As a parent, I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want for my kid. I imagine him being talented, charismatic, intelligent, athletic, kind, generous and thoughtful (not to mention tall and good looking). I want him to have plentiful opportunities, wide-ranging experiences, and lots of fun. It's fun to let my mind wander to the future, dreaming of the amazing things Conan could do - maybe he'll be an astronaut! maybe he'll be the poet laureate! maybe he'll be a TV chef!
On the flip side, sometimes I think about what I don't want him to be. Oh, there's the obvious ones that all parents probably have: I don't want him to be a drug addict, or a gun runner, or a pimp, or a tabloid front-page celebrity. I mean really, I'm his mom: I don't even want him to get dehydrated, let alone arrested.
But that's all in the future. When I think about the short term, the kid I REALLY don't want him to be is the one that is good and nice and obedient when grown-ups are around, and then mean and spiteful and awful to the other kids the minute they are alone. The one where his mom thinks he's a little angel and everyone else just rolls their eyes and wonders how she can be so blind. Maybe even ALL the moms think he's a little angel, and it's only the other kids who know the truth. I knew kids like that when I was young, and it was horrible. It was incredible the way they could transform from angels to bullies the minute the adults left the room.
For the record, let me say right now that I don't think Conan is now, or will ever be, that kid. He's such a nice little boy. Everyone says so!
But then, I'd be the last to know, wouldn't I?