Kid Gloves over an Iron Fist

Escorting your kid is one of the few things more fun in the real world than a video game. Video game escort missions are annoying interruptions, saddling you with a stupid stranger who can’t do anything but get stuck against walls while you wish you were fighting with strangers. In the real world kids are the most important person in the world, you know they’ll eventually learn not to run full speed into walls, and only psychopaths actually want to attack other people. But you still need to protect and guide this adorable incompetent through crowded public areas.

The secret is that this protection goes both ways. Picture yourself as a Beast Master escorting your Fabulous Radioactive Diamond-Fanged Tiger through the town. It’s gorgeous, it’s glowing, it’s swallowed at least a kilo of plutonium. You want to protect it from everyone else, but you also know it’s just as important to protect everyone else from them. You are conspicuously conscientious about making sure they don’t bother other people, keeping them in check, keeping them controlled, taking every pain to protect the other people who are just as important as your kid.

This is a lie.

A useful lie! Which is one of the most powerful tools in the parenting toolbox. It’s surprising how many parenting skills also work on strangers, until you realise they’re both cases of “dealing with an unreasonable idiot you’re not allowed to just throw through a window” . Like any powerful tool the useful lie should be used carefully, thoughtfully, and against any idiot who even thinks of upsetting your child.

You know you’d bulldoze an entire shopping centre to save your child from tripping, but you can’t let anyone in that centre know it. Because nobody wants to be bulldozed, but quite a lot of people have nothing better to do than start shit with strangers. That’s the opposite of you, someone already incredible busy with the best person ever. So you pretend those strangers are just as important as your child! Strangers like this. They don’t truly appreciate that it’s the highest compliment they’ve never deserved, but they do seem to like it. Which avoids all kind of problems.

Remember: It takes more muscles to smile than trigger a flamethrower, but using them saves your fuel and keeps you cooler.

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