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.