What a fear of moths can teach you about parenting

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The other night, my husband was downstairs in the basement, weightlifting and watching sports and doing other manly things that I have no interest in. I was upstairs, doing something highbrow and intellectual and definitely not watching Gilmore Girls when I heard a tapping at the window.

Being concerned for my own safety, I pulled out my phone and texted my husband rather than walk five feet across the living room to investigate.

“Can you come up here? There is a noise at the window.”

Nothing.

More tapping.

“OH NO I THINK IT’S A MOTH GET UP HERE RIGHT NOW AND SAVE ME.”

He came running up the stairs.

True love is knowing that you should indulge your wife’s illogical fears without question. Marriage is laughing mercilessly while you do it. Nevertheless, he released the moth that had gotten trapped between the window pane and the screen and I was able to live another day.

Moths are scientifically evil. When I say scientifically, keep in mind the hardest science I took in college was Psych 101. They relentlessly bash themselves against windows, fly like they just escaped Azkaban, and are the exact color of death. To me, they are little devil souls. Every so often, I try to do the grown up thing and convince myself they are not actually miniature Satans, but then I see one on the window pane, and I decide my initial assessment was correct.

Here’s the thing though – on some level, a deep hidden level that I refuse to fully acknowledge, I know that I am being illogical. Moths have not been proven to be the root of all evil, and are allegedly an important part of our ecosystem. Most of the world does not want to vomit upon seeing one fly by. And now that I have children, I’m starting to realize I have to suppress my urge to run away when I see one of these foul creatures. I don’t want to pass on my own personal prejudices and fears on to them.

Let me rephrase that. I do want to pass on my own personal prejudices and fears on them. One of the main perks of parenting is having a blank canvas that you can indoctrinate with your own personal interests and shield from things you consider undesirable. For example, I hope they develop a love of reading and desperately pray they do not take up an interest in golf. I can’t pretend to be interested in golf, even for their sake. I just can’t.

We plan in participating in most of the standard parental indoctrination. I’m sure they will pick up on our political discussions at the dinner table. We will teach them to pray and hope that they find value in a spiritual life. We will tell them to turn off the TV and go play outside. I want to share with them what I believe, and what I hold near and dear to my heart.

I realize, however, that I am not always right. The majority of people in this world are not afraid of moths. A few even like golf. It’s just that I’m not always sure when I am right and when I am wrong. Teaching them about the world is a heavy task. I know enough about science to answer a three year old’s questions, have a good grasp on history, and can go with my gut on the rest. But my gut also told me to order something called a Chicken Bake from Costco’s food court, and that was definitely a big mistake.

I like to think that my worldview is right. We all do. The chances, however, of us all being right is pretty slim. And the chances of the one person to get it right being me seems even slimmer.

There is a certain amount of doubt needed in the parenting equation. It keeps us from taking everything too seriously, to realize that yes, we probably are doing something wrong, but at least so is everyone else. It’s what makes us give our kids a little space to figure things out for themselves.

I don’t doubt that moths are, in fact, the root of all evil. But I do doubt if I should teach my children this little known unscientific fact. For now, I’ll avoid passing on my paranoia to them. But if science ever gets around to researching this and ultimately proves me right, they’ll be the first to know.

 

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