Thursday, April 13, 2006

Raising Sci Fi Children

Raising Sci Fi Children


          As a fan of science fiction, I feel that it is almost a responsibility to pass this love of the genre on to my children.  In the olden days parents would pass on their occupation, land, and belongings on to their children, but in the modern world this does not happen as much.  Kids are as likely to sell anything from their parents, as they are to keep it.

          This passing of the torch starts out as a form of bonding.  As a father, I see time in front of the TV as bonding time with my child.  Most women would argue that you can not possibly bond by watching TV.  To argue my point, I invite any women to sit in on a conversation between a bunch of guys.  I bet that the conversation is riddled with references to movies and TV shows that all of them have seen, and this is when the discussion is not on those movies/shows specifically.  Common viewing habits create an all new lexicon that is almost indecipherable to an outside listener.  This lexicon unique to father/child, simulates the almost intuitive language that a mother shares with her child. 

          Tradition is another huge reason.  Transformers, Voultron, and He-Man shaped my childhood.  I feel that these shows were integral in my becoming who I am today.  Because of this, I want my children to experience them as well, if for no other reason than to gain some insight on their father.  I feel that The Gremlins and The Never Ending Story are great movies that everyone should watch, especially my own children.  What child should not revel in the realm of imagination that was the original Star Wars movies?  It is fulfilling on some level when my child enjoys the movies that I have picked out for her to watch with me.  It feels good knowing that my child is like me in some way. 

          There is a line that needs to be drawn.  For example, I cannot show my five year old the move Aliens because it is too scary.  This line is not black and white, but a whole lot of grey.  I know how old I was when I saw certain movies, but was that the right age for all kids?  How much violence is too much?  If I show my children this now, will they fully appreciate the subtle nuances.  The Matrix was a great movie, but will it entertain a child that does not understand the story?  These are the questions that haunt me as a father.  Of course, every child is different and you will know when the time is right.

          My biggest fear is that my child will grow away from science fiction and will rebel against me and shun the genre as a teenager.  My children are both girls, and I am not sure that it will ever be cool to be science fiction fan if you are a girl, especially a teenage girl.  The love of science fiction could be crippling to their social life, which in itself is not all that bad.  Maybe, growing up sci-fi will give them an understanding of the people that enjoy such things and see them for who they really are.  It almost seems that I am doing a social experiment of sorts on my daughters.  What will science fiction do to their lives?

          It is natural for a parent to want his/her child to be like them.  It makes me feel good when my daughter asks me, "did you do/watch this when you were a kid."  My yes is a seal of approval, and my daughter cannot wait to try/watch.  When she and her sister get older, I will expose them to more.  The bookshelf is growing with young adult science fiction books.  I already read Where the Wild Things Are as a bedtime story.  I long for the day when one of my daughters picks on of my favorite books off the shelf, reads it, and wants to discuss it with me.  I am not sure what the future will bring to science fiction in the movie/TV/book world, but I do know that I will experience it with my children and that will make it perfect for me. 

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