For class today I had to read a blog post and write a response about the way it was written. It was the kind of assignments I don't care for because it doesn't invite you to look into the text and talk about it; instead they want us to just look at how it was written, is it written well.
The entry was about this usual caring mother type that believes in Christianity and takes raising her kids very seriously. She wrote a post about young girls on facebook who post revealing photos and how she doesn't like her three teenage boys having that kind of content available.
It wasn't very special and I didn't see what the big deal was about. It had a lot of comments and she had edited in her own comments about how much coverage this was getting that she wasn't expecting and how she's learned from the experience.
There was this comment and this guy was talking about how she was teaching girls to pin themselves up and to stop all of the objectification while it's a problem on both sides of the table. Instead of teaching her sons to respect women, he asserted that she was teaching girls to make all of the unfairness fair. It was a good comment and opened my eyes to what was actually wrong with the blog post.
Sure, young girls shouldn't post pictures of themselves in the bathroom with a low cut top going down their shirt, but her boys should be able to choose not to look at those pictures or not to go for those girls and that sort of thing. It was a good post. It was something I had definitely overlooked and he had some good insight into what's wrong with objectification, both sides.
But anyway. It was peculiar for me to think about raising kids. You see, both the mother and the poster were saying that it's the parents job to make sure their kids don't turn into awful perverts. And that seemed strange to me.
To me, it's not up our parents to shape us. It's up to us. We have to become good people ourselves and if we don't, then it's our own failure as a human.
Elaine and I talked about this and she pointed out how different my upbringing was then other people's.
Growing up, my father was always around. When I was a teenager, he was around the house and we would interact and stuff. But he never tried to force his ideals or philosophy onto me. My father was a staunt racist and he expressed it all the time, but he never encouraged me to be like him, to turn into a person that was like him. He taught me how to fish and shoot, but morals weren't something we ever touched on.
Elaine once said that my house was more like a collection of people that lived together and not like a family, and that's pretty accurate.
I don't think I'd be able to write it all out here, what growing up was like for me. I've probably already given you the wrong impression. Something I'll always value my parents for is loving me as much as they did, and in a lot of ways I think that's all I needed. They didn't restrict the things I could do and they didn't try control my life or the people I hung out with. They never said things like "I think he's a bad influence" or "I don't like that music. Stop listening to it."
Maybe some people need that kind of guidance, but I never did. I was given complete freedom and I chose what kind of person I was going to become.
And that's why parenting like that, what they blog poster or the commenter described, doesn't make sense to me.
The responsibility was all on me and I did what I could. I think I turned out okay.
Note: When I think about it, maybe the reason my father never tried to force his morals on me was because he didn't think he was a person I should become. He knew, to some degree, that he wasn't the best role model. So he never tried to impose that onto me. It's a nice thought..
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