Tell Me Something I Know Isn’t True

I love my kids.  Hopefully not a major shock to everyone.  I tend to think that the vast majority of parents love their kids.  The question becomes not one of whether you love your kids or not, but what does love mean to you?  What does it mean to love your child?

Not exactly a light task, this love thing.  Part and parcel with it comes the necessity to guide and instruct.  To model as well as to teach those things that aren’t easily or tangibly modeled.  I want to teach my daughter the best I can about what it means to be a woman (at least from a Christian man’s perspective), knowing that my wife will contribute far more heavily in that arena.  And likewise, my wife has to trust that I can help to teach our sons about what it means to be a Christian man.  
I don’t think that we start with a completely blank template – at least in terms of basic moral law.  Some of these things are inscribed in our hearts and minds in surprising ways that we often aren’t even aware of.
Which is why I found this blog post interesting.  
I found it interesting that the boy himself – despite heavy feminine influence around him most of the time – recognizes (although perhaps belatedly) that there is a problem with his choice of costume.  What I find problematic is the mother’s unwillingness to both honor this and to use it as a teaching time.  I find it problematic that anyone who has some thoughts that differ from hers is suddenly a bully.  
(<Author’s Rant>:Mark my words – this whole bullying issue is going to be massively influential for a long time.  Anyone who disagrees with you automatically is a bully.  The only people who won’t be bullies are those who agree completely with you and support you wholeheartedly in whatever it is that you decide to do.  Eventually, even believing something contrary to someone else and not acting or saying anything about it will be considered tacit bullying.  The new tolerance movement does not tolerate disagreement.  Except theirs. </End Rant&gt

In reality, it is the mother who has become a bully in this situation.  She is pushing her son to do something that he has begun to have second thoughts about.  She has determined her righteousness in this situation and is willing to battle anyone who disagrees with her or her “sweet” son.  Except it’s not the son’s fight anymore, it’s now hers.  In this she ends up bullying her son as well as those around her, all the while claiming the moral high ground for defending her child.  
It’s a shame that children tease and bully.  Granted.  As I’ve said already, I don’t condone this.  Disagreeing with someone else and verbalizing it is not necessarily bullying, however.   It’s a shame that the mothers who so offended this woman couldn’t offer anything more intelligible as a legitimization of their concern than that this boy might be teased.  It’s a shame that this mother who clearly loves her son seems to think that love means not contradicting his initial request or seeking to guide him in his thought processes (as well as ignoring his eventual uncertainty).  It’s a shame that this mother who loves her son would ignore his misgivings and encourage him down a path that he already has recognized as problematic in some respect.  Doing something out of the norm does not necessarily make one valiant or brave or wise or virtuous.  Pointing out how something is out of the norm does not automatically make one a bully.  
Our kids – mainly our daughter and youngest son – are rather fond right now of laughing about and joking about who they will marry when they grow up.  They have no real idea what this means, only that it elicits responses from people (mainly their older brother who gets freaked out!).  We’ve already had to explain that they can’t marry each other, or their other brother, or my wife or I, or their grandparents.  And we’ve been very consistent in explaining that girls marry boys and boys marry girls.  We’re not concerned that our children are gay or bisexual.  We understand that they’re seeking to figure out how all of this may work, and we provide guidance to help them in figuring that out.   It’s how we love them.
I’m sure this mom loves her boy very much.  And I’m sure that there are plenty of ways that she guides and shapes her boy into the sort of man she hopes he will be one day.  It’s just strange that in the arena of gender and sexuality, she’s going to deny that she has a role to play there, and that anyone suggesting that she does is a bully.  Of course she loves her son. Of course she’ll love him regardless of who he becomes.  That is part of being a parent.  We love our children.  
We may not love what they become, however, and for that reason we are charged with guiding them.  I wouldn’t love if one of my children turned out to be gay – though I would continue to love them as my child.  I wouldn’t love if one  of my children committed murder, though I would still continue to love them as my child.  We guide because we love.  It’s part of being a parent, and it’s part of being in a larger community – whether it’s a preschool, a church, or a city or state or nation.

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