Becoming a parent is an overwhelming, life-changing “thing.” This “thing” is a job, a role, a calling, a duty, a responsibility, an art and craft, and while there are plenty of self-help books and no end to those who will want to give advice on how to raise one’s own children, there really is no true training or preparation for doing this thing that you will only begin to understand once you have finished doing it.
Our theme song this month is a lullaby written to a child, to children that imagines this message: You are free to be exactly who you are without having to worry that I will withdraw my love and deep compassion for you.
Some part of me reacts very strongly to the notion that we would need to say that to a child or to anyone else, and the other part of me knows just how powerfully social, cultural and religious traditions impose themselves on parents and the expectations of what a child is and who that child is allowed to be.
I am watching various folks on social media declaring that because they are Christian they will NOT (apparently yelling this) be allowing their children to see the new Disney version of Beauty and the Beast because it includes a love relationship between two males. The implication of these declarations is that if children are allowed to watch they will somehow be susceptible to becoming gay–as if this is a disease. These parents are afraid, and frightened parents retract and become inflexible about the things they fear.
The reality is that some of those children already are gay, and their parents simply don’t know it yet. Some of their children, one day, are going to fall in love with someone whose religion or skin color or politics don’t line up with the parent’s expectations. Those children are going to have interests, abilities and experiences which do not match what their parents want for them or which make their parents afraid because . . .
. . . their parents simply did not imagine.
Whether we are parents now or not, it’s never too late to bring this message, this beautiful lullaby to those in our lives today. You are free, dear one, to be who you are, and you need never fear that I will withdraw my love and deep compassion for you. Everything is possible, because I can imagine that, for you.