I thought: Well, if this place is an open-air garden with old-fashioned oom-pa-pa marching band music and people wearing lederhosen, that is probably pretty innocent. But it wasn’t. It was a dark dungeon playing incisive, menacing/sinister techno rap.
I have largely given up on our culture as being hopelessly corrupt, but sorry, this really riles up my protective dad instincts.
Before checking it out and promptly deciding that my son would not be staying in that environment, I saw the moms going in, including a woman carefully wrapping her tiny newborn girl in a chest pack. She mentioned that her daughter had been crying on the way there and now, outside the car, seemed to calm down. The mom seemed to think it was just fine to bring her baby into that environment. She doesn't think of her child as fragile or impressionable?
I just cannot get over how appalling it is to take these delicate newborns into such an environment, when their sponge-like little brains are imprinting and recording everything as their fundamental template and model of reality, and when they are forming their first sensitivity to the world and their first sense of themselves and their world of experience. To me, this is cultural child abuse.
Have we gone from Baby Einstein/Mozart to Baby "criminal mentality"? Are we so complacent about being constantly goosed by malevolent supernormal sensations? Have we completely ceased to be guardians of childhood innocence? Does the onslaught of sensory overload and numbing have to start that early? Are there no standards left whatsoever for the kind of moral and cultural exposure that is appropriate for children? Geese!
In teaching music to very young children, I have consistently noticed a counter-intuitive pattern. The children may appear to be completely distracted and impulsive, running here and there, saying random things, focusing only in random bits and pieces. And then, six months later, at a totally unexpected moment, they show you that they have taking in absolutely everything.
Never underestimate a child's power of absorption. And remember the statement attributed to the Jesuits and to Aristotle: "Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man."
After getting home, my son and I spent the time in our living room, with the sun coming through the window. It was quiet. He was grabbing daddy’s arm, cooing and smiling and farting—just like a baby should. I rubbed his head and sang him the "abc" song. He watched with wide eyes and a big grin; he worked on talking to me in baby talk.
Hopefully in this pattern he will grow up to be not a typical anxious chaos machine, but a centered and confident moral being.
However his peers will have had parents who foolishly chose the other path; 15 years from now, they will be horrified with the results.