Posts Tagged parenting

The Blankie Variations

(Night.  Daddy, Moses and Blankie lie on a bed.  All three stare into the darkness.  All is quiet)

Daddy:  Moses, you know that Blankie is actually your brother, right?

Moses:  No.  Blankie’s not my brother.  Blankie is a blanket.

Daddy:  Not yet.  Blankie is only 5.  He doesn’t become a blanket until he’s 18.

Moses:  Daddy, Blankie isn’t 5.

Daddy:  Sure he is.  He’s very advanced for his age.  Did you know that he’s an expert in archery?

Moses:  What’s archery?

Daddy:  Shooting a bow and arrow.

Moses:  Daddy.

Daddy:  Yes.

Moses:  Blankie can’t shoot a bow and arrow.  He doesn’t have arms.

Daddy:  He uses his corners.

Moses:  Oh.

Daddy:  And he speaks three languages…

Moses:  Really?  Are you joking?

Daddy:  No.  He speaks English, Spanish and Cantonese.  He is also semi-fluent in several regional dialects native to Ethiopia.

Moses:  Oh.

Daddy:  He only reads Russian and English though.

Moses:  Oh.

Daddy:  He’s read most of Tolstoy in the original language.

Moses:  What’s Tolstoy?

Daddy:  It’s a kind of medicine.  For people who can’t sleep.

Moses:  Blankie can’t read.

Daddy:  Shhhh.  You’ll hurt his feelings.

Moses:  Daddy.  Blankie can’t read because he doesn’t have eyes.

Daddy:  Good point.

(Silence)

Daddy:  Did Blankie ever tell you he was the starting fullback for Baylor on their 1995 Liberty Bowl winning team?

Moses:  No.

Daddy:  And did Blankie ever tell you he was the Attorney General under Richard Nixon.  And that he quit rather than fire Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski?

Moses:  No.

Daddy:  And did Blankie ever tell you that he once saved a fishing village in Alaska from a giant squid?

Moses:  No.

Daddy:  And did he tell you that he was the bass player on the first and second Borknagar albums?

Moses:  No.

Daddy:  Oh.

Moses:  Daddy?

Daddy:  Yes.

Moses:  He didn’t tell me because he doesn’t have a mouth.

Daddy:  Oh.  Well.  Yeah.

Moses:  Blankie isn’t real.

Daddy:  You are going to give him a complex.

Moses:  What’s a complex?

Daddy:  A group of buildings.

Moses:  Oh.

Daddy:  It’s time for the two of you to go to sleep.

Moses:  Blankie doesn’t sleep.

Daddy:  Well, he’s going to be tired in the morning.

Moses:  Yeah.

(They stare at the ceiling)

Daddy:  Good night, son.  Good night, Blankie.

Moses:  Good night.

Blankie:  Good night.

(They do not move)

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Six Important Lessons You Should Be Teaching Your Children

We, at The Tyranny of Tradition, are proud to present today’s guest writer, Jonathan Winthrop.  Winthrop is a conservative columnist, syndicated talk radio host, all-around great American and a proud parent of four boys (McCarthy 12, Reagan 8, Goldwater 6, and Huckabee 2).   He is the President and co-founder of Americans for Progressive Corporal Punishment, a group committed to teaching family values to bad parents.  He is the author of several New York Times best-sellers including “12 Easy Steps to Teaching Your Child To Fear and Respect Authority Figures” “Attila The Huns’ Strategies To Being a Better Parent”, and “Look Mom, No Values:  A Parents Guide To Living In A Fallen World”.

Good American Children At Play

I know, I know, your young children are learning lots of bad habits from television and from that Odd Future Wolfgang Kill’em All rap album you just bought them. Parenting can be a tough job.  But, parenting is the most important job in the entire world. After all, without children there wouldn’t be adults.  If there weren’t adults, who would be there to produce a lasting supply of inexpensive consumer goods.  Without inexpensive consumer goods, what would drive our economy?  As you can see, without children, our world would quickly turn into a communistic hell on earth.  I’ve put together a list of six really important lessons that you should be teaching your children so that they don’t end up hooked on crack-cocaine or becoming a “community organizer”.

Don’t Talk To Strangers

It’s the oldest piece of advice in the book.  Strangers are a threat under all circumstances, particularly when they dress like they are in 1970s cop films or have foreign accents.  If your child doesn’t know a person, chances are that person is looking to cause them terrible harm.  Strangers have done terrible things throughout history.  John Hinkley was a stranger to Ronald Reagan when he tried to assassinate him back in 1981.  Had Reagan died there is no doubt that an Iron Curtain would have descended on the United States stifling freedom for the next thousand years.  Be a good role model for your children by ignoring anyone who asks you for help and not saying hello to anyone unless you have known them for at least three years.

Don’t Be A Sucker

Lots of people are trying to take your money from you all the time.  Sometimes, they want to give you valuable things in return like toaster ovens or televisions with picture-in-picture capability.  Sometimes, they are looking to take your money and use it on drugs or food.  Most people on the street simply can’t be trusted.  If they are behind the counter at a reputable store in a good part of town, that’s one thing, but according to a study done by the Heritage Corporation 97 percent of people who are who live in bad parts of town are either “highly dangerous”, “just can’t be trusted” or are “too lazy to go out and earn a living.”  Do not give them money under any circumstances.  It will contribute to a vicious cycle of poverty and Islamic radicalism.

Don’t Let Other People Blame You For Their Problems

Just because you were born in the greatest country in the history of the human race doesn’t mean you should feel bad about it.  Most people are looking to blame you for their problems when their suffering is actually caused by the fact that they have made bad decisions.  Everyone starts equal in this life.  Don’t let their statistics about people being “born in poverty” confuse you.  According to a study done by the American Freedom and Values Council For A Freer America, 96 percent of Americans who are wealthy have better morals and make better decisions than those who make less than 50,000 dollars a year.  You are where you are because you worked harder than anyone making less than you.  Teach your children to be proud of what they have achieved and scornful of those who haven’t achieved as much.

You’d Be Better Off If It Weren’t For Them

Social programs like affirmative action and gun restriction laws have weakened most Americans’ ability to live a happy, free and safe life.  Teach your children to be active participants in government by stopping the government from taking your money and giving it to other people just because they are “hungry” or unable to provide themselves with adequate shelter.  Thomas Jefferson once said something like “Government is the enemy of free people everywhere, particularly when it gives the money of hard working people to undeserving losers.”  He was right.  Teach your children that government and special interest groups like illegal aliens are responsible for most, if not all, of their problems.  That way, when they become adults they will have absolutely no problem getting rid of government organizations that are slowly rotting America away like the Food and Drug Administration.

Without Math We Would No Longer Be Free

America has fallen behind in math test scores around the world.  According to a study done by the Americans For a Freer Society With Better Test Scores, 103 percent of American 8th graders can barely count up to five.  If this trend continues our children are going to become adults who are unable to figure out how much of their weekly check goes to building important tools of peace like stealth bombers and aircraft carriers.  They will never be able to experience the joy and pride one feels when counting how many more nuclear missiles we have compared to the rest of the world.  Then, they will never know how truly lucky they are.

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What If Danzig Dated My Daughter?

One of the things you come to accept as a parent is that your life is going to be filled with a series of irrational fears.  After a while you get used to it, but there are a few that never seem to go away.  Sometimes they appear in the form of a nightmare that wakes you up every night in a cold sweat with your heart thumping at 185 beats per minute.  For me, that nightmare is Glenn Danzig pinning a corsage to my teenage daughter’s dress as they leave for her high school prom.

It is certainly a preposterous thing to be afraid of, but most fear has an element of the absurd to it.  About three days before the prom my daughter starts telling me about this great guy named “Glenn” who she met at the mall.  Fast forward to the night of the prom, the doorbell rings and I walk over to it.  She is upstairs getting ready.  I open the door.  There he is…Danzig.  Of course, my daughter is two years old right now and Danzig is 56, so there is a bit of an age difference.  By the time my daughter is ready for the prom Danzig will be 72.  In the nightmare, he doesn’t appear that old.  He looks like the snarling Lucifuge-era Danzig that could beat up four Marine battalions and the Dallas Cowboys without breaking a sweat.  He is wearing one of those horrible rental tuxedos with the godawful ruffled shirt and yet he still looks menacing.  He is polite at first.  I ask him to come in and have a cold soda.  He sits on my couch and stares blankly at nothing in particular.  I am freaking out.  I keep hearing that part of the song Mother where he says “I’m gonna take your daughter out tonight….Gonna show her my world…. Not about to see your light….If you want to find hell with me…I can show you what it’s like”  Ehhhhh!

“So, Glenn, how did you meet my daughter?”

(Here’s the part that is kind of strange.  During this section of the dream, he sings everything he says in a sinister, baritone voice)

“We were in…Hotttttt Topicccc…..and we started….talkkkkkkking…..She said she likes Gothic Roccckkkkk…..”

I puff out my chest and try to pull off the intimidating, “make sure and have my daughter home by midnight or else” dad act.  This would work on most high schoolers, but it’s not going to put any sort of fear into Danzig.  “Uhmmmmm.  What are your plans for this evening, Glenn?”

“We’re going for a ride on my….Harrrrlllllleyyy.  Then, we’re going to go out (drums start to pick up from out of nowhere) dannnnnciiiiinnnnngggg!!!!”

I try to change the subject to something less threatening.  “So, any chance of a Misfits re-union?”

Danzig just laughs and stares off into the distance.  The room is filled with three minutes of icy, uncomfortable silence.

The next fifteen minutes are a blur of horrible memories.  My daughter dancing down the stairs and leaping into Danzig’s arms, taking pictures out on the front lawn with her, her friends and the dude who once sang the lyrics “I Want Your Skulls, I Need Your Skulls”, sneaking glances at my equally horrified wife. I wake up screaming.

How does a responsible parent deal with this?  If we tell her she can’t see Danzig, that might drive her right into his arms.  I could see it now….“Honey, you can never see that Danzig fellow again!”

“I hate you mom and dad!!!!!  You are trying to ruin my life!!!!!!”

Next thing I know it I come home and there is a note on the refrigerator that says “Went to Vegas to marry Danzig.  Back on Monday.”

We certainly cannot condone this sort of behavior.  I’d much rather see her dating one of those brooding, introspective Echo and The Bunnymen poet-socialist types.  However, so much is out of your control.  You just try to do the best you can raising them and hope they make good decisions. Being a parent is hard enough without having to worry about your daughter dating Danzig.

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If You Don’t Believe There is a Meaning to Life, Why Don’t You Just Go Around Killing Other People?

I was asked this question recently during a discussion about morality with a friend of mine.  I do not believe that there is an objective meaning to life and this was his way of countering my argument.  At first, I didn’t really take the question seriously and I laughed it off as a weird reductio ad absurdum argument meant to link my lack of belief to the worst possible outcomes. It is not the first time I have been asked this question in this context and I began to wonder why I felt the question was ridiculous. For the purposes of this article, I really don’t want to debate my feelings on objective meaning. It is a much larger topic that I feel deserves considerably more explanation than I am ready to give. However, I feel there is a basic misunderstanding in this question that is worth addressing on it’s own.

The questions strikes me as a silly one because I don’t see what one thing has to do with the other.  I am not clear about how Proposition A (There is no meaning in life) leads one to Proposition B (I should go around killing people).  The argument makes about as much sense as saying “If you don’t believe there is any ice cream, why don’t you just go around killing people?” Why does the lack of basic meaning imply that people would commit violent acts towards one another? Where is the causal link between violence and the lack of meaning?  Proposition A is a stand alone idea.  It doesn’t lead to anything. It simply is.

The implication at the center of this idea is that the only thing that keeps human beings from running around causing severe harm to one another is the belief that there is some reason for everything.  The deeper idea in the point my friend made was that without meaning, humans are nothing more than bloodthirsty animals that will do whatever they want, whenever they want.  This is an extremely Hobbsean conception of what people are.  I have a hard time believing that humans without meaning would find nothing better to do with their time then kill other humans.  This view of humans, when held up to the light, seems quite vacant of truth.  There are many secular humanists, atheists and nihilists who live their lives not believing in objective meaning without causing significant harm to others around them.  Violence is something used by people of many different belief systems.  There have been Christian murderers, Muslim murderers, Atheist murderers and so on.

I think part of the problem with the question is the assumption of direct correlation between belief and action.  A person’s beliefs may help to define their actions, but we are never sure how.  A person may believe strongly in a universe with objective meaning and choose to manifest that belief in the form of violence against people who think differently (The Spanish Inquisition is a good example of this) or they may choose to take that belief and manifest it in the form of non-violent protest (Martin Luther King would be a good representative of this). I don’t think we know what drove these people to act as they did.  There is often an assumption that humans are basically machines.  If you input this belief into the machine a specific set of actions will be waiting on the other end of the conveyor belt.  The truth is that we have no idea what believing in certain things leads to.  We know that we believe them, that’s all.

A good lens to see this question through is David Hume’s Problem of Induction argument.  Hume argued that we can never convincingly prove that A will lead to B.  We may assume that every time we flip the light switch on the room will light up, but on some occasions (power outages, blown fuses, unexplained failure) the room will not become illuminated.  We may think that if a person has a certain set of values and beliefs they will turn out a certain way, but there are nearly limitless examples throughout history of times when that hasn’t happened.  There is no such thing as a sure thing. We never know in advance how a set of beliefs is going to effect a person’s actions.  We cannot accurately predict the future thus we never know what believing in certain things is going to lead to.

There is a troubling dynamic in this answer for those who are raising children.  If we can’t convincingly know what the beliefs we are teaching our children are going to lead to, how are we supposed to raise them?  My wife and I are currently raising two young children, so this question is a very serious one for me.  As a parent, one of the most difficult realities that you are faced with is the understanding that you may do a great job teaching your children to love and respect the people around them and they still may turn out to be humans who take actions that appear angry, violent and anti-social.  Humans are filled with complexities are impossible to completely understand.  We can read the all of the “right” books, make the “correct” sacrifices and do what we think are the right things and we are still given no assurances.  All we as parents can do is love our children no matter who they become.  I don’t want my children to learn right and wrong, I want them to learn that we live in a world that has extreme shades of grey.  I want them to learn to cause as little harm to others as possible (be it real harm or perceived harm).  We do what we can and we hope for the best whatever that may be.

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