ink for thought: on imposition

Saturday, 30 May 2009

on imposition

a friend once asked if I thought she should tell her son about her beliefs. her problem, as she saw it, was that by imposing her views onto the child, 10 years old, she would inhibit him from making reasoned choices later in life. conversely, if she chose not to share with him he would be in a better position to consider all options when and if he got around to making up his own mind.

I am in the habit of speaking plainly with most of the people I know and have to admit, on this occasion, I may have used derisive sarcasm to emphasize my point somewhat, but the main gist was as follows...."bull!"

as a parent your very role is an imposition. you tell the child when to go to bed, when to wake up, what to wear(and increasingly) how to wear it, what to eat, how to eat it, sometimes who to talk to, often who to listen to, how to walk, how to talk, what they will and will not do in supermarket aisles, school playgrounds, roads of all sizes and parks. You demand from them certain behaviours as are in keeping with societal standards and your own. you insist they follow the laws of the land with the hope that they continue to do so as they grow older. all of this and more is not only your right, it is your responsibility.

so I suppose then the real question is you believe that your beliefs are important, relevant, or even true? because when you get down to it, that's all that matters.

the child will always make a choice. you don't teach them to lie, you even encourage them not to, so you can't really hide behind that. there will be choosing.

and there will be imposition, I think I've made that clear. but there is this to consider also. what you don't tell a child sends a loud message too. not challenging littering when you tore him a new one over swearing says that littering is not important. ignoring selfishness when you routinely punish him for fighting says the same.

doing away with the smoke screens and the excuses the only real question I really believe or do I just tick the box and hope no one asks?

and that's one I can't really help with.


M.J. said...

Parents should raise their children according to their beliefs and values, but at the same time they have a responsibility to educate them that there are other ways of thinking out there that are also valid. For example, I was raised Jewish, but my mother never had a problem with my friends' families taking me to church on Sunday after a sleep over.

Even though I was resistant when I was young, as an adult I am grateful for the things my parents imposed on me. Like the way my mom forced me to get a job in highschool, made me pay my own insurance and took some of my money for savings. At the time, I wanted to do what I wanted to do. I was a stupid teenager who was lucky enough to have parents that imposed their hard work ethic and good financial sense on me.

joe ordinary said...

and you see there we have parents who made a choice and lived by it. I think the danger arises when parents opt for leadership by abdication.

Smokie said...

I was thinking about this just the other day. And the only conclusion I can come to is that being reared in some belief is far greater than being reared in none. As an adult, eventually you will either stay with what you were raised with or find your "truth".