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by Chris Clovis
The battle between what shapes us – genetics vs. environment – has raged for decades, but anyone with more than one kid will tell you that genetics wins out every time. Given the same home, the same parenting, the same town, and the same schools – you’ll still get completely different individuals. Even twins and triplets can have radically separate personalities.
Developmental psychologists agree that a child’s environment has an effect on the person they’ll become, but each of us arrives pre-wired with our own unique set of algorithms. Our personalities are embedded in our DNA, helping determine the ways we deal with the world that surrounds us.
And my child came out of the womb somewhat … evil.
Save the hate mail. I love my son. He is the apple of my eye, and every day I try to be the best dad I can be, loving him and raising him right. But it’s impossible to deny his villainous streak. I know I know, he’s just “strong willed,” right? He’s just “bright,” “fiercely independent,” or “mischievous.”
Nope, sorry. My beautiful child, whom I love more than anything else in the world, is Satan.
I fully expect him to have a well-equipped evil lair before the age of 5, on his way to becoming a megalomaniacal despot not long afterward. At this rate, he’ll be toppling governments and blackmailing nations before puberty.
Think I’m overreacting? Perhaps. But having a child yourself does not automatically mean you know what it’s like to live with mine. Parenting is different from other skills, such as playing the guitar. If you can play your guitar, picking up your friend’s guitar is pretty similar. But with parenting, every experience is COMPLETELY unique, and having raised a family yourself doesn’t make you an expert on someone else’s. This is something that few people actually comprehend.
See the 60-year-old lady in the checkout line in front of you scowling when your toddler acts up? She has raised a couple kids herself, and therefore thinks she’s an expert of the subject of child rearing. Thus she feels she’s earned the right to judge your parenting skills. Having done it successfully, she obviously knows more than you do … right?
Wrong! Now stop giving me the stink-eye and mind your groceries, Lady.
I don’t care if you’ve hatched a dozen Mensa scholars who are currently curing cancer – you have no idea what it’s like to raise my kid, because my kid is totally different from yours. Have you learned a few things along the way? Of course, and you deserve recognition for the parenting you’ve done. I have nothing but respect for you, and I’ll take advice if appropriate. But don’t tell me that you know exactly what I’m going through, because – with all due respect – you don’t.
Sinister gaze, male-pattern baldness, the signs are all there...
But a little understanding goes a long way. I’ll try to have more understanding for my “strong-willed” child, and maybe that lady in the checkout line can have more understanding for me. After all, I’m the one tasked with raising the future Supreme Ruler of all Mankind.
So when this beautiful, precious, innocent child of mine does eventually take over the world, as Malevolent, All-Powerful Emperor – don’t blame me, I did the best that I could.
…but regardless, he sure is a cute little Devil.
Thanks for listening,
After more than two decades spent training business consultants, managing dealership and B2B sales operations, as well as the realms of marketing and strategic planning - Chris Clovis now focuses primarily on the development of People; building methods and strategies to help them become the best at what they do. Chris believes that by helping others tackle challenges in new and unique ways, their lives can be changed forever. Chris manages to be an insufferable motor head, an extreme technophile, and a devoted Husband and Father. He lives in Los Angeles with his family. Visit www.chrisclovis.com for more information.
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