Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind

Why, oh why didn’t I indoctrinate my kids?


There are times when I wish I had indoctrinated my children, especially my son. That way, he’d probably still hold beliefs and values similar to, or at least compatible with, mine. Instead, I encouraged them to think for themselves; to seek out evidence and then draw their own conclusions. At times. as happened yesterday, I begin to question the wisdom of that.

I’m not a believer in absolute or objective truths, be they religious, social, or even scientific. I’m old enough to recall “Scientific certainties” that are no longer certain and in some cases disproved.

I can recall a time when homosexual acts were criminal and when the medical profession classified homosexuality as a disorder. It was first declassified as a disorder in Australia and New Zealand in around 1972, in America a year later and throughout the most of the world within a couple of years. In Aotearoa New Zealand, homosexual acts weren’t decriminalised until 1984, and in some parts of the world such acts can still be punished by life imprisonment,

As an aside, as a teenager, I was an avid reader of periodical magazines and other publications, especially if they contained articles of a scientific nature, and I first became aware of the possibility that homosexuality was not “wrong” in the mid to late 1960s through a number of articles I read that were mostly highly critical of, and sometimes angry at, a pamphlet titled Towards A Quaker View Of Sex first published in 1963. Although I didn’t get to read the entire pamphlet until more than forty years after its first publication, excerpts accompanying the articles seemed more reasoned and well thought out than most of the criticism leveled at it. Most of the criticism was related at the morality, or rather the perceived immorality that the critics believed the publication advocated.

And yet, most (but not all) of the conclusions reached in the pamphlet are now widely accepted as the norm: same sex relationships are generally viewed as within the bounds of normality; here, and in many parts of the world same sex relationships have equal footing with heterosexual relationships; here, a partnership is legally recognised by its nature and duration, not by whether or not it has been formalised by a marriage or civil union. We have still some way to go in accepting and recognising forms of relationships that do not involve only two people. For example in this country there is no legal recognition of a relationship that involves A & B & C, although the relationships between A & B, B & C, and A & C may be recognised.

I have drifted off topic somewhat. Now where was I? Oh yes, indoctrination. If I had indoctrinated my son into believing the Bible was not the literal Word of God, nor a rule book to live by, then he might not have reached the conclusion about a decade ago that indeed the Bible is literally the Word of God and is to be believed and followed to the letter. Unfortunately I don’t think I ever mentioned, let alone discussed, the Bible. I regret that now.

And yesterday I realised that I did not indoctrinate him sufficiently to be suspicious of conspiracy theories. They are “conspiracy theories” and not “conspiracies” for a reason.

Yesterday I discovered that he is convinced that the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11 was due to controlled implosions on multiple floors within the buildings. I had to forcefully end the discussion when he declared that all demolition experts agree that the buildings could not have collapsed the way they did unless they had been rigged by a demolition expert to collapse that way.

Sigh! If he had said “some experts” or “an expert” instead of “all experts” I might have been prepared to hear him out. I’m not closed to rational disagreements, but the use of “all experts” was sufficient evidence for me to conclude any discussion would not be rational.

I must admit I’m somewhat curious as to who he believes the “conspirators” might be. After all if it was “controlled”, it was planned, so who planned it and why? But in the interest of maintaining a mostly close relationship with my son, it’s a curiosity I’m not going to try to satisfy.

Author: Barry

A post war baby boomer from Aotearoa New Zealand who has lived with migraines for as long as I can remember and discovered I am autistic at the age of sixty. I blog because in real life I'm somewhat backwards about coming forward with my opinions.

4 thoughts on “Why, oh why didn’t I indoctrinate my kids?

  1. I’m heading down the same path with much younger children and bracing myself for them to come to wildly different conclusions about life. When I lamented that fact that as a pacifist, vegan, atheist mother my 5 year son talks non-stop about guns and eating animals and the ‘true story’ of Christmas, my very religious mother turned round and said “Now you know how I feel”.

  2. I’m sorry to hear about your son. It’s tough dealing with beliefs that aren’t easily disproved. I’ve known people who were indoctrinated, and they’re not immune, either. For what it’s worth, it sounds like you did everything you could. Your son can still come around. You’ve given him the tools to do so. All he has to do is choose to use them.

    • I’m not so sure. Looking back on his life, I suspect religion is no more than a means to justify an absolutist black and white form of thinking. I suspect it’s a personality trait rather than an environment or educational one. If it wasn’t religion, he would have found some other form of group thinking, perhaps an extreme political or social ideology. At least with religion he feels he’s in good enough company to be open about his beliefs, and today that has a lot going for it.

  3. Here I am thinking that “control” is a stronger version of “plan”.

    So many plans are not really in control – ours or anyone else’s.

    And anything involving more than two people … I am thinking of the relationship question as well as the 11 September 2001 question.

    Made me think of David Helfgott and how he believes that everything in the world is computerised. Seemed more “logical” than how a God would work – and computers have no ill intentions that I know of [not good ones either]. Can be hijacked, though!

    [It came up in the context of “everything being planned, set up or computerised, and that there was no need to worry about anything” {Tanskaya and G. Helfgott 1996 – LOVE YOU TO BITS AND PIECES].

    Seems like lots of people who were indoctrinated wished they weren’t; and those who weren’t seldom or rarely wish that they did/were. And many of those who were or weren’t are happy with that state.

    I am enjoying a series called Build Your Own Religion by Michael Dembinski.

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