Teach this phrase

“Due Diligence”

I’ve been using this one ever since Marcus was old enough to point at stuff he wanted. Initially, applying a term associated with corporate acquisitions to selecting a Hot Wheel served no other purpose than to amuse this new dad. Marcus would grab the first one within reach; I’d stop him.

“Hey - due diligence son, due diligence.”

… and I’d hand him another choice to consider, followed by one more. Then we’d move onto Star Wars figures, Power Rangers and not long after that, mom would be done with her shoe shopping. Our stint at the mall would end, and Marcus would have a toy he really liked, with minimal risk of buyer’s remorse (which can seize an unsatiated toddler mind the instant a colorful POP display enters his peripheral vision).

After a few due diligence sessions strategically applied within various scenarios, from picking an ice cream flavor to choosing new underwear, and reinforced with mantra-like repetition (“Due diligence all right! Due diligence yeah, baby! Due diligence nothing escapes your radar!”), my then 3-year old son began to evolve a rudimentary understanding of this investment banker protocol.

Besides basking in the claim to fame that my son was undoubtedly the only 3-year old on earth who knew what this term meant, I also found that Marcus’ internalization of due diligence greatly reduced the dreaded “I changed my mind” loop that plagues every child (and parent). By nature, this loop inevitably results in the child feeling like he settled, and me packing a ridiculous variety of playthings into my backpack in anticipation of a relapse.

However, it wasn’t until my sister took Marcus out for a day that I patted myself on the back for an imprinting job truly well done. Upon dropping him off, she reported to me in a what-the-hell-did-you-do-to-your-son tone that “he picked that souvenir himself after reminding me ‘due diligence, auntie Mei, due diligence…’”