Allow me to illustrate this point. I recently sat on a panel regarding young adult and new adult romance novels. A question was posed about representing same sex relationships in YA/NA literature and it was put forth that schools would not allow such books in their libraries. My response was surprisingly well received. I simply chimed in and firmly noted that by neglecting to address same sex relationships we do a disservice to our children. The room fell surprisingly silent and I was allowed to continue, something along these lines. It does not matter how we feel personally it matters how the children feel and the absence of literature representing a faction of our society tells the children it is wrong, shameful, etc. When a child, tween or teenager is having feelings they cannot possibly understand and then they read books that show life a certain way over and over and over again, it becomes apparent to them that what they are feeling is wrong and that they are somehow wrong. To make matters worse, other kids are reading the same things and also getting the message that anything outside "the norm" is wrong. So we wonder where bullying comes from? I won't address bullying at this time, you get the gist..
Now, to be fair, I also pointed out that I am sure that same sex relationships are already present in schools and referenced a particular series by Cassandra Clare that makes no bones about same sex relationships even if only at secondary and tertiary character levels. But my argument extends to far more than same sex relationships. What about divorce? Drugs? Teen pregnancy? Abuse? Children need to understand all aspects of our society in order to grow and appropriately respond to the world they live in. I posit that we see a lot of inappropriate responses to things because kids don't have any clue on how to cope and the adults in their lives just cannot seem to deal with them. I am seeing a trend for parents to seal their kids off and believe it will work. Do you think that staves off their curiosity? Of course not. Where would you have them go? In this digital age what do you see happening? How do you propose to shelter these children from everything? Burn the internet?
I am certain that some parents are quite indignant now but I will not apologize. I am only noting a trend I am seeing. You can overhear a lot of conversations at school functions and I have been part of many conversations that left me shocked and disappointed. It is devastating to hear these parents say "I don't allow my children to watch x, y and z" to keep them from finding out undesirable information. SUCKERS! Kids are innovative and kids talk and I guarantee that where there is a will there is a way. Isn't it better to have very informative, honest discussions with our children to present them with all of the facts (in an age appropriate manner, of course)??
I digress, I am not writing this post to lecture on how to raise a child. Not at all. I am simply using this as a way to illustrate my point, a way to address the larger issue. It isn't just children who suffer from a void of information or, even worse, an excessive amount of incorrect information. However, children learn their behaviors from somewhere and what I am seeing on the athletic fields, in the classrooms and sadly, out in public, concerns me. We are not teaching our kids, we are indoctrinating them with the same ignorance we seem to be embracing. Nothing good can come of this. Have you seen the movie Idiocracy?
I have been told not once, not twice, but thrice that my daughter should not be asking 'why' as much as she does. My response? Why?? Kids SHOULD be asking why. Kids should be free to ask as many questions as they want/need in order to understand what they don't. I am so proud that my daughter does not take things at their face value. My concern is that she is meeting so much resistance. And she is not the only child asking questions. Where will she find her answers? Where will the other kids like her? Why would we want to stomp out that inquisitiveness?
Ignorance begets ignorance...how about we break the cycle??