I have vowed not to use social media as a forum for my political views, but as a platform for the reproduction of the Kodachrome vivid memories of my youth when I had the time and ability to be physically present with everyone that I adored. I seek to reproduce a time when I could sit at a table with my friends and hear them “comment” on my stories and show my “like” of their decisions with a hug. My friend list is purposely narrow. It is a list of people whose opinions COUNT when I ask for advice. AND, because politics are hard. Even with good friends, I’ve always kept politics to a three drink minimum. Then, if we disagree about something fundamental, we can both chalk it up to the booze. Politics are tough, and they’ve never been as tricky for me as right now, not because I am waffling in my political convictions, or because the political climate is any more heated right now than any other time before, but because the burgeoning intelligence and curiosity of the young men that I am raising has reached a frantic pitch.
How do you help your children see every side of an issue in a way that makes them hunger to find their own place? How do you tell young citizens, used to being fed everything–from food to decisions–in a pre-packaged, serving sized, instant gratification kind of way, that the real world is a gluttonous monster? How do you show them that contagious outrage is a virus to our society but that justified outrage is the hallmark of our freedom? How do you help your children LEARN their own political beliefs instead of regurgitating the ones that they hear on the news?
I don’t know. And it is the toughest parenting for me, to date. It would be so easy for me to tell them which side to pick and then justify it with the information that I know will make them take the same side as I have on an issue, but is that responsible parenting? I want to help them grow into intellectual citizens who make good, informed choices. Not my choices, but choices that I can be proud of.
So, what am I seeking with this post? Not politics. Honestly, if you want to talk about brutality or crime, voting or funding with me, I’ll warm up the barstool next to mine. I don’t want to do it here. Not because I can’t bring a dog to the fight, but because it’s a fight we should have when we can hug it out after. I guess that what I’m trying to do here is to say this–Because I know the hearts of so many true heroes, I choose to remember that their life is a life filled with choices. I’m trying every day to show my boys the value of a good choice and the dismal consequences of bad ones. I try to show them that doing your best is always a good choice and blaming others for a failure is never one. And I’m trying to show them that TRUE heroes and JUSTIFIED outrage are inside both of them and that they should strive to wield those weapons wisely.