Thursday, 20 December 2012

The process of osmosis

The process of osmosis
19 December 2012

I suspect that kids learn the most by observing.  Lucky for us, they don’t just observe from us.  Their horizons are bigger, wider and stretch further.  They find inspiration from all over.

And for the most part, this is a wonderful thing.  I mean, it stands to reason, that the more teachers you have, the more vast and diverse your knowledge base will be.  But while this is all fair and well in theory, what happens in practice?

Well, that is an entirely different matter altogether.  All of a sudden, you might find your teaching skills as a parent, usurped by those of Snoop Dogg,  You know Snoop Dogg – big skinny dude.  Calls’s everyone “ho’s” and “bitches”.  Wears his pants around his ankles.  Covered in tattoos and bling-bling jewellery.  Big time into recreational drugs, swearing and the like.  A real stand-up guy.  Just the type you want to have around for Sunday lunch when granny’s visiting.  Hey, I’m not saying his music is not great.  I just worry about him being a role model.

And of course, the irony then is that he’s actually the one you really want.  The lesser of two evils.  Well, at least he’s the lesser as opposed to Lady Gaga.  A lovely homely girl.  Tends to drape herself in raw meat.  Serious!  She wore a very fetching little ensemble the other day, made entirely from meat.  Probably chops and steak.  More than likely she a vegetarian and she simply don’s the meat dress in protest against the trampling of toads in the Amazon.  Or some equally odd reason.  Then there’s Rihanna who got beaten up by her boyfriend.  Britney Spears who beat up a journalist with her umbrella no less.  And so the list of musical “teachers” go on.

If your kids are into sport and they find a sport’s hero or star they would like to emulate, you have struck gold.  Sporting stars are normally level headed and hard-working people.  They are dedicated to their profession, put in exceptionally long hours, look after their bodies physically, are disciplined, make many sacrifices for their sporting careers and have self-discipline.  Unless their sporting hero is Lance Armstrong of course, who succumbed to doping as a quick fix to keep on winning.  Or it’s Hansie Cronje, who gave in to match fixing pressures.  Or it is Joost van der Westhuizen (no disrespect meant to his terrible and debilitating subsequent illness), who had the terrible misfortune to be caught on camera with a pair of skanky holey undies, indulging in a bit of extra-marital curricular activities.  Because if your kids have learnt some lessons from these “awesome” sporting teachers, you’re in a spot of trouble too.

So, I’m thinking, that the best we can hope for is osmosis.  You know osmosis – the process whereby water moves through a partially permeable cell membrane from a low area of concentration, to a high area of concentration.  And here is the clincher – partially permeable.  Which in this instance, translates as internalising and accepting the good and pure, and discarding the waste.  Because if that is the case, then what they will learn from Snoop Dogg, is that “ho’s” and “bitches” aside, he is a family man.  Who loves his wife and kids passionately and is terribly protective over them and that he loves them with everything in him.  That Lady Gaga, though extremely odd on the outside, has a very good heart.  That she has adopted many, many causes and fights for them and does a lot of good in the world.  In fact one of her pet causes is the fight against bullying in schools and she has put millions of her own money into educating kids and providing support for kids that are being bullied.  She is the voice of the downtrodden and often misunderstood, different kids out there.  That Britney Spears fought for her privacy – not only for herself but also for her kids.  That Rihanna might have suffered from domestic violence at the hands of her boyfriend, but that she stood up to him and left him.

That Lance Armstrong is more than just a fallen sports star who made a bad choice.  He is the poster person for fighting and overcoming testicular cancer – a very delicate issue.  That he did a lot of good in his time and was a sports ambassador and gave inspiration and hope to many.  That Hansie Cronje made a bad choice.  But that he admitted it and took it like a man.  That he faced public humiliation, yet still held his head high.  That Joost has turned his life around.  That he made a mistake, but we all do.  That he apologised and said he was sorry.  That he forgave himself.  That he doesn’t give up and will keep on fighting his terrible illness – not only for himself, and the many people that he has taken under his wing, but also for his kids. 

But apart from pinning a lot of hope on the process of osmosis, I am also pinning a lot of hope on the process of reverse osmosis.  Because just as my kids are hopefully learning from me, they are simultaneously teaching me too.  Their wisdom and knowledge is passing through them to me.  How fortunate am I to have three young teachers living in my home.  Blessed for sure.

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