A letter to my kids: monitoring their activity

Dear Theo and Xanthe

Right now – and for the immediate future – we’re living in each other’s pockets. But there’ll come a time where life starts to return to some sort of normality, and we won’t all be in the same place at the same time. When that time comes, and as you grow older, I hope that these words below still ring true.

We know too much, and our ability to know more is limitless

Being a parent of young kids is daunting. Being a parent of young kids in 2020 is scary as hell! Why? Because we know too much, and our ability to know more is limitless.

Let me take you back to the early 2000s. I was 17, living in Sheffield with Nan, and Blink 182 (an awesome band) were playing in Manchester. The gig finished at 11pm, which also happened to be the time of the last train back to Sheffield.

So I did what any reasonable, rebellious, punk-rock teenager would have. I lied about staying at a friend’s house. 

Some friends and I ended up going to a makeshift party in an underground car park

Before I go on – please never do this! I will drive at any time of the day or night, to anywhere, from anywhere, if you get stuck. Anyway…

What actually happened was when the gig ended, some friends and I ended up going to a makeshift party in an underground car park, whilst waiting for the train station to open in the morning to get home.

However… it all turned out all right

Again, please don’t do this. I’d be terrified at the thought of either of you doing this. However… it all turned out all right. And – I think – Nan was none the wiser. In fact, I’ll know whether she reads Career Dad or not based on our next phone call.

My point is that back in early 2000 there was no way of her knowing differently. Yes, she could have called my friend’s house to check. But no one really did that. There were no smartphones. No GPS signal showing my exact location. No social media (MySpace and Bebo aside) to know what I was up to.

And I’m not naive: the world is a different place to what it was when I grew up

Nan either had to trust that I was where I said I was, or trust that I‘d be okay doing whatever I was doing. And there’s a part of me that really likes that.

At the moment, you guys are far too young for me to be worried about you going off on your own anytime soon. And I’m not naive: the world is a different place to what it was when I grew up. Also, as a caring parent and a technology lover I’ll have the comfort of knowing where you both are, even if it’s not where you’re meant to be. Xanthe: I’m looking at you, here…

We won’t be getting GPS implants just yet

But I hope it doesn’t go further than that. Because growing up and making decisions – and mistakes – is all part of becoming a well-rounded adult. And it also builds trust… albeit in my case slightly misguided trust, but trust nonetheless. Trust that I can appreciate in hindsight, even if I was unaware of it in the moment.

So Theo, Xanthe: we won’t be getting GPS implants just yet; but please don’t disable ‘Find my phone’.

Love you both

Dad


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Dan Reed

Career Dad

Career Dad’s mission is simple: To positively impact as many dads’ lives as possible.

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