Monday, October 27, 2008

My Rights as a Parent

Last week, I was driving with my children and listening to an episode of Forum. They were discussing Proposition 8 (banning gay marriage, for those of you living outside California) and a woman called in to say how homosexuals openly getting married impinged upon her right to raise her children as she wanted to. I felt my hackles go up.

I support homosexual marriage and consider banning it akin to banning mixed race marriages. However, a few minutes later, I drove by a billboard with a Microsoft ad on it; in that ad a boxer is receiving a blow to the face so powerful his mouth guard is knocked out. My older son saw the billboard and immediately started asking difficult questions. “Why are his teeth flying out?” “Why is the man hitting him?” “What do you mean it’s a barbaric sport that makes you wonder if we’re more evolved than monkeys?” And so on.

Suddenly, I found myself agreeing with the caller I was angry at a few moments earlier. She was right! That billboard affected my right to raise my children in a nonviolent envrionment and gay marriage affected her right to raise them in a heterosexual-only environment. Then I realized there were a lot of things I didn’t want my children to have to be exposed to, so I made a list of them all:

  • Any Microsoft billboard
    See above.

  • Any film by Jerry Bruckheimer, Michael Bay, Kevin Smith, or Tim Burton
    I don’t want my children exposed to terrible movies, immature movies, or movies whose budget is 99% special effects and .001% story.

  • Music
    Not just offensive lyrics, but any music at all. Sure, that seems a bit harsh, but listening to my son sing the same line of a song over and over again for an hour while completely off-key makes it hard for me to parent nonviolently.

  • Trigonometry, Statistics, Honors French, and The History of Photography
    If I failed at a class, I don’t want my children succeeding at it and then making fun of me.

  • Season 5 of Babylon 5
    It seems cruel have my children watch one of the greatest science fiction television shows of all time and then have to endure the horrible let down of its last season. They shouldn’t be exposed to Star Trek: Voyager, Lost Season 2, or any Saturday Night Live made after the 80s either.

  • Christmas
    As I have stated before, I hate Christmas (that’s a topic for another day) and don’t want my children to keep asking about Christmas trees. We have a menorah, damn it!

  • The person who said to my son “God talks to little children." Whoever you are, you creep me the hell out.

  • Republicans and Moderates
    I don’t want my children exposed to contrary political opinions and then make me defend my thinking. Children shouldn’t make me have to think.

  • Anyone else’s religious beliefs
    I’m a secular Jew with an affinity for the pagan god Prometheus. Unless you are the same, you shouldn’t talk about your religion in public. For that matter, don’t talk about it in private.
Of course, there are some who disagree with me. There are some who make the argument that the price of living in a free and open society is being exposed to things you disagree with. There are some who say that teaching my children how to react to an uncomfortable subject is more effective than sheltering them from that thing. Oh, hey, that reminds me; I forgot one:
  • People who expose my failings as a parent

No comments: