“Adults are always telling kids to stand up for others, but you don’t do anything!” My daughter raged as I explained the reason I won’t sign her up for Scouts.
Her response astounded me, actually silenced me! Momentarily. She has a dogged focus that stops her at nothing to get what she wants, but in this case, she immediately understood the implications of what I was telling her and it isn’t right.
“People have to live the way they are!”
She’s 7. How can she grasp this simple idea better than most voting-aged adults? Gay rights are not in her immediate sphere of concern, she is the child of heterosexual parents, but exclusion is.
Kids experience raw human cruelty all of the time. Just today, she articulated why she doesn’t like her teacher: “She’s always yelling at us, telling us to do this, do that, even if you are doing it.” Kids are also experts at excluding other kids for reasons that are just as random as someone else’s sexual-orientation.
Take her brother, for example. He is an on-and-off member of a music band with his so-called buddies – you’ll be the first to hear of their imminent debut album, to be sure – for reasons like: “You need to take real lessons, not just be in the school band,” or “You need a better instrument.” Yet who do they get to replace him, some kid who doesn’t even own or play an instrument!
So, how did this clarity of right from wrong shine through? We have the pleasure of friendship with a family of two-moms and one little girl. Guess what else? My kids aren’t preoccupied by the reproductive logistics of having two moms and no dad, anymore than they are about what their own mom and dad do in their own bedroom. Why would they be?
Most of the time families spend together is playing, learning, traveling, camping, skiing, swimming, reading, story-telling, cooking, eating, and, thanks to our friends, we now go berry-picking and make preserves, go on family bike trips and kayak, and speak out against unjust rules that divide rather than develop communities.
I can’t wait till my little girl gets home from school today so I can tell her that some grown-UPS are standing up for people, just like she’s always been taught to do.
Live within limits without limiting life
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