Of all the things we could be annoyed about by our kids, and let’s face it, for years the Internet has been a veritable portal of all the common annoyingness of kids, this is the one that sickens? Frustrates? Angers me the most?
Obviously, it is all my own doing. Well, mostly. I also can’t deny that all else in their lives, their friends, their schools, the local community, the crap shows they watch on TV, the good shows they watch on TV, the news, other media, their relatives … all of these things have contributed in one way or another.
Shaped them and taught them the Way The World Is.
It’s hard not to, really. We’re a white, middle class family, who lives in a white, middle class world, and does white, middle class things.
I’m not always proud of this, and sometimes, like right in this moment, I’m extremely aware of all my white middle classness. I’m embarrassed by it at times.
I also like to think I’m introducing them to things that are ‘outside’ this little box that I see so many white, middle class families bound within, secreted from the rest of the world … or, more so, the rest of the world secreted from them.
The schools they go to at least give them the opportunity to speak with others of both more and less fortunate circumstances. Some highly horrific and traumatic circumstances. I talk openly with them about stuff, and don’t do the “there are starving children in Africa who would love to eat that!” when they refuse food.
As an aside, I’m fairly sure it was because of my brothers and I that the country, Biafra, was forced to change it’s name. Our mum kept banging on about the “starving Biafrans!” at dinner time, and, well, the effect wore off when she refused to place our meal into an envelope and send it off to this Biafra place we’d only ever heard of over dinners we had deemed inedible.
I do have no qualms with them speaking with kids who are “less fortunate”, to use a revolting, middle class term. Because, “less fortunate” is also a matter of perspective and based entirely on suppositions, and whatever it is the rest of white, middle class society wants to have you consider “normal”, “moral” and “acceptable”.
I don’t hold back, but I am respectful. I let them watch the news and we have discussions about things. I let them watch the Simpsons and we have discussions about that, too. I engage them in thinking and discourage blanket solutions without first considering alternatives.
I try not to guilt trip or make random statements about how others are worse off and blah blah blah, without having them consider situations and circumstances, alternatives, and what may drive someone to do what they’re doing. Whether this is Ice, getting into a leak boat to avoid persecution, or whatever … I encourage debate and