Blake Snow

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American parents: 16 beliefs I’ve forced upon my children

As parents for over a decade, my wife and I have forced a lot of dogma upon our five children. Some might call us total meanies for doing so. Nevertheless, here’s how we’ve indoctrinated them so far:

  1. English. Rather than asking or giving them the chance to decide what language they would like to communicate in, we went the lazy route and just used our native tongue.
  2. Gender conformity. If they exited the womb with a penis, we have treated and dressed them as boys. If they exited with vaginas, we’ve treated and adressed them as girls.*
  3. Diurnal. That’s a big word for keeping them active during the day and encouraging them to sleep at night.
  4. Christian optimism. My wife and I were raised in the “foolish traditions of our fathers” but don’t believe in the spiteful God of Job. Furthermore, we disregard the memo suggesting that God doesn’t exist because you can’t measure or test his existence or that religion is a net-negative upon humanity.
  5. Positive attitude. The glass is half full. If you liked your previous town, you’ll probably like this one. If not, you probably won’t be happy and you won’t find it in a seemingly greener pasture.
  6. Morals and manners. As social creatures, we teach them the Golden Rule, common Western manners (please, thank you, may I), and basic morality such as do not kill, steal, lie, hurt, etc.
  7. American overconfidence. We were raised to believe in the American Dream, “exceptional” democracy, and the ability to change how things work, so we have accordingly passed those beliefs onto our children.
  8. Individualism. Unlike some Asian cultures, we teach our children to value individual responsibility over herd mentality.
  9. “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” Related to the above, we have a poster in our home reaffirming this.
  10. Capitalism is the best imperfect system available to us . Although people get left behind in it, capitalism leaves behind fewer people in the long-run, lifts more people out of poverty, encourages risk-taking, and teaches individual responsibility and ownership better than widespread socialism. Furthermore, greed affects both systems equally because both are populated by humans.
  11. Clean living. Although we struggle with gluttony and sometimes allow too many sweets in our home, my wife an I teach that daily or periodic reliance on any addicting substance is unhealthy, specifically coffee, alcohol, caffeine, black tea, nicotine, and other recreational drugs, but also over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Oh, and hate the sin, not the sinner.
  12. “Be the change you want to be in the world.” If you want to change the world, don’t wait for someone else to. Change it yourself, starting with the only person you can control.
  13. Question authority (sometimes). This comes back to bite us, especially with a teenager in the home, but we also believe that you need to fight for your voice sometimes, especially when something seems off, smells fishy, or feels wrong.
  14. Honesty is the best policy. Except in rare cases when the honest answer could be used by suspect or criminal people to harm or take advantage of you.
  15. Fair-weather fandom. There’s no better way to accept the truth that “it’s just a game” than to embrace fair-weather fandom, which treats sports as entertainment and ensures that if something is no longer fun or entertaining, you can and should abandon it until it becomes fun again (if ever).
  16. Be extra kind to these people. While we teach kindness to everyone, we strive to teach our children to be extra kind to these 8 types of people and minotiries in general.

What did I miss?

* My heart goes out to any who struggle with gender confusion, but I do no believe that children are in a better position than their parents to temporarily self-diagnose such a rare condition.