Parental bias and bad advice.
I was at Voice and Exit a few weeks ago. One of the speakers Derek Magill was doing a talk titled “Fuck College”. Lots of good content in it but one section really stood out. When discussing the biggest barriers to the Praxis business (an entrepreneur internship program) he brought up parents. Even though the data and personal experiences of students suggest college isn’t the best path for everyone parents were the major force encouraging students to not drop/opt out and join an alternative. There is a certain safety bias parents have that keep them from being able to see the potential good in alternatives. Out of their love they are simply ill-equipped to support their happiness and fulfillment of their child.
I know I’ve personally experienced this. I received some bad relationship advice like abstinence growing up. A peice of advice that empirically leads to STDs and teen pregnancy. But it was loving advice given by parents who were scared of potential heart break and HIV in their children. Out of their fear for my safety they give bad advice.
It is the nature of the parent-child relationship for things like this to happen. Be wary of the suggestions and advice of family. Their love for you can be damaging along with all the good.
Humor Destroys Power.
“Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.” – Mark Twain
My father has a bad temper. He’s not a violent man, in fact I would even go as far as to say he is one of the kindest people I have ever had the pleasure to know. Nevertheless, he has a temper. When little things go wrong it’s common to hear him ranting and raving even some times slamming his fist against objects (though never people). This can be discouraging to a child growing up, it might even lead one to live in fear, crowing before those who raise their voice. But ever since I was young enough to speak my mother taught me an important lesson about dealing with people while they are angry. To Laugh.
This might seem too simplistic to be good advice, but the moment a young child sees their ranting father not as a source to be feared but as a source of comedy, the child learns to reject authority. Too often do we see children or spouses giving in and trying to fix the situation in fear.
See, rage is a means by which one tries to gain power over people, it’s meant to scare others into submission. Rage is an attempt to create a non consensual power structure through threats, it is not always a direct threat of violence, rage can be a means of implying a threat of violence, but faced with laughter and not fear it loses all authority. Humor destroys non consensual power structures, such authority can only be strong when people submit, such submission only happens by those are afraid. Joy and laughter cure fear, one can not be afraid of a joke. To react to rage in laughter belittles the tantrum, it acknowledges it as a form of petty expression. Humor is one of the greatest tools to be used in the fight against undesirable forms of authority.
.Any authority worth it’s while should be able to control with reasons and love not fear and threats. It is essential that we teach our children not to cower when faced with emotionally charged attempts for power, but to laugh and to joke.