Friday, May 16, 2008

What better way to teach than by example?

Main Entry: INIQUITY
in·iq·ui·ty Listen to the pronunciation of iniquity
Pronunciation: \-kwə-tē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s):plural in·iq·ui·ties
Middle English iniquite, from Anglo-French iniquité, from Latin iniquitat-, iniquitas, from iniquus uneven, from in- + aequus equal
Date: 14th century
1 : gross injustice : wickedness
2 : a wicked act or thing : sin

Having been made godmother of my brother's current only child, I find myself thinking of things to do with her as she gets older. Right now she sort of stares at things and occasionally makes a noise, or farts. Not really highly interactive. She's sort of like the Commodore 64 of entertainment experiences. Pong, really.

And of course I intend to send her home with things like finger paints and a 36 piece percussion set to play with even while she's not at my place of residence. I am going to shower her with DVDs for whatever is the most repetitive and sappy cartoon character out there so she can watch them at home with her folks. Hell, I will throw in the CDs to sing along, too.

I have decided that my basic philsophy will to show her what NOT to do, and then after she's seen it, explain why it's bad. So there will be a lot of screaming at people and teabagging during Team Fortress 2, lots of having foods we probably shouldn't, and definitely watching cartoons that will probably bring up lots of questions. ("Is that an octopus, Aunt Helen? It has a lot of arms. Why is it being mean to that girl? Is he gonna eat her?" "No, Ella, this is called 'tentacle porn'...")
Okay, not really. Introducing a kid to that stuff too early is a misdemeanor at LEAST and also I really don't want the first thing my niece learns about sexuality to be that there are men in this world that will force hers for their pleasure.
No, we aren't even beginning to go there.
But this does not preclude me from introducing her to some of my personal favorites like Invader Zim and Robot Chicken. I feel that she'll learn a lot by seeing cartoons that aren't all ponies and princesses and pastel colors. She'll develop a wicked sense of humor, and some day she'll be a witty, biting columnist with a garage band on the side in some major metropolitan area calling home to tell her family she was just engaged to some city's sports star. And somehow I will have a part in that glorious success.
No, that's not my dream. Seriously. I don't even like sports and I've already done the garage band thing. It sucks. Plus the realm of my literary talents lies squarely with fiction. I'm wishing a respectable job and some hobbies on the girl at this point.

I do often sit back and look at my niece, wondering exactly what's going to become of her. No doubt she'll pick up her father's tendency to look askance at things that aren't mainstream. And I wonder if it's even my place to break her of that habit should it come to pass.
When a child comes in to this world they are a truly blank slate. Their minds are programmed with only one thing - LEARN. Learn the hell out of this world and figure out what to do with all the knowledge accumulated.
The one problem comes in where one picks up information, however, and begins to make judgements on whether it is good, or bad, whether the act witnessed is good or bad, etc. There are some things you want a child to know. It hurts to hurt others, so don't hit or steal. Respect life, if for no other reason than the teaching worms its way in to other portions of their consciousness. But after that, when the value system comes in, it corrupts the gathering of the information, and some people NEVER get out of being Mormon.
I jest. There are some decent Mormons out there. I just dislike their religion's views on women and obedience in general.
But to return to the general theme here, it has been visiting my mind quite often that I have no idea who this small person ~is~ that's in my life now. There are so many things she could do or become. I'd like to be the person that's cool with whatever she ends up being, but some part of me thinks that I should, in some way, attempt to shape how she turns out. Otherwise she shows up and we play Knights of the Old Republic and eat pudding followed by something educational like trying to lock all 3 cats in the shower to determine at what vector a cat must go to reach escape velocity. And not that that's not fun...I'm just not sure what that's going to DO for her.

I believe this in and of itself is a good reason why children should not come forth from me in the near future. It's enough of a conundrum trying to figure out how to represent myself to a 6-week-old that is the get of my brother's loins.

No comments: