This morning, Jude and I were prepping ourselves for our family trip to The New England Aquarium. The beautifully filmed Disney’s Oceans (really BBC’s Earth but I won’t judge Disney for using the footage) was playing. His toddler eyes glazed over as he watched fish swim and crabs crawl across the ocean floor. When the sharks came on I asked him if he was going to see a shark this weekend. “Yah, shawk.” Then I asked him if he liked sharks. Instead of giving me a direct answer, he did what he does most times he likes something, he threw his hands up into the air and ran out of the room yelling “SHAAWWKKS!” (now obviously he doesn’t always yell “Shawk” when he’s excited, he’ll replace the subject line of the yell with whatever suits the situation, for example: “CHEEESE.” or “ELLMMOO.”)
As I watched him run from room to room yelling shark, I got to thinking about the sharks and the children they have, their “pups”. A shark mother will have a few pups and then just leave them. This is directly opposite of how I think parenting should be. What came from Pierce Brosnan’s sultry voice next though, is what caught my attention. The shark pups don’t need their mothers. From the time they are born they rely purely on instinct. Every decision they make is instinctual. From where they swim to what they eat and how they poop, every aspects of life are never taught to them. As humans, most of us rely on our smart phones or at least “The Google” to make every day decisions. Sometimes those decisions are as simple as “Siri, should I wear a coat today?”. I always think Siri should answer as rude as possible. “I don’t know, turd breath. Go stick your thick neck outside and check if its cold. I’m too busy figuring out how to enslave humanity in order to…wait…Yes, you need a jacket.” Sometimes the things we google are very large. Think “Child care” or “Sex offender registry”.
My point is that humanity seems to be losing a lot of its instinct. We are not born as sharks are with the knowledge of life governing our days. It would be so nice if we could be born and just know what to do. Unfortunately, Margot can’t even fall asleep by herself and While Jude can remove the milk from the fridge….it ends there.
It seems in large part that our instinct is shaped by the history that we live. Lessons learned and whatnot. The only place I can see that differently is when having children. For me at least. When your baby comes out, its like a switch is flipped and stuff you never thought about before is suddenly at arms length. My entire demeanor changed after having and taking care of Jude. I can only explain this in one way. I felt like I was on auto-pilot. Everything became a decision I knew to make. From why thy cry to what to do when they fall. Yes, nervous auto-pilot but that’s gotten better. I have learned to trust my instinct and now I can see it guide me in some very unusual ways. This is just me, my wife on the other hand, She had instinct up the wazoo before ever being pregnant. Maybe its a guy thing,maybe its a loner thing, or a personality thing. I don’t know. The only thing I do know is that as a parent, you need, NEED! to trust your instinct. Even if you second guess it, even if it seems wrong or unpopular, trust your instinct. Trust it about animals. Trust it about situations. TRUST IT ABOUT PEOPLE! I cannot stress that last one enough. If I gave in to the second guessing or comments from family members, my children would have been hanging around a convicted pedophile.
We’re not sharks but there’s a reason evolution has been happening for 3.6 billion years. Trust your instinct.