Ignorance and Parental Bliss

by Samantha on November 8, 2011

Ignorance is bliss. That’s my credo and I’m sticking to it. And so are many other parents, apparently. 

Yes, like many exhausted moms and dads in similar situations, I often plead ignorance and turn a blind eye when confronted by the following:

  • A piles of dirty laundry in need of washing
  • Piles of clean laundry that have not been folded and are now wrinkled
  • Scribbles on the wall (see photo below)
  • Banana stuck to the dining room floor
  • An indeterminate object that is encased in a Tupperware container on the second shelf in the back of my fridge
  • Utility bills
  • A nutritious family meal, seven days a week
  • Whining, anytime
Okay, there is some sarcasm here (bills do get paid, laundry does get done, etc.), but you get my point. 

Sometimes, it’s just easier to ignore things rather than confront them head on, isn’t it? This is especially the case when you have children, a home, and hey - a life! Pleading ignorance doesn’t always work but it’s often a relief from having to deal with the reality of parenting kids and its inherent chores and responsibilities.
A masterpiece on the dining room wall. Yet no one took credit for its creation.

The “philosophy of ignorance” is all around us as well. We see it daily in news stories, online and otherwise. Examples of these instances only facilitate the ideology that claiming not to know exonerates us from our responsibilities. It becomes increasingly more difficult to raise children who cherish the value structure that encourages “owning up” to ones responsibilities and actions. 

Image of  Enron CEO Kenneth Lay courtesy of www.mylot.com

Public figures and the easy availability of “The Ignorance Defense” makes it almost impossible to ignore (pun intended) the fact that our kids are regularly shown that there’s an easy way out. Claiming not to know better is often encouraged and supported in the media. It makes it tougher to do our jobs as parents.

Image of Bernie and Ruth Madoff courtesy of www.examiner.com

As guilty as I and many other parents are of ignoring the drudgery of daily life, this is very different than pleading ignorance about more important things. Most of us know that the pile of laundry that has sit in the corner one day too long is not as life-altering as some of the situations portrayed in the broader media channels. We won’t lose our houses and worse if our favorite shirt isn’t clean. That being the case, larger missteps that make the news are frequently overlooked, despite their consequences and repercussions. It leaves us to wonder whether the culture of ignorance is so accepted that what was once perceived as wrong is now considered okay. After all, we are a society that adheres to the cult of celebrity; by this token, monkey see monkey do, unfortunately.

Image of Rupert Murdoch courtesy of www.time.com
We may or may not think twice as we profess that we didn’t know better…or just didn’t know. We lead by example and accordingly, our children quickly learn that turning a blind eye is indeed okay, because after all - mom and dad did it, so it must be alright. The value structure that at one time underscored the importance of “owning up” has all but been lost in this new world order that encourages the lack of responsibility not only for children but for their parents as well.

Dirty socks and laundry piles aside, there comes a time where we must accept our responsibilities and face the music. So while we can slack off at home and ignore the more trivial aspects of daily life, the external messages that our kids learn pose a much larger problem. 

How do you teach children to “own up” to their responsibilities? Has the “Ignorance is Bliss” ideology that is often portrayed in media gone too far?
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

championm2000 November 9, 2011 at 2:16 am

I agree: "As guilty as I and many other parents are of ignoring the drudgery of daily life, this is very different than pleading ignorance about more important things."

I also agree we have a tough job as parents in teaching our children to own up and take responsibility. I think one concrete way I plan to work on this with my children is to not tolerate excuses, especially when it comes to school. I see too many parents who allow their children to make excuses and parents who in turn make excuses for their children-often attacking the teacher.


Samantha November 9, 2011 at 2:41 am

@championm2000Hi Melissa,
I completely agree on the school front. There's limited room for error when it comes to the importance of education and getting work done. That being said, the less pressing things tend to continue to fall by the wayside - in my case, laundry, chores, etc., in the kids'cases, culpability at who did the latest masterpiece on the nearest wall ;)
Thanks for commenting.


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