09/15/2010 04:38 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Consider the Source

As a mother of a fourteen-year-old gamer, my summer's entertainment consisted of tech camp, a "Weird Al" Yankovic concert, a triumvirate of cinematic testosterone; Kick-Ass, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, The Expendables, and a DVD favorite, South Park, the movie. Buried deep in the South Park expletive-fest is the simple message that hatred is passed on and intolerance is a learned evil. The unlearning and developing of an individual mind should be the process of a human's life, the undoing of the Gordian knot and finding and developing the original idea of YOUR OWN point of view.

Hard to do. Everywhere I looked today as I drove carpool -- the middle-aged, unshaved man walking his dog and texting on his Blackberry, the Hispanic mom run/walking with her children down the street to their local public school so that she could catch the bus to get to her job, the teachers talking in the parking lot where I dropped off my own at his school, and of course me in my insular life of driving and my myriad doings -- we are all products of what we've learned, and we have made our life's choices based on that learning, and we're passing it on and on and on.

As the political races heat up, this morning we see the winners and losers and wonder, what are they saying that is stimulating their victories or losses? Are these original ideas or what they think the voters want them to say? Will Republicans start drinking tea because tea is popular even if they don't like it? Or will they stay with their conservative coffee blend? I watched Harry Shearer's brilliant documentary, The Big Uneasy, shown for one night only on the anniversary of Katrina, and he lays out so succinctly the truth vs. the party line of the US Army Corps of Engineers... we believe what we know because the government tells us so... WMDs, the EPA, the FDA... we believe them until we learn otherwise, and then we are outraged at the betrayal. Same with our parents. Same with our children.

As my ubiquity reaches its promotional peak, and I am asked daily to opine about a young co-star's public fumbling and what I consider the source of her issues, I come back of course to look at my own. We all are a product of our parents, our environment, our peers, and yet when we look in the mirror we are looking at the problem... and the solution. As parents we all need to remember that we are our children's most important source, and the greatest gift we can give them is the permission to have their own opinion backed up by good discourse and debate, and of course by asking good questions. Believe me, at 52, I am just figuring it out, and I am trying to be careful about what I feed my son without asking if he really likes what I am dishing up and being willing to hear NO.

Food for thought.