After my son gets into a fight protecting one of the smaller students in the class and is sent home from school, I’ll greet him at the door with a stern look on my face. Before a single word can escape my mouth, he’ll look me dead in the eye and say, “I should have used my words and not my fists. I vow that something like this will never happen again, father.” I’ll nod in affirmation, tousling his hair as he enters our tastefully decorated craftsman-style home.
Upon learning that my daughter took $20 off the kitchen counter to donate to needy children around Christmas time, I’ll tell her that we need to have a little chat. With two kitchen chairs turned backwards facing one another, we’ll both sit down to hash things out. I’ll start by telling her that while her intentions were good, she must ask for permission before taking someone’s elses’ money. She’ll nod and offer her most sincere apology, which I’ll, of course, accept. From there, I’ll inquire about the money that came from her Grandmother last Christmas, suggesting that she could have donated that to the children in need. In an ironic final twist, my daughter will confess that she returned the check to Grandma just before New Year's as she felt the amount gifted was too much given Grandma’s fixed income. Then we’ll both high-five.
When I catch my daughter binging the entirety of Kenneth Branagh’s Shakespearean film catalog on a beautiful summer's day, I’ll walk to the nearby coffee table, grab the remote, and assertively turn off the television. In protesting tones, my daughter will whine “Ugh! Dad, everyone said As You Like It is Branagh's worst adaptation. Guess I’ll never find out!” Sympathetic to her plight, I’ll tell her she ought to be out playing with the neighborhood kids on a beautiful day like this one. Once outside, she’ll talk so enthusiastically about the bard to all of the kids on our cul de sac that they’ll all catch the theatre bug. Eventually staging their own production in the driveway. The play will receive a very positive write-up in the arts and culture section of our local newspaper.
On his way to a record-breaking triple-double against a neighboring hoops rival, my son will throw down a slam dunk so thunderous that he’ll bring the entire backboard down with him. Meeting him at halfcourt during a stoppage in the game, I’ll remind him of the importance of respecting property. More specifically, I’ll explain to him that his windmill-360-degree dunk has cost the school and the taxpayers money. He’ll nod solemnly, understanding the error of his ways. I’ll tell him that the next time he decides to throw down a monster mamma-jamma, he had better consider the effect it’s going to have on the rim, backboard, and the game as a whole. He’ll agree to dunk it with less force moving forward and offer to fix the hoop with some tools that he keeps in his locker. Once the hoop is again upright and the game continues, my son will break the Wisconsin high school basketball career scoring record set by Anthony Pieper. I’ll cry tears of joy from the stands.
Having found out that my daughter set up a secret YouTube channel, I'll be pretty steamed. The fact that she now is one of the most popular streamers on the platform, surpassing the 20 million subscriber threshold, thus forcing the company to create a new Double Diamond plaque, is beyond the point. Approaching her room, I’ll knock at the door and she’ll invite me in. Seated at the edge of the bed with a face of considerable stoicism, I’ll ask that she please explain herself. Nervously pacing the room, she’ll tell me that her channel, wherein she reviews pop-sockets, was meant to be a surprise for me. I’ll resist rolling my eyes, but it won’t be easy. Reaching underneath the bed, my daughter will hand me a binder with the financials from the YouTube channel that she’s somehow managed to monetize to a staggering degree. As I count the various zeroes, she’ll explain to me that she was able to pull in about 10 million dollars via her last year and that she secretly put 10% of that into my 401K. Sitting near me on the bed, my (now) millionaire daughter will ask if I am still mad at her. And all I’ll be able to do is smile and shake my head. When are these darn hypothetical kids of mine ever going to learn?