Societies are not static, they are like pendulums and can swing too far in either direction.


This site is committed to the free exchange of ideas in a civil manner. Leave your flies out of the room. The purpose here is to explore ideas that can lead to solutions that benefit all, if not most, rather than some at the expense of others.


Don’t complain if you’re not willing to make the sacrifice of time to, at least, read about what concerns you. If you abdicate your involvement---you get out what you put in.


To my father---as tough as an authoritarian as he was, he planted the seeds for this work. Did he know what he was doing?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Kids are sponges

As we recently celebrated father’s day with the usual BBq’s and sports events, we should really be compelled to reflect on what it is to be a father.  When we think about who and what we are fathers to, other than the bodies that follow us around for maybe the first 18 years of their lives, it might be awesome and bewildering at the same time to consider what we have been entrusted with. 

For starters, kids are sponges.  They come into this world pre programmed accessible with what are known as Human Universals.  Aside from the physical characteristics that we all share as homo sapiens, and the relatively minute individual genetic differences from one another, these universals are human traits of behavior that we find in man across the globe regardless of skin color.  And aside from skin color, it has been discovered that man is all of the same genetic flesh such that there are no justifications for determining that any person on the earth is a subspecies of another.

With that being said, one might wonder how certain people can be discriminated against and others not.  That’s a subject to discuss---but for another time.  The fact remains, we are truly all equal.  Not the same, but all equipped to deal with external stimuli. But the significant thing about the concept of human universals is that although we come with these abilities, what make us different from one another are the environmental input and the effects on our own human universals; much of it to do with opportunity.

For simplicity’s sake; did you ever think about all the different languages on this earth?  Believe it or not, all people are capable of adapting their brains to communicate in different tongues; amazing when you think about it.  It’s a matter of stimuli that sets the program in our brain to connect.  We are all born with this capability regardless of our origins.  And so it goes with numerous other programs that we are born with.  It’s like we are born with libraries of behavioral and capabilities software.  The sharpening and adaptability of each of those universals becomes an issue of opportunity and culture.  We are neither born with blank slates, evil or goodness, or ghosts in our machines; as Steven Pinker points out in his The Blank Slate.  These traits come with our birth as a human and are cultivated as we become exposed to our elements of stimulation. That stimulation comes from a variety of sources, but none as great as the parent.

So in thinking what responsibility are we entrusted with the day we become fathers (and mothers), takes on a whole new perspective when we then think about what software programs we will stimulate.  What is the education we will imprint on these youthful minds?  Will it be broad based? How will we influence their development?  How will we affect the world?

Will we be inclined to be satisfied with inculcating them with the same education we had, believing it was adequate for us, or would we be open to exposing them to the latest, newest information that the world has discovered for their taking regardless of the threat it might impose to our tenets?  Will we be adamant that they learn about the same customs and traditions as we have, regardless of their validity, or are we intent on their being exposed to freethinking and having newer, different, and better choices for their lives?  These are important concepts because the sponges as they are, it’s this opportune time to establish what trails they will explore.  Those that stimulate the mind with the inquisition of new discoveries, or those paths that have been traveled over for centuries that perpetuates myths and discrimination? 

Personally, I believe leading by example yields the greatest results.  But that route is the most difficult.  It means we must examine our own choices and traditions, because they will most likely carry the day if there isn’t a greater opposing force.  And it’s not like our children actually have a choice when it comes to who’s exposing them to what education for the first years of their impressionable lives. 

Are we going to saddle them with the same dogmas of hate we learned about, among them being; Homosexuality being abhorrent behavior, one religion is better than another, dark skinned people are inferior to lighter skinned, and some people are less deserving than others; or permit them to explore, unfettered by our prejudices and misconceptions, how man and the world is presently interacting and how they can possibly make it better?

Our responsibilities are bigger than just believing that what was good enough for us should be good enough for them.  The world is changing and needs updating as new information comes in.  At one time we could bomb our way to superiority.  Now we have our own buildings toppled by less than 2 dozen fanatics, from across the world, killing 3000 in the process.  We’re not living in our father’s world anymore.  It’s up to us to equip our children with the latest knowledge and all available opportunities for them to be equipped to succeed and manage in today’s world.  And that doesn’t mean who can pray the best or loudest.  Those days are gone.  Today it’s about who is best equipped with the most knowledgeable workforce, who has up to date infrastructure for movement of the masses, who has the healthier society both in healthcare and living standards, who can compete in a global economy, who can negotiate the threats to our environment, who has a vibrant working society, who is most respectful of human rights, who takes care of its own?

You’d be surprised.  When we once thought there were different people on the earth, some being incorrigible or uneducable, we now find they are no different than us as inhabitants on the earth; just having grown up with different input regarding hate and misconceptions about others because we find ourselves at odds with them.  Maybe if they’re educated too we can find our common ground of mutual survival on this earth rather than competing for the same resources and spilling bloodshed in the process while claiming we’re superior---when we’re not.

Sponges absorb everything.  Be careful what they’re exposed to.  Father’s day should be an everyday moving force resulting in a better world not only for us, but for our children’s futures.  It’s about education.
                                                         No Flies !            

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