It has been said your own children teach you the greatest lessons. I agree. My sons teach me something new daily. In fact, my son Neal attempted to teach me how to knit yesterday. This ended with me throwing the knitting needles across the room while yelling, "It's easier when you have smaller fingers!" But, I'm not talking about practical skills, but lessons in humanity.
Driving the kids home from school last week, I noticed a car with a MITT bumper sticker. I reacted in a very mature and articulate way, by saying very loudly "boo boo, yuk Republicans." This was in a car filled with one adult (me). Neal replied, "Mom, why are you saying "boo", and why are you always talking to yourself?" I decided to only answer the first part of the question, "Those PEOPLE have a Mitt bumper sticker, which obviously means they only care about themselves!" Neal replied, "Well mom, they do care for others, look they are stopping to let the peacocks cross the street." "They are bird killers", I thought. Doesn't my son know about Mitt Romney threatening to kill Big Bird and the rest of the Sesame Street gang? When I popped back into reality, I really thought, "This kid is right, they aren't bird killers, but they are Republicans."
When I called my brother in Los Angeles for the fifth time that day to discuss my interaction with my eldest child, he quickly emailed me a link to a recent episode of The Daily Show. The episode centered around Democrats being the "tolerant" and "inclusive" party. This was all done with great sarcasm and wit. The Daily Show reporters walked around The Democratic Convention interviewing these "open minded" liberals. Basically, all of them talked about how inclusive and accepting the party is, but when it comes to "rednecks" or gun-toting potbelly evangelical Christians"... not so much.
This resonated with me, because it's absolutely true. Jon Stewart was poking fun at all of us, including himself. Liberals, including me believe we are the most accepting people on the planet, but when it comes to conservatism, we shut down and exclude. WE EXCLUDE. WE JUDGE. Now, I am not going to get into my statement about values and the reason I am opposed to republican ideologies -- such as still believing in pulling yourself up by your boot straps, when you can't even afford a pair of boots. No matter, I will admit that I am not so open when it comes to accepting the conservatism surrounding me.
Neal's reaction to my closed-minded judgements, made me think about the example I was setting for my easily influenced offspring. Republicans are BAD and anyone with a differing opinion is BAD. After I recognized a character flaw in me, I decided to work on not being so quick to dislike the non-liberals. (I will be taking fashion shots for http://www.hautedropoff.com at the next Miami NRA chapter meeting.)
I have to say having my judgmental behavior pointed out by my own children, makes me think maybe I am not doing such a bad job. They are able to think for themselves and realize when their mother is wrong.
My kids have turned out to be the most inclusive and cool individuals I will ever know... probably due to seriously awesome parents. After I finally admitted to my major flaw, I thanked Neal for pointing out my negative behavior and most of all teaching me a huge lesson. I then told him that one day when his own children will be denied Big Bird, due to budget cuts made by the Republican Party, he will apologize to me and admit that Republicans are bird killers. (Okay, just kidding about the last part.)