The World Doesn’t Need More Mini-Me’s

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.

When I was a bit younger and there was no TVLand, I watched a show called Family Ties on NBC.  On the show, Michael J Fox, before the movies, was a young, Reagan loving country club republican who held Nixon and the burgeoning economy of the 80’s int the highest regard.  This was in stark contrast to his hippy parents who worked for public television or whatever and embraced highly liberal views.  That was the joke see, the kid was a Republican and they were hippies. Hilarity ensues.

Now that I’m a parent I see the wisdom of this show.  The world doesn’t need more people who think like their parents. The world needs people who think like the next generation of humans.  People who see the world’s value based on the future, not on the past. Unfortunately, I see everyday people trying to coax, prod, push, kick and scream their child into becoming a clone of themselves.  To affirm the values that they have used in their lives to get by every day.  They hold the same mannerisms. Value the same things (tv, junkfood, expensive cars, germaphobia, xenophobia and so on) and instill the same primitive, puritanical fears that they had instilled into them by their parents. It sucks and it will continue I’m sure.

I think that I will be a successful parent if my child feels the freedom, strength and confidence in themselves to be able to be the polar opposite of me. To resist my views, question my thinking and chose a different path.  I won’t be insulted and I won’t take offense.  I will feel honored that my child had the intellectual freedom  and the “sanctuary” to feel something different.  On the other hand, maybe they will pick and chose their own world view, a natural evolution of thinking that exists in a world without Michael J. Fox or Teen Wolf, one where the ipod, the laptop and the internet are as natural as Duran Duran.

Many people say that we have children to create ourselves all over again because we fear death and want to use our only real natural god given talent to attain a small bit of immortality.  That’s never been my reasoning. I’ve always thought that my wife and I had an overabundance of love in our hearts and that we could share it with our child.  Hopefully, no matter the views of our children, they will feel the same. Lately, at the playground I’ve been fighting this a bit.  My daughter sometimes doesn’t do what I want and I get frustrated. She doesn’t want to go down the slide or play on the jungle gym. She doesn’t want to walk in my direction or see the thing I”m pointing at.   Restraint is more difficult than frustration and a child of 18 months doesn’t know squat. But how am I going to feel later, when the decisions she makes are important and shape who she is? Will I give her enough rope to survive and thrive or will I be too afraid of who she might become?  Who knows. I’ve got plenty of years to screw her up but for now, I’m trying to settle down and let her kook around the park walking like a zombie and pointing and nothing.  Maybe, if I do a good enough job, she’ll grow up and be a minature Alex P. Keaton? Perish the thought.

One Response

  1. I think you posted about the playground thing a while ago, and I think I admitted I was the same way. Since then, I have been trying MUCH harder to let my daughter go her own way, at least within reason.

    The interesting thing about the Alex factor to me is that, no matter how hard we try, generation after generation seems to fight to NOT be like their parents, regardless of their parents’ efforts. It would be interesting to study young adults who were given more freedom as children contrasted against those who were not. I wonder which group would end up following in their parents footsteps more often?

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