Monday, June 15, 2009

Captain Grandpa

Once when I was babysitting my youngest granddaughter Payton, I saw a spider crawling on the ceiling right above her bassinet. So I wrote in the log--my kids keep a log of their baby's first few years of life--that Captain Grandpa summoned his super powers and vanquished the intruder. Corny I know, but then my son and daughter in-law decided to get me a baseball cap with the words 'Captain Grandpa' sown on the front and which I now proudly wear.

But I do like the idea of keeping a log for each child in which all the care givers can post all their observations. Things like "You began to crawl today" or "You took your first steps this morning" and so on. Because these logs will be read by the child at a much later age, I decided to add observations from my objectivist perspective. For example when my oldest granddaughter, Taylor, began to speak words, I wrote in essence, "Your conceptual mind is waking up now. You are now integrating percepts into concepts, something no other animal can do." I then wrote a short explanation of the difference between the two.

When Payton, pulled her self up to a standing position for the very first time, she turned around and looked at mom and dad with the biggest, wide eyed smile as if to say 'look what I just did!" I took that opportunity to write in her log "That is what life is all about, achieving one goal after another. Life is not an arduous, joyless journey towards the achievement of some goal which when achieved only then can one be happy. Oh no! The real happiness is in the journey, the enjoyment of each success for its own sake, one after another, no matter how great or small, as part of the journey."

One may wonder why I'm going to such trouble with my grand kids. Well, first, they are my grand kids and I'm very selfish about their well being. Second, if we lived in a completely civilized society with an objective (private) educational system which had a rational curriculum, I wouldn't have to worry about their intellectual development so much. But we don't live in such a society. So I have to be Captain Grandpa in more than just physical ways. I have to fly to their aid in intellectual ways as well. When each one first enters school, I intend to check out the curriculum and talk to the teachers personally. I want to know what parts of the curriculum are rational and what irrational and need to be countered. My own kids know I'll be doing this and seem to be happy about it.

Another of the things I'm doing is putting together a small box for each child with a copy of Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, Virtue of Selfishness and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal inside. I will give the boxes to them when I think they are ready for them or if I'm not around then, on their 18th birthday.

But the biggest reason I'm doing all this is because, as mentioned above, I'm selfish. I really enjoy it.
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