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September 20, 2007

Shaping Young Minds

SvenThere are those who elevate the raising of children to an art form. They play classical music and read aloud while pregnant and, once the child is born, take every advantage to enrich his or her world as a learning environment with educational toys and museum trips. As the child grows, opportunities for intellectual stimulation expand as reading, science projects and field trips fill the days. All in the service of maximizing the brain’s amazing ability to make new neural connections that heighten intelligence and store wisdom.

Then there are those who hijack the neural connections into unintended directions. That’s my job.

And that’s why—while my wonderful wife discussed literature with her book club on Saturday night—I stayed home with my daughters watching “Creature from the Black Lagoon” on Svengoolie’s local TV show.

I primed them for this kind of thing a while back, making sure we had “Mystery Science Theater 3000, the Movie” in our video collection. Then, a few weeks ago, I realized the girls were at that perfect age:

not too young and scared of cheesy monsters, not too old and mortified at the thought of being home on a Saturday night watching ‘B’ movies with their father.

So we started with “The Deadly Mantis”, enjoyed the silliness of “The Tarantula”, and looked forward to enjoying a truly classic 1950s monster picture. And although some of these films just don’t appeal to my literary wife at all, she’s still made of the right stuff.

She’s already said if they don’t show “The Blob” soon, we’ll have to put it at the top of our Netflix queue.

- Tim Broderick

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