editors_letter_july2016.jpgRami Niemi

A couple months ago I learned that two of my best friends are having a baby. Of course I told them how happy I was, they’re going to be great parents, etc. But … I’m terrified. I have a niece, a nephew, and friends with children. I want to be the cool uncle, buddy, and counsel to 6-year-olds. But I’ve never really been able to abide the disorder, the mood swings, the messes, the volatility. That sparking mesh of neurons coming online? Look. Out. I mean, I work with writers and editors for a living, so I know what it’s like to deal with children. But actual juvenile Homo sapiens? Forget it. They scare the hell out of me. I am cliché levels of clueless.

But then it struck me: I have a magazine. I sit in a room full of people whose entire job it is to render tough-to-grok concepts not only comprehensible but cool. Machine learning. Quantum super-positioning. Alcubierre warp-drives. Like, hard stuff. Even parenting would fall before the might of the WIRED explanatory engine. So we spun up the turbines.

It didn’t work. Yes, we did put together a hilarious, everything-is-true, science-the-shit-out-of-it package on parenting. Our writers and editors are here to hold your hand through questions like how much danger is good, what the best sports are, and how to spend the best, most fun time developing these creatures into humans. You want cool, safe, loved kids who turn into cool, adventurous, world-changing adults. WIRED can help with that.

On the other hand, I’m still scared of kids. Having read this cover package, I realize that everyone is. That village it takes to raise a child? Terrified—of messing up, of danger, of figuring out what’s for dinner. Any job worth doing well is worth being scared of. And I now realize that I’m going to get the best view of that job. As senior editor Peter Rubin writes in his article about being the “fun uncle”, when it comes to my friends’ kid, I get to be a coconspirator. I don’t have to enforce the rules for bringing up a perfect (or even adequate) child; I just get to play and be silly and tell dirty(ish) jokes—to other people’s kids, even the ones my team brings into the office. Not into my office, of course. Near it. On the stools right outside the door, maybe.

And when the hard questions come up—why is the sky blue? how do computers work? what order should we watch Star Wars movies in?—well, we have a whole world of people to talk to, kid. I like learning the answers as much as you do.

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