topiary cats

topiary cats

Monday, January 08, 2007

Mental Diets

One of the things having a child did to me was to increase exponentially my sensitivity to hurtful things happening to other people. While I was never insensitive, I was a lot more buffered before.

I sometimes think that I just don't have the heart for this world, for the violence and cruelty. Kindness is such a fundamental thing. We (hopefully) teach our children to share, be nice to people, do unto others, etc. And somehow, we live in an environment that contradicts all these things. Seriously, the nightly news content would be R rated in a movie!

Probably a lot of people will tell me to chill out on a lot of things, and perhaps they're right. But mainstream television, sitcoms...there is so much focus on mean come-backs, sexual references, violence, and shallowness.

I've said it before and I'll say it again- there is nothing funny or entertaining or amusing about people getting hurt. This is nothing new; it's been a part of humanity since we've been around. But I do not want my daughter growing up numbed out to the way people treat each other. I don't want her to say "Mom, it's just a game!" or "Mom, it's not real!" Because that doesn't matter- the concept and images are part of the overall mental diet. And you are what you eat.

The Buddhist concept of Right Association is something that I take very seriously. And I know as a parent that I'll have to find a happy medium, becasue I also cannot and will not raise my daughter in a vacuum. That's just as unhealthy as total exposure. She will need to be able to discern healthy from unhealthy for herself one day.

Many people have commented to me about my raising Daya vegetarian. Some say I'm depriving her. Some say "What if she wants to eat meat when she's older?" If she does, it's her business. Her choice. But while she's under my care, I have made a decision. As she gets older I'll explain to her the basis. If she goes on meat when she's a teenager, she'll just have to cook it herself. End of story.

I do feel children should be educated about the different types of dietary intake- food, sound, and visual. They all affect us. It's just as important to keep the mind healthy as the body. And often, especially in today's world, it's harder to raise kids on a healthy mind-diet with all the mainstream popular stuff. I'm still shocked over what's popular in music...and MTV is soft porn. Holy Cats, I feel so old!

Sometimes this particular area of parenthood scares the crap out of me.

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