Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I am a conservative

Parent, to be specific. Reading, thinking, watching, consolidating knowledge and generally getting ideas together in consultation with beloved has led us both, but me in particular, to some pretty conservative conclusions.

I don't agree with the article in the weekend Age about kids watching TV. It was shite. It claimed TV was fine because it doesn't make kids into chronic criminals. Well I don't care, it's full of crap, dumbed down, and teaches values like wanting to dress like Britney Spears.

I want my child to have a better education than I did. I learned a good deal because I read heaps, but really what I got from 12 years of school was negligible. I want them to read literature, comprehensively study history, and get exposed to music and other fine arts in a way I wasn't. One dumbed-off semester in year 9 playing recorders is not- I repeat not Miss Piccone you fraud- an education in music.

I don't want my child surrounded by the children of parents who let them watch TV all night, eat takeaway dogshit and have every stupid gadget under the sun. That means my child will understandably want those things too, and feel left out if they don't have them. The peer group can so often be tuned to the lowest common denomination.

It's a form of conservative, but it's not a Liberal Party form of conservative.

Someone asked me the other day how I'd cope if the child is gay. Fan-fucking-tastic, I replied. If they're a boy they'll learn to dress themselves quicker and if they're a girl I avoid the stress of wanting to draw-and-quarter various boyfriends. Seriously, can't see why this creates issues for some dads.

In fact, I couldn't think of a better place to bring up kids than a suburb like the one we're in now, with a huge population of lesbian parents. At least the schools won't be crawling with dumb jocks.

Yeah yeah, I know, I need to refocus on the vomit, strollers, and buying the baby's first Bonds singlet. But it's hard. I feel so vividly conscious of the fact that we're responsible for another life here, a life and a lifetime.


cristy said...

mmm, if that is conservative, I may be guilty also.

Perhaps another description which might be used against us is 'elitists'? Not that I want to own that one...

Zoe said...

I don't think it's conservative to want your child to have a liberal education.

And it's not vomit so much that will be preoccupying your mind for a good long while first - it's sleep, yours, hers and the baby's. Sleep is king.

(And as for the jock kids of lesbian parents you might be surprised - having a sporty kid can be appealing to a "non traditional" parent because sport is such an easy way to ensure peer acceptance; you can be anything else you happen to be as long as you're good at sport.)

Armagnac Esq. said...

I hope they aren't as unco as me for the same reasons. But while there's crossover there's a difference between the dumb jock and merely being sporty...

Naomi said...

Heh, sorry to sound like a boring old know it all but I'm just a bit further along in the parenthood stakes and I have to say, commit to ideals now but you'll change your views over and over. Probably not the ones about having a good education, but the ones about TV, kid ways of having fun and lowest common denominators (your definition of that will move around a lot).

I know very few folks who manage to stop their kids watching TV, and most of those that do are either wierd or have found some other way to compensate their children for the loss of peer reference points, like fantastically huge collections of Bionicles.

And sorry but the only way to truly avoid children whose parents let them watch TV all night and eat take away dog shit is to home school them, thus further denying them peer reference points. (Shudder).

Pavlov's Cat said...

Absolutely bang on about Miss Piccone and the year 9 recorder. I started having piano lessons when I was 5 and I've been grateful ever since -- understanding how music works and being able to produce it yourself (however indifferently) just adds a whole extra dimension and depth to your life.

Splatterbottom said...

Kids are what they are. The biggest mistake parents make is to think they have much influence. The best parents can do is to teach them to use what they have got, and help them develop in areas they are interested in.

Gianna said...

nah, TV isn't evil. it's just another form. sometimes there's amazing content available in that form. sometimes there's a lot of crap, but there's also a lot of airport novels in the world.
i think the key is moderation and that's fairly easy to achieve if the telly's out of reach. my kid is the kind who gets out of bed and hits the ground running, runs around all day and then collapses in front of the telly in the afternoon and has quiet time or a nap if we're extremely lucky. or he reads books or plays with his cars. later, we get him ready for bed with mum's shows on in the background (not that i get to watch much). he resists going to bed til very late, so at the moment i'd say he probably does absorb a bit too much telly as background noise at the moment.
my own parents were deadset against tv (opium of masses, etc) and we didn't have one until they bought one a couple of weeks before i did my hsc, meaning i watched a lot of Home & Away instead of studying much, so that was great timing.
but i was lucky enough to have some great teachers in the public system, especially my high school English teacher and we got both the canon and the modern.
and listen, the wiggles create such joy for the littlies with all the singing, dancing, playing instruments. my son absolutely LOVES playing his guitar like Murray. how can that be bad??
(sorry for the lengthy comment.)

Armagnac Esq. said...

No probs at all, thanks all for your input.

I don't want to deprive them of all tv, just find a way to keep the viewing time down.

What i've seen of the wiggles suggests they are pretty cool for kids, so that one's approved!

I know experience brings 'truths' Naomi but I think that's relative to your own philosophy as well- I lived without TV most of my adult life until I moved in with beloved, and am happy to go without again if necessary.

But I'd be happy for them to watch some, even total crap- we all need to flake some times and it's enough said that I can give you a critique on the sexual tension in the big brother house- provided that doesn't dominate their recreational lives.

I don't know what any of you think of this but, is it something you can address by example? If mum and dad's habit is to stick music on and read after dinner, would the kid feel a bit better about reading or doing homework that they would if mum and dad have flaked in front of the TV and sent the kid off to their room to be 'serious'?

Cath said...

I concur - I wouldn't mind if my (as yet to be had) children were gay. It would be more of an issue for me if I had a child that was a moron.

zoot said...

We recently welcomed my sixth grandchild into the world, so I speak from experience, but not with any real authority.
I can only warn you that you will be making a lot of it up as you go along, you will learn the true meaning of sleep deprivation, and you will experience times of intense joy.
And yes, in my opinion, about the best thing you can do for your children is to be the type of person you would like them to become.

Nilk/Leeianne said...

Congrats on the expected littleone, Armaniac.

Re the teev, I was going to homeschool, going to introduce my child to classical music and no television.

Well, homeschooling is out - she is way more social than I ever was at that age, we can't afford it and I don't have the patience.

Classical music is slowly being phased in, and Andrew Lloyd Webber out. She loves Dark Side of the Moon, so that's good

And the teev? I can't live without it! She knows how to turn it on, how to put on her own dvds and videos.

The only time she ever sees commercial television is if I am watching it with her, otherwise it's ABC Kids. She has a huge collection of movies and kids' shows on dvd, all of which are vetted beforehand by me. (The Rescuers has been conveniently lost).

The way I see it, is she is going to be exposed to modern amenities wherever she goes, so I make sure she learns to use it in a controlled environment. Sometimes she sits down to watch, but more often she's happy to go off an play.

Everything you plan may as well be thrown out the window now and just keep a few general guidelines in place. Magilla's going to be 4 in 2 weeks, and it took moving her bed into my room and vice versa for her to finally stay in her own bed!

Forget housework, grab sleep when you can, and give lots and lots of cuddles. That's my motto.

As for gay kids? Care factor! I've got friends whose son loves makeup and nail polish and hair product. He is amazingly camp, and the most delightful child you will ever meet. Nobody knows where it came from. His younger brother is a real little bloke.

Your child will be your child. That's all that really matters.

So long as you spend lots of time with them, that's where the reward comes. They learn and learn to learn primarily at home with you.

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