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It was the awesome Aninha (just the few will know which one) that told me that it is you who must educate your parents, not the other way around, but we thought at the time this was a quote, we still didn’t figure whose.

It’s harder and more painful than it should be, for all the wrong reasons, of course. Maybe it is even a worde idea than it sounds. And those are just my field notes. But either way: Principles of educating parents.

#1: save face. Never ever under any circumstance tell them you are teaching. Never even admit it if accused of. Even if asked to, reply with “i don’t have what it takes to”. That’s because having kids is scary, and your parents need their seriousness pose to deal with their fear. Don’t go there.

#2: mimicry is your friend. Basically your parents will copy you whenever you outsmart them, and probably tell themselves it was all their idea. So, display your tricks in a visible manner, taking care to make the inner workings show and not only the outer effects.

#3: aim higher. Don’t do it just to extort this or that, don’t try to trick your parents into doing what you want. Instead make them live better lives, which pretty soon they will be insisting you should copy from them. They have this foolish illusion that you are a version of them, so they’ll want to share (as if it was big news for you).

#4: gently push to consequences. If let to themselves, they’ll learn the tricks but not explore the possibilities those tricks open to them. Once you are confident they have it practiced ennough, ask, as if puzzled, “but then what?” and whatch they pretend they had it all thought out from the beginning.

Of course, there is a fifth principle, but i’ll not name it, as it is more like a curse. It is that they’ll learn, but they will use it for the worse. They’ll twist your words into traps for fools. They’ll do it again and again, until at some point you’ll just have to give up. Your best hope is that, if are good enough a teacher, they’ll become a good enemy, then at least they’ll serve you as an obstacle to push yourself further.

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