There's been a theme running through our lives lately.
Seven's curmudgeonly ex-nun teacher-replacement while the real one is on maternity leave assigned the kids weekly homeworks to examine and present international, national, state and local news.
Yeah. I know what you're thinking: brilliant idea! Gets the kids interested in real-world topics, and gives them some tools for reading the news or any other story. I thought that too, at first.
It is actually infinitely more difficult than I imagined. Take last week when we were hunting through our local rag, the New York Times and some online sources to find a story that was palpable, readable (to a seven-year-old) and not-too complicated (read: to understand you need years of back-information).
I thought: There must be something about Hillary.
In fact, it was a complicated, wonky article about political strategy.
Okay. Here's something about Ahmadinejad’s visit to Columbia. Great! Free speech. That'll be easy AND I can rile up her penchant for drama and tell her about the little spat I had with my sister-in-law about the whole ordeal earlier that day! The first sentence of the article read:
There are no homosexuals in Iran.
She knows that we call ourselves "gay" and "lesbian", but I had never used the term "homosexual" with her, and wasn't interested in dealing with the clinical term, let alone the Kinsey Report with her at that point in time.
As an aside, check out Alison Bechtel's comment about the cover on this week's New Yorker (I just got it in the mail but hadn't had a chance to look at it). She's right . . . It's brilliant!
The next night a uniform-clad boy from Seven's class came up to our back yard selling (his soul) popcorn etc., for our little school's cub scout troop.
Seven: What're we gonna buy? It's for our school!!! What're we gonna buy??? Can we get some popcorn?
I started into the whole the Boy Scouts discrim-um-hurt-um-won't let-um I mean, well, I mean to say that the Boy Scouts aren't nice to gay-um-people like us-um-I mean, me. And mom. Yeah, and mom too.
The boy looked at me with a huge question mark on the top of his head as if to say: My troop is hurting someone?
Harlyn Aisley, over at Are You My Mothers recently posted about a friend of hers' son receiving a flyer to join the local troop and their decision to boycott the whole thing despite the fact that the kids wanted to join. She says:
"The issue that plagued my friend was not simply this, but that a public school – the one to which she entrusts her children and donates her time and money – endorses an organization that excludes members of its community."
It is funny, the places you find yourself in life. We're already down the path of joining the discriminating muck, what with being in a Catholic school and all. At some level, we've already chosen the path of 'change from within.' I'm not sure if Big will want to be apart of the Boy Scouts, but part of me wants to join and get involved (and make a big stink of it if they don't let me). I can't imagine telling Big that he can't be apart of it, if all of his friends are as opposed to joining and trying to make it a better place. Also, both of my brothers and my two nephews are eagle scouts. We'll definitely cross that bridge when we get to it.
Lastly, a perennial problem is the books that we have around the house. LesbianDad has been posting reading lists in honor of banned books week. These posts are well worth your time.
For a future post: what I think is missing in the literature.
[Ilya Somin] Happy Saturnalia!
2 hours ago