I posted a short story today about my 17 year old daughter and her boyfriend getting caught having sex by my 12 year old son Joshua. I shared this with my extended circles on Google Plus, partly because it’s funny and (to me) heartwarming, and partly because I think it’s helpful to post these stories to remind people that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human and not something to be ashamed of.
One of my closer friends on Google Plus commented that she approved of the story. I thanked her for her comment and told her I appreciate it. I rarely post this kind of thing and when I do, I wonder whether I’m oversharing. After thinking it through, I usually end up sharing it to extended circles because part of being fully human is sharing life experiences with others. It helps remind us that we all need to be loved and accepted first, and that fulfilling this need enables us to take on higher goals, like loving others and making life better for all. We all face the same major choices in life and certain aspects of growing up are universal, at least in a free society.
Human sexuality in particular has been oppressed for millennia by being considered shameful or an “animal urge” to keep secret. I find that ridiculous as well as counterproductive, and ultimately the most harmful to the least powerful, who end up having to obey these rules or suffer greatly. These least powerful include most women and anyone whose sexuality doesn’t fit the rules the powerful put in place.
We see this fight playing out very publicly now in the extreme right’s attempts to restore biblical era constraints and consequences on women and homosexuals. The regressives will lose this war and their views will eventually become extinct, and humanity will be much better without them.
It gives my wife and I joy to see our children, and their friends, view our home as a sanctuary where they can let down their guard and be themselves. We hope they go on to create their own sanctuaries where their own children and others can be themselves, confident that they will be accepted.
It’s critically important to teach your daughter that she is a full human being and has inherent worth independent of any man, and that it’s her responsibility to complete herself and maintain that completeness with and without a man in her life. If she is able to do that, the right kind of men, and there are plenty, will be interested in her and desire to be with her.
On the original G+ thread for this post, one commenter and father noted that treating your daughter as a princess is setting them up for failure. I agree 100% on treating your daughter as an equal. I can’t stand the “princess” idea. It’s just setting a girl up for disappointment as a woman.
Our goal as parents is to consider our children as less experienced, less developed versions of adults, and to guide them in developing the qualities they will need to live good lives as adults. We do this best by simulating the adult world on a small scale in our home, making the standards for success clear but tempering their inevitable failures (and consequences) as part of the process of growing up. I tell all my kids this and I remind my 16 year old daughter of this frequently. She’s less than two years away from being fully responsible for herself and it’s our job to make sure she can fly on her own once she leaves the nest. For most kids, there will be bumps in the road of early adulthood, but with the right preparation, they can avoid those that are fatal to their lives or careers.
Everyone, especially every parent, should read and reflect on this. This is one of the premier issues of the last twenty years and will become mor acute and dangerous in the next twenty unless we find a solution.
Women are being allowed to participate fully in life in the US and other modern nations, and we hope for other nations to join us in this foundational advance. Many men, and some women, who’ve benefited from the long reign of patriarchy, are fighting to retain their power over the mass of women by putting in place social barriers (such as the Madonna/Whore dichotomy) that are every bit as real and damaging as the more formal barriers of the past. These modern barriers play on most women’s natural needs to be loved and accepted by men and to have a strong social network of women, and by placing almost impossible demands on women to be simultaneously sexual and chaste, desirable and accessible, and presenting this as a zero sum game in which a woman becoming more desirable makes others less so and is therefore a threat, divides women from their potential friends and creates almost universal competition where there should be support and understanding.
The keys to resolving this situation involve a refusal of both women and men to participate in this losing game. For men, this means first that we acknowledge that physical and emotional desirability is a primary part of how we judge women as mates, but that we are careful not to reduce a woman to her desirability, or to allow others to do so unchallenged. For women, this involves refusing to enter this game except on heir own terms, with confidence in their self worth, understanding of the game’s absurdity, and refusal to be made a pawn and separated from her friends by competition for approval and affection.
This is not a complete solution, but I think it’s a good start. It certainly would help my 16 year old daughter navigate the treacherous world of her teen years and allow her to hopefully emerge as a healthy young adult with the understanding of self and empathy for others she’ll need to succeed in today’s world.
Bill Nye has a video on Big Think asking parents that want to believe in creationism to please not corrupt their children with this grossly unscientific and harmful belief. I’m happy that The Science Guy is publicly calling on parents to act responsibly and teach their children how the world works. Our future depends on having a curious and well educated population and what we teach our children as well as what we show them by our example.
This is despicable. How could you convict a women of a felony for trying to help her son? Why she pleaded guilty is another matter. I guess she’s being honest about what she did.
It’s a glaring sign of just how immoral our society has become when a women trying to get good schooling for her son is sent to jail while bankers who steal millions from all of us are living the high life.
We should protest this perversion of justice loudly until her case is dismissed.
NPR station KQED has an article detailing 50 ways to engage your children in learning while having fun. The Summer’s almost over (it took me awhile to post this article), but there’s still time to get your kids engaged in activities that show them just how fun learning can be.
My son Thomas was talking to me recently about an issue he has with people believing in the Christian God. Good thinking, Tom!
Tom’s issue is a well known problem in the Philosophy of Religion called the Problem of Evil. There is a very old statement of this problem from the philosopher Epicurus, from around 300 B.C. I’ve included that for you below. There’s a very good Wikipedia page on this problem at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil.
The Epicurean riddle
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?
Canadians, considered as a whole, are the most inoffensive and helpful people I’ve encountered. But even our kinder, gentler neighbor to the North has its demons, few though they be. I just saw a short article on reddit about a Canadian lawyer responsible for the most mean-spirited act I’ve heard about (outside of politics anyway) in a long time. George J Atis has a son on the local co-ed pee-wee hockey team. This team is apparently not winning many games. Atis’ solution was to focus on the one girl on the team and schedule a team meeting to discuss her skills. The agenda for the meeting was titled “Kayla Watkins — Player Ability Limitations and Suggested Options.” Yes, this sad example of a human being actually called a team meeting to discuss this girl’s performance. Well, the girl found out about this and quit the team in humiliation. Way to go, George.
Mr. Atis is an outsourcing lawyer by trade. That makes a lot of sense in this context, doesn’t it? My heart goes out to his son, who will be lucky to escape growing up like his father. I wonder whether George consults for Halliburton and begins each day with a maniacal laugh while bathing in children’s tears to maintain his youth?
I think we need to build adult kindergartens for those who, for whatever reason, didn’t learn how to be human beings the first time around.