Dear Family Member

When a family member rants against the women’s march

I woke to find a post in my feed by a family member:

Since some female [name of school] teachers went out of their way in their classrooms to shove down my 13 year old daughter’s throat their excitement regarding their attendance at the Women’s March on Washington on 1/21/17, please do feel free to shove forth some March For Life excitement too, it’s tomorrow 1/27/17!

Below it was the general agreement of the family member’s circle of friends, including this one pithy statement:

After what i’ve seen, I don’t understand how any woman could be proud to have taken part in that bullshit march!!

There were so many things that hit me in this family member’s post I had to respond. This is a repost of my response.

Dear Family Member— I love you. Having said that I would like to remind you that the world is not such a neat and pretty place for most people.

To rail against your child being informed of the events of the world because you don’t agree with them? I just don’t know what to say about that. One thing I do know is that if want to consider yourself an informed citizen of this country and this world you cannot selectively choose what events you want presented to your children. All you can do is frame those events in context in the basis of your moral and spiritual beliefs, and THAT is the job of the parents, to be done at home, not in the public forum of a school.

It never does any good to ignore the tide of history, and none of us can protect our children for the events that surround us. Nor should we. I speak from my experience. As you know I received a Catholic school education from kindergarten through high school and was presented with a singular world view through that time. There were many, many things we did not examine in that microcosm. When I attended a secular college at the tender age of eighteen the culture shock was profound. The world was so much broader and textured than I was led to believe. I found myself playing catch-up just to become informed on how to live in world with so many people that were vastly different from me.

Believe me, dear sister, there are many more people, with many more beliefs and ways of living in the world, that are equally informative and valuable as that of living as a White Christian in America.

You are privileged in living a lifestyle that most Americans do not. 45 million Americans live in poverty and most of those are women and children. The only way that most Americans can achieve a middle class income is for both the husband and wife work because 77% of American jobs do not pay a self-sufficiency wage. One in five children experience hunger as part of their daily lives. This in supposedly the greatest nation on earth.

I’m only pointing these things out because women are so central to the health of our American society that it is vital that we pay attention to women’s concerns. So you don’t agree with a woman’s right to choice abortion. This is an issue on which we will never agree (us being as stubborn as we are.) But the Women’s March was about so much more than one lightening rod issue. It was about the unique health care concerns of women, the need to make sure that women receive appropriate health care even if they cannot afford it out of pocket. But most centrally is was about expressing the concerns of women that we are at the cusp of having our rights cut out from under us because one small segment of society is looking through a particularly small moral lens.

So no, as one of your commenters so succinctly called it, it was not a bullshit event.

As an educator you know it is a teacher’s job to inform children about the events of the world. The Women’s March was an event. It may or may not impact history. Only time will tell. How you want to frame that event is your job as a parent. Eventually all our children leave the cocoon of the family. The best you can do is impart your morals and sense of society responsibility and then it will be up to the child to make decisions based on that.

It never does any good to ignore the tide of history, and none of us can protect our children for the events that surround us. To do so may cause more harm than good.

Image published under a Creative Commons license issued by Flickr user Tom Hilton.