Saturday, October 9, 2010

This was titled "Is Gay ...o.k.? Well I had to respond.

I am an fan of a blog called "Scary Mommy" .... Her name is Jill which I thought was totally cool (The Jill Club) anyway she hosted a guest blogger "Who put me in charge of these people" and The blog was about the fact that how we raise our kids may be totally different from other peoples way of raising their kids but how that can be o.k. it went into a gay topic and ...well below you can read it and read my response .... my response was due to the fact that I have a gay daughter and how having walked that road changed my outlook, you can assume how you would react if it happened to you but do you really know for sure???

Gretchen, a.k.a. Texan Mama, spends her days finding rogue singleton socks and tending to the dozen feet that wear those socks. She resides in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex with her husband, 5 children, and one dog (who doesn’t wear socks). In her spare time, she blogs at
Who Put Me In Charge Of These People.I’m a parent. I’m doing the best I can to raise my children with the belief system I have in place. I am using the tools I have to make the best judgments I know.
Here’s the catch: my best judgments may not be in agreement with other people’s best judgments. And, that’s okay. I’m okay knowing that sometimes the way we raise our children doesn’t gel with other families. I can deal with that.
For example, we don’t have cable TV. That’s just our feeling. We believe that cable TV is riddled with inappropriate programs as well as advertisements that promote materialism. Does that mean we don’t let our kids watch cable TV at other people’s houses? No. It’s just not the right fit for our family. They know what cable TV is and they know why we disapprove of it. I think it’s okay for them to have exposure to it occasionally, but I don’t want it to become a part of our everyday life.
Another example would be our religious beliefs. We are conservative Christians. I’m not even going to put our religious beliefs on the same plane as cable TV, because our religion is much much more significant than TV. The two aren’t even close. I’m sure you feel the same way about your faith, whether it be religion or spirituality or even the conscious decision about having no religion at all. It is at your core. Or, it should be, whatever you practice. But the point is, our religious beliefs guide our family decisions and our world view. I don’t expect our world view to be the same as other families’, but I know that it’s a good fit for us.
As I raise my children, I want to surround them with people who are like-minded with us. I want to provide my children with positive role models who practice and support our value system. I think that’s normal, right? On the one hand, some might call it sheltering my child from the real world. They might say that my children need to know what’s out there and need to experience it. True. But I, on the other hand, feel that there is a time and a place for kids to experience the world. I feel like it’s my job to determine when that time should be. I don’t want my kids to see PG-13 movies before they’re 13. I don’t want my kids getting cell phones until they are at least 16. These are decisions I’m comfortable with. And, just because someone else decides differently for their family, doesn’t mean I think they’re wrong. They, and me, and you, have to make decisions that fit for our own unique family dynamic. No one knows the ins and outs of our families better than the people directly involved.
I started writing this post as an afterthought to one I posted a few weeks ago, then took down. The post was asking readers to discuss the fact that my son’s 4th grade teacher is an open lesbian. Immediately commenters responded with what’s the problem? and why is it a big deal? and one even said, contrary to popular belief, they are not child molesters. That comment really hurt, because I never said one negative thing to instigate such a comment. I replied that the reason I was concerned came from a fear that the issue of her sexuality, if discussed openly, would pull the focus of the class away from education and place it somewhere else. Where? I don’t know, but I am pretty sure that place would not be part of the 4th grade science curriculum. I was concerned that it would cause divisiveness with parents, and that it would cause discussions in school that aren’t appropriate for a 4th grade school setting. All of that? 100% true.
But beyond that, I will be honest, because I can. I would prefer my son’s teacher be someone who shared my belief system. I would prefer she be a heterosexual. If I had my choice, I’d prefer she be a Christian heterosexual. NOT because I am afraid of gay people (I’m not). NOT because I hate gay people (I don’t). I just want my child to be surrounded by adults who support and practice our family’s value system. Is that so strange?
On the flip side of that, if you were a parent who raised a child to believe that there is no God, and your child’s teacher were a devout Christian, would you automatically hate her just because your belief systems are different? No. Neither do I hate my son’s teacher. Would you be concerned that her belief system, one that guides her own daily thoughts and decisions, might consciously or subconsciously slant her teaching and her daily interactions with children, especially your child? I do. I worry about it. I worry about anytime my children have contact with people outside of our family. I don’t want to shield my children from everyone whose value systems are different than my own. I don’t want them to become adults who are sheltered and naive. Who would want that for their children? But I just wonder if only conservative Christians get accused of sheltering their children. I wonder if people who reject organized religion are also being told that their children will grow up to be sheltered and naive? I mean, aren’t they keeping their children from the world too?
I fully understand that I don’t have the luxury of always choosing who my child is exposed to. I also get that when I choose to send my child to public school, I’m choosing for him to be exposed to people whose value system may clash with our own. This post is not about what I’m going to DO about who my child is exposed to; it’s about how I FEEL about the people my child is exposed to. It’s also my inner monologue, bubbling out onto the blog page.
I feel that it’s reasonable to expect my child’s teacher to keep her personal life and professional life separate. The situation just gets a little sticky when Mrs. Jones, the history teacher, can say that she went to the museum of natural history with her husband, but Ms. Taylor has to use the term "friend" instead of referring to her partner as "wife" or "partner". Is this fair? Maybe not. And I’m not a legal expert so I can’t say where the line is, where a teacher’s personal rights supercede the appropriateness of classroom verbiage.
I guess my point is this: there are a lot of people I don’t want to play as a role-model for my child, and I feel it’s my duty as a parent to find the best role-models for my child. It’s my job to help shape my child into the person I think he or she should be. That is the core of parenting: guiding our children to become productive members of society. I realize that my influence will only go so far and at some point in the very near future, my children will have opinions of their own and will probably reject everything I’ve ever taught them. That’s part of adolescence and to be expected. But I would be a failure as a parent if I didn’t try to give my child some moral and ethical values as a foundation on which to build their opinions.
My moral and ethical values? They are mine. And yours are yours. They are beautiful and unique and perfect for your family. They fit you and mine fit me but ours aren’t the same and I can’t expect my values to fit your family, nor can I expect your values to fit mine.
Jill and I have a long history of respectfully agreeing to disagree. I am pretty sure we disagree on this topic as well as others we’ve bumped heads against in the past. But we treat each other with kindness. We don’t make assumptions about the other person. We are polite. We don’t accuse. I can’t imagine a better setting for people from two different viewpoints to come together. Because learning takes place where love gives it a voice. You may not like what I have to say. You may think I’m wrong. But, I’ll say this again:
I’m a parent. I’m doing the best I can to raise my child with the belief system I have in place. I am using the tools I have to make the best judgments I know.
Are any of us really doing any differently?
And well here is what poured out of me .......
Hey guys … this post was THE most well thought out piece on this I have ever seen. I would love to say this will be short ….. but I will try not to write a book. I was a single mom raising two kids the best I knew how,around Heathers (My oldest) 15th birthday she had only claimed one boyfriend and started claiming girlfriends and well I comforted myself with "Its a phase" Heather officially came out at the age of 18 and please let me assure you that I didn't take it well at all. I packed her up and sent her to live with the biggest homophobic in the know world ‘her father’.Now keep in mind that right before all this I considered myself a very "with it" kinda gal. I had all the respect for people and their choices …. still I cried … I freaked, I blamed. I constantly searched what had I done wrong. Several times I figured that I was the bad role model being a giant tomboy myself. Another thought was that I worked to much I wasn't there when she needed me…the divorce, but when I didn't have another tear to shed I realized why I was so upset. It wasn't Heather .. it was the most selfish that I have ever been in my life. I wasn't going to get to help Heather with prom night help pick her dress and a nervous young man at the door. I wasn't going to be able to get teary eye’ed while she stood in front of me in a long white gown …. She was never going to need me to help her with her first pregnancy …. no gran children …no talks about what marriage was about ….. I think I was mad because it felt as though she has denied me my rights … the rights that most mothers take for granted … I would never experience. All the dreams that you as a mother just assumed where going to happen were gone. Now here we are 6 years down the road. I realized that my love for my child was bigger than anything else. Nope there wasn't a prom,(She didn't want to be the drama that tainted the other kids prom) No wedding,(She doesn't believe in the institution) no gran kids(doesn't want kids) …. but she is happy and in my life and being without her was much worse than anything else… I am southern baptist ( Insert rolled eyes here) and I have always had my faith. I always will …. but for the mothers that haven't had to walk my path …. don't assume that you will be the coolest parent in the world, because until you gear up and walk down that rocky road you just don't know…but I love my daughter with all my heart and I did the best I could raising her. I have come to this conclusion. You raise your kids with the best that you have been taught and the best that you have learned and you pray the rest of the way …its all you can do. Goodbye and Gods love Jill Hilliard