I am in love. Just crazily in love with my best friend in the world. This shining light of a person who has allowed me into her life.
I am blessed for it and underservingof it but i am so happy because of it. Last night was our 9 year anniversary. And it was good. We looked at old pictures, took some new ones, made dinner, watched a movie and spent the rest of the evening entangled in each others arms talking about the future and the past. How we got here and where we are going.
it was a great glorious reaffirming night. Soon(296 days to be exact) we will not have to be apart and these nights will be more frequent. But for now 1 night was enough.
I so enjoy being a father. It is my most important and satisfying job. I have a responsibility to my child to help her define how the rest of her experience will be tinted. That blows my mind, its an amazing thing to watch the transference of knowledge and perception to the only legacy that will matter on that last day.
We are very open-minded. We teach acceptance, it is a core principle. We try and teach logic and understanding-but an understanding that the current perception is transitive and based on personal experience, as experience changes so does perception. That seems heavy for an 8 year old but we observe the effects pretty commonly. She likes certain age-appropriate songs I find objectionable and she will advise “We all have our opinions, Dad, and in life, their will be differing opinions”, cool, that’s good logic.
We try and base our decisions on what is right and fair. We try to listen and understand the story before reacting.We try and teach that everything a human does is based on perception. Men kill men because of differing perceptions. You have to figure out your own truth to things. We teach action reaction, make a choice, good or bad there will be a repercussion. We try not to get angry when she chooses poorly, it is her cognizant decision to do something-she understood she was agreeing to the risk of punishment when he made the choice. There is the occasional disappointment with the choice that she made although the decisions themselves are relatively trivial at this age but the logic behind the choice is what I want her to understand. We use each incident as a learning experience.
When we pick D up, first thing she tells us is if she got in trouble for that day and if so why? What choices did she make? We discuss it, what was she thinking at the moment she made the decision. Then we figure out severity. The thing we cant abide is cruelty- so that is straight to bed no dinner, lay in your bed for 8 hours, write a letter describing why you did what you did and what you were feeling, etc, etc kinda infraction. Misbehaving, acting out, doing the occasional prank; some of that we chalk up to being a kid, some of that she gets in trouble for. We handle each situation independently.
Often i wonder if this stuff will last with her and if it is sinking in, but i think it is. I remember this time we were at a restaurant and Dorothy was two. We were nagging her to say no sir, yes ma’am, excuse me and so on and if you have met D, you know how that has worked out, she is very polite. But I remember someone giving us a hard time about her being to young to understand, that it was better to wait till she was older. All Sarah and I could think was, well if not now, when, what age do we start teaching our principles? This is how we have chosen to raise our daughter. And it’s cool. Sometimes I feel so over the top happy just girlishly giddy because I know her and have helped shape her.
We wont really know if any of this worked until much later down the road. But we have made conscience decisions to raise her in this manner. And we just really enjoy it.
I hope you enjoy your kids, cause does anything else matter? Really?
I actually forgot we made this Video and never posted it but was doing some house cleaning and happened apon it. I watched the vid and thought it was cute. Our little movie about Dorothy’s Christmas Recital. Hope ya like.
I was talking to Sarah about prejudice, how idiotic it is and how could it still exist in this day and age with all the science and information we have and I thought of two articles I had read recently.
The two are not related but I see a relationship in them that I would like to explore. The first was brought to my attention by @etherielmusings(twitter poet) -Its a New York times article by Errol Morris, about not knowing what you don’t know. The second article by blogger David McRaney was found by @newmediajim. It is about Confirmation Bias – the human phenomenon where we tend to agree with the things that are known in our lives and certain conclusions are drawn because of what we have been previously taught or know.
I believe that we don’t know what we don’t know because we allow confirmational bias to create preconceived notions that thinly answer questions. If those answers were not available the questions would remain but with the answers provided to us they are no longer needed.
Lets take prejudice as an example and kinda run it through this little test I have been devising in my head using these two arguments. So lets take a gay person. Good ol homosexual, easy target for anyone. And truly one of the last minorities to earn the respect they deserve. (How crazy it is that gay people cant be married! It drives me nuts. We have heteros getting married, having babies, beating wives, cheating on each other, getting divorced, leaving their kids and we dare dictate to someone else how they can love. What the hell.) So Lets say I was brought up thinking homos were bad. That they were sent by someone sinister to make me gay. That they were unnatrual and all that other hogwash I hear. So lets apply our two conditions above. First the confirmation bias kicks in and answers any questions I have about the origin of gays. I know they were sent from a bad place, I know they are unnatural and that’s all there is to it. So I don’t need to ask anymore questions. And any that come up will be discarded easily by my bias. So I kind of enter into a self-induced “Not knowing what you don’t Know” condition. Now, take confirmation bias and reapply- Everything I have been taught about gays, I see in them. I was taught they are femmy and flamey, so I see gays that may be more flamboyant. I was told they all want me, so if I happen to see a gay on the street I feel he is ready to pounce on me. I was told they break up families, so I knew a guy that knew a guy that was gay and left his wife. All the things I perceive strengthen and confirm my already prejudiced beliefs. These two conditions feed on each other. Until a life-changing moment occurs this cycle will continue.
These phenomena apply to more than just personal prejudice. Ever since I read those articles I have tried to become more aware. I didn’t like country music, it was weepy, sad and whatever else. But then I really sat and thought about it and could find no logical explanation why I would totally cut off a genre of music just because I didn’t like a few songs. Maybe I would have liked them had my own confirmational bias not kicked in. So I went back and listened to some country music and it’s not all bad. I have plenty to learn about it and am excited about a new option I have added to my musical repertoire.
At work I have attempted to look past the I “don’t know what I don’t know” rule. Trying to see the things that I don’t know but only don’t know because I have already answered a half-heartedly-asked question with answers from my preconceived notions that originated with my own confirmational bias. In every experience we have, these conditions hold some sway over us. Looking at the way people feel about race, religion, music, video games or even food I find them at play time and time again.
I now know that I must take a longer glance at situations both new and old to understand more, listen better and judge less.