Parenting or Brainwashing?

As a parent, I want to instill certain deep and fundamental core values in my child: love, honor, faith, work for what you want, dare to dream, we are all equal, be a good friend, treat your body well, focus on your family…

I’m beginning to wonder, though, where that line is between parenting and brainwashing.

The peanut can say, “Go Heels” and thinks that all basketball highlights are of the Heels. We lovingly refer to basketball head coach Roy Williams and former basketball coach Dean Smith as Papa Roy and Papa Dean, respectively.

He shouts “Go Red Sox!” And when he eats yogurt, he even requests his Red Sox bib – unprompted – instead of the other, more easily wiped off versions. He can identify pictures of Big Papi, Ted Williams, Carlton Fisk. He can actually say Bobby Doerr and Carl Yazstremski (oh yeah, he can say it). He can identify Fenway Park and say it with the appropriate lack of “r” in Park. He knows Pesky’s Pole and what a World Series trophy looks like (thank goodness!).

And before Barack Obama’s historical acceptance of the democratic nomination for president, we called peanut’s grandpa so peanut could chant “Go Obama!” for him. And boy, did that kid get into it after our cheers of praise.

Growing up, I think I knew that my parents were Democrats, but when it came down to election day, they never would say who they had voted for. I remember my sister and I trying to trick my dad into telling us each November. It wasn’t until we were old enough to hold our own in a political discussion about our own ideas that I really remember them being obvious and direct about their feelings on an election or issue. They understood, and taught my sister and I, that it was an extremely important and extremely personal decision. Similarly, the hubby and I are not vocal outside our four walls about our political beliefs. I feel that everyone has reasons for casting their vote for the person they choose and do not think it is appropriate to insinuate that those reasons are “wrong” even if I choose to vote another way.

Do I agree with everything that either candidate says? Most certainly not. Do I agree with every stance of one political party? Nope. That’s what makes voting in this country such an enormous responsibility – you do have to look at the issues that are important to you and your family and make a choice you can live with.

I want my child to learn to think for himself and make his own decisions. So at what point do I stop putting words in his mouth? Right now, it’s a fun party trick. He’s two years old and certainly won’t remember his verbal support of one candidate or team over another.

I do not want to raise a carbon copy of myself or the hubby. What’s wonderful about getting to know peanut is how he’s taken the best of both of us and enhanced it into this mind and being that is so beyond us. It’s like “High Heeled Mama and the Hubby Version 2.0.”

Still I take a moment at times like this and hope that I don’t do anything to screw it up.

Oh, this parenting business is so complicated. If anyone still has their manual hanging around, I’d love to borrow it. The hospital appears to have forgotten to give me one at check-out.


4 thoughts on “Parenting or Brainwashing?

  1. I’d like to think that, though I was raised in a house where “Republican” is a four-letter word, the real reason I’m a Democrat is because my family taught me about helping others, equality, civil rights, and the like. So yeah, someone can argue that it’s brainwashing when I put my kids in Obama shirts. But I hope what I really teach them about are the issues that I think are important, which speaks to my overall social values.Now, teaching them to say “Go ‘Cats!” whenever they see the color purple and shout “GO U, NU” at the TV screen during college football season? <>That<> might be brainwashing. And I’m OK with that. As long as they don’t go to Notre Dame or Purdue. Then I might have to disown them and start over. 😉

  2. I’ve thought about that brainwashing thing, because I still have to fight the urge to say, “Duke sucks!” whenever I pass someone on the sidewalk wearing a Duke t-shirt. I graduated 11 years ago and I live in Boston…what’s with the hate?!And I appreciate your “live and let live” political sentiments. The fear mongering and Red v. Blue stuff has gotten so divisive these last 8 years! That was my favorite section of Obama’s speech last week–the part about “We might not agree on immigration, but surely we can agree that parents shouldn’t be separated from their children…”. Just because we disagree, doesn’t mean we should be disrespectful or haughty (like Palin was on Wednesday night)!

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