Michelle Obama might be the First Lady of the United States and the mother of the very famous First Daughters, but don’t think for a second that she and the president are going to raise a couple of entitled brats. While appearing on Live With Kelly and Michael, FLOTUS was asked what she thinks about her teenage daughters Sasha and Malia being named to TIME’s list of the 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014.
If FLOTUS had been drinking a beverage, Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan would have been treated to an official White House spittake. But she wasn’t, and this was her response:
“They are not influential,” Obama said with a laugh…
“They just live here,” continued the first lady, pointing to the family’s famous address. “They have done nothing to gain influence.”
This is awesome. This is the best. This is what every person who is or wants to be a parent should live by — reminding their offspring that they are not special.
If there is anything that the current and future generations of children need to know it’s how little they matter in this world. They are a mere speck of matter, floating through the universe by accident. Like a snowflake, just not a special or unique one. Let’s remember what happens to snowflakes: they melt. If they don’t melt immediately, they get shoveled away, stepped on, covered in the leavings of humanity, and are almost universally despised. And then they melt.
This might sound harsh, but I’m saying this as someone who wants to be a parent. For one thing, being pregnant seems fascinating and exhilaratingly weird to me on a biological level. For another, kids are funny because they’re so purely honest and still figuring things out. But mostly, I like to think that I can contribute one or two people to this world who aren’t just another couple of assholes.
That’s really the best we can do, isn’t it? Teach our kids how not to be assholes? It’s not about religion or karma or anything we can’t see in front of us. It’s physics — for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So, why not just teach kids to be kind, to mold them into people who don’t want to be the worst part of someone’s day?
The Obama daughters might have it easier than most kids do, but if they think their parents are just going to let them slide through life with the “Do you know who my parents are?” line, they are sorely mistaken. President and Mrs. Obama earned their respective positions by doing the things that got them there, and while that access and privilege will come in handy to Sasha and Malia, it’s not going to make them better people. That’s up to them. FLOTUS put it perfectly herself: “They have done nothing to gain influence.”
That doesn’t mean they won’t, but it means they’ll have to do it themselves. Being Obamas doesn’t mean anything — what they do will get them recognized. And for now, just being on Instagram doesn’t cut it. These girls will have to forge their own paths because there is nothing special about them or any other kid. However, they all have the potential to do really special things. They can make art. They can become scientists. They can become leaders. But until then, there is nothing special about them.
The best thing we can teach our kids is how not to be a dick. Telling them that they’re special for merely existing is the best way to create a world of dicks. Join me, present and future parents, in my quest to obliterate dickery by minimizing the importance of our children, won’t you?