I want to thank the folks who took the time to respond thoughtfully to THIS POST. I was really nervous about sharing it, and in fact, I did NOT link to it on Facebook, as I usually do when I update my blog, because I was afraid of being judged.
I was afraid of my Christian friends judging me for exploring the topic in the first place, or for not showing the proper revulsion in discussing it.
I was afraid of my more liberal friends for judging me for being "anti-gay" or "hateful" or even just backward and stupid.
Almost 2 weeks ago, my teens and I had a good conversation on this topic, and there's some more thoughts mulling around in my head from it. My daughter was a junior last school year, and she said one of the seniors at her school "came out" after graduation. I mentioned some of the thoughts I'd shared in my blog, and how challenging it was for me to change my way of thinking. This led to a discussion of how biases and prejudices are formed.
While we were talking, I was reminded of something that happened when I was a little girl. My dad and I went to a wedding for one of his co-workers. Actually, now that I think about it, it might have just been a reception. I don't remember any white dress part, or even the bride and groom, honestly. What I do remember is, on the way, my father telling me that the bride was pregnant. AS A GROWN UP, I can see that he was probably simply uncomfortable discussing this with me at all. AS A CHILD, the lesson I took away was that they were "bad" and his serious countenance was interpreted as severe disapproval, which I internalized several years later, when I was the Bad, Pregnant, Unmarried one.
I could probably delve into this and make correlations between that experience and how I still, to this day, struggle with the idea that God loves me as much as He loves other people. I always feel like He is disappointed in me. But I'd rather turn this into a learning experience. We may tease about how our kids will all need therapy someday, but the reality is, I don't want to inadvertently replicate this in my own children by being uncomfortable talking about homosexuality.
I try to be very open with my kids. We talk about reproduction, body functions, and sex All The Time. With five sons, these things come up. No pun intended. (Okay, maybe a little pun intended. Humor is my way of taking the edge off those conversations that might otherwise be uncomfortable.)
However, this issue is one that we don't really discuss. I think for many people it's an uncomfortable subject, so we just avoid it. The problem with that, is that our children don't know why we're not discussing it, they just know that it's taboo. They attach their own interpretations to our silence.
I want my kids to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I love them fiercely NO MATTER WHAT. And while I may not always be thrilled with their choices, NOTHING they do/embrace/become will make that love disappear. I want my kids to know that although I am uncomfortable with the issue of homosexuality, it's not a deal-breaker in my relationship with them. The only way our kids are going to know that is if we tell them.
When Kindles and other e-readers first came out, I scoffed. New=different=unfamiliar=scary. But little by little, I gave it a try, and now I absolutely love being able to check ebooks out wirelessly from my local library and read them on my iPad. Similarly, some of the parenting challenges I faced when my big kids were little are total non-issues now because of familiarity and experience. Kids haven't changed; I have. In the same manner, if we address our own questions/fears/feelings about homosexuality openly with our kids, they will be much better equipped to discuss the issue with less of our hangups.
One of my grandparents used to make all kinds of racist comments when I was a child. I didn't "see" it at the time, but looking back, I'm horrified at the things she said. (At least she was an equal opportunity racist: everybody sucked in her opinion.) Much like racist ideas, attitudes toward homosexuality may take a generation or so to change, but we can all choose to say, "It starts with me."
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