Ten years ago, when she was two, my eldest daughter used to watch CBeebies exclusively but then she moved on to Peppa Pig on Nick Jr channel so she was being exposed to adverts for the first time. Every product or service depicted, she said, ‘I want that!’ She saw Disney’s Tinkerbell movie and when we bought her a Tinkerbell dress with wings on it she ran and jumped about in the garden quite expecting to be able to fly! It was heartbreaking watching her realize that the wings didn’t actually work!
Few adults comprehend exactly how much our children emulate us. Young human apes learn mostly by mimicry: by ‘aping’. Think what this means; if we take them to church and read them Bible bedtime stories they will absorb this as a normal and credible activity that has the same value as cleaning their teeth or anything else their parents show them. Some children have a bad time coming to terms with the fact that Father Christmas isn’t real but at least their parents eventually reveal him as a harmless deception; often this doesn’t happen with God.
It’s not intentional indoctrination – that’s what’s done to radicalise young men and make them into suicide bombers. No sensible parent would do that to their children. It’s more like the imprinting that Konrad Lorenz found happened to the goslings that assumed he was their mother because he was the first creature they saw after hatching. This is the natural, instinctive behaviour of an offspring to copy a parent. It’s been evolutionarily beneficial for species that do nurturing for millions of years, otherwise it wouldn’t have survived as an inherited characteristic. Young brains have to be ripe for aping.
That was the Jesuit motto, alleged to be attributed to Francis Xavier, the co-founder of the Jesuit Order. The implication is that the best opportunity to indoctrinate a person in a lifetime of belief and devotion to religious dogma is when they are young. breakingspells.wordpress.com
Should we be more careful what we do with our children in this vulnerable period, when their brains are still forming? Shouldn’t we leave them to make their own life affecting choices, such as joining a religion, until they are old enough to make an informed decision? Should we cut bits off their genitalia before they can voice their objection? Should we bake false ideas into their still-plastic brains?
Should there be faith schools?
I support this campaign https://www.nomorefaithschools.org
Image: pickpic royalty free (it’s not my daughter, she has brown skin, like her mother)