Friday, February 14, 2014


I suppose the thing to do today is to make an insipid post about the love for others--but especially "significant others"--the "holiday" is "supposed" to be about or to rant against it for being no longer a holiday / a misappropriation of a feast day / a misappropriation of pagan holidays / a grotesque wallowing in capitalistic excess.  But I do not feel like doing any of these things, so I guess I get to be left out of the festivities by choice.  Again.

I do have to think, however, about how I will end up presenting such things to my child in the years to come.  I do not want my child to suffer exclusion as I did (partly by my own devices, partly by others'), and inclusion necessarily entails some buying-in.  One cannot effectively celebrate a thing without accepting it to some degree, I think; even the crass commercialism of the US Christmastide still calls itself by the name of "Christmas," so there is (at least vestigial) acknowledgement of the day as a religious holiday (problematic, I know).  And so my child will in some senses have to be...enmeshed in the prevailing broader cultural narratives--or else made an easy target for bullying and torment.

At the same time, I do not want to be in the position of lying to the kid, of teaching the kid what I know is...inaccurate.  Nor do I want to foster the blithe disregard for convention that the dissonance between what I know and what the schools will doubtlessly propagate (although what will be the standard curriculum by then, I am not sure--and I am not optimistic) will foster; I well remember landing myself squarely in trouble for voicing the contradiction, subject to what I viewed as an oppressive measure (although one I recognize now as less inappropriate than I did then--the action was correct even if the motive was not) and looking at that oppression as the frantic efforts of a corrupt, idiotic system to sustain itself.  I well remember acting on the consistent belief that my teachers were fools (admittedly, some were, but many were not), thus undeserving of my respect, and thus not offered my respect.  I well remember also that the attitude made things harder for me later on; for example, I could have had much better initial funding for college than I did (not that I am ungrateful for what I did get).  And I would spare my child learning the lesson as I did if I might.

So I am already looking at a dilemma of parenting thanks to Valentine's Day.  And I have to wonder how many other parents have looked ahead and worried about what is to come, worried about how to negotiate between the demands of society and the demands of truth, worried about how to pass along the understanding earned without necessarily passing on the pain through which it was earned.  (Most, probably, or I hope so.)  I am glad, therefore, that I do not have to do it alone; entirely appropriately for the day, and for all other days, I can say that I am lucky to have the wonderful wife I have.

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