Thursday, March 15, 2012

Parenting and Politics

This shirt was a gift from a very good friend. You can find it here.

So I find myself appalled over and over with the legislation and rhetoric floating around out there. Misogyny abounds, and even issues that should be subject to doctor/patient confidentiality are dragged into the spotlight and used as an excuse to attempt to legislate morality. (Thankfully, I feel that unless the intent of the bill is written specifically into it, the intent is a pointless argument. Because intentions get lost to history, but laws stick around. Just consider the Founding Fathers...and every amendment after the 13th.)

So I've been reminding myself of two things: first, that hearts and minds are harder to change than laws, and really should be what we focus on. (Example: African Americans were freed almost 150 years ago, but it wasn't for another 100 years that the hearts and minds of the country started to catch up.)

Second: that it is my job to raise my sons (and, less directly, my nieces and nephews - existential or otherwise) to not be misogynistic assholes. I've even got a list percolating in my head of my goals. I'll share them with you. Huzzah!

1) Love is universal. Remember that everyone has a heart and a brain and the right (nay, the responsibility) to use both. Add to this that even those who seem too far gone are not, even if it takes a visit from three ghosts.

2) No one can tell you how to feel or what the best treatment of your body is (with the exception of your doctor. Sometimes it does take a professional.) The flip side is that you cannot tell someone how to feel or whether or not it's ok to do what they're doing to their body.

3) You can never know enough about a situation, even if you're in the middle of it. Especially if you're in the middle of it. Friends, family, research materials should all be utilized to help you gain more insight. They can be trusted to help you make decisions regarding your heart and mind and body.

4) If you don't know someone personally, take their opinion with a grain of salt. Your well-being is often not their top priority.

5) As young men, it is your responsibility to stop when she tells you to. (Or he, I won't judge. Unless you don't stop - then I'm kicking your ass.) You will show greater strength, respect, power, and compassion by backing off at the first hint that you should slow your roll than you ever will by forcing the issue. This applies to sex, conversation, and driving.

6) It is just as much your responsibility to prevent/encourage impregnation as it is hers. Not ready to be a father? Buy a condom. Ready? Buy a book. (the female reproductive system is mysterious and amazing and sometimes *really* gross. the more you know, the better off everyone will be.)

7) This planet you're walking on? It's the only one we have. You're walking on it because the people before you planted the trees and tried to refrain from fucking it up too much. They faced a LOT of opposition from corporations and politicians (often the same thing) and persevered. Take a page from their book: reduce, reuse, recycle. Plant a tree, watch it grow. Keep some bees. Buy what you can't grow from the farmers (they know what they're doing.)

8) Every four years the country goes insane. Don't take it personally. Stay informed. Vote your conscience.

9) Have an echo chamber. Have a team of rivals. One will keep you confident and the other will keep you honest. Hearty, respectful debates keep life interesting and keep your mind sharp and opinions well-based.

10) Everybody poops. Your heros, your rivals. Those who save the world and those who...don't.

And that's a good start. What would you add?

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