Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ursula X.X. Imada: Motherhood Hall of Fame Inductee for 2512!

Steve Rude, Nexus #4 (Capital, Nov. 1983)
There are mothers and moms and mamas and mommies, but there's only one Ursula X.X. Imada, former Attorney General for the Cohesive Web, architect, ace spy, assassin, ambassador, prophet of the Elvonic Brotherhood religion and ruler of the planet Procyon.  Also single mother, not the least of her roles.

Being a mother isn't an easy job under the best of circumstances. But here's a woman of power, with a demanding career occasionally involving the possible black hole death of as many as 400 billion people, yet also devoted to her children.  As mother to the twin daughters of Horatio Hellpop, otherwise known as Nexus, Ursula has developed many effective parenting techniques.  But then Scarlett and Sheena are special children with intelligence and abilities far beyond the norm.  Sheena, for example, is a telepath.  She always knows what Santa's bringing for Christmas, if the jolly ol' elf can maneuver his sleigh past her mother's planetary defenses and infiltrate the well-protected Castle Imada (Imada-jo).  Scarlett is a "fusionkaster" (that's fusion-based energy manipulator to you and me, Russ) with powers rivaling her famous father's.  If these two are to follow in their illustrious mother's political footsteps, they require more than the usual family dinners and ballet lessons.

Rude/Eric Shanower, Nexus #9 (First, Nov. 1985)
Let's look at some of Usula X.X. Imada's finest mommy moments.  We can learn a thing or two from her!

Ursula's first and foremost a proponent of being their for your children.  Being part of their lives.  Although her responsibilities and career as a power-seeker occupies a great deal of her time and concentration, Ursula X.X. Imada makes it a point to be part of her daughters’ lives.  When convenient, a physical presence.  This includes doing such things as canceling meetings with heads of state and personally breastfeeding (despite taking her own sweet time giving them names) the babes.  Yet always a spiritual or psychic one.  Even in her absence, she makes her influence felt by providing for their intellectual and emotional well-being.

Ursula's parenting techniques have their basis in education.  Rigorous education.  She has lofty expectations for her daughters' academic progress, sets standards high and demands they perform to the best of their abilities.  Special talents require special teachers.  As ruler of an entire planet, Ursula has massive resources upon which to draw.  This ensures she hires only the best tutors for individualized instruction.  While you may not have her deep pockets, do the best you can with what you have.  Remember:  when you skimp on your children's education now, you pay extra for it later.

Rude/Shanower, Nexus #15 (First, Dec. 1983)
She has seen to their early childhood education with staples such as various Earth-based and intergalactic languages, plus advanced Calculus, which both girls quickly master.  The need for a solid base in math and the sciences is obvious.  But languages play and important role in a child's development, especially if they are to read historical texts in the original languages; this allows the young mind to absorb information within its proper cultural context as some concepts do not translate into English, Japanese or Interlac.  Let's spy as Ursula discovers to her delight just how talented her twins are.  Hope she doesn't spot us!

Rude/John Nyberg, Nexus #27 (First, Dec. 1985)
Note here Ursula's use of praise.  Positive reinforcement plays a crucial role in developing your child's potential both in the classroom and without.  And here we see the arrival of one of the girls' instructors, the fusionkasting professional wrestler, martial artist and galaxy-famous chef and raconteur Judah Maccabee.  While she was skeptical of Judah due to his closeness with Hellpop, she allows him to stay because of his obvious expertise.  Ursula would counsel you not to neglect your children's physical development.

Rude/Nyberg, Nexus #27 (First, Dec. 1985)
The point is, while most public schools and even many private ones have an unfavorable teacher-student ratio, the individualized approach of a hands-on, live-in educator provides incalcuable benefits, even if the turnover rate at Castle Imada is comparatively much higher.  Managed correctly, however, even frequent changes in teachers can become lessons unto themselves, rather than a source of uncertainty.  Ursula's daughters thrive in such an environment, showing remarkable progress from an early age.  Could you, as a parent, do any less for your offspring?  Perish the thought!

Rude, Nexus #50 (First, Nov. 1988)
As you can see here, Ursula also believes in helping her daughters with their homework.  While their minds are certainly sponge-like and soak up knowledge, she likes give them a little squeeze now and then to see what they've absorbed.  Ursula takes an interest in what her offspring have to say, and you should do the same with yours as well.  They may surprise you!  This can also be useful in gauging whether or not they're becoming fluent in your philosophy of the application of political and personal power.  Or if they've overheard someone plotting against you.

Jackson Guice/Nyberg, Nexus #32 (First, May 1987)
This next lesson might be the most controversial.  At the same time, Ursula isn't afraid to resort to corporal punishment.  Ursula demonstrates proper technique in this sequence.  Obviously in today's touchy-feely, anything-goes society, a good open-handed blow to the face has lost its currency.  Indeed, many so-called experts baldly state one should never strike a child.  Ursula believes this is still one of the most effective ways a caring parent can make her point.  Just make sure you follow up with an instructive word or two so the punctuating effect of a good slap isn't lost.  It's not that you want to weed out their violent impulses; it's that you want to aim them at the correct targets.  Violence without direction is simply chaos, and that will never do.

Guice/Nyberg, Nexus #32 (First, May 1987)
As Ursula demonstrates, in the aftermath of such punishment, it's further effective to reinforce the closeness of the family unit.  Embrace your children.  This is the "carrot" to the slap's "stick."  Some may decry this as sending mixed signals, resulting in emotional confusion.  Nonsense, Ursula replies.  And if so, sometimes this is necessary lest the children become complacent.  Complacency is also your enemy, along with those standing in the way on your path to absolute rule over a solar system or two.

Ursula also shares words of wisdom before she she offers the group hug.  When one child is a telepath-- even one as powerful as Sheena-- she may feel overshadowed by sister, who draws her abilities from the heart of a star.  Still, as the instigator of this incident, she must still fulfill her sisterly obligations to share.  As Ursula often observes, "Sharing is caring, if I say it is."  Or she would, if she used simple-minded rhyming aphorisms like some sort of nightclub hilariator.

This comes immediately after her sacking of the aforementioned Judah Maccabee.  Ursula will quickly fire recalcitrant or neglectful teachers, even one as highly credentialed as the famed Thune.  As always, the children come first unless there's some vital plot afoot that requires they come second.  Ursula belives instructors, although ostensibly part of the household, should also refrain from involving themselves in family matters unless otherwised asked, under pain of death.  Certain Thunes, who may prove especially troublesome, destructive or useful at a later time, may be exempt from the punitive clauses contained in their contracts.  In these cases, a simple sacking will suffice.  If the employee in question is a simple human, such as the unfortunate Lonnie Loomis, who succeeded Judah as tutor a few years later, one might resort to torture before dismissal.  Either way, like Ursula, do not be afraid to pull the plug!

Spyder/Bob Dvorak, Nexus #56 (First, May 1989)
How many times now have we seen Ursula embrace the girls?  I count three, but these are by no means the only times.  One must assume life goes on even when the story focus shifts from Procyon to Mars or Ylum, or the Bowl-Shaped World.  Hug, hug, hug.  Learn from Ursula's example and do not refrain from open expressions of love, even if the children have been up to mischief, such as stealing a starcraft, navigating it across the galaxy to visit (or save) their father and immolating his enemies with fusion energy.  Reserve the right to punish later and maintain a decisive front.  Children respond well to consistency.  Indeed, they crave it.  But by all means, hug them!  You may also use this moment to feel for communication devices secreted on their persons, or for hidden weapons.  Forewarned is forearmed.

Pet names or other forms of endearment not only make the child feel loved, but may also stimulate his or her own imagination to come up with similar nicknames for the rest of the family.  Here's as especially instructive example.

Mark Heike/Jeff Albrecht, Nexus #69 (First, June, 1990)
Ursula knows it’s through her actions she is most influential on the girls.  This is vital to her parenting philosophy.  Therefore, as in all things, she is quite deliberate in her parental interactions.  She maintains a pose of dignity and control at all times.  Lessers, such as employees, lower-ranking colleagues, servants and those to be tortured or executed, are kept at a respectful distance.  When enforcing her admittedly harsh laws, Ursula pursues her form of jurisprudence with great vigor and force.  Ursula makes sure Scarlett and Sheena have some knowledge of this as a lesson in proper tyrannical behavior.  On a related not, she was also not shy in their early years about letting them know their father's vocation, assassin of mass murderers.

Always remember, your success or failure as a parent will determine whether or not your children become lazy Mezz fanatics, wasting themselves and their lives in some sort of musical caravan forever in pursuit of cheap thrills, or largely benevolent dictators of adoring millions ready to accept the harshest of rule.  It's all up to you, the parent.  But by studying these examples of super-mom Ursula X.X. Imada and emulating her whenever possible, you, too, might become an award winner!

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