Indoctrinating The Youth

Going on three years ago, wifey and I were blessed to bring home a healthy, angry and LOUD baby boy.

During that time, you don’t think about the days ahead. This is due to the obvious lack of sleep and the fact that the little guy does nothing more than demand your constant attention to stay clean and well-fed.

Now that he’s on his way to full autonomy (when can they work again?), I’m beginning to think about the things that made me what I am today.

My parents divorced when I was the same age as the little man, so I wasn’t fortunate enough to have a dad around who thought this crap over. It wasn’t until I was 5 that my mom dated a psycho health-nut teacher/musician who found it in his heart to record hours and hours of movies/cartoons on VHS tapes to keep me quiet. The guy passed away pretty early in life, and it’s a real shame that he probably had no clue how much those shows and videos shaped me.

So now I’m building a little list of the best stuff to introduce to my future geek. Sure, some of it will be ignored or hated. Thems the breaks. I’m not looking to have a carbon copy by my side, but I believe that enough exposure to interesting media can lead him to think a little more outside the norm and find his own niche when he’s ready.

At the very least, we’re good on Muppets, Pixar and Spider-Man. The kid loves them immensely, so I think the plan’s been pretty damn successful so far. Music has been a tough sell, though. I think that sort of stuff will probably have to just happen a little more organically (i.e. this is what we’re listening to in the car, damn it, I don’t care if it’s for old people).

I’m probably going to avoid the old-school cartoons we grew up with. When you watch He-Man or Thundercats again, well, they’re terrible and clearly commercials for toys.

So here’s the plan. With 3 just around the corner, I know I still have time on some of these items, but I think right now is as good a time as any to plan it all out:

Indoctrination Plan:

Age 3

  • Looney Tunes/Tex Avery/MGM Cartoons
    • Keep it to the early stuff. Anything produced post 1960 is terrible.
  • Star Wars
    • He’s already watched one or two of them, but now is the time to really push Return of The Jedi (hey, teddy bear warriors are pretty appealing to a 3-year old.) 
  •  National Geographic/Wild America (if I can actually find them)
    • I’ve been mulling this over. As a kid I was really into nature documentaries, and I think it’s probably a good time to throw a few of these on every so often to get the kid interested in something more than pop culture.
  • Kids Comic Books
    • There are actually some really cool looking all-ages books from Marvel and DC I’m thinking of snatching from Amazon on the cheap. This is probably a better avenue to get the kid introduced to the characters since most of the mainstream stuff contains gore and brutality far and away more graphic than anything on the stands back in the day.
  • More Football
    • Sure, he’s vaguely interested in it, and has at times completely melt down because of his boredom – whatever. I figure the more we watch it, sooner or later he’ll sit down and start asking questions. It’s foolproof!
  •  More Kid’s educational shows
    • We watch plenty of Sesame Street, but I think we’re in need of some Pee Wee’s Playhouse and more Fraggle Rock (he used to watch it, but I think it’s forgotten at this point). Thank the flying spaghetti monster for Netflix Instant…seriously.

So that’s the plan for 3, I’ve got a lot more on my mind, but I think he needs a year or two before we get to the classic comic book movies like Superman or some of the more wacky stuff like Kaiju movies (Godzilla and Gamera) or the best flicks of the 80’s (Back to the Future, Bill and Ted, Life of Brian) or deeper educational programs like 3,2,1 Contact or Carl Sagan’s stuff.

Any suggestions out there from parents with little ones? Is there anything you feel that your kids NEED to be exposed to by principle or because it had an awesome affect on you?

Feel free to comment!

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