I’m sure you want really good kids. Or you love someone else’s kids and want them to be good. Here’s a poem which I hope helps you.
HOW TO RAISE KIDS YOU CAN BE TRULY PROUD OF
The first step is to try having sex.
This won’t work for everybody, however.
Some have bodies which aren’t as into it as you are.
And some pairings aren’t of the baby-making kind.
If that’s you, then thank our God there
are so many more options.
Either way, you may have to try more than once.
If that’s the case, at least try to have fun.
Make a game out of it. Or something.
And if you run out of options,
just know that there is no such thing
as borrowing other people’s kids.
That’s called kidnapping.
The second step is to wait a really long time.
If a birth is involved, it’s the better part of a year;
but if its adoption, that shit takes forever!
Keep having fun through this time.
Make stuff up. Buy stuff if you can. Maybe
build a house with Habitat because
you’ll need to take your mind off it.
Because the worst is about to hit.
The third step is to not kill yourself over the bill.
Really, most steps involve not killing yourself
in one way or the other.
I hear that really messes up kids.
You’re going to spend a lot of money anyway.
Probably, in the end, for therapy.
Try saving for that now.
The fourth step is to give them a good name.
Not some jacked up spelling of a normal name
you know, just to be different.
And don’t make up a name you think
sounds good either. Make it a name with a meaning,
something they can discover and take pride in.
It’ll help get them through the hard times
before the therapy.
The fifth step is to give a damn.
At least one. At least enough to keep them safe.
Preferably two or three. Like their health and well-being.
Maybe whether or not they can read. Or eat
only food that comes in bags from Frito-Lay.
The sixth step is to try not to yell.
You’re going to unless you do a lot of yoga
or kickbox all the pain away. You’ll be tempted to yell
like, constantly. Over everything. Fight it.
Make deals with yourself. If you cut the number of yells in half,
you’ll treat yourself to something nice.
The seventh step is to recognize that you write the script
that plays in your kid’s head. Which means
the more you beat your kids or tell them they’re crap,
they’ll not only come to believe you,
but they’ll think you’re the world’s biggest bully.
So you shouldn’t be surprised when they don’t call you
in the nursing home or give a damn when you fall.
Think about the playlist you want running through their mind.
If you want them to be half-way decent human beings,
then fill it with a little more Woodie Guthrie.
Make them work at finding the crap. Like Nickleback.
The eighth step is to read to them every night.
Even when they’re claiming they’re too old for it
or they want to read to themselves. Pull rank and be all
“I know what’s best for you!” because this
is the one time it is actually true.
The ninth step is to let the little hellions get bored.
Stop entertaining them every minute
or scheduling every hour into exhaustion.
Don’t use soccer like a babysitter.
They’ll figure out pretty fast
that you are using them to fulfill those
unrealized dreams and resent you for it.
You don’t want to pay for the therapy this soon.
The tenth step is to love other people’s kids.
Not like your own, ’cause that would be weird.
But give a damn about them and their schools.
Because when your special snowflake
plays their little bastard in the rivalry match,
you’d probably prefer they don’t
coldcock her for a hard tackle. I’m just sayin’.
And you like saliva-free food. Because someday
you may be able to eat somewhere that isn’t McDonald’s.
The eleventh step is to stop doing what’s best.
It rarely is.
The twelfth step is to not give crap to other parents.
Seriously. You know how hard this is.
So cut it out. Unless they beat their kids.
Remember the script? Well it also doesn’t work.
Because: science. Brain chemistry. Look it up.
But if their kid’s OK, then give ’em a high-five.
Unless they’re not into that. Then you’re allowed to give crap
because high fives are awesome.
Now, if you’re this committed to raising
a kid that isn’t eating his own boogers in biology class
you’ll have to face the facts that there is no #13.
All those lessons about letting go
or teaching them right and wrong
or making sure you’re at every recital or game
is just the noise you already know.
What you need isn’t more lessons. What you need
is what your kid needs and will always need:
Want to be proud of your kids?
Teach them to love. Nothing is more important.