Monday, May 05, 2008

Parenting Comment

As a geek with a life on the Internet, I often get asked about my policies as a parent, regarding chat rooms, email or whatever. But of course a lot depends on the child, and although I've been a school teacher for teenagers a lot, I'm not expert on all the permutations.

As parents I think we shoot for the same goal: not a lot of fearfulness, yet plenty of smarts for keeping out of trouble, playing it safe.

Communicating by computer doesn't mean you can't be personable in person. I get tired of old stereotypes.

What fewer parents ask me about are my thoughts on tarot decks and such, despite the mail to Mr. Wicca I sometimes get (my late wife's last name) i.e. do I have any thoughts on the occult, esoterica, religious education, to share with other parents?

A lot of the same caveats pertain, but in general I favor "know thyself" type philosophies and see psychology coming under that same broader humanities umbrella.

You needn't have Jungian beliefs about synchronicity or whatever, to get value from reading about life's changes, transitions. Young adult fiction, including some movies (like Disney's, Miyazaki's), come under this same heading.

In later life, as adults, frustration accrues with loss of fluidity, a hardening of habits, what we call "getting stuck" in some of the old timer shoptalks.

Unfreezing may lead to somewhat unpredictable consequences, true, but at least you're not so stuck. Remembering there are recognized pattern languages out there, may help you get closer to where you wanted to go, if not there exactly.

Hollywood movie actors learn many of these techniques in order to avoid being typecast, to morph into new characters on the big screen.

So get started on this literature when you're still young, and keep limber, is my advice, whether or not you have aspirations around theater.

To sum it all up, would I have a problem with the idea of some teenager surfing web sites on Tarot, reading up in the literature? Not at all, as a general rule.

But wouldn't it be nice if our schools had stronger science, so psychology could be looked into in more depth in the classroom, with presumably experienced, well-trained teachers. Again, this was more my training, less as a parent, more as a classroom storyteller.

Nonetheless, as a single dad with a lot of community support (Portland is a good family town), I feel fortunate. Dawn taught me a great deal, having already had some parenting experience when we met plus she was wise (what wicca meant to her -- for a faith and practice, she joined Quakers).