Kid manifesto


Not a bad childrearing philosophy, if you ask me.

Source unknown) (Thanks, @DrinkyMcEyeball)

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  1. That’s pretty much exactly how I am raising my daughter. Shame about the gratuitous F-bomb though, otherwise that would make a great poster to hang in your kids room. 

    1.  Good man y’self, Micky Dolan!  Though I would hope that if she’s old enough to read, surely you could have a conversation about the acceptability and context of swearage?  (Though not explicitely sweary), used to really enjoy the Pistols when out in the car with my two nephews.

      For another heartwarming affirmation of life and alternative parenting, I would also suggest a (re?)listen to Bowie’s ‘Kooks’.  Gets me every time.  Fuppin’ beautiful, man!

    2. ehh, we thought it was pretty fucking cute when our 3 year old started dropping the f-bomb. Now she is 6 and she is afraid to say freaking because of what she has been taught at school. I do not consider it an improvement.

      Sure she needs to understand etiquette and context, but words are words. I sometimes pull up the Carlin 7 dirty words video for her.

      1. Words are words is a fallacy. Words have meaning. Words have context. Words matter. The effective use of words will allow anyone to do more than impulsively saying “fuck” because words are words will. But hey, do your thing.

        1. I agree that words matter and I did mention context in my comment. And yes there are a lot more eloquent and intelligent uses of English that fuck is a poor substitution for.
          To me words are words gets to the heart of the false idea that a certain arrangement of letter and sounds can damage a child due to their cultural context. 
          Can words be mean and hurtful, sure. Can they cause emotional distress, sure. 
          But I am strong believer that the listener has an ability to process and interpret communications in a variety of ways. Listeners have the innate ability to divorce the language from the cultural context.
          For example I used to work in public service. It was not uncommon to be yelled or cursed at. I can choose not to allow that to affect me. We train our staff how to not let it affect them emotionally. And these could be direct personal attacks. 

          tl:dr
          I cannot see how a simple written expletive not even directed at the reader can cause any harm.

        2. But you can be the most eloquent and erudite motherfucker on the planet without constantly swearing.

          1. Much of the same sort of talk can still be heard among the orc-minded; dreary and repetitive with hatred and contempt, too long removed from good to retain even verbal vigour, save in the ears of those to whom only the squalid sounds strong.

            — Tolkien

    3. The use of “fucking” is kind of a tell here.  For no real reason, it reduces its utility as something most parents would show to the very children who’d most benefit from the message, while also driving home the “voice” of the poster–and it’s not a kid’s.  Along with the snarling, lord-of-the-flies looking image, the text has a homeless-guy-shouting-at-me-in-the-subway kind of vibe. Not the kind of thing that encourages receptive listening. Bet it makes a lot of already similar minded people nod in agreement, though, which I suspect is all that’s really intended.

      Like the sentiment, though.

        1. It’s a propaganda poster using a child that critiques propaganda aimed at children.  Unless it’s made by a child of that age, it’s a bit ironic.

    4. …otherwise that would make a great poster to hang in your kids room.

      Yeah, that’s just what I would have wanted in my room when I was a child – a furious homunculus.  I could have hung it next to my autographed picture of Samara.

    1. It’s anti a whole lot of things…things (priorities) that are fairly F’d up when you take a step back and look at them logically.

      1. Now that’s just perpetuating ignorance. Both Christianity and Islam were products of the mid-to-late Iron Age.

        1. That’s right. The Iron Age was cooking more than a thousand years in that region before the Jesus thing took off. Thinking about it, American native myths are stone age for the most part, and don’t seem to have caused too much delusional harm.

      2. No, Judaism and Christianity are based in bronze-age myths.  Islam dates only to 610 AD, by which time steel was a fully established technology.

        1. I’m quite certain that the Bronze Age ended more than a millennium before Christianity began. Steel was already in production several centuries before the Christian era.

          1.  Bronze age ended in different times at different places.  The Greeks and Persians were still using bronze during their wars around 400 BC and continued using bronze after that as well.  Steel production BC was extremely limited outside of China I believe.

            I’d still say both Judaism and Christianity are iron age religions, but it’s arguable because “bronze age,” etc. aren’t determinate categories.

          2. Judaism is a Bronze Age religion if you consider the origins. The actual tribe goes back at least to 13th century B.C., which puts it into the Bronze Age no matter who you ask. The Torah is an Iron Age thingy, but I don’t know whether the Torah equals Judaism or not.

          3. Greeks and Persians were using iron-tipped weapons in their wars, mostly around 500 BC. Usually that marks the bronze age over, even if they still used it for some things.

          4. But so is Islam. And Islam is much, much closer to its roots in Judaism than Christianity, which is largely Roman state paganism.

  2. Yes, i want my child to be just like that sneering little bastard.  

    “A future where i am not taught it is honourable and brave to die for you because your’e too f*cking lazy bigoted and small minded to prefer peace over war and death”.Making some big assumptions aren’t we?If my kid said that to me I’d get him a hair cut, make him mow the lawn, then send him to his room until he learned some manners.

      1. Actually, he looks like the “redrum” kid from The Shining.

        Which brings me to a sudden epiphany:  Give that kid, your kid and my kid, punk n’ stuff, but as part of a balanced diet, we gotta give them Kubrick.

    1. You can’t start your kid too early on being entitled and superior. And sneering. Good sneering takes a lifetime of effort.

        1. If you think that the most important thing to teach your child is the effective sneer . . . you are the kind of person who makes the comment you made.

          1. If you think that the most important thing to teach your child is

            Um, where did you read that Rezeya said that?  I didn’t see it.

            I sneer at your hyperbole, sir.

            You can’t start your kid too early on being entitled and superior.

            Yeah, kids having self-respect along with critical thought can be a dangerous, annoying thing, huh?

          2. respect for others.

            Maybe start with Rezeya with whom you misrepresented with your own hyperbole?

            You knocked your strawman down!

            Um, wasn’t that you packing a man full of straw in the first place with your snide comment:

            “You can’t start your kid too early on being entitled and superior.”

            Yep, that was you. You made your strawman and now you’re whining because you have to deal with it.

            Woo hoo!… Woo!

            You seem very pleased with yourself. Good going.

          3. Also relevant: respect for others.

            As long as they agree with ChicagoD; he doesn’t seem to have much problem with sneering at anyone else.

        1. Why? Parents are frequently vile to their children. Why would you counsel someone to be nice to an abuser?

          1. Antinous, Mephy said (among other things) “If my kid said that to me I’d get him a hair cut, make him mow the lawn, then send him to his room until he learned some manners” and John (not McCain) replied that his own mom was “the same way”, and joked (?) that she’s “old and alone” because of it.

            Take exception with me for scoldingly/jokingly telling him to be nice to his mom if you like, but do you actually think the exchange I just mentioned justifies you referring to John (not McCain)’s mom as “an abuser”?  Hypothetical haircuts, chores and groundings are abuse?  C’mon…

          2. If your parents treated you well, you probably won’t be making cracks about them dying old and alone because of their behavior. You want to have a relationship with your children once they’re adults and able to escape? Treat them decently.

          3. My gut drifts towards your assessment of the situation, but my wife made a great point:
            Imagine how they were treated by their parents, a nasty karmic ball passed from generation to generation.

            One may have no obligation to welcome or approach a chronically toxic dynamic with one’s parents, but a bit of empathy goes a long way.  As children, they were vulnerable to barbarities like institutionally-approved caning, and they knew it, and many of them could never shake it off.

  3. I hope the future contains upper and lower case letters… and a little more thought. It looks kinda cool at first but an angry, snarling, cursing kid will not bring about peace or a brighter future.

    1. Yeah, there’s really no optimism in that poster and that’s pretty much what kids are all about. I’d say the sentiment is there, but the execution is off.

  4. Sorry but personal responsibility and activism begins early in life kids.  You may have to earn and learn as many adults did, by doing these things on your own.  “Want” in one hand…” The road isn’t easy, and often intentionally blocked, but I can offer you my support as a colleague.  Keep the faith.  Find the others. 

  5. i bet the adult who made this COMMANDS his or her kids to be open minded.  and if not, bedroom seclusion!! 

    1. If you fail to indoctrinate your kids with your values, it isn’t some lassez faire ideal you’re living up to. You aren’t defending their internal philosopher of pure reason. You’re leaving them to their instincts, which are nasty and brutish like life on the ancestral savanna.

    2. Knowing more than a few parents who successfully encourage their kids to be open-minded, I see that the approach has challenges. But somehow they’ve managed without adopting their own version of the authoritarian mindset that so many people obviously think is a necessary part of any parenting.

      It’s interesting — and predictable, I guess — to see pushback that basically assumes that progressive parenting is simply being authoritarian from a different direction. I’m sure that does happen sometimes, because duh. Humans. But no, that’s not a given.

      1. It’s less about authoritarianism than about unprocessed anxieties and unrealistic, adult-oriented hopes and dreams being forced onto the child. Training kids to be openminded, fine; filling them with an adult’s angry, fraught, anxious wants and needs concerning these issues, not so much. This poster fairly screams the latter.

          1. Care to discuss? It’s a complex issue, as the thread demonstrates. What does the poster convey to you? Other than bad ‘Shoop, that is. :P

          2. From whence do you draw the inferences stated in your previous comment?  There’s not much to discuss if you can’t be more explicit about why you think what you think.

          3. “From whence” would be the poster, its tone, the image, etc. Are you asking me to provide evidence for my claims (not “inferences”)? I can give a deeper “close reading” of the image if you really wish.

            To wit: that’s not “really” a child speaking. The tone is adult-angry, verbose, articulate, etc. The concerns are not those usually associated with children: religion, morality, guilt, progressive parenting. Cf. the literary-cultural concept of ventriloquism: this is an adult’s idea of a child, replete with an adult’s anxieties and fears about childhood. Having the image of a child do the work for adult anxieties about childhood is problematic at best, at least for me.

            So, from whence stem the disagreements stated in your previous comment?  There’s not much to discuss if you can’t be more explicit about why you don’t think the same as what I think. “I disagree” isn’t really much of a disagreement, no?

          4. “From whence” would be the poster, its tone, the image, etc.

            Does not give the impression you really want to “discuss” anything.

            Having the image of a child do the work for adult anxieties about childhood is problematic at best, at least for me.

            Obviously.  I was asking why do you have such a huge problem with it. 

            I mean, I get what you’re saying except that children don’t usually have very good advice to give on child-rearing.  Why would you want a child’s perspective on the poster?  What would the poster say in that case?  “I want YOU to let me call in to school sick so I can play video games all day”?  What opinion would you expect a child to have on it?

            Bear in mind that the poster is obviously based on the Uncle Sam poster, and the Uncle Sam was, in fact, a fictional character.  The poster is not supposed to be representative of reality.

            Oh, and you’re pretty obviously making inferences. Feel free to look the word up if you’re confused.

    3. i bet the adult who made this COMMANDS his or her kids to be open minded. and if not, bedroom seclusion!!

      I’d take that bet against you.

  6. Will this precocious child be allowed to question that your “stone age myths” perhaps contain truth? That peace and freedom must indeed sometimes be defended through war and death? Most importantly, that the world is a much more nuanced, shades-of-gray kind of place than the always black-and-white, “I’m right and everyone else is wrong” viewpoint we all, it sometimes seems, are so rapidly sinking into?

    1. I’m not sure.
      But i guess he’ll be the “I think everyone has the right to believe what I believe” kind of person.

    2. Will this precocious child be allowed to question that your “stone age myths” perhaps contain truth?

      Not forcing your religion on your kids and allowing them to think for themselves would suggest: Yes.

      1. What it suggests about what you might do as a parent is indeterminate. Teaching your kids to be open minded is admirable. Allowing them to question your own closely held beliefs, such as believing that religion is a myth, can be a difficult challenge for parents.

        1. You can choose not to indoctrinate your children while at the same time teaching them about religion in a way that is respectful and allows children to think for themselves. The tone of your post suggested that not indoctrinating your children was the same as teaching them that religion was without any kind of value. Having said that, I would also add that you don’t need the myths to teach the positive lessons about morality that many of them hold within.

        2. As a child, I was always very confused because adults all seemed to act as though it’s obvious that God exists but I could never really see any reason to believe that was so.  I was probably 10 or so when I said something about God to my brother and he responded: “I’m an atheist…I don’t believe in God.”  I was like, “whoah, that’s an option?!”

          What I’m trying to point out is that if you don’t teach your child anything in particular about God they’ll just absorb the cultural default, which is to defer to authority and tradition on the question.  Which probably suits you just fine, but it does call into question the equivalence you’re drawing between teaching kids that religion is true and teaching kids that religion is false. 

          But you don’t even have to go so far as teaching kids religion is false.  Just teach them about the official history of the RC church and then compare that to the history of Christianity as determined by secular historians, Biblical scholars, and archaeologists.  They’ll catch on to what religion is all about pretty quickly — kids usually don’t appreciate being lied to unless they’ve been well-trained.

          Incidentally, religion can’t possibly be mythology because mythology is a subset of religion — Greek mythology was one aspect of pagan Greek religion just as Christian mythology is part but not all of the Christian religion.  Christian mythology is clearly mythology but that doesn’t mean it’s false; just too silly to believe to be true.

          1. What I’m trying to point out is that if you don’t teach your child anything in particular about God they’ll just absorb the cultural default, which is to defer to authority and tradition on the question.

            You mean that’s what you did. It didn’t work that way for me. I grew up in a non-religious household in the 50s through 70s, when everyone else went to church. We never talked about it. To me, it was just something that the neighbors and aunts and uncles did that had no relevance to me.

    3. “stone age myths” perhaps contain truth

      A pile of shit on the ground contains some healthy fiber, but I’m not going to eat it.

      That peace and freedom must indeed sometimes be defended through war and death?

      In the USA?  No, not lately.  Then again, some of us are more susceptible to propaganda and brainwashing than others….

      the world is a much more nuanced, shades-of-gray kind of place

      Indeed.  And, teaching your children critical thinking skills is helpful in that regard.

      It’s the less nuanced, black-and-white thinking that got us into wars based upon lies and ignorance in the first place.  It didn’t lead us into rampant peace.

    4. Will this precocious child be allowed to question that your “stone age myths” perhaps contain truth?

      Speaking from experience, once a child is inculcated with appropriate skepticism of both authority and tradition there are really no reasons to believe any of those myths contain truth.

      That peace and freedom must indeed sometimes be defended through war and death?

      Didn’t Ghandi say that one time?

      Most importantly, that the world is a much more nuanced, shades-of-gray kind of place than the always black-and-white, “I’m right and everyone else is wrong” viewpoint we all, it sometimes seems, are so rapidly sinking into?

      What makes you think this kind of viewpoint is any more entrenched now than at any other time in history or that it’s getting worse? Seems to me like people have been a little too sure of themselves throughout human history.

    5. Will this precocious child be allowed to question that your “stone age myths” perhaps contain truth?

      Nobody thinks skepticism about Zeus should stop you from looking for Troy or Mycenae. The only thing we don’t like is learning to uncritically accept the Iliad as a whole.

      That peace and freedom must indeed sometimes be defended through war and death?

      This is one of those curious things. I think it’s true in theory, and yet the way wars actually go, people with this “nuanced” view almost always make worse calls than dogmatic pacifists.

  7. This is why I lie to my kids at every opportunity. When they figure out a lie, I deny it vehemently — but then a few weeks later, I give them a merit badge.

    I don’t actually have kids, but that would be a fun way to produce a proper skeptic.

      1. Skepticism doesn’t seem to be a result of lying to children.  Skepticism is pretty niche while lying to children is widespread.  Santa Claus, for example.

        1. I was thinking of (my invented diagnosis) Skeptical Personality Disorder, in which people are convinced that absolutely everything is fake. If you haven’t noticed, it’s rather prevalent online. Both that and psychosis share the trait of being unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality.

  8. I have raised my two teenage boys to Question Authority and Don’t Trust Whitey. Has made for some interesting Parent/Teacher conferences but they are some of my favorite humans.

    PS. We’re EuroMutts, white than white.

  9. This poster should have a flip side that has all the great things (and they are great) about trust, and the amazing things that can be achieved through it.

    I think in reality for kids some lessons should be graded. First you crawl, then you walk, then you run. It’s not that much different.

  10. I think some of you are missing the first sentence: “…where I am taught to question everything.” In other words, don’t lose your curiosity. That doesn’t guarantee that you’ll find ready answers, but it gets you a lot closer than not asking questions in the first place.

    1. Bingo. We’re not just talking about an ideology here, we’re talking about a methodology, one that most Americans are explicitly taught not to use. Calling the artist out for having an ideology, too, misses the point — find me a human who doesn’t?!

  11. “I WANT”: the two most common words heard out of kid’s mouths, regardless of their parent’s socio-economic, political, religious, sexual or ideological ax grindage…

  12. Rather baffling amount of rhetorical hair-splitting going on in this thread.  I think the poster’s message is simple, clear, and inspiring.

    1. Me two. 

      I’m guessing a lot of people are frazzled at the end of a long week? 

      Let’s all get a drink!

      1. If only it were that simple.  We have now entered Take Your Holiday Stress Out On The Internet Month.

  13. A bottle of his/her favorite libation to the first atheist parent who is told by a twelve year old child, “You brought me up to think for myself and I’m here to tell you I’ve done so.  I’m rejecting your atheism and converting to fundamentalist Christianity.”…….

    ……and who replies, “Cool !!”

  14. Two issues here – the message itself and the tone/way it’s delivered. 

    The message, I agree with mostly – there is a little bit of hypocrisy here by accusing bigotry toward religion. 

    The tone – okay, it’s all rebelious rock n’roll in-your-facey… that’s cute.  I don’t think it needs that kind of dramatic emphasis. It sounds like a passage from an Anthony Bourdain essay.

    “I want you to teach your children to be morally discerning and strong so they will wield their freedom and voice to do what is right and stand up against  wrongs.”

    Not as catchy?

    1. Off topic, but Bourdain, blah.  When I first discovered his show, I liked it, then much like Brett Somers in The Match Game, the ego started to rub the wrong way.

      Let’s put it this way:  When Andrew Zimmern of “Bizarre Foods” travels somewhere, it’s all about the place and the people.  When Bourdain goes somewhere, it’s all about HIM.

      My suspicions were confirmed when Bourdain visited my hometown, going about in an impenetrable bubble of bodyguards and assistants, visited a few joints run by non-local hipsters, and pretty much learned nothing about the place.

      Some of my friends partied with the “No Reservations” entourage one late afternoon at the beach, got verbally stuck trying to explain Bourdain’s attitude.  They were starstruck, so I finished the sentence for them in one word – aloof.  A pause and then acknowledgement – “right”.

  15. What the adult who wrote the kid manifesto is basically doing, is mashing up the message of Lennon’s “Imagine” with the tone of “Working Class Hero”.

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