by Ignacio Segura
I believe it was either Flavius Manlius Theodorus or Ed McMahon, I’m really not sure, who once said:
“Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. But force-feed that fish to the man, and he will never eat fish again”.
Now, I’m sure we’ve all either lived through this particular piece of wisdom or know more than one person that can testify to its veracity, but we cannot deny there is nothing that can kill your enthusiasm for something harder and more efficiently than being forced to do it, whatever it may be.
Maybe it’s the rebel in all of us. Maybe it’s our necessity to be individuals and think for ourselves. Maybe it’s because I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really had no interest in learning needlepoint, MOM!* And whether it was ballet, piano, baseball, football or interpretative dancing, I’m sure that most of you out there that were forced into these activities do not have fond memories of them now that you’ve grown up and your parents can no longer force you to knit scarves for EVERYONE each Christmas, MOM!*
This is what I personally, as in “my own personal opinion which does not reflect Grayhaven Comics or any of its staff members’ point of view, except when it does”, consider a textbook example of lazy parenting. Not bad, just lazy. It works on the assumption that children are not young individuals in the making but crass imitations of their parents, incapable of developing their own taste. It limits their capability to explore beyond a defined and limited set of likes and dislikes, it impresses onto them that this is the way they should be because that is how their parents want them to be and in general causes the kind of frictions and traumas psychology theses and Nicholas Sparks novels are built upon.
And, quite obviously, I do not want any of these things to happen between my daughter and me.
So, let’s recap. What have we learned so far?
We’ve learned that FORCING your children to do stuff YOU like is both LAZY and WRONG.
Man, that was a short column this week!
I guess I’ll just spend the next 3500 words speaking about my undying love for Witchblade.
I totally just remembered the point I was trying to make!!
So, if you read my last column, you know I love comics. You may also get a faint notion that I kinda, sorta, love my daughter too. Maybe.
Forcing your kids to do stuff YOU like is definitely wrong and lazy. My question then is how do you go about sharing the stuff you like with your children without them feeling force-fed? For me, this is a very serious question that sometimes even keeps me awake at nights.
I mean, I’m not gonna lie to you. At least not in THIS column. I would love, LOVE, for my daughter to grow up to love comics. It’s something we could easily share and discuss, given the fact I already love comics, and it would allow me to bond with her without putting much effort into it. And that is precisely why I refer to it as “lazy parenting”. That “no effort” bit. Because I think my job as a father is not to gently nudge my daughter into what I like, but introduce her to as much stuff as possible that she is able to find her own likings. And, in a way, find herself.
I’m sure there are parents out there who do this stuff without really thinking about it and with all the best of intentions. Parents, at least the good ones, rarely do things to spite and ruin their children’s lives. But the sad truth is that kids really don’t feel it that way from their end. We go back to the very beginning of my argument: The force-feeding. To them, it all goes through this filter of “Daddy made me read Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol and now the faintest sight of a lavishly dressed bald Scotsman makes me run for the hills. I HATE HIM”, and all good will is completely washed away.
But you know what?? Maybe I have nothing to worry about. I mean, I read comics, my wife reads comics, and there’ll be plenty of comics going around on our house. I’m sure she’ll just pick it out on her own. I mean, given the environment she’ll grow up in it would be a safe bet, wouldn’t it??
So until next week guys. Keep up with most of the minutiae I call a life through Twitter, by following @the_kiai. I’m not on Facebook nor plan to be any time soon. Check what little I say on Google+ by looking for +Ignacio Segura and have a laugh with my multiple funny (for me at least) baby pictures.
Also, for the ½ people that asked about my drawings, you can now see them on DeviantArt, at http://el-kiai.deviantart.com/
*My mother is actually a wonderful parent who never in my 27 years of life as EVER forced me to do anything whatsoever, other than the dishes a few times. She is, however, a terrible babysitter.
NEXT WEEK: THE UNBEARABLE PREDESTINATION OF COMICS!!!!