Thursday, August 4, 2011

The philosophical indoctrination of children is certainly very real and very effective.

That is inarguable.

However, you can never force your child to believe as you do.

You can never force them to agree with your system of values, nor to adopt only the attitudes and opinions about the world that you find appropriate.

You can only force them to live a life of silent misery as they feign agreement with your paradigm to avoid the unending punishments of disappointment.


  1. Some parents think it's cool when their kids develop a different outlook on life. Not all of us are so narcissistic that we expect our children to be extensions of ourselves. Remember, when it's your turn to parent, and you completely "get" what it's about--the good, the bad, and the ugly-- you can also choose (if you're able) to truly let your children be themselves.

    But for now, realize parental disapproval and disappointment are just two more things you have to overcome to become an independent adult. It's completely your choice whether or not to feign agreement with anyone, just as it's completely your choice whether or not to lead a life of silent misery. There are always repercussions with honesty. No one said it was easy.

  2. I do realize all of this. Also, I was not necessarily speaking from personal experience. This post was targeted at a very specific sort of situation that tends to happen a lot in the area in which I live.

    Perhaps my language was too strong. I know that not all parents force their children to "be" like them. But, to be fair, I did not say that they all do.

    And I don't necessarily agree with you about it being the individual's choice to avoid unhappiness. In South Carolina, being openly atheist is one of the most effective forms of social suicide. I can attest to this. It is very difficult for people with more "unconventional" beliefs and interests to feel like a valuable part of society in this area because everything is geared so heavily towards the local norm.

    As an independent adult, it is much easier to openly disagree, although you can still risk friendships, job opportunities, and personal reputation in doing so, depending on who you are talking to. But as a child, particularly during those delicate high school years, one's life is tremendously influenced by one's social situation, and I think that the "solution" to the issue becomes much more complicated than just being honest.

    Anyway, thanks so much for your comment. I always love to hear others' thoughts, and I appreciate the time that you took to leave a well considered response.

    I'd love to hear more if you find the time, and I hope that you are having a great day.

  3. Sorry if I misunderstood.

    I hear you saying that it's hard to be the odd man out when your ideas differ from mainstream ideas. I agree. It's very hard...ask Harvey Milk or Mahatma Ghandi or Atticus Finch!

    Learning to know when and where and how best to share your differences is hard. It just is. And yes, you risk alienation and backlash. You just do. This is not only true in SC, but everywhere. And at any age.

    As for happiness..I believe it is a choice--a choice to learn to live in and find meaning in the moment.

    But that is just my belief (and refuted by many.)

    Oh, and I didn't say that honesty wasn't complicated. I said it wasn't easy ;-)