I am the Daddy and I am the boss of you!
As a parent I have been thinking a lot about Fatherhood (as we Fathers do) and about the top down structure of our society where power exists at the top and peons at the bottom. How is the way I parent my children any different? How can I expect to see a future where there is less power at the top exerting force over those below if I raise my children within that same top-down power structure?
How many times have we heard our children say? - "I'm the boss of you!"
You are not the boss of m- Yes I am!
I am trying to get my head around how to slowly move away from this concept and head towards one of promoting individual responsibility.
So how do I raise my children without the initiation of force?
Do you need to go to parent school?
This is a very real issue for me. It's bloody hard and to be quite honest, I ain't doing it.
As the father in our house, I can see firsthand the affect it can have on my children. It has really resonated with me when I read somewhere that basically, the initiation of force happens when humans feel that there is no other way to achieve their desired end.
Well that's fair enough I suppose, if there is not another alternative available.
It's a convenient way to reassure myself, "It's okay, there was no other option", or, "It's for their own good". But that does not help me sleep at night knowing that even though my children may "do as they are told" next time, it's only though fear of the strength of my voice.
If you don't believe me, then odds are that you don't have children and you have not seen firsthand how open their little hearts are to you when your interactions are positive compared to after you have been overly cross with them.
They are different, they are scared of you.
Childhood Phobias: Part 1 - Fear vs. Phobia
We reward good behaviours and punish bad behaviours. In society this is called positive sanctioning and negative sanctioning. The problem is that this structure requires somebody to be an authority over another, such as a government governing civilians, a boss and employees.
In other words, the initiation of force from a higher body.
How can I expect the world to change if I do not first change myself as a Father. It's like a stab in the heart and I feel like a failure to see the fear I have caused on my children's faces, and to hear them cry "I'm the boss of you!" to another child.
"With great power there must also come - great responsibility!"
I feel very passionate about the role masculinity in children's lives. Men are strong for a reason, and yes, we have evolved this way as to hunt and to protect the tribe but I think Ben from the movie Barnyard summed it up better than I ever could.
"A strong man stands up for his self. A stronger man stands up for others."
Barnyard, 2006. Copyright Nickelodeon Movies
I don't know yet which political philosophy I fall under but I do believe that force is something which is my responsibility only when protecting others who are unable to defend their selves. Not as a means of beating another into line with my own philosophical standpoint.