Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Human beings v. animals

I posted a while back about the difference between the species of H. sapiens and human beings, and whose responsibility it is to turn new members of the species into human beings. I'd like to go into that a bit further, today.

As everyone who reads my blog knows, I have a small son (three years, going through the terrible twos a year late) and daughter (just turned a year earlier this month). They're great kids for their age, but their attention is firmly planted on what they want, getting what they want, and doing what they want, all when they want it.

Last week, I had just sat down with an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, and the pixie walked up to where I was sitting, and gave me the big, pitiful eyes, smacking her little lips. So, of course, I broke off a pixie-sized bite, and put it in her mouth. Unfortunately, I put my cookie (which I'd eaten maybe two bites of) within her reach, and she yanked it out of my hand and took off at her full running speed.

Cute as that is, that's a behavior I'll have to work to curb. She also tries it with her brother's toys. Granted, he does the same, but I've been working on his behavior a lot longer than I have hers, and he tries to wait until we're not paying attention to take toys from her.

So, rule 1 that we're trying to enforce is: Don't take things from other people.

It's pretty obvious that not everyone is teaching their kids the same thing. There are videos all over the internet of purse snatchings, robberies, and all manner of animals taking things from others.

The imp has taken to shoving the pixie, recently--sometimes, he pushes her away from a toy they both want (that neither has picked up yet), sometimes, she's just in his way. Occasionally, he'll slap her for picking up something he wants, either a Cheerio or a toy or a book. Sometimes, there doesn't even seem to be a reason: he'll run up to her as she's standing in the middle of the room and just push her over. That behavior gets Mom or Dad showing him what it's like, and then gets him sent to his room.

We've been working on curbing this behavior, too. Rule 2: Don't hit or push people just because.

Apparently, not many parents bother to teach their kids these rules, either. Anyone heard of the "Knock Out" game? Basically, a pack of wild children/teenagers pick out someone who don't look like they'll fight back, choose one of their number to be the aggressor, then attack the chosen victim. They literally beat the snot out of them until they're down and unconscious or badly hurt.

The story linked blames lack of brain development, and how kids can't foresee the consequences of their actions: in other words, it's really nobody's fault.


Kids are vicious, selfish little beasts, by nature. A child has to be taught empathy (putting themselves in someone else's shoes), and the rules of civilization. The best teachers are the parents. Currently, most parents are giving birth, then dropping their kids in daycares, Head Start/preschool--basically doing everything but teaching their kids themselves. I would be willing to bet that not one of the animals in the stories/videos I linked have even one parent invested in raising them, not one regularly attends a church that actively teaches right from wrong, and not one has anyone who cares enough about them to set boundaries.

Unfortunately for the rest of us, that means nobody is raising these kids. I foresee an epidemic of violent, stupid sociopaths that lack any idea of what it means to be human.

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