jurassic park.

This morning my son was reading Jurassic Park and I was reminded of an incident.

This past summer I took a trip to the States for the first time in eight years. Within 10 miles of crossing the border we passed a white Lincoln with an Ayn Rand bumpersticker. An Ayn Rand bumpersticker, die a little death from that. Driving was an elderly white man.

I burst out laughing and when my son asked what was so funny, I said, ‘ I just saw a dinosaur!’

These were the heady days when we weren’t faced with the prospect of being dragged back to the 1950’s by our topknots. I have been in despair, waiting for the electoral college to work. And now that the last glimmer of sanity has left.

The States is a centerist country at it’s best. The Dems are middle of the road. I know that it is hard to see this through the knuckle dragging reptilian brained cable news blaring baloney 24 hours a day but a bit of perspective will tell you that. The States is also a country of change, it is built on change and like life, nothing is static. Nothing. Change is a reality and if you are not part of it, you are left behind. See: great swathes of the country. Trump’s table only has so many seats and he thinks it should be filled with a neo-Nazi, post industrialist greedy league of villians. I suspect he is channeling the Joker, it is outrageous.

That bit of hope that was snuffed out yesterday? Well, I can’t go on without it. So I remember what happens in Jurassic Park. Don’t be the dinosaur, be the mammal.

*I just have to use this space here to say that seeing Newt Gingrich making the rounds makes me seethe. The only context in which he has any relevance is in a documentary on jerks of the late 20th century. That guy does not need to belly up to the paid pundit bar, we need to reject him, AGAIN.

they work for you.

Regardless of party every person in Congress works for you and while big business continues to be subsidized by the government, they work for you. The Army Corp of Engineers, the police force and the military? They work for you. Never let them forget it and never, ever shut up.

I have spent the last weeks since the election pinballing through the five stages of grief and drafting up enhanced homeschooling plans. Our focus has always been a world view but now I will place more of an emphasis on teaching empathy as a personal form of resistance. It is always our backyard.

Teaching empathy cannot be a sledgehammer and is a long term commitment. For the foreseeable future I will be highlighting our journey here.

For our youngests it continues to bring them stories of the world, connecting with people through their culture and experiencing what we can, living here in near Toronto*. For the middle ages we bring in sage stories and donating our time. And for our eldest it is gradually bringing him in to the duality of news and the bewildering blind spots in our society.

I am working on specific posts for the age groups and will leave you with more grown up and older child suggestions.

Children of the Camps project, link to the documentary, education and workshop links

Souther Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch remember this not to accept this escalation as our new normal

My Civic Workout bi-weekly newsletter of three simple actions to take

 

 

*we are US citizens currently living in Canada. if you live abroad and are a US citizen you are still able to vote and you are required to file tax returns, which we do.

 

 

how to not raise a wack-o.

I grew up with conspiracy theories,  watching adults speak like uninformed children. They’ve made for some pretty funny party stories.

But having children and in particular a teen has made me humorless to them. Teens are experiencing the fine lines between truth, experience, privilege and perspective. It is the murky depths that can leave them open or harden them to the world.

The other day my son came home and told me an adult had told him Hillary has serpent blood. I asked him, why would someone say this? What do you think they mean?

Fingers crossed, they are speaking figuratively. Maybe they are speaking of her foreign policy or maybe they are repeating the old gem that a woman with power must be frigid.

If it’s the first, sorry, I can’t help you out there. This isn’t an episode of Dr Who. The second, I can’t lie, I am troubled but can grasp some of the international historical nuance, the third, well, thank you very much. That’s in my parenting wheelhouse.

A male going through puberty being handed coded language get’s a strong tsk, tsk followed by a middle finger from me.

My son and I went down the list starting with fear. I let him do most of the talking, working it through outloud because he isn’t yet ready to hear why a woman is called frigid, we are still baby stepping here.  How do you tell your son that when a man feels threatened by a woman it equates to her not wanting to have sex with him and there must be something wrong with her?   How do you balance the biases your children are barraged with and hormones? A long bumpy ride, friends.

Conspiracy theories are chock full of superstition and self-loathing. They are not new-think, they are fear-think. It isn’t people breaking things down to the truth, it’s them resisting change. How can we raise our children to trust the world and live in it if we give the devil his advocates.

We have to raise children to trust in humans. It starts small with letting them ride the subway and ends with them launching themselves in to life. Do we want a bunch of middle age children cowering in our basements wondering if the medical establishment is trying to turn us in to animorphs?

Asking questions and not always going with the status quo is always encouraged in my parenting but conspiracy theories have no place. Hand wringing and repeating half truths will only hold children back.