Monday, May 28, 2012


My son, Logan, is going to turn two in August, and as people who are familiar with kids that age would expect, he's developed quite the personality by now.  He has developed a couple of fixations as well, which I understand is pretty typical.  One of them is with clocks, as he always points out a "cock" whenever he sees one.  Sometimes he points them out while we're in the grocery store, and what he's actually pointing at are the thermometers in the refrigerated section.  Of course, when  he does this, I yell at him:  "That's a thermometer, STUPID!  Why must you be such an embarrassment?"

His other fixation is with rock music, and more specifically, guitars.  He has about five toy guitars by this point, and they are among the few toys that he actually plays with.  Usually what he does is picks one up whenever some music is playing, particularly some loud, catchy rock and roll, and "plays" along.  Lately, he has taken to handing everybody in the room one of his guitars so they can play as well.  My wife said that this was his equivalent of what some little girls (and boys too, I suppose) do when they have a tea party and pass out tea cups to everybody.  (Some other kids like to talk about how Barack Obama is a SOCIALIST NAZI FASCIST COMMUNIST at their tea parties.)

I try to play him a variety of music, and for the most part, he likes whatever I play for him.  I've played some jazz and classical, and he's enjoyed them.  But for the most part, and this probably has much to do with the fact that it's primarily what I expose him to, he really likes loud rock.  His current favorites are AC/DC and Van Halen, as he's always asking for "more" when he hears some of their songs.  (He also has been doing this for The Beatles, but they don't quite fit the same mold.)

One time, I was watching an episode of Stephen Colbert's show, and he had a band on that was from North Africa.  Their music was definitely not very Western, to say the least.  While it was playing, Logan was watching quite attentively.  He even swayed along to the music.

I have some other similar stories to this, but the cool thought that occurred to me was "Hey, he has no musical prejudices."  To him, music is just music, and all that matters is whether he likes the way it sounds or not.  He doesn't have an idea in his head as to what music should and should not be.  Let's face it, most people, when they hear something different, don't really gravitate toward it.  They'll say that it sounds "weird" or something like that.  But for him, it was just as much music as anything else he had heard.

This is similar to when we have dinner.  I know some adults who would never try Indian or Thai food, but he'll sample pretty much anything that we put in front of him.  Just as there are no genres of music for him, there are no types of food.  It's just food to him, and either he likes it, or he doesn't.  He doesn't care if the beef is Chinese, Persian, Thai, or good ol' American in style.  He just likes beef...period.

What I'm getting at here is that I'd like to foster this open minded attitude of his as long as humanly possible. The one thing that I realized that I can do is that when I hear a particular musician whom I don't like, I'm not going to express that in front of him.  I'm also not going to talk about how different kinds of foods are "gross" or "disgusting" - even if we're watching something like Bizarre Foods and the guy is eating a tarantula - as after all, what's disgusting can be relative depending on where you live.

Basically, I want him to make up his own mind as much as that's possible.  It's inevitable that parents are going to indoctrinate their kids to some degree, and when it comes to some things like morals, that's probably a good thing.  But when it comes to him becoming the man that he's going to become, I hope to provide a good example by being as open-minded as I can possibly be, and let him figure out everything based on his own reasoning and the merits of what he's judging.

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