I really like some times when I get up read two blogs that are normally unrelated and get fed into two streams which actually go together like swirl ice cream. Today is one of those times, and it brought me far from the two blogs which started this little journey.
Dr. Helen kicked it off by talking about Family conflict, especially as it tied into the holiday season.
“However, why not make the family friction into a learning experience for you and the kids?”
This reminds me of something my mother did which gets a bit into the point she mentions on another blog which I will get to in a moment. It brings me back to my mother “exposing” me to gay people. I actually vaguely remember I came to understand what they were at this point…but she didn’t just pick average gay people to expose me to so I could learn about gay people. Mom decided to expose me to people so gay they made Elton John look straight. I’m still not all to sure what her logic for doing that was.
Now on DADvocate he presents the case much more negatively then Dr. Helen.
In a few minutes, my sister stated she needed to leave. Giving polite goodbyes to all she and her friend left. It was then that I realized, or thought, that she was offended by my children’s comments and perhaps mine. However, I was also offended that during a family lunch that my 12 year old son and 9 year old daughter were confronted about the morality of homosexuality….During the roughest times of my life I received minimal support from my liberal siblings and parents. I visit my parents as regularly as possible because they are essentially good (although politically and socially misguided) people, in their 80’s and deserve to live out the last years of their lives feeling loved.After enduring many moments of tolerating my family’s liberal moments, I don’t look forward to gatherings, holidays, etc. because relaxation and enjoyment are too often interrupted by the politics of the moment or the cause celebre. Last Thanksgiving it was the mythical “sexist moment,” this year it is “gayness,” I can’t predict what next year holds. Maybe all this is what Jesus was referring to when he said, “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”
I have to go with Dr. Helen’s view however and also conversely my mom’s as well ( and my mom is a huge Liberal to)
However, in the raising of children, perhaps it is best to expose them to different groups of thought and help them to sort out why Aunt Becky or Uncle Tom is the way he or she is and to learn to understand their differences. This does not mean buying into whatever asinine thing the relatives want to say, but rather using it as a springboard to help children understand and broaden their perspectives on how people behave. And who knows? Aunt Becky with her liberal views may be the one who pushes little Johnny into a great career in the army or little Debbie into advocating for male rights after her son is forced by feminists to be medicated for his masculine behavior. Or on the other hand, Uncle Tom’s racist views may lead another child to examine his own prejudices and decide to become more aware of his own racist attitudes in daily life.
The key is a dialogue and setting the standards you believe in on the subject you are exposing your children to.
Now over on Less Idiots I clicked on a link for Shameless plugs which brought me to Hiddenson’s construct and Plus memories. With a seasonal subject which also goes to the heart of the rearing of children “Do you tell Children about Santa Claus and the Easter bunny.” And I have to say like many of the folks here I am hugely torn. On the one hand I think kids believing in childish things like a bunny that drops eggs and a big fat man that leaves presents is good…. But at the same point in time I also see the point that kids who believe the presents come from parents and family members who love them very much is also a biggie to.
This also gets into one of the things I hate about college….professors using the bully pulpit to shape ideas in one and only one direction.
So ok my idea about children and their rearing/programming….
It needs to be as open and honest a dialogue as the kids are able to wrap their minds around. I won’t tell kids there is a real Santa Claus out there on a sleigh but I will tell them that Santa is a representation of both the Joy in giving presents, and the joy in receiving presents. (what do you think the milk and cookies are for huh 😉 ). And this will be more warped as I don’t expect any children I have to be Christian in any way shape or form.
I’ll be pro-active like my mother was when my kids are of the age to be exposed and think about more advanced socio-political concepts. I’m going to let the kids know what I think, I’m going to let them know why I find the other point of view to be wrong…. But I am also going to stress more importantly what matters in this world is the love and connection we have as a family.
If a friend/family member/non parental authority figure goes out and exposes kids and sells them a propaganda version of a political worldview I will raise cain. I will tell the person that you should ask me next time you try that. And then I go talk to my kid and try to get some good deprogramming skills built into the kid.
If a spouse does this… that’s going to be time for one of those in the bedroom discussions about child rearing issues. I can reasonably expect I am going to marry a spouse who on some big ticket issues doesn’t agree with me… if that’s the case then that to is a teachable moment for the kids.
And capping it all off with a lesson my mother taught me: Don’t believe everything you read, maybe believe half of what you hear, and remember you have a mind so figure it out.