Teach Your Children Well.

I’m fairly certain that when that noted folk-rock supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith wrote that song, teaching your children about guns was hardly what they had in mind. But bear with me for a moment and let me take you down the road on a train of thought that I think might bear examination . . .

How do kids learn? Up until they go off to school, the answer is,” from their families.” You can throw in the one-eyed monster, TV, or as it is in many American homes, “the electronic baby-sitter.” Once school starts, a parent’s influence diminishes, as teachers and peer groups influence increases. But the media, in the form of TV, music, movies, and video games, provides a constant leitmotif of influence, a subtle subtext and context to just about everything your kids do and think. And there’s the problem.

Have you watched TV with your kid lately? I mean, not just had the news on over dinner, but really watched what they watch with a critical eye (in other words, with your undivided – not undevoted – attention)? I think you’ll be unpleasantly surprised to discover that the values they teach on Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, MTV, Cartoon Network and NatGeo (not to mention Lifetime, and the other EstrogenFest channels) are as far from your values as, say, Michelle Bachman’s are from Michelle Obama’s.

You see, while we’re all off earning our daily bread and bringing home the bacon, pop culture is taking up the slack, busy indoctrinating our next generation with their values. Don’t believe me? Here’s a for-instance. I have a 13-year-old daughter. Do you have any idea how flippin’ difficult it is to find clothing that doesn’t make her look like some tramped-up PopTart she sees on TV? And forget the clothing, look at the role models. Most kids that come up through the Disney feeder system of shows can’t wait to loose the Chains that Walt Forged, take off (most of) their clothes and try to get everyone to forget what a cute and precocious kid they were.

I get it. They don’t wanna be typecast as a child star, when they’re too old to play a teen. But a lot of these kids crack under the pressure, and end up partying hearty, finding that Coke isn’t just for drinking any more. I can’t tell you the number of starlets (Miley Cyrus springs to mind) who went from a “goody-two-shoes, squeaky-clean, Good Housekeeping-approved” image to one that says “next-year’s washed-up coke whore” all over it. But the influence of pop culture does not end with the stars of High School Musical sexting their naughty bits to Anthony Weiner. It’s far more pervasive, and infinitely more insidious. Especially when it comes to guns.

Hollywood has had a hard-on for Leftist causes since the end of WWII. You wanna hear some has-been get lionized, bring up the “Hollywood Blacklist” and watch how fast people that weren’t even born then jump to the defense of those “courageous individuals who would not rat out the Red-leaning fellow-travelers they knew and loved. The most dangerous place to be in Hollywood is between some noted Progressive like Sean Penn, Danny Glover, or Rosie O’Donnell and a microphone, the minute some cause celebre is announced. Hell, it’s like the running of the bulls in Spain. (Pardon me while I reflect on the image of a bunch of Hollywood types, racing through the streets of Burbank, toward a presser microphone. It is to laugh.)

Movies, TV shows, and video games that seem innocuous enough oft times carry with them sensibilities and subtextual messages that indoctrinate our kids before they (or you) even know what hit them. When was the last time you saw a show, ANY show, where a CEO of a large corporation was one of the good guys? If they portray the military in a positive light, it’s usually only because they are rebelling against the military-industrial complex, thwarting the will of some general who’s in the pocket of that movie’s equivalent of Halliburton. And don’t get me started on animated fare.

Did you catch Happy Feet? Ostensibly the story of a family of penguins, the flick’s main baddie was – wait for it – all of mankind, because we’re causing global warming that is destroying their habitat in Antartica. (Um…as it turns out, not so much. Seems the sun is going into a dormant, sans-Sun spot period, which many meteorologists predict will bring on another mini-ice age within the next decade. So if you’ve still got your Hummer, smoke ’em if you got ’em.)

But nowhere do kids get more one-sided messages than in the realm of guns. Strike that. Schizophrenic messages. “Guns are Evil,” is pretty much a given, in kids fare. But then as long as guns are used, albeit reluctantly, by the hero who’s had his ecological-consciousness raised, to stop the evil corporations, stop the bad guys, and stop the violence. Um. Yeah. Right. Whatever. I’m still waiting for the wet dream story arc of Progressives, which would be where the mission of the good guy is to stop some military contractor from polluting the land while they make a super-weapon gun who’s ammo kills the condors that ingest the lead, defoliate the forests with the toxic gasses from the cartridges, and fouls the water from the spent (non-reusable), large-caliber, rim-fire cartridges. What? On tope of all your evil deeds, you don’t recycle your brass?! THE HORROR!

In a very real way, this is the McDonald’s Strategy, writ large. No, not the Supreme Court decision. The OTHER McDonald’s. The one with the burgers. Ever eat at a McDonald’s? I knew an ad agency owner in Shreveport who had the McDonald’s account. He said, “you know, you can always count on McDonald’s to have a consistently mediocre product.” And he was right. You never get a bad meal at a McDonalds. But you never get a good one, either.

So how do they stay in business? Simple. Ronald McDonald. Ray Kroc & Co. learned years ago, that if you get ’em when they’re kids, you’ve got ’em for life. Those kids that eat Happy Meals grow up. And even though they know that if you eat the cardboard container it doubles the nutritional value, they will take their kids to Mickey D’s for the same marginally-edible food they enjoyed as kids, because it’s the least-objectionable-choice. Get ’em while they’re young, and you’ll have ’em forever. The media figured this out a long time ago. And it’s why you need to be aware of what the one-eyed monster is shoving down your kids’ all-too-willing throats.

So, what’s the answer? Well, until Andrew Brietbart’s and Glenn Beck’s right-leaning media empires branch out into kids programming, there is only one answer. Spend more time with your kids. It’s up to you to not only teach them right from wrong, but how to think. My dad did this with me. I’m doing it with my daughter. When she brings home some BS from school (last year it was all about the glories of recycling…we had an extensive discussion about why using less is always better for the environment than recycling), we talk about it. We look stuff up. And we spend time together, so I can try and counter the effects of media indoctrination.

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In fact, we did something today. I took her to the range. Several years back, my ex and I bought her a Ruger 10/22. (Self defense seems to be one of the few things we always agreed on.) And we taught her how to shoot responsibly. We follow ALL the safety rules. She’s not allowed access to the weapon without me there. She’s been taught range safety (and on occasion points out when other shooters are behaving badly). And she has a healthy respect for her gun and for mine. Best part is, she likes it.

She really likes it. And she’s getting to be a pretty good shot. Now her form is still off. (Working on it.) And she shoots too fast. (Working on that, too.) But the important parts are that she’s safety-conscious, and she has developed a lot of self-confidence with the gun. Oh, sure, we have some work still to do. She’s a little scared of my handguns, and doesn’t like to shoot them. That will come in time. But the fact that she’s not afraid of guns in general and enjoys shooting (especially that feeling of accomplishment when she hits the bullseye), is huge.

And lemme tell you, when she’s watching some show that starts in with the messaging from Messrs. Bloomberg and Brady, she needs no prompting. She once said, “I’ll bet they wouldn’t know one end of a rifle from another, and they’ve never even shot an AirSoft gun.” And you know, I think she’s right.

One last note. Yes, in the video above, she IS shooting her Ruger with an optional 30-round magazine. And it’s kinda funny. Without prompting, she looked at me and said, “Dad, this gun is a LOT more fun to shoot with a magazine I don’t have to reload every ten seconds. Why do those Congressmen want to ban these? Don’t they understand how useful they are?” And I have to tell her that no, they don’t. They only see things from the perspective that all guns are bad, and anything that makes a gun easier to use is even worse.

So, hey. You wanna do something for your country? You wanna support the right to bear arms? Do you wanna help save the planet? Well go home, hug your kid, and take them with you to the range next time. The child’s mind you influence today will make a world of difference tomorrow.

comments

  1. avatar Res Publica Americana says:

    I don’t have children, but I taught a friend’s kid how to shoot, and their family went from rabidly anti-gun quasi-Democrats to adopting range-shooting as one of their main hobbies and registering Republican, and all in two years – I’m pretty proud of myself!

  2. avatar Nate says:

    I’ll agree that children are poorly educated these days. That said, if you’re going to rant about the state of education in this country, you certainly shouldn’t be betraying your own obvious ignorance on one of the pillars of modern society.

    Namely, a fundamental lack of understanding with regards to science. You see, global warming isn’t some crazy scheme thought up by eco-idiots that don’t want you driving a 2.5 ton vehicle to work every day. It’s a legitimate scientific theory with decades of observational evidence and prediction backing it up. Big difference.

    Science works like this:

    Define a question
    Observe
    Form an explanatory hypothesis
    Perform experimentation and collect data to test hypothesis
    Analyze data
    Interpret the data and draw conclusions
    Publish results
    Retest (done by other scientists)

    The scientific method is, thus far, the absolute most reliable regime that mankind has developed for acquiring knowledge and understanding the universe. Science is not magic and guess work. It’s a lot of thinking and a lot of difficult work.
    Climate change (a much more accurate name) is a very solid scientific theory (note that theory doesn’t have the same meaning in science as it does the general lexicon, eg theory of gravity).

    Climate change is predicated on very simply and proven facts. That during warm periods during Earth’s past there were massive blooms of vegetation. Vegetation traps enormous amounts of carbon. When these plants died they were buried in marshes and under the sea floor by natural processes. Some of what was buried was eventually moved, through natural, well understood geologic processes, deep into the Earth’s crust. Depending on how deep and what the original plant matter was, this formed deposits of coal, oil, and natural gas. All the carbon these former life forms had accumulated was impregnated in what would become fossil fuels. Eventually a species intelligent enough to learn to utilize these sources of energy evolved and began to exploit them, releasing both massive amounts of stored solar energy and the sequestered carbon dioxide.

    Carbon dioxide is a green house gas. If you don’t believe that, just look at Venus. Releasing gigatons of it into the atmosphere will, over time, have an effect by trapping more of the suns thermal energy in the Earth’s atmosphere. Temperatures will rise and introduce varying levels of feedback. All of this is true and beyond refute. There are probably two or three legitimate climate scientists in the world that would argue against it. That’s pretty amazing when careers are made by falsifying
    (proving wrong) a predominant theory.

    The only things that can be refuted are the predictions of how serious the effects of climate change will be. Long term climate modeling is in it’s infancy, there are many things that we cannot account for or can’t even think of to account for. That said, the effects of climate change are likely to be bad enough that we won’t like it. How bad is a question that is still being worked through the scientific method.

    1. avatar miforest says:

      most of the evidence on globla warming is fabricated by bias in the
      ” assumptions ” part of the experimental design. where to collect the data( near giant heat islands of concrete that didn’t exist in earlier data” , what to do with the data ( lose any that don’t suport the conclusion, or in the case of the IPC over in west anglica – make it up) .
      release cooked books to incredulous press. apply for more grants to continue funding . lather rinse repeat.

      If any real scientist questions your conclusions , call them a nazi and a denier.

      If you go to any mall and weigh everyone who comes by drinking a soda , you will notice that the data says people who are drinking the diet stuff have a highter average weight. so you immediately conclude that diet soda has more calories that regular soda because it makes people fat.

      who can argue with such clear data! this is the level of scientific honesty in the global warming debate.

      I have heard the Ice age was coming in the late 70’s , acid rain and rain forest depletion in the 80’s , ozone hole in the 90’s yada, yada, yada.

      the answer is always the same – Higher taxes, more government power and lots of nubile 18yr old girls to service the environmental activitst and it will all be fixed.

      1. avatar RAN says:

        Exactly. The global warming advocates have been caught to many times manipulating their data. This is all about having access to the big government teat.

    2. avatar TTACer says:

      Because science is never mistaken? Was the Younger Dryas anthropogenic as well?

    3. avatar Brad Kozak says:

      Nate,

      While I appreciate your (kinda snide) comments re: science, I’m afraid you’ve been drinking the AlGore Kool-Aid on this one. There are far too many (formerly) respected, professional, degreed climatologists wh0 have seen their careers torpedoed by simply stating that they think that “all the results are NOT in,” “the issue is settled,” and “we need to do more research before we start throwing out the incandescent bulbs with the bath water.” I can recommend a very entertaining fact-based (and heavily-footnoted) work of fiction that uses the debate on ‘climate change’ (and how the science behind it has been manipulated for fear and profit) – Michael Chricton’s State of Fear. Chricton was a scientist, long before he got into writing NYT bestsellers and working as the brains behind ER. In the book, he shows how a loose cabal of the media, politicians, special interest groups and researchers often pervert science to serve their own goals.

      If you’d rather read non-fiction, a great place to start is The Politically-Incorrect Guide to Global Warming, a book that does a great job debunking the claims of the climate change crowd, and offers specific illustrations as to how the data has been manipulated and dissenting voices suppressed.

      And then there’s the Sun spot thing. Look it up, if you don’t believe me. The media and the climate change crowd are doing their best to soft-pedal this information, but apparently, all indications are that the Sun is heading into a dormant phase (little to no sunspot activity) that will result in another “mini-Ice Age.” It’s going to be hard to sell global warming, when everybody’s digging their parkas out of the back of the closet, but I feel certain they’ll find a way. They always do.

      One last thing – I take a measure of pride in depth and breadth of my education. In past careers, I’ve worked for a Fortune 500 company in the medical field (as a field trainer for medical diagnostic devices), a professional musician, a teacher (both private and in the public school system), a graphic designer, technical book author, entrepreneur, marketer, director/producer/editor for television, and a computer programmer. I’ll thank you NOT to lecture me on what I do or don’t know about science and the scientific method, especially until you know anything about me.

  3. avatar Daniel Zimmerman says:

    I may start to believe in AGW when people like Al Gore follow their own diktats and live in the incandescent-free 1000 square foot eco-hovels they demand the rest of us make do with and stop generating tons of CO2 jetting around the world to spout their conveniently lucrative prophecies of doom. Oh, and one more thing. University of East Anglia.

    Until then, I for one welcome our imminent climatic apocalypse.

  4. avatar RAN says:

    Regarding the need to teach our children well. I think that the public schools are failing our children and intentionally so. I applaud the fact that you take the time to deprogram your children when they return from school, but why not go the next step and homeschool. My wife and I have done so with our children. And less any blog readers think that a homeschool education isn’t up to par, our two oldest have graduated college, one with a bachelors in history, the other graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and serves proudly. You don’t need a college degree to teach your children. Most children pretty much will teach themselves given some encouragement. We’re not wealthy, yet we decided years ago to live a modest lifestyle so that my wife could stay at home and be with the children. And we’ve taught each of our children to shoot, as well as how to maintain a weapon. Oh and we haven’t owned a TV in three years. The two teenagers we still have at home dress modestly, and they can carry on conversations with adults of all ages, as well as their peers, and they are great with younger children.

    1. avatar eggyknap says:

      Here’s a fun idea… teach your kids to shoot. At the TV. Personal experience has shown that while old CRTs are kinda fun, LCD screens take all kinds of hits before disintegrating completely, and their unique matte finish makes it easy to spot the holes from a distance, despite glare, etc. from the sun. The biggest downside is cleaning up the mess when finished (you do clean up after yourself, don’t you?).

      Also, teaching kids about guns clearly relates to the subject of the blog. Global warming doesn’t. Let’s not bring it up and start gratuitous arguments, please.

  5. avatar Charles says:

    I’m with you all the way. My children are eight and six. We don’t even have a television in our house, but they catch shows at their grandparent’s and friend’s from time to time. When the children come home with questions or fears about the environment I take the opportunity to teach them critical thinking. I can’t shelter them forever, but I can teach them to think for themselves, and this is a gift that will last them a lifetime.

    Oh, and they both learned to shoot this Spring. I bought them a Crickett .22 rifle and they really enjoyed it. They know the four rules and my boy can identify all the major components of a gun. He’s hooked! I started them with soda cans at ten paces, so when they hit the target there was this wonderful reward of the can popping and a spray of soda. They both grinned ear to ear!

    Thanks for the post.

    1. avatar miforest says:

      if you don’t have a TV, your kids will become skilled and efficient readers. a good side effect.

      1. avatar Brad Kozak says:

        +1 to that. I read to my daughter from the day she was born. Every bedtime was “story time.” When she entered a new school in 5th grade, they tested her and discovered she was reading on a 12-grade level.

        1. avatar Buuurr says:

          Good to hear, Brad. My kid is only 14 months old and she is already outdoing every kid at church. She is developmentally beyond even some of the 2 year olds. This kid can lock and unlock outside doors. I am talking doorknob locks and deadbolts. She pushes things to the door and stands on them until she can reach. Then she will turn the knob and press herself up to the locked weather door (she hasn’t figured that one out yet).

          Basically the kid requires eyes on at all times. I don’t even watch TV anymore. I listen to it and watch her to she what she gets into.

          The reading and stuff really does work. I don’t think it is for the reasons they state. I think it is because kids learn from their parents first and the more you are around the faster they go.

  6. avatar Ralph says:

    Who’s that bozo with CSN&Y?

    1. avatar Daniel Zimmerman says:

      That’s David Crosby.

  7. avatar Buuurr says:

    I think that award should be presented to yourself, Saywa. Most parents don’t spend enough time with their kids. You act like it is old news but it is a common practice.

    I spent practically no time with my Mom or Dad as a kid. Nor did my cousins whom I was very close to. My friends would do basically whatever we wanted and we mostly learned from ourselves.

    Take a look at the new generation of kids. Do you think those kids have a parent spending real time with them? Most of the kids I am living around currently don’t even know who Dad is.

    I say stop treating the statement as a statement but more as it is meant to be conveyed – as advice.

  8. avatar BambiB says:

    While I agree with your basic message (spend time with your kids – or the media will program them for you), I think you’ve missed a bigger agenda of which we should all be aware.

    The basic purpose of the media today is to keep us divided. Some lines of demarcation are pretty basic – Constitutional rights for example. But others, abortion, climate change, Wiener’s wiener, Donald Trump/Sarah Palin/Newt Gingrich as presidential candidates, the “budget battle” (4 weeks of debate over 3 days worth of deficit spending) are all intended to distract and divide us.

    The entire Democrat-Republican, Left-Right paradigm is out-of-date. The purpose of all the distractions (including, perhaps, the clown) is to keep us from realizing that the main divide is the People versus their government.

    If you look at Bush’s policies and look at Obama’s policies, there is very little difference. All we did was substitute a black man for a white one. (Did your “racism” hackles rise? Yet another artificial divide media has programmed us to accept.)

    We’ve got an election coming up in 2012. The choice is going to be more of the same (Obama) or more of the same (most of the Republican field). Here’s the challenge: Examine the candidates’ platforms, then go back and see what they were saying in 2008. And in 2004. And before that. Do they switch around whichever way the wind blows (Like Romney’s stand on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan)? Are they born of the system that is killing us (like Herman Cain, a former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City who sees “no reason to audit the Fed” and thinks gun control should be “handled by the states”)? Or Michele Bachman (who supports the “PATRIOT” act, aka, “The Fourth Amendment Evisceration and ‘Spy on Americans’ Act”)?

    Is your decision based on charisma? Or reason? see http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Q1U7N9AhprU
    And will you even participate in the process of selecting the best candidate (Will you vote in the primary?)

    Raising a child to be an independent thinker in today’s world is tough. But unless we recognize the game being played and win it, your child won’t have a future no matter how well she is raised.

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