Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Name:
Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!

13.12.04

What we're teaching our children

Every parent ought to know that their kids learn from what they see and overhear, not from what you tell them directly. If you do tell your kids something directly, you need to repeat it for at least a year before they get it through their heads. If you tell your kids something and then act in opposition to that, more than likely they will follow your behavior rather than your words. It's just truth, man. And, of course, culture and the world teaches our kids a whole hell of a lot. With that in mind, here's what we're teaching our kids these days:

1. Money and fame are paramount in this world. We know Barry Bonds is cheating, but we don't boycott baseball games in which he plays. We know the people on reality shows are acting without any regard for common decency, but because they win a million dollars or a job with Donald Trump, we don't condemn them. We know that NBA players are spoiled little children, but we don't boycott the games. Why? Because they are rich and famous. We want to be like them. Our kids learn values from them, and also from us, who tell them it's okay to cheat and act like children as long as it makes you rich and famous.

2. Freedom is fine, as long as it's "our" definition of freedom. Everyone's talking about what a "miracle" Afghanistan is because of their successful election. It's a little early for that judgment, but when the only viable candidate is the U.S.-sponsored one, it seems a little silly to be talking about a "miracle." Lots of places have had successful elections, and a year later, some general takes over. Meanwhile, in Iraq, are we really going to allow a leader to be elected who isn't an American toady? In our own country, we teach our kids about freedom of speech and the right to bear arms and illegal search and seizure (well, we're supposed to), but we also tell them, in America, some people cannot be romantically involved with each because they're "abominations," we tell them that criticizing the president is unpatriotic and wrong, and we tell them that laws governing decent treatment of prisoners don't matter. Maybe I'm giving kids too much credit to believe they're that involved, but the still see some of this.

3. "Morals" count, unless someone has different ones. Desperate Housewives is a huge hit in the South and Utah. The divorce rate is highest in the Bible Belt. I would bet there are more abused wives in the South as well. NBC and CBS aren't running commercials for a church that desperately wants to show that Christians can be inclusive. We rail about Nicollette Sheridan jumping naked into a black man's arms but buy our children Britney Spears records. Parents are suing Wal-Mart (not a bad thing, in my opinion) because they were shocked to hear "fuck" on an Evanescence album, but they smoke and drink in front of their children. Hypocrisy goes unnoticed.

4. My country, right or wrong. What's wrong with teaching our children that? What if your country is wrong? Can you not comment on it? Quashing dissent is the sign of weak countries. I thought all the patriots in our country say we are strong. So why are they afraid of criticism? Patriotism is a dangerous thing -- just ask the countries of Europe prior to World War I, or the Germans in the 1930s and 40s. They were pretty patriotic. Our children are learning that challenging authority is absolutely wrong. Many parents probably want to drill that lesson into our kids, but teenaged rebellion is a part of life. They'll grow up to be mindless drones soon enough. They need rebellion. By teaching them early that they must be mindless drones in the service of their country, we get, well, mindless drones. It's nice to see soldiers daring to stand up to the Secretary of Defense. Give him hell, guys!

I'm not a great parent by any stretch of the imagination. First of all, my daughter is only 2 and doesn't do a whole hell of a lot. Second, I only have one child, so it's a little easier than people with more than one. However, I know that my daughter is learning from me every day, and in ways I can't imagine. I hope I don't censor what she listens to and watches when she's a teenager. My parents didn't, because they trusted that I would make the right decision. I hope my daughter will also have an internal moral compass that will make her a good kid. We'll see. I do know that she's going to learn a lot more from me than I think, and I take that seriously. I wish more parents did too.