Monday, October 20, 2008

Raising Angels

I don’t have kids, not yet at least. However I am a proud uncle and have two lovely nephews. I am not the primary caregiver for these tots. My sister and her husband are doing a marvelous job. I see how crazy they get chasing after the kids and I salute them for their valiant efforts. I am perceived as an authority figure by my nephews and have a certain degree of influence in their upbringing. Even though I only share a small percentage of this responsibility, I get nervous when I tell them about the world.

You see at this stage they’re empty vessels which can be filled with good or bad. In more geeky terminology they’re formatted hard drives waiting for instructions. I can very well mess them up, which scares me. That’s why I check and recheck what I say around them. I make sure that they hear the truth in an honest and objective manner.

The little one could care less what I say as long as he’s fed and well rested you can call him “billy-poo” and he’ll be okay with that. His older brother on the other hand has a lot on his mind and he needs to know things. Favorite phrase: “What’s that?” normally this gets tiring but on occasion I have fun answering his questions.

Pointing towards the sky “What’s that?”

“That’s the moon.”

“Can you live on the moon?”

“No not yet.”

“I wanna live on the moon.” Now I can either encourage him and say that someday you just might do that (this is based on current research being conducted to make space habitable) or do I give him a dose of reality and tell him that it won’t happen in his lifetime (this is based on the current economic crisis which is forcing governments to slash their R&D funds). My mind was caught between imparting joyful idealism or pessimistic realism. In the end I kept quiet and took him inside, it was dark and my sister was calling us. The mosquitoes were biting and dinner was ready. The galaxy would just have to wait.

I was glad to handover the child, I felt like I had dodged a bullet. But a time will come when I won’t be able to. When that time comes I hope to say the right thing.

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