For the five people in the world that still have not seen Christopher Nolan’s latest science-fiction thriller, the movie Inception is about a corporate espionage group that infiltrates companies and steals secrets from the highest ranking officials in the company. They do this through a process called extraction, where they enter the dreams of CEO’s and retrieve crucial data from their subconscious. Extraction is a very difficult practice, but inception which also takes place in the subconscious was close to impossible. The extractors are asked to implant a thought into the mind of a billionaire owner so that he makes a specific, lucrative deal for a company, and so that he thinks that the idea is his own. This is where the namesake of the movie is found. In order to implant an idea in another person, that person has to believe that the idea was formed of his or her own volition. The “inception” of any idea comes from a simple thought. It is a mindset that was formed by someone else, which grows into the desired ideology of the person who formed the idea. Raising children is inception.
When a child is born, it is in essence a blank slate waiting to be imprinted. Babies only know how to sleep, cry, and fill a diaper. They cry when they are hot, cold, dirty, or hungry. They relieve themselves after every meal and intermittently throughout the day. And, the rest of a baby’s time is spent sleeping. These behaviors occur naturally, but every other behavior of a baby is learned. Toddlers learn how to walk and how to move through imitating their parents’ and older sibling’s movements. And, the largest job in raising children is teaching them how to behave. In the movie Inception, simply entering into the subconscious of an individual and suggesting an idea in a dream was not enough to bring that idea to fruition. The individual simply shrugged those suggestions off as the silliness of a dream. The only way to be sure that an idea was acted upon was to give a separate mantra that would lead the person to the desired ideals. One single thought would give birth to an action.
Children are taught manners, morality, and other complex ideas and behaviors through the same methodology. If you want a child to wash their hands regularly, saying “wash your hands” after every restroom break will not convince a child to keep their hands clean. However, telling a child that failure to wash their hands can lead to sickness, and then reminding them of how terrible their sore throat felt the last time they were sick would probably convince them to clean their hands regularly. Simply telling a child to do the right thing on a case by case basis does not insure that the child will make the right decisions on their own. Inception does. It is the idea that influences the behavior that is most important, not the behavior itself.
Proper parenting depends on an adult’s ability to give their children direction. Parents guide the actions of their kids with their own actions and they impart the desired concepts onto their child’s consciousness. Without the proper development of children’s minds and their sense of righteousness society as a whole could devolve into chaos. The process of imparting personal ideas that form into individual statutes of behavior is necessary for raising healthy and competent adults.
Consequently, teaching a child morality mirrors the concept of inception perfectly. However, that ideology does not inundate a child’s psyche automatically. Parents have to plant a moral pillar that leads their children towards the expected behaviors. Parenting entails mind control. And, it is the implementation of the ideals that shape behavior. Parenting is Inception.