Motherhood · Politics

All this talk ’bout what we want to teach our kids

I’ve noticed of late the popularity of “dear son” or “dear daughter” blog posts. But often times these letters to future generations limit the conversation to a single issue: gender. As exemplified by their address to just a son or daughter, and not a child in general. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I can (and love to)  talk about gender issues till I’m blue in the face. But I hope that gender is not the only thing we want to teach our kids about.

Where are all the “dear son/daughter” letters about the massacres in Syria, the destruction of our planet, the obesity epidemic, mounting xenophobia in first world countries, bullying on the playground, etc etc etc, ad nauseum, etc.

I could write countless blog posts about what I want my kids to think about each of the scenarios I listed above, and a million others too. But my desire is not to create mini-mes who repeat what I say about every detail of life.

My goal as a parent is not to teach my kids what to think. My goal is to teach them how to think.

I thank God for my parents. For the dinner table conversations that taught me how to think critically. For the adolescent arguments with my father who listened to my burgeoning understanding of the world and challenged me. I thank God that my parents wanted me to figure things out for myself. Even when it strayed from their understanding of the world. Even when the conversations were not easy, when they became emotional and tense.

I also thank God for my postmodern French education which taught me to be critical, to question and to wonder about the nature of truth. I’ve landed in a decidedly un-post modern place as an adult, believing in absolute truth. But I arrived there because I was taught to question everything.

Those years in French lycee also taught me to view current events not as spontaneously occurring episodes in human existence but to search for the context, the history – the factors and players leading up to whatever is currently monopolizing the airwaves.

And I thank God for my training as a journalist that taught me to test sources for accuracy and reliability. To never take facts and information at face value but to wonder about how they are presented, why they are presented and above all, WHERE THEY COME FROM.

I have beliefs, values and convictions that I will, whether I try to or not, pass onto my kids. I hope to exemplify them through the way I live and have lively debates about them with my kids. But I would rather they thoughtfully disagree with me than thoughtlessly agree.

My dad and my son
My son and his granddad

Dedicated to my conservative, right-y, justice loving, compassionate father. From your socialist, left-y daughter, who you taught about love.
And to my son. I know I will learn a lot from our future discussions.

One thought on “All this talk ’bout what we want to teach our kids

  1. The years all went by,
    Years of wonder and joy.
    The years all went by,
    As we strove to employ,
    Our hearts and our minds,
    And the depths of our souls,
    As we grew and we struggled
    And found out our goals.

    A generation comes,
    A generation goes,
    We live, we learn,
    And then suddenly one knows;
    ‘Tis God who sets out
    Our steps on the way,
    As we plan and persist
    And ponder and pray.

    There’s pain,
    To be sure,
    But comfort enough,
    As we learn that it’s love
    That smooths out the rough.
    It’s love that fills up,
    And love that sets right,
    It’s love and it’s grace,
    That give faith its sight.

    I would judge,
    I would rail,
    And some days I still do,
    About stuff that’s OK
    For a left-y like you.
    But we’re never just left,
    In our places to be,
    Complacently nailed
    To a left or right tree.

    If we’re left he pulls right,
    If we’re right he pulls left
    To the One in the centre,
    The Rock that was cleft.
    For there’s one thing I know,
    It is my conviction,
    The invite is hard,
    But we need crucifixion.

    My selfishness, my anger –
    Those things that are dross,
    Are all being nailed
    As they must, to the cross.
    And that beautiful thing,
    That is horror at first,
    Slowly but surely,
    Takes care of my thirst.

    The blood of my Saviour,
    Shed without sin,
    Runs over my head,
    And seeps deep within,
    And in joy I’m surprised,
    When I find that I’m clean,
    All the bad stuff,
    Nowhere to be seen!

    How many times
    Thanks given to God?
    For the discipline and strength
    Of his staff and his rod.
    And thanks for my wife,
    For my daughters three,
    For abundant provision,
    For being set free!

    And thanks for another
    Reminder of blessing.
    Of love that’s delivered;
    It doesn’t need guessing.
    My cup is so full
    It’s well past the top
    A lavish overflowing,
    I pray will not stop.

    And blogs of the things
    That are precious to me,
    I will write and will send,
    My dear child, Ashlee!

    A poem for my DDD#2 (Dear Darling Daughter Number 2), aka my EDC#2 (Exceptionally Delightful Child Number 2). 🙂

    Love, Dad

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