Should You Let Your Kids Discover Calvin and Hobbes on Their Own?
Posted Friday, March 29, 2013, at 5:19 PM
The father who created a Calvin and Hobbes nursery is clearly a wonderful person for many reasons, but we should outline the big ones in the hopes that it might catch on and make the world a better place. 1) He loves his progeny enough to put this kind of labor into their happiness—the room is not just a place to play, it’s a place to sink yourself in whimsy and adventure. 2) He’s praising one of the great comic strip characters of all time: an edgy, imaginative kid who lives in the moment—all qualities to be praised. 3) In doing so, he’s undermining his authority, which shows that he’s a brave parent interested in independent thinking. (Any worry you might have that he’s too wrapped up in his offspring—that treehouse is awfully precise—can be allayed by the fact he’s celebrating a character who makes undermining his parents a life goal.)
But what if Calvin is a secret pleasure? This is a question about Calvin and Hobbes, but also about how to share your passions with your children. Some, like baseball, have a built-in parent-child component: Everyone enjoys the experience together and you talk about it endlessly for the rest of your life. In the category of books, The Lord of the Rings, like baseball, should be discussed ’till dawn.
But what if Dad’s love of Calvin changes the experience? When Calvin becomes Spaceman Spiff, it’s something only he sees—his parents are not a part of that experience. The entire strip is a mix of the “grown-up” version of reality and Calvin’s version. The reader gets to decide which is more real, but mostly you get lost in Calvin’s world and you blissfully ignore the parental world. Can you do that when he’s painted—by your dad—on your wall?
These questions are not meant to imply a judgment, just a curiosity about how kids respond to things. I always assumed you had to leave bread crumbs and hope. I left my old Calvin and Hobbes books on my son’s shelf and let him think sneaking them during reading time was his idea. When my daughter came along and stole them from her brother I figured the plan had worked.
Maybe I missed out on something, though. Maybe the lesson of Calvin is that we don’t need theories about these things. We should move easily between our imaginations and the real world long after we’ve outgrown the tree house. Maybe then we’d be inspired enough to build a nursery dedicated to an imaginary little runt whose best friend is a tiger.
Dr. Jan Grey het vier jaar gelede na Australië geëmigreer met groot planne om ’n kerk vir “honderdduisende Afrikaanssprekendes” te stig.
Hy het ook Suid-Afrikaners wat “Malema en sy uitsprake wou ontvlug” aangemoedig om Australië toe te emigreer.
Verlede maand is dié herder van die Afrikaanse Kerk Gold Coast (ACGC) deur sy kerkraad in die pad gesteek.
Hy is in 2008 beroep na die ACGC, wat met sowat 100 Afrikaanse huisgesinne volgens Australiese standaarde ’n “groot” gemeente is.
Die oud-Pretorianer bestempel Australiërs se lewensbeskouing as “sekulêr-humanisties tot ateïsties” en sê hulle leef “doodgewoon losbandig” en is uitgelewer aan ’n “ongebreidelde hedonistiese lewenstyl”.
Sy ore was egter glo doof vir sy lidmate se klagtes oor sy “afskeepwerk” – hy het glo net Sondae gepreek en geen verdere herderlike werk gedoen nie.
Grey se siening van die bediening, die bestuur van geld en die verwagte nederigheid as ’n herder het drasties verskil van die verwagtinge van die gemeente, sê lidmate wat verkies om anoniem te praat.
Sy “styl” en “houding” het glo verdeeldheid gesaai en hy het glo ook meer tyd by sy vrou se geskenk-en-skryfbehoeftewinkel deurgebring as met kerksake.
Daarby het hy glo ’n “dominee-mevrou”-kultuur, wat lidmate geglo het hulle in Suid-Afrika agtergelaat het, aan hulle opgedwing.
’n Lidmaat sê van die stigterslede van die gemeente het later padgegee.
“Sowat 47 dominees het al na die ooskus gekom en Grey het almal se patroon gevolg: dominee speel, bedank dan (of ons dwing hom om te gaan) en gaan preek daarna vir die Aussies in swak Engels of word hulp-predikers in ’n Aussie-gemeente.
“Daarna word hulle finansiële konsultante, polisverkopers of polisiemanne.
“Grey is gevra om te bedank en doen nou ’n klerklike werkie by ’n Christelike organisasie.”
Grey het aan Rapport gesê: “Ek laat staan wat agter my is en strek my uit na wat voor my lê. Ek sal my eerder op die bediening van die 60% non-churched Australians toespits.
“Ek en my vrou (Elise) het by my ou Suid-Afrikaanse bediening, die Campus Crusade for Christ, aangesluit.
“Ek glo baie Afrikaanssprekendes sal mettertyd met ons saamwerk.”
Volgens ds. Renier van der Klashorst, ’n Afrikaanse predikant by die Pioneer Community Church in Queensland, “sit die kerk met ’n krisis”.
“Sowat 40% van die predikante wat hierheen immigreer, raak soms uitgebrand of beland in ’n ander beroep. Sommige predikante is dalk ontnugter, doen te veel, werk sewe dae, of verval in kerkpolitiek.
“Ek moet egter byvoeg: Om die Aussies geestelik te bearbei, is ’n groot uitdaging.
“Hulle is reëlvaste mense, maar nie lief vir kerk toe gaan nie. Sowat 6% is wel kerkgangers. Baie gewese Suid-Afrikaners hier gaan ook nie kerk toe nie,” sê Van der Klashorst.
Hier is Jan Grey, die Poepol van die Week en jaar in 2011:
Hy het toe nie so lank gehou onder sy gemeente nie, en ons het dit goed voorspel.
Benedict XVI gave us words of great comfort and encouragement in the message he delivered on Christmas Eve.
“God anticipates us again and again in unexpected ways,” the pope said. “He does not cease to search for us, to raise us up as often as we might need. He does not abandon the lost sheep in the wilderness into which it had strayed. God does not allow himself to be confounded by our sin. Again and again he begins afresh with us”.
If these words comforted and encouraged me they will surely have done the same for leaders of the church in Argentina, among many others. To the judicious and fair-minded outsider it has been clear for years that the upper reaches of the Argentinian church contained many “lost sheep in the wilderness”, men who had communed and supported the unspeakably brutal western-supported military dictatorship that seized power in that country in 1976 and battened on it for years. Not only did the generals slaughter thousands unjustly, often dropping them out of aeroplanes over the River Plate and selling off their orphan children to the highest bidder, they also murdered at least two bishops and many priests. Yet even the execution of other men of the cloth did nothing to shake the support of senior clerics, including representatives of the Holy See, for the criminality of their leader General Jorge Rafael Videla and his minions.
As it happens, in the week before Christmas in the city of Córdoba Videla and some of his military and police cohorts were convicted by their country’s courts of the murder of 31 people between April and October 1976, a small fraction of the killings they were responsible for. The convictions brought life sentences for some of the military. These were not to be served, as has often been the case in Argentina and neighbouring Chile, in comfy armed forces retirement homes but in common prisons. Unsurprisingly there was dancing in the city’s streets when the judge announced the sentences.
What one did not hear from any senior member of the Argentinian hierarchy was any expression of regret for the church’s collaboration and in these crimes. The extent of the church’s complicity in the dark deeds was excellently set out by Horacio Verbitsky, one of Argentina’s most notable journalists, in his book El Silencio (Silence). He recounts how the Argentinian navy hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship’s political prisoners on an island linked to senior clerics.
One would have thought that the Argentinian bishops would have seized the opportunity to call for pardon for themselves and put on sackcloth and ashes as the sentences were announced in Córdoba but that has not so far happened.
But happily Their Eminences have just been given another chance to express contrition. Next month the convicted murderer Videla will be arraigned for his part in the killing of Enrique Angelelli, bishop of the Andean diocese of La Rioja and a supporter of the cause of poorer Argentinians. He was run off the highway by a hit squad of the Videla régime and killed on 4th August 1976 shortly after Videla’s putsch.
• This article was amended on 14 March 2013. The original article, published in 2011, wrongly suggested that Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky claimed that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio connived with the Argentinian navy to hide political prisoners on an island called El Silencio during an inspection by human rights monitors. Although Verbitsky makes other allegations about Bergoglio’s complicity in human right abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio’s “holiday home”. This has been corrected.