Lin-Manuel Miranda: the key to parenting is less parenting

Writer & composer Lin-Manuel Miranda not only created GWK favourite musical “Hamilton” but he is also an awesomely geeky dad himself.  He recently sat down with to talk about how, sometimes, the key to being a good parent is a little less parenting.

Be There. But Not Too There.
My parents worked. A lot. But they made sure they were home every night, and they were there every morning. And they were very diligent about the important stuff. They checked that I did my homework. But in the hours between getting home from school and going to bed, my sister and I were left to our own devices. So, my afternoons could be spent doing any number of things, from bothering my sister to listening to music with her to watching the Diff’rent Strokes-Facts of Life-Three’s Company rock block. That’s right: TV is not a bad thing. In a lot of ways, it was my co-parent. But I was never just a passive TV watcher. I was always doing something at the same time, drawing or writing.

Oh, and Speaking of Homework…
Don’t freak out if your kid waits till the last minute. There are two kinds of people in this world: those who do homework on Sunday night and those who do it Monday morning. I was always Monday morning. I wish it were the other way, but that’s just how I’m wired. I need the deadline to function. It takes the pressure to unlock the idea.

It’s Good to Be Bored
Time alone is the gift of self-entertainment—and that is the font of creativity. Because there is nothing better to spur creativity than a blank page or an empty bedroom. I have fond memories of pretending ninjas were going to come into every room of the house and thinking to myself, What is the best move to defend myself? How will I ‘Home Alone’ these ninjas? I was learning to create incredible flights of fancy.

The Worst Thing for Your Imagination? Your Phone
Because of phones, we always have the ability to jump out of ourselves. But unless you learn how to be in your head, you’ll never learn how to create. I remember when I was a kid, I was in a three-hour car ride with my best friend, Danny. Before we got in the car, he grabbed a stick from his front yard, and the entire drive home he made up games with this…stick. Sometimes the stick was a man, sometimes a piece in a larger game, or he’d give it voices, pretend the stick was a telephone. I remember sitting there next to him with my Donkey Kong thinking, Dude, you just entertained yourself for three hours…with a fucking twig! And I thought to myself, Wow, I have to raise my imagination game.

Read the whole thing at


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