I'd pretend not to notice the circles of kids playing handball, or running through the sprinklers. I would pedal past them quickly, wearing a determined look across my face, hoping somehow to make others think that in fact I had somewhere to go. She was working in animation, just not where she wanted to be. You're like a lumberjack living in the Great Plains, surrounded by prairie, nary a tree in sight, I said. So yes, Rox, you have to move. You're bonkers, Rox said, pawing at her tiger's tail. I don't have any money. I don't have any time. I can't just up and move. I had fully expected this reaction. As I've said many times, futurecasting is hard work, and it often involves dramatic life changes, like relocating across the country. That's where the backcast comes in. We're proud when they do the things we consider noble and cringe when the opposite is true. It sometimes blinds us to the core message: What do we want to teach or learn here in this moment? Nobody has to share anything they don't want to share if it's theirs: toys, food, personal space, money, thoughts, time, clothes, and so on. If we teach our children that, then they'll learn to share, or not, on their own merits--and most importantly, to share because they want to and not because they feel they have to. Speaking of sharing, this is another lesson in boundary-testing and honoring trust. As our children grow older, the stakes of the need-to-know information can feel higher. Our natural instincts to keep our loved ones safe can lead us to imagine a whole host of unsavory scenarios--this is normal. It's also normal to have an urge to find out more, and this is where boundaries can get a bit blurry again.

Rationally and morally we shouldn't ever read our child's diary or texts or rummage through their bags. Their private thoughts are just that, private. Afraid even of what strangers thought of me, I painted my face with expressions that I hoped would prevent others from seeing how lonely I was. Sometimes I got to play with Barbara and R. Marc and Leslie had other friends they played with, and when they were busy doing other things, I'd look forward to hanging out with Barbara or R. Their mother Theresa was always considerate of me. I had a hunch she was the one who encouraged her children to come call on me when my brother and sister weren't around. Barbara and R. In fact, R. He and I were the same age. The crush didn't last long, and I never appreciated it anyway. I liked being around Barbara and R. It's designed to make the monumental feel more manageable. You find the halfway point, then the partway, then the Monday. Rox had been a quick study at figuring out the new story of her future. Now it was time to slow things down and help her take the first step. You don't have to move, I answered. Not right away, at least. You visit first. You meet people.

You network. You might even find out that you don't like the West Coast. The act of exploring those thoughts by writing them down and expressing them is powerful. To casually read anyone's diary is an infringement of privacy. It just is. We all deserve personal private space that's respected. Those of us who have had that privacy invaded will remember how it damaged the trust we had with our parents or friends. So if we do decide to break that trust, it can't be a decision taken lightly. It has to be backed up by real concern for their safety and well-being, and only then. Don't Forget What It Was Like to Be a Child There's a sense of wonder and curiosity that comes with being a child. Our imaginations conjure up all sorts of magical and mystical scenarios. There was a bond between them that my own siblings and I didn't have. I remember wishing Marc treated me the way R. If Barbara coughed because she had swallowed too much pool water, R. He'd put his arms around her and with great concern in his eyes and in his voice, ask her if she were all right. It was warm, genuine, and left me aching for some of that too. I perceived Theresa and her husband Joe to be more real than my own parents. When Joe laughed, his entire face and body laughed too. And when he asked me how I was doing, he did his best to get me to stand still long enough to look into his eyes.

I knew he cared, but I also knew I couldn't tell him the truth. If I did, he'd listen, possibly address my parents, and then what? We got into the nuts and bolts of traveling inexpensively, like keeping an eye out for flash bargains on airlines that fly to the West Coast. Because Rox had the flexibility to travel at off-peak times, she could get to California for a lot less than she realized. Next we brainstormed places she could stay, including with friends of friends. I just remembered, my college roommate has a sister who lives in Emeryville, Rox said. She used to crash in our dorm all the time. I bet she'll put me up for a few nights. Rox's Monday was already filling up. In addition to the travel logistics, she would need to start lining up experts who might be in a position to help her, using enabling technologies like LinkedIn and Glassdoor. Were there people from school who might have an in at Pixar or other companies related to animation? Even massive industries have smaller subsets of people who tend to know one another. There's a thirst for understanding the world around us, resulting in the endless But why? We have a world inside of our heads that isn't yet filled with responsibility, one that's rich with unicorns, dragons, monster Lego plans, and fairy tales. Hours can be whiled away reading, listening to music, playing with slime, drawing, coloring, and inventing games with friends. The thirst for knowledge can be a trifle overwhelming for us parents: Are we there yet? We don't always have the answers, and in the constant life juggle where it feels as though everything is demanding our attention, the whys can be tiresome. They're tiresome because they're flung at us so often, they're tiresome because we have to try and verbalize concepts in a way that a young person might comprehend, and they're tiresome because they force a pause when we already feel overwhelmed and time-poor. We don't want to dampen their inquisitive nature, but equally, we have heads full of adult thoughts that often take us away from the present moment. But do you remember, when you were younger, that little lift that came with learning something new;

Questioning the status quo is questioning boundaries in progress. It's a super-handy tool for us to have as adults because it's the only way systems, processes, and laws are changed. It was best I keep the demons locked away. I couldn't articulate them anyway. And more than anything, I didn't want my mother telling me I wasn't allowed to play with Barbara and R. I Wish I Were a Real Girl As a kid, I didn't smile much. I never knew that until my mother's friend Connie mentioned it. You really should smile more often. You should be more like your sister Leslie. She's so sweet. You just look angry all the time, she said, taking me by complete surprise. Rox needed to worm her way into the right group, maybe by looking for an industry event she could attend while she was on the West Coast. Then she needed to prepare a list of questions to ask her experts the moment she was given the chance: How did you get your start? What is a typical day like for you? What are the biggest challenges? What are the things I need to be doing to prepare myself? As we were wrapping up the call, Rox confided, I really thought you'd laugh at me. She wasn't looking at me. Her attention was fixed on a list she was writing.