Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dad: Boss and Owner

In some households, dad is boss. In one Ontario household, the dad is not happy with just being the boss; he insists that he owns his kids. In a fight with the Ontario school board on the right to pull his children from courses that may be out of line with his traditional Christian beliefs, the most appalling aspect of this case is the man's following statement (taken from Yahoo):

"My children are my own. I own them. They don't belong to the school board."

Well, this statement is 50% right- the school board definitely does not own his children. On the other hand, this statement of 'I own them' is much more problematic. First, there's the creepy Bates-like mentality of saying such a thing, a statement which is sure to resonate with his children later on in life, as they feel the full weight of his expectations. Second, the very fact of owning anything removes all sense of autonomy or self-awareness of that thing. This is not a problem when the thing in question is a flat screen television. Yeah, you own that thing. It's more troubling when the thing is a human being.

Humans are linked- they are not owned, they are not property. The semantics in this case matter a whole lot. The television doesnt't require you to respect it or its opinions. The television doesn't grow up, mature or have a deep-rooted need to find its own way in life. People should not be equated with things or with ownership of any kind; this attitude and this language is repressive.

The whole matter of what he perceives as his right to pull his children from classes, or be made aware ahead of time what's in the course material is only noteworthy when you consider that by the virtue of his language, this is a father with a few control issues.

And as such, his children are probably the ones who could benefit the most from seeing different perspectives on life. Human rights comes to mind.

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