. I would, however, strongly encourage him to have realistic alternatives lined up to pay the bills and put food on the table while working towards his goals.
What if he comes out as gay?
Why would this bother me? Some of the most respectable people I've ever met have had sexual orientations different from mine. If he wants to be with anyone at all, I simply ask is that he find someone he truly wants to be with who also wants to be with him. Gender, sexual orientation, and genetic lineages are irrelevant so long as he's happy and safe.
These answers are likely the same that many parents would say. Are they 100% accurate? Who knows. The future isn't here yet.
There are a lot of parents who have very rigid expectations for their children. I am not one of them. My job, aside from the obvious responsibilities, is to make sure he has all of the opportunities available to discover who he is and what he wants to do in life. Given the rate of technological change, people my son's age may very well be part of the first generations of immortal humans. Immortality is a long time, so I want to make sure he has as much an understanding of himself as is possible before my time on this world is up. This way, when he's centuries old on the inside and a couple of decades of age on the outside, he'll have the ability to recognise his evolving self and adjust future plans and goals accordingly.
Am I not taking this parenting thing seriously enough?