I have to warn you that I have a raging ear infection as I type. So raging that my doctor could only describe it as “moderate” in his attempts to recover from examining my ear canal with his little light thingy. So please excuse me for vomiting all of my thoughts out on this page in a Z-PAC and soon to be Tylenol PM induced stupor.
Sometimes I have said that being a mother isn’t the hardest job in the world, and other times I really want to retract my statement. I mean, the physical part isn’t that hard. Feed them. Clothe them. Play with them. Be nice to them. Turn on the Netflix for them.
But in just 7 short months since writing that post, I suppose my four year old twins have grown leaps and bounds, and now the idea of teaching them to be kind, compassionate, and loving, yet independent individuals is weighing heavily on my heart. Turns out that this is hard, y’all.
Also, I’m afraid that I will never be able to eat another waffle fry without hearing it’s little waffle fry voice taunting me with, “Gotcha, sucker! You only thought you had convictions!”
The waffle fries and the Boy Scouts have been on my mind lately because they’ve been all over the internets. Many Americans are giving up Chick Fil A and will never support the Boy Scouts due to their anti-gay sentiments and possible funding of anti-gay organizations. Yesterday several news stories were published that Chick Fil A president Dan Cathy admits to being against gay marriage (in a very round about way, if we’re being fair). And the Boy Scouts of America have been making headlines for upholding their policy of not allowing gay members.
Thank God the Chick Fil A story didn’t break on a Tuesday, because kids eat free, and that would have really destroyed my chances of getting out of making dinner. (kidding)
Also, all I could think about was my gay friend’s Facebook check in at Chick Fil A that he was “going to get some Christian chicken!” (I would say that’s irony, but The Oatmeal has me paranoid about saying anything is ironic.)
As I think about these organizations and these companies and the huge role they have played on so many lives and stomachs, I wonder…do I have the conviction to deny that group my business? Or more importantly, do I have the conviction to stick to my decision?
We’re not Chick Fil A fanatics. We have eaten there once in a while when we’re caught out running errands at meal time. We’ve long known that they were a company based on Christian values, and that’s great (hey-o, I’m a Christian too!). Did Cathy necessarily need to come out and say that he opposed gay marriage? Well, that’s his right as American, as long as he’s prepared for the potential backlash it could cause. I guess it’s better than lying about it when he’s pressed for an answer.
Concerning the Boy Scouts, I’m kinda glad that with my three girls, Scouts are already a little out of the question, since I heard they don’t let girls in either. But I do know a lot of people who are pulling their children from or will not let them join that organization because of this ruling (which to be fair and neutral, has always been the policy). I find it a bit of a shame that the Scouts are so discriminatory, since they seem to have played such a huge role in the lives of so many boys and young men. The young men who are being alienated likely need leadership and guidance more than a lot of the other boys.
The other day on the Twitter I caught a tweet from @TheNextMartha that said, “As long as the Boy Scouts ban gays, neither of my sons will be a part of that organization.”
So I asked her — genuinely — how she would address the situation if her boys really wanted to join because their friends were joining, and kids just want to do everything their friends want to do. I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason I joined the Girl Scouts in the fourth grade. And all in all, it ended up not being my schtick. I didn’t go on any of the camp outs, and I walked away with the one badge they give you just for showing up so your vest doesn’t look so damn empty. Honestly, I think it looked better empty than with one lonely patch, but whatever.
She responded that she explained to her older son that they didn’t admit everyone who wanted to join, and since that was a family value of theirs, they were not going to support that organization.
I thought her answer was aces, and I can’t wait to use it on my kids.
I asked her because as a parent, I don’t always think that quickly on my feet (unless I’m dealing with a kid who’s about to vomit, then I’m Mommy on the Spot). But I want my kids to know that when I believe in something, I believe in it with my whole heart, not just the part that isn’t hungry for a chicken sandwich today. I want them to know that I believe we should not hate or discriminate. Chick Fil A can quote as much scripture to me as they want, but I will never feel like it’s okay to show ill will towards someone because of their choice of partner.
I don’t consider myself a cynical person, and I don’t want my children growing up hearing my husband or I making derogatory statements towards another human being. A lot of hate starts at home, from children modeling the behaviors of their own parents. And the opposite holds true as well – my children will learn a great deal of their tolerance and acceptance of others from us.
And if they say, “But Mom, why do we support Big Time Company 123 if they are supporting something we’re against?” and I tell them that it’s just this once, or that our money is just a drop in the bucket and really doesn’t matter because Big Time Company 123 is not going to go out of business just because we stop going there, well…
How can I ever get them to believe that their vote matters?
Or how can I make them believe that they themselves can make a difference?
It’s easy to think that my contribution doesn’t matter, or that I can still model my preferences to my children while encouraging them to think critically and make their own decisions based on what their heart tells them. But they need to know that if we as human beings all have the right and the ability to take a stand for something we believe in — or something we don’t. And sometimes those standing on both sides of the issue need to have a little tolerance for each other.
It has to start here. Which means that I need to decide how I’m going to reply when we’re out and about and everyone’s hungry and hankering for some Christian chicken.
PS — My kids don’t even care. Their favorite thing from Chick Fil A is ketchup.