"Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That's their natural and first weapon." ~ Gloria Steinem

Friday, April 24, 2009

Indoctrination is...

Indoctrination is presenting opinions as fact.

Indoctrination is presenting conclusions as facts without providing the evidence that led to those conclusions.

Indoctrination is teaching your child the words to a prayer without discussing why you feel the need to pray.

My parents did this to me, and yet I do not fault them for it. Oddly enough, while I cannot forgive Christians in general for brainwashing their offspring, in specific, I just don't give a shit. I have no arguments with the way my parents raised me--none. If I could go back and change it, I wouldn't. I wouldn't do anything about my mom teaching me to pray Hail Marys when I couldn't sleep, or my family spending every Christmas Eve at church from 2 pm to 1 am [that is another story altogether], or any number of religion-based activities from my childhood.

The oddity factor probably has something to do with it. My parents were exactly the right kind of Catholic to churn out at least four freethinking children [older sister no, youngest brother too young still, youngest sister showing promise], and I don't think I'd be who I am today had I been raised in any other religion--or non-religion. I treasure my oddities.

My parents value familial bonds, brotherly love, honesty, books, good food, the outdoors, travel, diversity of opinion and experience, and being true to yourself in the face of adversity. They taught me that being weird is ok, that you can never have too many friends or love too many people, that there's more to life than material success, and that I can do whatever I want to do no matter who tells me I can't. I see nothing wrong with any of these values; who would? The fact that they were wrapped up in Christianity and tied with the ribbon of Catholicism did not damper their strength.

And so again, I do not fault my parents for indoctrinating me. I am grateful to them for nurturing my personality, for surrounding me with books at a very young age [my mom noticed I could read when I was three], for raising me in the middle of a forest, for allowing me to wear the same size five t-shirt for weeks, and for loving me unconditionally--even now, when I have intentionally and deliberately abandoned that which they hold most dear.

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