The world is an ugly fucked up place these days. Aside from all the political drama which I choose not bring to this blog because A) who needs it B) I don’t actually know enough about it, there is a lot of hate in the world. Lately, I have been thinking about the big picture of hatred among race, religion, color and sexual orientation but what I’m starting to see is that it’s trickling down to our children, the next generation and it’s alarming.
Last weekend we had guests over at our beach house and a friend had mentioned that her son, only 7 years old was being picked on at school. With tears in her eyes, she shared that a group of girls in his class made a sign saying they hate her son. My heart was broken for him and my initial reaction was that I would beat the fuck out of anyone who messed with my kids, and then I went to a place of sadness. I’m sad to hear that children, only SEVEN years old are already starting to bully each other. I swear when we were kids it started much older. I remember so clearly one day in middle school that I thought my life was over. I was home sick from school and a girl I was friendly with called me to tell me that my best friends all hated me. They don’t want me to sit at our lunch table and none of them wanted me around. I was so distraught over this and this mean girl drama went on for weeks. They spread rumors about me, would ignore me when they saw me and basically did everything possible to ruin my life. It got so bad that my mom would pick me up during lunch to eat with her and she even tried to pull me out and switch schools. Then one day, they made the executive decision that I was back into “the 6 pack” and we pretended it never happened. Unfortunately, this type of behavior is not only becoming more prevalent, but it’s getting younger and younger and it is scary.
Having small children I am constantly thinking about what kind of big children and adults I want them to be. I know most people say they want their kids to be smart, and successful but what I care most about is that they are kind and compassionate. Before having kids I promised myself that when they are old enough I would take them every year to a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving and let them give back. But I didn’t want to wait for 6 years to teach them what it means to be kind. On a daily basis, I show my kids how to be considerate of others, say thank you, smile at strangers, talk to the employees at the supermarket, give leftovers to the homeless and be inclusive of their peers. I try to teach them that color means nothing, that boys can marry boys and that girls can marry girls. I try to teach them that they should never speak down to someone who doesn’t have an as fortunate life as them and that if a friend is being left out, they be the one to include them. Our nanny, the car garage employees and the person who makes our coffee should be treated the same as they treat me and Shai (when they’re not ripping us a new one).
Jagger is a very curious child and will often ask me about people, things or situations that seem different to him. He asked if nuns were in costumes, why a Muslim woman had a “sheet over her face” and why 2 boys are kissing. I ALWAYS explain with an honest and open answer and one that shows him that even if it isn’t what we see in our home, it’s whats normal in theirs. Last year Jaggers teacher at school was a gay male (which I loved more than anything) and he had gotten engaged over the weekend. When we came in on Monday morning he flashed his ring at me and I started to scream with joy. Jagger asked me why I was screaming and I said X had gotten engaged over the weekend, Jagger said “oh to who” and I said to his boyfriend. Jagger looked up at me, smiled and said: “Wow mom, that’s special”. It was such an incredibly proud moment for me as I knew immediately I was doing my job and raising an awesome little human being. I am always telling them boys can love pink and girls can love sports and there is nothing a boy can do that a girl can’t and nothing a boy can do that a girl cant except for being pregnant (so I guess we win ;))
Having both a son and a daughter it’s my job to show them that they are equal. Yes, Jett’s room is pink and she loves dolls and Jaggers is gray and he loves cars, yet they often play together with one or the other. I never sway Jagger away from playing Barbies with her and no one loves to kick a soccer ball with Jagger more than she does. She loves to wear his superhero costumes and he thinks her dress up high heels are a good time. And guess what, it’s all ok. I will never forget when I was at work one at The Playroom NYC and there was a boy around 4 years old who put on a princess dress in our dress up room. His nanny ran over and embarrassed him yelling “boys don’t wear dresses, take that off right now!”. He looked so sad and ashamed and I can assure you that will stay with him forever. I was cringing and felt so sad for this little boy who was so happy wearing that dress. You better believe I went up to him when she walked away to tell him that he looked awesome in that dress!
I know this post isn’t a funny lighthearted one but I truly feel it’s our responsibility as parents to teach our kids whats right and wrong and to pray we do our job well enough that we don’t raise total douchebags. So what am I hoping your take away will be from this post? I hope you will let your children be who they want, let them express themselves through play, let them help you go through their toys and donate some and let your son rock that tutu.