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Dear 13-year old, this is proof we parents should still make (most of) your decisions.

Dear 13-year old, this is proof we parents should still make (most of) your decisions.

Later, you’ll thank me. It might be a LOT later,* but it will happen.

I swear.

Let’s get some facts out of the way:

  1. You know everything.
  2. I know nothing.

Got that cleared up. Now onto the issue: decision making, future plans and present realities.

“Geez, heavy dad! What gives? Can’t we just do this tomorrow?”

Sure, but I’m going to answer it today.

You brain is 13 years old. My brain is a lot older. I’ve been 13. Then I was 26. Then I was 39. See the trajectory? (That’s math, BTW. Barrels of fun, I know.)

Let’s take a real-life example: Albert Heijn (supermarket) purchase.

Dear 13-year old, this is proof we parents should still make (most of) your decisions.

Dear 13-year old, this is proof we parents should still make (most of) your decisions.

You now have your own ATM card: congratulations! What an achievement since you recently got your first job! Now that you have the independence and purchasing power of buying snacks at the supermarket, let’s see what that amounted to. See photo on right.

  1. 300g Large M&Ms. Yum.
  2. BONUS double pack of “frikandel broodjes.” Dee-lish!

Then we add your (current) favorite activity: PS4. A little more math: 300g refined sugar + 2 pack empty carbohydrates x video games = 13-year old heaven!

I know, it’s not fair. You don’t always buy junk–or at least not in such quantity. But that’s OK, now that you have a job, you’ll be able to evaluate the costs of junk food compared to your hourly wage and will come to the conclusion that you … can’t actually afford it.

This is where we come in. Parents are good at this sort of thing. You see, we’re not “helicopter parents” but we have a “helicopter perspective.” That helps to see “the bigger picture.” Our picture is a lot bigger than your picture. You see, for example, the next hour clearly in front of you. We see the next 5 years in front of you.


I know, I’m just tossing around the big words like candy. Ooh, sorry, painful reference. But what extrapolation means is to take something small and extend it bigger or into the future. So let’s take your decision to buy only junk and mix that up with, oh, study habits or plans for high school or even university. You see, dear child, this is where extrapolation also comes into play as you learn habits early on and if they are not altered, they become engrained and learned and normal and that’s fine if you’re heading towards couch surfing 101 on a sugar diet, less good if you have, uh, other plans.


Did you know if that you pointed a rocket just a millimeter to the left and it kept that trajectory, it would head to a completely different planet? In other words, small changes early on make for big changes later on. I know, hard to grasp the concept of something so far in the future.

It’s OK, that’s why we’re here.

I completely realize I’m picking on you–that’s what parents do. It’s fun (well, it’s fun for us). But I also enjoy picking a moment in time to, ahem, extrapolate on and see how that might alter the course of the future (trajectory!). Learning learning learning! Isn’t this fun?

But seriously. Enjoy your M&Ms and bite into that second frikandel with the passion that only a 13-year old can have for such a mysterious culinary concoction. Let’s chat again soon and see how that decision making process is going.

* Maybe around age 32.

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