I’ve been thinking about a post for a while. Trying to dissect in my mind what would truly be important about it and why I feel compelled to write it in the first place.
One reason I started thinking about it is when everyone started changing their FB profile pictures to the equality symbol to signify the support of gay rights. I debated inwardly whether to say something. Do something. Whether or not to stand up for what I believe (it just might surprise you) in that way. I chose to just keep quiet. I’m sure there were many factors at play. Maybe it was fear, the feeling that FB isn’t the place for those kinds of discussions with people I feel like either aren’t really a friend, or someone that I feel is super close to me and could just ask me where I stand on any issue…or maybe I just felt a little too tired to argue.
Some comments rubbed me the wrong way by friends who were changing their picture. Comments like, “People who are ignorant will figure it out someday” or something similar. To me, it felt like if I did not change my profile picture, then they were automatically assuming that they knew where I stood on something. This made me feel like I should do something or say something. But instead, I continued to keep quiet.
Now, this post is not meant to argue about my stance on gay rights. But, it is to argue about HOW and WHEN I decide to take a stand.
I believe social media demonstrations like that may make a difference to some. It raises awareness at a minimum and that can be important. I also think that for some people FB and other social media is a vital part of their lives. It is their lifeline to connect with people. No judgment on that either. However, just because I don’t change my picture when there is a facebook demonstration of some kind should not give others the open invitation to assume they know where I stand on an issue. Either for or against. If you want to know, ask me.
But, as a parent, I have been giving this issue, and many other issues some serious thought. Because the questions are coming.
I am a huge fan of the Ellen DeGeneres show. HUGE. I love her. I think she is one of the greatest, kindest human beings on the planet. And, she makes me laugh. When I’m having a bad day, I turn on her show. My kids watch it with me. They love her too. In fact, the other day, I was shopping for make-up and Kyle looked up and said, “Mommy! Mommy! There’s Ellen!” so excited to see her face on the cover girl aisle. And, just the other day, he asked me if she was a boy or a girl. So, he must notice there is something different about her. After all, she doesn’t exactly hide who she is. My point is, the questions are coming.
To me, what is important is not taking a stand on FB. It is not writing a beautiful post about where I stand (although I do love and admire those that do that because I love to write myself), but instead, it is about taking a stand in the place where it matters most in the world. My own home.
You see, since becoming a parent, I think about controversial issues a lot. Gay Rights. Gun control. Politics. World Hunger. Violence against children. Women’s Issues. The War on Feminism. Freedom of Speech. Religion. I think about it all. I’m not just a stay at home mom that has stopped using her brain. I can’t be. Because the questions are coming.
What questions, you ask?
Well, if you have children, you know what I mean. Children question…well….everything.
In the beginning, they are simple. Why is the sky blue? Why do caterpillars turn into butterflies? Why do babies wear diapers? Why do some boys have long hair?
Then, they get harder. So, you better be prepared. Because while I believe it’s OK to tell kids you don’t know when they ask you something, these important issues aren’t going to go away. Because they’re….get this….this is going to be profound….important. See? I told you I was going to be profound. I don’t claim to have all the answers myself. In fact, I’m still learning.
That is why sometimes I remain silent.
It is not because I’m indifferent. It is not because I’m not willing to stand for something. It is not because I don’t care. Quite the contrary. In fact, I take learning the answers to these questions very seriously. Because I know that the questions are coming from the little people that I’m raising. And, they will come sooner than you will think.
Activists need to exist. Don’t get me wrong. Some people need to be protesting, and picketing, and joining a movement to make a difference. I just don’t feel that is my role to play right now at this time in my life.
Some issues, I know exactly where I stand. On other issues, I like to be open-minded. Read what other people say. Think about it. Pray about it. Put a little effort into using the brain God gave me. Because when the questions do come? You better believe a child can sense when you are feeding them a pile of garbage, and on the flip side, I believe that when children are being taught something that you really feel strongly about, they can feel that too. And ultimately, I want to teach them how to use their own brain, heart, and soul to make informed decisions.
But, I know this. The questions are coming. So, I’m working my butt off to have an answer when they do come. I’m focusing on taking a stand for something in my own home. With the people that matter most to me. I am determined to have at least some of the answers. Not to force my way of thinking, but instead to lead, guide, and walk beside my children as they learn to navigate the world.
So, don’t think I don’t care. And definitely don’t think that I think I have all the answers and am always right. Instead, know that I’m having these conversations where I believe they matter the most. First, with my spouse. Then, with my children. And, some things I am accepting that we’ll never know.
Like how this ended up in my front yard this morning. A real starfish. Weird.