Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Indoctrinating Your Offspring into Your Cult of Choice

It's a pretty well understood concept that children are intellectually moldable creatures. Challenge them to consider new ideas, and they can really surprise you with their original thoughts. My experiences with teaching children and having my own children has never ceased to amaze me when it comes to the creative ways that children can process information.

That being said, it's also amazing that when children are spoonfed fundamentalist dogma, for their formative years, how scary and rigid they can turn out. You can't help but wonder what sort of inflexible environment has to exist for a child to give up their curious nature and their sense of empathy for other types of people.

I think that when you condition children that there are concrete right and wrong beliefs to have and right and wrong types of people to BE... that you're setting your child up for a hard life. No matter what you believe to be the "right way" to live your own life, it's important for a child to question things in their environment... whether that's questioning things that parents believe in or not.

It's surprisingly easy.. some would say disturbingly so.. to find the results of damaging kinds of childhood environments all over the media; one can only hope that these kids all grow up to learn how to think for themselves.

'Racist' parents fight for children

Wal-Mart Decorates Cakes for Nazis

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bubble Wrap: Now With More Anger Displacement!

There was once a woman who had a 2 year old son who crawled through a dog door and drowned in the family pool. Undoubtedly a tragedy. Certainly a reason for this woman to dedicate her time to informing people of the dangers of pet doors. This much I can understand and even heartily sympathize with.

However, Carol Ranfone is taking it one step further. She wants the law to require pet door manufacturers to put a warning on their products that tells parents that their children could crawl through the door.

If Ken and I had ever thought the pet door would pose any danger to our children, we never would have installed it. We thought he was safely contained in our home and had no idea he could get out.

Saying that you didn't know that a child could access a dog door is basically saying, "We are incapable of understanding how the real world works." One wonders why these people are advertising their claimed inability to understand basic physics - it does not bode well for their ability to care for future children if they don't understand that HOLE IN HOUSE = ACCESS POINT.

While I appreciate that the Ranfones went through a horrible experience, I hardly think Carol Ranfone's argument says anything except that they cannot accept that they could have been so horribly careless as to leave their dog door unlocked/unblocked. The PetAccessDangers.com (the Ranfones' website) collection of news only serves to illustrate that there are a lot of careless ex-parents out there.

I can certainly understand how this kind of thing can happen - just because it was careless doesn't mean I think the Ranfones should serve jail time. Sometimes "they've suffered enough" is a valid reason to withhold further judgement. However, I don't think society's forbearance should mean that Carol Ranfone should be able to affect an industry in order to assuage her guilt.

Something as obvious as a dog door being accessible to human beings should not have to be noted on the packaging so Carol Ranfone can convince herself that she was not at fault for her son's death.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Don't Tell My Mom!

It's funny how in some contexts we never grow up.

When I was growing up, there were all kinds of things that I didn't want my mom to know. I didn't want her to know that I smoked; which she may or may not have, I was never sure how much my excuse of "all my friends smoke, that's what you smell" worked. I never wanted my mom to know that I smoked pot; to this day, I'm sure she doesn't know. And I never wanted her to know that I got a tattoo.

When I was a teenager, way back in the olden-times land of the mid 80s, the current tattoo culture hadn't started yet, at least it hadn't started where I live. According to my mother, if you had tattoos, you were either a biker or a prostitute. I was obsessed with having a tattoo and started visiting shops when I was about 16 years old and when I hit 18 I got my first piece of permanent artwork. And spent the next year of my life wearing nothing more revealing than t-shirts around my parents so that they couldn't see the silver dollar sized mark on my skin.

They did eventually see that one, about a year later, and my mom FLIPPED OUT. And over the years, as my art collection grew, she or my dad would occasionally get a glimpse of a new bit and they'd freak out all over again.

So, fast forward to the recent past of this past Saturday and me sitting in my friendly neighbourhood tattoo parlor with my son. For his 18th birthday this week, his gift from me was his first tattoo.

I am now seriously living in dread of my mother finding out about this.

I know, at almost 40 you shouldn't care what your mother says about things; but anyone who has a mom who does this kind of thing knows that it's not that easy. I *know* that at 18 years of age, any teenager has the right (at least in BC) to legally acquire a tattoo without parental consent. But somehow stuff like this is always my fault.

I'm wondering how *my* decisions as a teenager weren't her fault though.

Maybe, if I hear about this from her, I'll have to bring that up.