Childhood is covered in the fog of unclarity and loneliness. Needless to say — I don’t miss childhood. It is not that I had a bad one, it was alright, there were bad parts as well as good ones, scary as well as remarkable. I just don’t miss this constant feeling of not understanding of what is going on. Mostly it was because nobody really explained to me anything. I think I was being shielded and protected from the problems of the real world. (By the way, this shielding from the information lead to my youth being a discovery fest. And there was a number of problem that came with that. All of which I would want my children to avoid.)
I have to admit something — I have a temper. It doesn’t take much to upset me. But the thing that upsets me the most is mindlessness. The situations when somebody didn’t even try to think about consequences of their actions. Mistakes are fine, but mindlessness is infuriating. My blood starts to boil and curses start to pour out of my mouth. Inevitably when this happens at home and the cause of the blow up is my children, my wife and I have this argument — “You should really watch your mouth in front of the children.” she says. “No I shouldn’t,” is my usual reply, “because they should understand how language works.” I believe that altering my speech patterns is lying to my children. And I think lying to them causes much more damage than occasional embarrassing moment of my kid cursing out his friend in front of uptight adult crowd.
I came to believe that it is harmful to treat your children as somehow deficient versions of adults. That is what you are doing by hiding real world information from them. They will have to live in the same world as we do and the only way to become proficient at living is to practice. And it is not like we understand our world much better then children do. Just think about the fact that majority of the population still believes in magical people in “the sky”. Forgive me — in “haven”. Is it possible that the reason they do that is because they were shielded and lied to as children? Maybe they haven’t learn to deal with reality and the horror, that is at the core of life, because of that misinformation?
Think about this for a moment — a child is a living being that is trying to figure out how this world works. They do it by imitation. By repeating what they see people around them do. So by giving them false information, like telling them that cursing is something that people don’t do we twist their view of the world.
Let’s consider why we do the twisting. As far as I can tell we do that because of our intense insecurity about ourselves. The reason cursing is so sexually explicit is because we use something shocking to draw attention to our speech. We use the thing that we talk about the least — sex. What baffles me is that it is the most interesting thing one can do with another person and it is the least talked about. Why is sexuality is treated with such avoidance? There is no doubt that sexuality is what humans are interested in the most. Why such a negative treatment of such natural and necessary thing? Again is it possible that that insecurity is steaming form not having certainty in your own perception of the world? Considering we have been lied to most of our lives, who would have certainty?
Let me put a scary thought in your mind — just think about yourself and think where did you learn about the curse words. Most likely it was from your friends. The kids your age that somehow overheard the words, glimpsed the context and sort of, kind of knew the vague meaning of the phrase. And then think about the explanations that they gave you. The way I remember word “fuck” explained to me was not at all the way a healthy sexual act takes place. It was violent and kind of disturbing. Not the way I would like my kids to learn about something that is essential human behavior. But now think about the army of mindless adults that walk around never bothering to rethink the initial models of behavior that were put there by unqualified teachers.
Then think about the fact that you are filling your children minds with magical things among which are people getting super powers and learning workings of the universe by reading a book. Think how this distorts the reality. We don’t have super powers and you sure can’t learn anything substantial from reading one book. Most of the skills in life take years of constant practice; planting a dangerous idea of instant gains is setting a lot of people for a lot of failures and miserable lives. Is it really that surprising that there are people that believe that all knowledge is contained in one book and that anybody who didn’t read the book is evil? We fool children into thinking that there is magic involved in life. The Santa, the Ester Bunny and other residue of religious brainwashing. Plus, is it fair that some fat guy gets all the credit for your work?
So how bad would it be if we stop lying to our children? What if we tell them that there is no magic in this world? What are they going to do — leave in droves?
And notice that I didn’t say tell them that they can’t imagine magic.
Why are we so ashamed of our sexuality? And why is it such a secret from children?
Do we think that if we tell them about sex they will just start fucking and stop eating?
Is it possible that if we don’t make such fuss about cursing they can get it out of their system when they are young and become less cursing and possibly more eloquent adults? They will curse anyway. Just think what you did. But you will never know how they are going to do it or even if they do it appropriately, but the ideas that get in their heads from their magic-believing-friends who don’t know what it means themselves, might not be the ideas that a decent person should have.
Children are not retarded or stupid. They just don’t have enough information. They get clues and they put them together. The less real information you give them — the more twisted and delusional their perception of the world will be. And it is always much easier to learn something correctly the first time then to relearn the correct way. So stop lying to your children. It is alright to be human.