I've been watching the He-Man revamp on Netflix with my daughter. My wife spends a lot of time at work, so I'm usually at home with my daughter a lot. I tried to watch what a little girl should traditionally watch, but after 6 months of Barney and Blue's Clues, I couldn't take it anymore. My daughter's television diet now consists of He-Man, The Avengers, Transformers, Avatar: The Last Airbender (family favorite), Justice League, Young Justice, and pretty much anything with Batman in it. She now gets excited during the fight scenes. So yeah, she watches a lot of kid shows intended for boys.
Fortunately, we still have a two-parent home and my daughter wants to be like her mother when she grows up. She likes dresses and complains when we make her wear pants. She does watch Dora the Explorer from time to time. I want my daughter to learn Spanish and she can now count to ten in the language. Then again, she does like "Go Diego, Go" a little more.
Why does this concern me? Well, I'll be blunt. While I'm open to exposing my daughter to other cultures and ideas, I don't want my daughter to be a prostitute, a porn star, a stripper, or a lesbian. That's the goal. Some conservatives might say that standard is too low. Some liberals might say I should be more concerned with her happiness. Here is my reasoning:
My job as a parent has little to nothing to do with my offspring's happiness. This is something I've learned from dealing with kids as a teacher and as a parent. To anyone who feels that the happiness of children should be the goal of a parent, I say let the child poop on themselves. I'm deadly serious. If you ever want to see happy children, look at toddlers as they poop in their diapers. Watch the joy in their faces as they squat down, soil themselves, and then waddle over to you with the fruit of their hard labor. See their smiles? That's happiness. That is pure, unadulterated joy. Total bliss. That is glee that no adult could EVER hope to achieve in their lives. That is the happiness of a child.
You'll notice it again, when you see your child jump up and down on your couch. You'll hear the laughter and the giggles. You'll long to join in the fun. You'll want to embrace the innocence and let it purify your soul. But you cannot. Jumping up and down on the couch is dangerous. The child may easily fall and be badly hurt. Children aren't so cute when they're bleeding. That's why the parent must step in and take the joy away from the child.
"STOP JUMPING ON THAT COUCH!!!"
The happiness of poop? Crushed beneath the yoke of potty training. The consumption of candy must be controlled and limited by parents, even though candy is the source of ultimate pleasure for any child. The candy must not interfere with the nutritious dinner that has been prepared. Pleasure is traded for nutrition. Joy is bartered for safety. These are the decisions parents must make on a daily basis. Notice that happiness is not the priority. Of course, children may receive gifts and rewards, but only in the interest of furthering the parents' goals for the child's development.
My daughter's happiness is cute, even contagious at times. However, it should never be a parent's primary goal, nor even the secondary. The primary goal of a parent should be a child's health. Secondly, that the child be safe. Everything after that is about culture and personal desires. What is my desire for my child? To make me a grandparent.
Sounds simple, right? But it's more than a title. It's a reward. You see, while the job of a parent revolves around taking away a child's natural joy, a grandparent's life revolves around familial happiness. A good grandparent babysits the grandkids to give relief to the parents. Otherwise the whole child-rearing thing could burn them out. They also go out of their way to make their grandchildren happy. They shower them with gifts and affection. They're usually the first ones to say "Oh, let the children have their fun."
Of course, they may follow the safety and health guidelines the parents lay down, but, ultimately, it's the grandparents charged with keeping the joy alive in a child, not the parents. They don't have to crush the happiness of poop. They supply the child with candy, that one true love of innocence. They get to see the joy of a child and truly relish it, even nurture it.
How do I get to this reward? It's a complicated road, but it does involve keeping my daughter from being a prostitute, a stripper, a porn star, or a lesbian. Prostitutes often abort their babies or give them up for adoption. Strippers rarely get married and usually end up in dysfunctional relationships. Either way, I'd be doing a lot more than buying toys and babysitting. Same goes for porn stars. Lesbians don't produce kids or they end up borrowing someone else's. At best, my genetic line would end with me being a male role model to a stranger. That's not a reward for 20 years of hard parenting labor. It's just more responsibility. Who wants to spend their 50's and 60's doing the same job they were doing in their 20's and 30's? Work for the man? No, I want to be the man! Be a responsible parent? No, I want to be the magnanimous grandparent! I want my golden years to revolve around candy and toys, not safety and health.
So, my goals are a little loftier than some and I'm not as "open-minded" as others would have me, but this is me as a father.
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