On the whole, I’m a good person.
Really, I am.
I recycle, I pay it forward and I practice random acts of kindness. I smile at strangers, I hold doors open for people and I will even let you merge ahead of me on the highway (though, I do give you the finger if you don’t wave because RUDE, people). I teach my kids to say please and thank you, demand that they refer to grown ups as “Mrs.” or “Mr.” and I’ve put kids in time out so fast their heads have spun.
I pay attention to local politics, I know who my Senators and Congressmen/women are and I can actually tell you who my mayor is without pausing. I vote in the primaries (both midterm AND presidential), I show up to local zoning board meetings and I’ve been know to write a letter or seven to the editor of our newspapers. I believe in civic duty and though everyone knows I mostly ran for PTA president because I wanted to control the gavel, I also did it because I believe that, as a parent, it’s my job to have a voice on issues like budgets, education and finally getting a stoplight at that intersection where I almost kill myself daily.
My point? I’m doing the best I can to be a good human and raise humans who aren’t douchenozzles. I’m doing my part for humanity, bitchachos.
But, here’s the thing: I don’t need YOU or anyone else to help me decide what my kids learn about sex, religion and politics. I’m doing a pretty good job on my own, thankyouverymuch, and I’ll thank you to keep your opinions to yourself around my ten and thirteen year old, m’kay?
Recently, Fruit Loop #2 was subjected to inappropriate, egregious discussions related to the underbelly of our society, both domestic and foreign. Now, before I explain further, we are going to set some ground rules:
1). I’m telling you this story from MY perspective.
2). I don’t give a rat’s ass what your political affiliation is so don’t send me angry emails if I offend your candidate. You probably don’t like mine but I’ll keep YOUR inbox devoid of my opinions.
3). I don’t care what your religious affiliation is, either. I trust you love God just as much as I do so let’s not argue over what church or religion glorifies him more because I’m pretty sure He would raise eyebrows at us bickering over such things.
During the course of several weeks in Fruit Loop #2’s Religion class (yes, the same program that almost blew the whistle on Santa for her last year…), her teacher felt it necessary to discuss topics that, frankly, even I can’t wrap my brain around at the age of forty-one. Sex. Condoms. ISIS. Beheadings. Donald Trump coming to save us all (I just vomited when I wrote that sentence because OMG). Every week, Fruit Loop #2 would come out of class bewildered and scared, with questions that would make me want to stop the car on the way home and hold her. Her hazel eyes asked me if I’d miss her after ISIS beheaded her for standing firm in her belief in God.
Let that sink in, shall we? She was told she should be brave if she was going to be beheaded in the name of Christ.
NO CHILD NEEDS TO BE TOLD THEY CAN BE A MARTYR FOR CHRIST IF ISIS COMES KNOCKING, PEOPLE.
To say I was livid is an understatement. I emailed. I complained. I worked with other parents to make sure our children had a safe, kind environment. I had a nasty, downright dirty argument with the teacher face to face about spreading hate, fear and untruths to impressionable children. I was called “low” and “ugly” for speaking up and I was told that I was doing a disservice to my child by sheltering her from the horrors of the world. And I was told that I probably let her believe in Santa, too. Bitch, hold mah hoops, because OH. NO. SHE. DIDN’T.
Oh, but she did.
Suffice it to say: after I channeled my inner Julia Sugarbaker, I sailed out of that room in a wave of fury and Estee Lauder perfume (I don’t mind telling you: it was epic).
Humans are universal in two ways: everyone poops and everyone has an opinion. I get it. I see it every single day in my Facebook News Feed and I can barely watch the news these days because our Presidential Race has become such a mudslinging, hate fest. We are bombarded with soundbites, email blasts and memes that make our eyes roll every single day. On the whole, people who are supposed to be grown ups are acting like five year olds on a playground. It’s insipid and it’s frustrating, to say the least, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t deathly afraid for the future of our nature. I am making a concerted effort to wade through the political minefields to truly understand the issues and to get to know the actual candidates, not just their trumped up brands (see what I did there?).
What I am NOT doing is shoving my opinions down the throats of other people’s children and giving them nightmares about men and machetes coming for them. And, while, yes, Hubby and I have spirited debates at the kitchen table, we spend a lot of time helping the Fruit Loops understand the complicated process of electing a president. We have open discussions about how the candidates are running their campaigns and we try to answer their questions as best as we can. We are doing what we can to help our children learn from the mistakes our country is so obviously making right now.
AND YOU SHOULD DO THE SAME WITH YOUR KIDS.
Talk to them. Educate them. Help them understand. Teach them empathy for minorities and explain how they can make the world a better place. Empower them. Take them with you when you vote and let them pull the lever. Do what you can to give them the tools to become civic minded adults who focus on a solution rather than hate. Whitney Houston famously sang about our children being the future and never has that concept been more important than now. Our children will have quite a mess to clean up at the rate we are going and they need to be ready.
THEY DON’T NEED TO BE SCARED OUT OF THEIR WITS.
Like I said, I don’t care WHAT your political opinions are: don’t push your agenda on my kids. That’s MY job, not yours. All I’m asking is that you don’t hide your hate mongering behind religion and try to spoon feed it to my kids.
I have a hard enough time getting them to eat their broccoli, much less a side of Donald Trump’s hair.
Kind of wish I was a fly on the wall the day you schooled the teacher…….
Your kids are all the better for having you and Mr. Keeper as parents, too bad more parents won’t do the same.
Gurrrrrrrrrrrrrl. You know my initial reaction includes lots of offensive language and a trip to see Mrs. Teacher. But Imma try to get my crap together and simply say: YES. It is no one else’s job to shove their agenda down anyone else’s throat, let alone a CHILD. This woman should be professionally reprimanded and held accountable for the irresponsible way she is wielding her words. Unacceptable.
Our Christmas giving is spoiled because all the younger lot want is money. I sh1udlnRo7;t really complain as this makes it really simple – but it does take some of the magic out of the day.
Wow! Where do I begin to explain how glad I am that I found your website! I absolutely love the way you write. This article in particular inspires me to be more active in politics, as I have mostly avoided it since high school. I participate just enough to know who to vote for president, but that’s about it. I need to be able to educate my children more in regards to this subject. Honestly, I am quite terrified for their future, but I can prepare them for success on the battlefield of life. Thank you! I also loved your article on being a selfish mom. 🙂 I will be a much nicer mom when I learn to take care of myself!
I’m right with you. I could have written the first few paragraphs myself, even right down to PTA president. The only difference in my story is that the teacher was trying to shove his very liberal agenda down my daughter’s throat including: why you need to become vegan (included a movie of a slaughter house), why it’s absolutely vital that we disrespect this elected president at every turn, giving a graded assignment in Spanish (without any translation help), and proclaiming that people that practice a religion are gullible idiots. My daughter’s grade suffered since she spoke up in class to contradict the teacher, and even more so after we complained to the principal and he was reprimanded. It comes from all sides; I feel your frustration!
You handled this magnificently. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that epic encounter, too! I understand exactly why you feel the way you do. I’ve been a Christian all my life. I grew up — and went to religious school — in one denomination and was baptized into another denomination in my 20’s. I worked for that second denomination for 12 years, mainly as an educator, teaching anywhere from preschool to grade 10. I’ve run into dingbats like that scary teacher during my tenure with that church system! Along with the less scary but just as self-righteous educators who are basically decent people, but who could not conceive of any parent having a different view of an issue. Like the Kindergarten teacher who told her class that Santa Claus was a lie. (She had an “epic” moment of her own with a livid parent over that — and even then I still had to explain to her that not every denomination should teach that!) Or the principal who worried about Christians losing their rights in this country but who essentially forced a Sikh family to leave our school. Why? Because our school had a rule that boys’ hair had to be short — and Sikh boys don’t cut their hair. He allowed it in Kindergarten, but he wasn’t going to allow it in 1st grade. (His lame excuse for that was that Kindergarten isn’t a required grade, so he didn’t enforce the rule.) Even though the boy would wear a turban and no one would know. His answer: “I don’t care. I’d know. Our rule is boys don’t have long hair.” Yeesh. He didn’t seem to get that he was saying that if some family from another religion sent their kid went to a Christian school, that family should just deal with their personal religious practices becoming irrelevant. In my opinion, he forgot that Jesus said He had many sheep and that they all knew His name, among other things from the Bible I could quote. I love that you pushed back, because that’s a the best way to model to your oldest fruit loop how to be a strong Christian woman.
I understand your feelings of dismay and wanting to protect your children from such escalated fear. I support you but I’m having trouble hearing you joking reference to the fruit loops to be your children. Fun yes but it feels disrespectful to theseprecios young people.
Joan: Really? My parents referred to the five of us as “rug rats” when we were little. We are all in our 50’s, we still think it’s funny. And apt! We knew then and are positive now that it was a term of the deepest endearment. You ask any of us, there was no question we were loved and meant the world to them. Silly nicknames like that mean love, not disrespect.