Posted by: Hannah | 08/30/2012

fire-resistant

You guys!

Here I was, all ballsy and “IMMA GONNA PISS OFF ALL THE PEOPLES NOW HA HA”, and every single one of you refused to light a single match.

You have restored my faith in the internet. For reals. We discussed vaccinations, homeschooling,vegetarianism, politics, abortion, religion, and gay rights and not one person resorted to name-calling, shaming, or belittling. Every one of you expressed your positions calmly and rationally. And while I don’t agree with some of you – in some cases your opinion is completely in opposition to mine – I have a much clearer understanding of where you’re coming from and what is behind your thinking or belief.

Some additional thoughts, as prompted by the comments:

On Homeschooling:

I should have said that good homeschooling is admirable, but that not all homeschooling is good. Beck quite rightly pointed out that there are some people who do not take their responsibilities with regard to teaching their kids at all seriously (I was a little horrified by her example. OK, so I’d be hopeless at teaching an art class, but a barely-literate 12 year old is a problem). My particular bugaboo is with the “unschooling” movement, because as Nicole said in her comment, Isn’t that just life with children? Going to the grocery store and pointing out the word “Milk”?

I feel that any description of an unschooling ‘moment’ I’ve ever heard has me nodding my head, because it’s what I do anyway with my kids. But I think it would be awfully tempting as the parent to have zero structure, no clear goals, and no strategies for preparing your kids for being functioning adults in modern society. Unschooling would be SO FUN. But ultimately it’s a choice only the privileged can make, and to me anyway it feels like so many other so-called ‘principles of progressive parenting’ – fine in theory, but unworkable in reality over the long term.

On Kids’ Names:

When I said “weird” I meant “names that are just collections of random consonants”, not “names from another ethnicity or linguistic tradition”. So if your kids are named the Irish equivalent of John Smith, power to you (although extra points if you are actually of Irish descent). Kimberly mentioned the name “Siobhan”, which yes, is almost impossible to spell or pronounce if you aren’t familiar with it; however, as a name it goes back to the Middle Ages. I know someone with a son named “Mackira” (pronounced Mac-I-rah) – this is not a name, and they admit that it isn’t – they just went through the alphabet slamming letters together until they found some they liked, that they could then easily shorten to the nickname “Mac”. That, I’m sorry, is whacknuts.

And I can say all this knowing full well that my mom almost named me “Tuesday”, after the actress Tuesday Weld. That wouldn’t have been so bad…

Thanks for believing in my ability to be a blonde bombshell, Mom. *fist bump*

… except that my husband’s last name is a day of the week (yes, really) and that would have set me up for a lifetime of getting hung up on by frustrated call centre employees thinking I was pranking them instead of trying to upgrade my cell phone plan.

On Voting Conservative:

I understand that people have reasons for voting for a conservative party. In my lifetime anyway, this province’s best Premier (think Governor, American friends) was a kindly retired country doctor named John Hamm who got recruited by the Progressive Conservative party, got himself elected despite being horribly awkward on camera, and actually believed in being socially liberal and fiscally conservative. I voted for him, quite happily.

I’ve also voted for New Democrats, Liberals, and the Green Party. It all depends on the issues and personalities of the day. For example, I will never vote for the federal Liberals if they do end up with Justin Trudeau as leader; a man so monumentally in the shadow of his father that even he has said he’s not Pierre’s intellectual peer.

My only point was that “conservatives” tend to be credited with fiscal restraint, and that is not always a deserved reputation. When I hear people say “gotta vote conservative because IT’S THE ECONOMY, DUMBASS, I get quite put out.

On Vegetarianism:

Which popped up in the comments all on its own! I was a vegetarian for eight years – partly for ethical reasons and partly becuase, in retrospect, it was a way to nurture my really disordered eating habits without critique. (“NO, I didn’t eat lunch at school today, I couldn’t, everything they were serving HAD A FACE.”) Nothing like starting up a “meat is murder” discussion to get the guidance counselor off your dangerously skinny back!

Anyway, eventually I started eating meat again, but I always felt really badly about it because I *do* know full well what factory farming looks like. Even if cattle, turkeys, and chickens weren’t capable of feeling pain, fear, or stress, I’d still feel guilty, because compassion is for every living thing (except earwigs) was instilled in me from a very young age. As soon as it became possible for me to switch to locally-produced, ethically-raised meat, I did. I’m not perfect – with a family of five big eaters sometimes a good deal is a good deal – but I do what I can. And I’m teaching my boys to do the same.

On Letting Kids Cry:

I should have been more clear on this one; I do not mean letting wee babies scream uncomforted. I mean caving in to your child’s demands habitually rather than letting them cry from frustration, or disappointment. Or people who panic when a toddler cries for a bit before falling asleep.

Bah. That’s not fair. Letting a child cry sometimes is practice for letting them fail at things later. You can’t fix everything for your children. Your children will experience loss, heartbreak, upset. Letting them discover that they are strong enough to deal with those things will build their self-esteem.

So many other thoughts I’ve had from reading (and rereading, and re-rereading) the comments. Thank you all, from the bottom of my shriveled little cynical heart.

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Responses

  1. Let me be the first here to say it: Tuesday Weld is HOT!

  2. Enjoying a giggle thinking about what your name would have been. As it happens, your opinion and mine on most of the aforementioned subjects coincide nicely. I was going to say something when I read Kimberley’s comment about Siobhan too – real names aren’t fair game for mockery in my book. We have friends who have two daughters named Niamh and Saoirse, and while I do indulge myself and call her Seahorse in my head every now and then, it’s just because I’m infantile, not because I think there’s anything wrong with the name.

    • I know, right? Can you imagine trying to renew your driver’s license with a name like that?


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