Thursday, June 26, 2008

parenting not in a vacuum

As Paloma grows, I can see that there will be many, many times when she's exposed to things I wouldn't have said or done in front of her. Gasp- different ideas!! I know, I'm sounding sooo over-protective.

It's just that I just had a little bit of a knee jerk reaction when I heard her playing with two slightly older girls (10, 12) who came over (they were all being watched by my mom while I worked). Their mom is a conservative Christian, and they sang her "Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes" -- but ended it "All for Jesus!"

Ok, which isn't some terrible weird message, and we're Christian too, but we're not the crazy weirdo right-wing anti-intellectual media whore kind. If you know what I mean, and I think you do. So anyway, it made me raise an eyebrow.

But I realized that as she grows, she's going to come into contact with all sorts of wacky folks and people who tell her, straight to her face, the wrong things. When you have a physicist dada and a law trained mama... well, let's just say we share valuing the truth above all else, including our own egos. We're quick to admit we're wrong when the other is right (this is easier to do when both spouses do it!). And that's all to say that we want to raise her with these values too-- a commitment to truth, facts, compassion, hard work, etc. Not just believing whatever she hears.

So I'm hoping that she learns to think critically and remembers what we teach her, what values we hold dear. Not that we're always going to be right, but... you do the best you can as a parent, and hope it sticks at the needed time. So when some other kid, other parent, even a teacher or random stranger tells her something totally off-kilter, I can still be comfortable that, one day a few years from now, she can figure out for herself what's real and what isn't.

She's currently only 20 months old (my baby!) but she understands everything, at least on a literal level. Which is what concerns me... it seems like such a formative time in her brain. But at some point I have to let this go, let her absorb everything as her brain is wont to do at this point, and accept that a loving and thinking atmosphere at home will help her become the person she's meant to be.