More Gopnik on parenting. Freakin’ brilliant.

“Our job as parents is still first to center our children constantly—to make them believe that they are uniquely valuable suns within a solar system of other people on whom they shine every day, that the light they cast is always welcome, daylight on another planet. But then our job is also continually to decenter them—make them understand that theirs is not the first nor only nor most important consciousness in the world, and that half of life involves signaling to others that we recognize this fact, even if we don’t quite believe it to be true. They may be suns, but they exist in nebulae and galaxies of billions of other suns. It is the problem of child flight, returning as it always does: We want them aloft, blessed by fairy dust, second star to the right and straight on to morning. And we want them flat-footed and realistic: You’re lucky if you get to the corner in one piece, look both ways as you cross the street, do it twice. We want them aloft and alert, and at the same time.”