Friday, June 13, 2008

Late Apologies, Greenland and Skepticism

Before the birth of our first son, my wife, Brook, and I signed up for some routine parenting class. They discussed how to give an infant a bath, how to change diapers and some other good advice. The class began with some nurse...who always seemed to be very happy but very condescending...asking what one thing we wanted to instill in our children. I only remember one person's answer and that answer isn't mine and it isn't Brook's.

This one guy had so many piercings that it looked like he just climbed out of a tackle box and some weird facial hair thing that looked way more like modern art than facial hair. The thing he said he most wanted to teach his child was "to question authority". When he said that I commented under my breath, "what a jackass". To me, at the time anyway, his comments were reckless, irresponsible and rebellious. Now, over 6 years have past and I now know I owe some guy in this world an apology. Not just because I called him a jackass, but because today I find that my walk with God has lead me to think in ways I didn't then. In fact, today I think much more like that guy than I do the "old Blake".

I don't have any piercings and my wife strictly forbids facial hair...well, that's not true. My wife will not kiss me if I have facial hair so I shave due to my desire to kiss her rather than her rules about my hair. But anyway, I now very much want my boys to question authority, be skeptical of institutions, investigate unintended consequences, contemplate motives (their own and others) and to always think deeply. I don't want them to rebel for the sake of rebellion or be anarchist. However, I also don't want them to accept the operation definitions handed out by this world as definitive. I don't want them to participate in some matrix that only exists for the lone purpose of self-perpetuation. I will be disappointed if my sons ever blindly follow leadership. Submit to authority? Sure...when it is right to do so. Lend their resources to some institution of commerce, government or religion? Sure...but only after they have thought deeply about what they are apart of and only if in so doing they are following the call God has for their lives.

I am almost daily discovering some belief that I have accepted as truth is far from true. At times I find it comical that so many people, myself included, could fall for something so blatantly stupid. Other times I get pissed off and remain angry for a period of time over being a fool. One of my absolute favorite quotes is from a former European leader. He said, "how fortunate for those in leadership that the average man doesn't think". That leader was Adolf Hitler. It is one of the few things he said that I can reply to with a hearty "Amen".

I am afraid that if my boys don't learn to question things they could end up being duped...kind of like some people of Iceland over a thousand years ago. Erik the Red was apparently quite the salesman. Did you ever wonder how Greenland got its name...even though it is largely a white sheet of ice and bitter cold misery? Erik the Red was kicked off Iceland for manslaughter back in the late 900's. He was exiled to the icy island now known as Greenland and he became very lonely. So he sent word to people back in Iceland that he was in a better place than them. He reported that the lush vegetation and plentiful harvests left him with only a single choice when it came time to name his new home...Greenland! So many with great hope loaded up ships and moved to this new land. You know what I bet the people said when they arrived in the new land to find the frosty conditions instead of the bounty they expected?

What a Jackass!

Have a great weekend!

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