I’m trying to do right by my kids, and expose them to everything and all world views so that they can ultimately make their own choices. Certainly they will “benefit” from my own input, but I don’t ever want them to feel that should they take different political, religious, or social views than my own that I will love them any less for it. Besides, if I can teach them critical thinking skills which exceed my own, perhaps some day they will actually change my mind about a few things.
So I do try. But sometimes I realize that I haven’t exposed them to enough. Asher is nine now, but when he was about two or three he used to fall asleep while we watched the political series West Wing. He didn’t understand any of it, but he enjoyed the weekly ritual as for a time there we didn’t miss an episode. The show always begins with opening credits in which the American flag takes up the whole screen. So we had to chuckle a little later as we were driving him to music class at HSU one day and at the school entrance he looked up to the top of the pole and said, “Look Daddy. There’s a West Wing flag!”
Now before any of you Tea Party folk call the Department of Children’s Services and Child Welfare to report my patriotically incorrect neglect, I did rectify the situation and he is fully aware of the meaning of the flag. I’m not sure he knows the pledge, as I don’t think Skyfish holds it. Will he grow up without having memorized it? He can name all the planets in the Solar System, Pluto included. I’ll teach him the Pledge. It was written by a socialist after all.
Anyway, I thought I had covered everything. He’s starting to understand rudimentary politics. He knows something about avoiding offense to people of other cultural origins, intranationally as well as internationally. But last night we had a discussion about Jesus Christ. We are repainting out house and so all of our electronic equipment, board games, even most of our books, are packed away. Jana and Lilith were elsewhere, so we got to having conversations about things in general as we sat eating picnic style by the heater on the tarps. Turns out he really didn’t know much about Jesus Christ, even though we’ve celebrated Christmas and Easter (albeit with the commercial and pagan trimmings) all his life. He knows that Christ represents “peace” and “hope.” But he knew nothing of the story other than that his birth and death are significant.
So I gave him my best synopsis. He listened intently. When I finished, he continued to look at me and paused for a minute to reflect. Then without any hint of irony, and in all earnestness and child innocence, he said, “I like the Greek mythology better.”
Fear not good Christians. I will expose him to more so that he can in fact make informed choices. In the meantime, he then switched topics and asked me why they don’t make silver dollars with silver any more.
He also does not yet know what socialism is.