Monday, May 18, 2009

A good question

Despite what some people may think about P.G. County (uneducated, ill-informed people generally given to stereotypes and generalizations) we actually have a good bit of diversity here. Esther has evidently been figuring some things out about diversity of family. Today, while Ruthie was pretending to go potty (involves getting on and off the little potty 17 times and screaming when I try to take her away and put on a diaper so she doesn't tee-tee on the rug AGAIN) Esther asked me this question about a child in her class:

"Mommy, why does Nathan have two mommies?"

Whatever your beliefs may be, I'm sure you will agree that as parents we need to teach our children tolerance of all but the most heinous things, and acceptance and support of those things which one values. For example, I may not think that polygamy or arranged marriage is right for anyone, but I can still teach my children tolerance for those people who support it and help them understand why some cultures believe differently, without indicating any sort of acceptance, agreement or support for such practices.

But at three years old, Esther's not interested in cultures. She just wants to know why Nathan has two mommies.

But for me, it's more than just an answer to a question. It's the very, very beginning of what I hope will be many opportunities to teach Esther to think critically about what she believes and why.

I thought carefully and quickly about what I would say. And as is typical for me, I was far more dramatic than I needed to be.

Here's what I said: "Esther, Nathan has two mommies because God lets us make all different kind of families. God loves us so much, and God is happy that Nathan has two mommies to love him and take care of him." And I about threw my shoulder out from patting myself on the back as Esther looked at me and comprehension passed into her face.

"Mommy, what is Batman?"


Rachel et Natalie said...

I guess the 1st question was easier than the 2nd...
Good job Ellen
We had the same topic of discussion with yossi a few days ago and I replied as well that I wanted our girls to be tolerant. I will copy him your msg if you don't mind

Elaine said...

Ooh, ooh, ooh! Call on me, call on me! My friend Sher (over at wrote the best post about this ever - and not that you asked or need it, but her words to her pre-teen daughter on this topic were "in this world, you are lucky if you can find someone you love who loves you back. it doesn’t really matter whether it’s a boy or a girl." So I give that to you to tuck away as I have.

dc604 said...

batman seems way harder to explain than two people who have a family together!

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