Monday, June 11, 2007

My Daughter The Geek (I am SO proud!)

My second-grader (who regularly reads WSJ articles out loud before dinner), sought out for her car-book (you know, the book to read in the car) "How to Think Like a Scientist."

My father did not want me to attend MIT (and I didn't); he wanted my socks to match (which they do, sometimes).

I think it is different for girls.

Why would I be happy were my daughter to attend MIT (yah, I know, gettin' way ahead of myself here--but tempus fugit, my friends)? Well, in addition to a top-notch education (and one that minimizes the chances of wasting time in, say, Sociology), I would argue that the men are gentler (smellier, to be sure, but gentler as well).

So, we segue now to my views of the world: boys are getting (even more) crass; girls, too. How do we reverse the trend? Engaging youth in pursuits other than music and popular "culture" might help. We are witnessing a tremendous bifurcation in society--forget "The Haves" and "Have Nots," forget race, we are seeing those who forego aspiration and those who aspire for...too much. Hyper-slacker vs. Hyper-Type-A (and resentment--and redistribution of wealth--are sure to ensue).

When I was a senior in high school, I spent much time discussing G-d and religion with some Apocalyptic Lutherans (as I called them...or sometimes "Apoplectic," whatever got more of a rise). They dressed plainly, were forbidden to dance or to listen to most genres of music, and got in trouble for talking to me (yes, it's true, they did). For them, Satan was in the radio, the TV, and, well, in me.

After years and years of contemplation, I think they were right.

Is it important that I am, at best, agnostic (at worst, atheistic, if "worst" is the correct direction...)? No. Mr. Satan need not be "real" to be real, i.e., to exert influence. Do I perceive Evil in radio, TV, the Intertubes, popular "culture," Paris Hilton? Damn straight I do! Redirectors of effort, tempters from the grindstone of success, attacker of physical safety, underminer of health. It's all there, it's all true. Satan is among us. Or whatever his secular humanist counterpart is.

Let's see: for G-d we have D-rwin; for Heff? Hmmm...have to work on that one.

I no longer listen to popular music--my children can distinguish Sibelius from Copland (and delight in being able to identify composers when I cannot...). Oh, and they kick my ass in karate, too (the youngest already knows a few moves), so don't get on me about sports! Soccer, in my opinion, is bad for the knees (especially for growing girls), and my town has a way of recruiting top talent and then grinding them down into injuryland (another form of Satan...).

So, for those of you who come across this blog and want to respond "ur kidz r gonna be geekz!" or "poor babies" or "FREAK!" go right ahead--it's all right, it's okay; yours will work for mine someday!

As an aside--I had a chance to interview a very successful woman last week. She credited her parents' limiting (to the point of exclusion) exposure to television as one of the factors of her success (music lessons was another). I questioned her deeply regarding her mother's full-time status, whether that influenced her in a negative way (a common complaint of Feminists being that stay-at-home moms discourage long-term success in their daughters). On the contrary: she found her mother to be inspirational; further, she felt it important to reward her mother's struggle and sacrifice (her mother gave up a university career to stay at home for 18 years!) with success. Our interview was cut a bit short as she had to jet off for her youngest sister's graduation from law school.

As we say in Colorado: Face!

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