Are you like me and really, really feel like parents that make a scene about what their kids are learning should have to pass some sort of competency test before the matter moves forward?
Am I crazy?
I doubt it.
Now, I am sure that through the ages there have been parents who have taken issue with things being taught in schools, literature being the one that comes to mind foremost if I am honest. Parents who I wager know very little about books and literature, are always the first to light the fires for books they deem offensive.
Save the children!
That’s a big rallying call, to save the children, all while those same kids are being taught to be selfish little monsters by emotionally neglectful parents.
I can absolutely see that books in a school should adhere to some restrictions – I mean, most of what I write would never end up in a school, and I get that – and that’s fine because heck, that’s what libraries are for. And really, the taboo nature of some books is what makes them even sweeter when you finally get your hands on them.
Remember, I grew up in the ‘80’s when Stephen King was the big author for teens and pre-teens.
The thing is though that the books that are banned are always about race, or sexuality, or religion, or something that these kids are hungry to learn more about but aren’t able to because their parents are afraid, they’ll suddenly have some sort of dark knowledge that will make it onto their permanent records.
THIS WILL GO ON YOUR PERMANENT RECORD!
What the heck IS that even?
Is there some record that a person in a basement has been building for years with my name at the top? Something that will one day be slowly slid towards me and tapped as I wait to get some job or opportunity and the person will say well, according to your permanent record…
We threaten kids with this stuff and don’t even know what it MEANS?
So, is there a record, at school, that is meant to inherently bias whomever deals with the kid? A record that makes notes on misdeeds without any context or understanding of what led to them, but which makes sure that each sin adds up and eventually will mean that the kid is expelled or suspended or sent to Heck?
And we wonder why kids are screwy.
It’s fascinating to see parents get so worked up about knowledge though as they inch closer and closer to the television screen so their news preacher can tell them what they should be hating and what they should be afraid of.
We are a Christian nation that doesn’t even know the Bible that well.
We get our faith through the TV screen or at major holidays or from our politicians.
We hear all about who God wants to lead us, and what God wants from us, and what offends Jesus on the daily, but it’s never tied to reality. The Bible, swell book that it is for many, was also as much a historical document as it was a religious one. It was a snapshot of what was happening culturally and societally seen through the prism of faith.
Most of the book wasn’t meant to be an instruction manual but a love letter to God, Jesus, and faith.
Yet, here we are, using it as a battering ram to beat people who are not as holy as we are.
Oh gosh, my kid is reading a book with a curse word, Effing Double SnapChat!
I better make a Tik-Tok about it!
Imma call out the perpetrators!
Billy, SHUT UP, I’m SnappleChapping!
These parents are so worried about what someone else is telling them they need to be offended by that they don’t seem to actually check into things themselves. Oh, sure they say the want to see, they want the PROOF but it’s more about their wanting to disrupt things than it is to make sure their kid is learning.
It’s a big, crazy world, and the more kids learn about it, the better.
Again, yes, we’re talking age appropriate here, but the world exists whether these people want it to or not.
People of color aren’t going anywhere.
People of other faiths aren’t going anywhere.
People who don’t look like them aren’t going anywhere.
People of different sexual orientation or identity aren’t going anywhere.
It’s like these people think that if they stamp their feet hard enough that these people will just go away.
Why can’t it be like the good old days?
They ask, meaning some sort of Happy Days’ time that never really existed. A time when you only saw white people. Where kids only held hands. Where mom and dad were gods. Where Jesus was the President.
These were great times…that never existed.
Kids were banging in the backseats of mom and dad’s car.
Political animals were targeting their enemies and calling them out as enemies of the state not with genuine evidence but because they didn’t like them.
Trump talks a lot about witch trials when the worst he has ever faced was the POSSIBILITY of repercussions for his actions, something that has yet to really happen.
And his fans eat it up.
BAN THE BOOKS!
DEMAND TO SEE THE SUPERINTENDENT!
WHAT ARE YOU TEACHING MY KIDS?
Wanting to pretend that white people have no blood on their hands from the sins we have committed through history.
Not seeing that most people don’t expect us to apologize for things that we didn’t do but to see that yeah, history is messed up and is full of some gnarly white folks that we still treat as if they are saints despite their sins and crimes.
History doesn’t care whose feelings are hurt.
History wants facts and wants to relay those facts.
This person did this.
This person did that.
The trouble is when people don’t understand that even history can be worked.
Can be massaged.
The victors, they say, tell the tale.
And it’s true.
Do you expect the Nazis to admit they were monsters?
Of course not.
So, you need to have the ability to, well, sniff out bull.
You need critical thinking.
If parents are so darn invested in their kids and their education, then get involved!
Beyond protests and social media blasts.
Learn with your kids.
Worried your kid is reading a book they aren’t ready for?
Then talk to the teacher.
The thing is that YOUR kid is not MY kid, and my kid may be fine to read it.
What I want my kid to learn isn’t always the same as what you want yours to learn.
Is there any wonder our kids are acting out?
Are doing riskier and riskier things to get attention they aren’t getting elsewhere?
The adults are doing the same things, are obsessed with ‘getting theirs’ and getting rich and famous with no work put into it and their kids, seeing this, want the same.
People deserve these things because they are them, darn it.
Believe me, we need education.
We need to teach these kids that the adults aren’t always right and that we make mistakes.
They need to learn to see the world for themselves and that yeah, they can do whatever they want but it takes work!
We forget too that we want schools to feed our kids, to keep them safe, to teach them, and to keep them busy while we work or do whatever we do but we ALSO want them to do all of that with the understanding that if we don’t like something we will go down there and demand everything be changed just for us and our kid.
How can they win?
We have lost so much respect for education, thanks to people who were pushed through college because they were rich or who have found God and thinks they like the wealthy best, that we don’t even understand what we don’t understand.
The thing about society is that we’re all in it together and need to remember that and to keep that in mind.
Again, your kid isn’t my kid, and they will learn and see the world differently.
And that’s fine.
Fine until one of us tries to dictate how the other should learn.
The education system is a mess.
A huge mess.
It’s only gotten messier with parents getting involved without wanting to put the work in. They just want their preacher or news personality to dictate what the kids should learn.
If there are gaps in their education, when it comes to faith, or how YOU see the world then teach them those things at home.
Teach them the stuff that parents are supposed to teach their kids.
Parents want no responsibility for the raising of their kids anymore. They want to send them off and hunker down behind the TV tray as they shovel in food and watch the teevee and play on their phone.
Shhh, muh shows is on!
And am I surprised that parents are this way?
That they have become worse than kids?
Starting fights at youth sporting events.
Acting in a disrespectful and indignant manner in school board meetings.
Threatening teachers they don’t agree with.
No, I am not surprised.
When these same parents hold leaders in high regards who refuse truth at every turn in the hopes of remaking it into their own image.
I have no idea what sort of white washed, fake Christian world these people think is waiting for them but believe me, it doesn’t exist and never did.
The world is out there.
Let kids prepare for it.
Trust me, they still may grow up to be narrow-minded, angry, fearful, and bigoted.
You just gotta put that work in.
When I think back to myself as a kid and what I went through trying to get a grip on the things I was feeling and going through, and I realize that I somehow made it to this age, it shocks me.
School is not easy.
Being a kid is not easy.
You feel like you are going crazy and are locked in an asylum with other people going crazy.
When I think of the person I was and who I am, it’s a miracle I am here and who I am.
It took me getting out of my small school, out of my small town, and to a college to finally see PEOPLE.
It took getting older and getting into the working world to see SOCIETY.
And it took me getting away from home and around people from different backgrounds and lifestyles to finally see THE WORLD.
Growing up is hard.
Stop making it harder on kids.
Stop making learning a chore.
Let kids be kids.
If you are so desperately afraid, they will read something that will permanently damage them then put them into a religious school.
Put them in a private school.
HOME SCHOOL THEM!
If you know so much, teach them yourself.
I am sure plenty of ignorant parents do.
Just know that the world that is waiting for them to leave your nest doesn’t care about their feelings and is going to challenge them at every step.
Just because you don’t believe in something doesn’t make it go away.
Facts are ghosts you can shoo away.
And ignorance isn’t something you can bully people into looking past.
If you’re so offended by everything then look away, baby, because the rest of us are trying to save the world.