If you don’t indoctrinate your children, who will?
I was recently asked by an acquaintance if I was afraid I was indoctrinating our three-year old daughter, Aracelli. I responded with a question of my own, the one I ask above.
No, I am not afraid of indoctrinating our daughter. In fact, I am intentional about it.
The media is going to indoctrinate your kids into thinking that girls should act like sluts (Harsh word? Maybe, but I submit Miley Cyrus as proof). That’s how much of the world is going to tell our daughter how to act. And it’s going to indoctrinate boys into finding it attractive.
So by all means, indoctrinate them to think otherwise.
That is, unless you want a pregnant 16-year old with her third STD. In that case, go right ahead and let the television and her friends indoctrinate her.
Big food corporations are going to try to indoctrinate your kids (and you) into craving foods that kill you. Even worse, they will make you think they are healthy.
The reality is that these companies and the marketing agencies they hire are really good at what they do. They are clever at getting you to want to try something and then when you do, they make them highly addictive.
They will trick you. They will play on your emotions. They will lie to you. And you can bet that they will shine a spotlight on their good side (look, our marshmallowy sugar puffs are made with whole grain…hooray, healthier diabetes!).
In the end, they will indoctrinate you and your kids into becoming dependent on them for sustenance and happiness. Comfort foods, just add water, microwavable, dinner-in-a-box…it’s all so yummy and easy. And then they own you.
So by all means, indoctrinate them to think differently. To not fall prey to clever marketing and schemes. To eat real foods and stigmatize the garbage. To make their own healthy choices.
NOTE: The idea of stigmatizing bad foods comes from Tom Rath’s latest book, Eat. Move. Sleep. I highly recommend it.
Dave Ramsey would be proud
Advertisers and banks will try to indoctrinate your kids (and you again) into thinking you should have what you want, when you want it, regardless of your ability to pay for it. (I think our government must be listening to these advertisers)
Advertisers and banks don’t care about the stress that massive debt causes on families. They don’t care if it tears them apart or if it leads to suicide, as it often does. They don’t care that it leaves children fatherless or motherless. But they sure do care about how your friends are going to notice you in that new car. Oh, how they will envy you.
(If you think suicide isn’t common as a result of debt, watch the movie Maxed Out. In fact, if you haven’t seen it, watch it regardless. It’s powerful.)
From an early age, they will tell you that you can have anything you like. Just use this little card. It’s like magic. It makes all your dreams come true.
Others will tell your kids to be irresponsible with money, to live in bondage, and to spend their lives trying appear to keep up with the Joneses, even if it means they are forced to work until they are 80.
So by all means, indoctrinate your children as we have ours.
Recently, Tara and I bought something that didn’t work. Tara said that we would have to return it and get a credit.
Aracelli started crying and saying, “No! Credit is bad!” Dave Ramsey would have been proud.
The loudest voices
Yes, we have indoctrinated her into thinking a certain way about money, food, her body, and so much more. We are only two people against the tens of millions of other voices she will hear, but thankfully we are the two most influential voices she will hear.
Am I afraid that we will indoctrinate her? Absolutely not. Because it’s either going to be us or someone else.
You have to choose who will indoctrinate your kids. You or celebrity who just got out of his third stint in rehab. You or the company that gets rich off nation-riddling obesity. You…or everyone else.
By all means, indoctrinate your kids. If you don’t, who will?
In what ways have you found yourself indoctrinated by advertising, the media, or others? Positively or negatively.
How have you found life to be when you have followed your ‘thing’?
0 thoughts on “If Parents Don't Indoctrinate Their Children, Who Will?”
It takes a village. I’m so grateful for all the other grownups in our children’s lives sending positive messages.
A lot of people hated that statement from Hillary Clinton, but she was right in so many cases. I think some people took that to mean she was abdicating parents of their responsibilities. I didn’t take it that way at all.
My dad left and my mom was by herself, working three jobs to keep us on the right side of the tracks. Without my grandparents, I don’t know what would have become of me.
Even with two parents, I still want our daughter to be influenced by the right kind of other people.
As a guy who was a kid in a cult I am extremely concerned with the state of religious indoctrination in today’s church. My daughter has been given money and loads of sweets for learning Biblical information. On the other hand, as a communication professional, I also know the danger of advertising. My daughter watches very little TV. We’ve watched several food documentaries together. She is learning about modified food, factory farms, fructose corn syrup, etc. We also read educational books about sex. I’m preparing my daughter to be open minded and critical. But I don’t like the term indoctrination.
I get what you are saying especially from your view Dan. I just think there are certain areas where open-mindedness is wrong, especially with younger children. There are gray areas in life (more taxes or less? Ford or Chevy? long hair or short?) and there are black and white areas.
Also, keep in mind that I am writing to an audience that is disproportionately not stupid. Not in cults, not not weird, and who want to raise their kids the right way. Sometimes they just need a little push.
Lastly, as I wrote to Stephanie Robbins, sometimes you have to fight fire with fire, not a water pistol.
Wonderful article and much needed. We need to select who influences our children. We should be the greatest influence.
My kids also go to a charter school that supports our philosophies of minimal technology, low stress for kids and high opportunity for creativity, building self confidence and problem solving. They are in school for such a large portion of their informative years. Choose wisely.
I have always minimized tv and technology. They will have plenty of time for that. My kids are happiest outside as I think most kids would be if given their own option.
Dan Erickson, I think the word indoctrination was used to catch people’s attention. Totally get why you are sensitive to it. It’s all about giving our kids the confidence to make their own choices and stand by them.
Good for you Stephanie. And you are right about the word indoctrination. It was partly used for effect and partly to signify that sometimes you have to fight fire with fire, not a water pistol.
Bravo! Love this post, Matt! People will eventually get tired of hearing about me going through LifePlan with Chris LoCurto. The most powerful thing I learned is the devastating and long-lasting effects of a flawed belief system. I’m basically doing the opposite of what my parents did: teaching my kids about faith, (not the God who is angry at you if you don’t serve Him), healthy eating (my dad died of diabetes, heart disease and cancer), handling money (my dad died broke) and we’re considered weirdos. Family members and friends question our choices. My almost 6 y-o daughter reads food labels to find out how many grams of sugar and if it’s gluten-free. We homeschooled her for Kindergarten because we wanted to be the main influence in her life this first year of school. She is going to private school because it’s the best choice we can make for her going forward. And so on, and so forth. The most powerful statement I heard from Chris about parenting: ” You are raising adults, not children. Your duty as parents is to point them to God, not to yourself”.
Chris’ quote reminds me of this post http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/who-are-you-leading/
My kids are doing the same thing with food labels too, it kind of puts me to shame, but I’m very grateful for them looking and understanding what is in the food.
Good for them!
Great write-up Matt. If we don’t someone else will and these days who may have no idea who ! Thanks a lot for this.
Glad you got something out of it Gertrude!
In the positive, from podcast I listen too and the few blogs I read, I see/hear recommended books to read, in the last two years I have bought more books(hard copy and audio) than I had ever before.
As for my children, we are seeing, for one they are not a whole lot different than I was at their age! Two every time a new Lego something comes out, it becomes a bit of an obsession. The “need” to have the next best thing right now is very evident.
And my wife has been brilliant with this, she’ll ask, “Well Thatcher, would you want to spend your money on that right now or save it for the four wheeler you want later?”-it is brilliant because it forces him to think and he is not just hearing us to tell him everything he should do.
We hope this practice of asking great questions will move into their own thinking, then to ask those “QBQs”to themselves as they get older.
That is awesome Steve. Sometimes I feel as though I too easy on Aracelli when she misbehaves, but saying “You can CHOOSE to act this way now or calm down and ask nicely and you might get what you want” not only works, but it reinforces the notion of cause and effect with behavior.
Well that goes along the book Mendy and I are reading called, Loving your kids on Purpose by Danny Silk. And your not to easy on Aracelli,your just loving her as God would love you.