Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What I want to teach my son...

This has nothing to do with running, at all.

I am normally not one to voice opinions on Facebook, or any blog, or even to anyone other than my family. Having said that, with all of this craziness about Chick-Fil-A going on, I've felt inspired to think about what kind of world I want Oliver to grow up in. And what kind of world I want him to try to make a difference in. 

We've lived and worked in two very different environments in the last few years, and I find myself somewhat split between the two. I often think about the quote, America is not a melting pot, rather a beautiful mosaic. I love this because it talks about the fact that we don't need to change who we are to 'fit in'.  I get upset when I hear people calling each other names, or trying to impose their own beliefs on someone else, and I'm honestly torn about this issue quite a bit. 

So, what about those chicken sandwiches and peppermint chocolate milkshakes? (mmmmmmm.) I think it's everyone's right to feel, and say what they believe. I don't necessarily agree with what Dan Cathy (president of Chick-Fil-A) had to say about gay marriage, but I think he should be able to say it. This might seem a bit hypocritical [and I'm sorry because I'm pretty sure I'm about to offend 99% of the five of you who read this], but I don't think that a town or city should be allowed to deny someone's company a plot of land to build on based on their political, artistic or religious point of view. Let them build a Chick-Fil-A in Boston, and let the people who disagree with his alleged homophobic remarks go buy their chicken elsewhere. That, my friends, is the beauty of the country we live in. 

...and half of you have exited out of this window. So here I go, up onto my soap box. 

I want my son to grow up in a world where he feels comfortable speaking his mind, regardless of what those thoughts are. I've heard about toddlers saying things publicly like "Mummy, why is that man having a baby?" (when seeing a man's large belly), and that's not the kind of thing I'm talking about. There is a big difference between knowing what is appropriate given the situation. I'd be glad to talk to Oliver about how some men happen to hold weight in their midsections, so long as the fat fellow isn't within earshot. 

I want my son to grow up in a world where he doesn't have to preface his friends' names with things like "Jenny, the one with two mommies." Because, let's face it, that's what people do (whether they realize it or not) with family circumstances, religion, ethnicity, and physical characteristics.  I want him to say "Jenny, the really nice one who helped me find my lost math book." Because that's what's important. 

I want my son to grow up in a world where he has choices. If he wants to 'boycott' a restaurant, business, brand, or product because he doesn't believe in their sourcing, beliefs, pricing, or ethics - so be it. Hopefully, there will be an alternative. (Ironically enough, I'm making the Chick-Fil-A chicken bites from Pinterest on Friday evening, I'll let you know if they're a good replacement!) 

I want my son to grow up in a world where we can have discussions about important issues like this - so I can hear his unique, uninfluenced (for now!) points of view.  Right now, I don't let Oliver watch more than 5-10" of TV at a time, except for when we watch the news altogether. Nightly, sometimes even the BBC World News, it's an important part of our day. I want him to ask "why?" although I'm sure I will run out of answers. I want him to know about the world, good and bad (but it seems like a lot of bad these days...), to have questions, and formulate his own opinions. 

And, finally, I want my son to grow up in a world where he wants to make a difference, a positive impact, for those who don't feel like they have all of these same opportunities as he does. 

Thank you for 'letting me' rant. I'm done now. For now. 

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