Perhaps Someday We Can Forgive Our Common Enemies

What would you tell your grandchildren?

by Brooke Allen (Q4Colleges)


Dear Grandchildren,

You and we have a common enemy: your parents.

This is just the natural order of things. Parents and children put each other through hell everywhere. Your dysfunctional family is no big deal.

Think about it. You imagine you are the center of the universe even though you can’t even wipe your own butt. Unless your parents sell you into slavery, you cost way more than you are worth. The reason babies are cute is because otherwise parents would kill them.

And your parents are the Devil incarnate. They are hell-bent on controlling you – telling you what to do, how to do it, and what to think. Even if by some miracle you feel your parents are not idiots it is only because they are good at manipulating you. If children were not dependent on their parents they would kill them.

Children and parents are totally incompetent at their jobs. Nobody has any training in any of this because if there were classes on being a parent or a kid then the students would either drop out or murder their teachers. In real life you only get one shot at getting everything right and there is no Human Resources department where you can file a complaint and get the other guys fired. The whole thing sucks.

Grandparents do not have these problems with their grandchildren. If your butt needs wiping then we will feign incompetence and your parents will rush in like the addled fools that they are. If you act nice then we are happy to play with you because we are no longer distracted by thoughts of the economy or a boss who is an asshole. If you are not nice then we will leave.

Telling you what to do is your parents’ job. Instead we tell you stories. And you listen – perhaps because you know it will be over soon – or perhaps because you enjoy a break from hating your parents.

You might like living at home right now, but that will soon change. And your parents will be happy to be rid of you. With a little distance you can declare a truce, but the war will not be over until peace breaks out. Fat chance.

Some day you might “fall in love” and you might imagine that having children will make you happy. This is a mistaken belief. All the psychology research shows that having children makes adults less happy. Luckily, an immense capacity for self-delusion will save you from realizing the full horror of this fact. Your children will become your parent’s revenge just as you are our revenge. Take a moment and let that sink in.

As you get older you must attempt to become wiser because you will have lost the capacity for anything else. In a single year, while in his 20’s, Albert Einstein revolutionized physics by establishing quantum mechanics and inventing relativity. The most famous thing Einstein said in his youth was: “e equals m c squared” which might seem stupid to you now but it was friggin’ awesome at the time.

But in his old age, Einstein became known for uttering nonsense like, “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”, “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”, and “The question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or the others crazy?” The answer is: You are both hazy and crazy, old man.

I don’t know who Alden Nowlan was, but he must have been really old when he said, “The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise.” In your travels, you will run across lots of stupid old people doing unforgivable things, and yet they will appear unashamed. Now you know why: they fancy themselves wise.

Remember that we love you. And when you are ready, perhaps together we can try to forgive your parents.

Weirder things have happened.


Author: Brooke Allen

Founder – Viral Virtue, Inc.

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