Monthly Archives: September 2010
When my mother comes to visit, my stomach flips…with joy!
Because I get a taste of home…check it out…
Say it with me, “Yum!”
The other morning I was listening to an inane radio show, when I heard a caller say, “I hate kids!” She said it with the sort of gleeful disdain that usually accompanies such a statement. She’s not alone in her sentiments. It seems that loudly and proudly vocalizing your hatred of all things child is now the cool thing to do. The reasons given for this hatred generally hinge on the purported stories of screaming kids in a restaurant or airplane. Yet, rarely do we hear people say with such vigor, “I hate adults!” even when presented with the most extreme examples of boorish adult behavior.
I’ve disapproved of the child hate sentiment since before I became a parent.
Not because I think all children are little angels beyond reproach.
Not because I think everyone’s personal goals should include procreation.
And certainly not because I can’t fathom that someone else might not find my kid as charming or as loveable as I do.
Essentially, the statement, “I hate kids” erases the personhood of children.
That statement doesn’t leave room for nuance. It doesn’t consider that each child is an individual with their own personality, culture, experiences etc. It doesn’t consider their different stages of brain development. Most of all it doesn’t consider that kids are human beings too. Hatred is a lot easier when we reject another person’s humanity. When we reject another person’s humanity, it’s all the more easy to oppress them when we wield more societal power than they do.
And boy do adults wield more power than kids do. No matter how many stories we can come up with about some “brat running wild,” the fact remains that adults still run the show. Because of that power imbalance children are vulnerable to being treated as lesser humans than adults. One example being that adults can recommend, justify and debate the appropriateness of hitting children yet have no problem calling it assault when an adult hits another adult.
There are other consequences of child hate. It leads to calls for and the actual banning of children from public spaces. It leads to harassment (and assault) of children and their caregivers. Since women in this society still take on the bulk of childcare responsibilities, child hate and misogyny tend to walk hand-in-hand. After all, aren’t women mostly blamed for their children’s “bad” behavior? Aren’t women the ones who will have to stay home if children aren’t welcomed in public spaces? Aren’t women criticized as breeders and welfare queens for bringing children into the world?
Eff that shit.
Here’s a simple truth: Every one of us started out as a child. Most of us were able to grow into adulthood. The current generation of children will do the same. That child you sneered at today might be making decisions that affect your life when s/he grows up. Wouldn’t it be in our best interests to cultivate an environment that encourages children to grow into empathetic, compassionate, ethical adults?
There are better ways to express not wanting your personal life to be child-centric. Say you prefer the company of adults. Say you don’t like being involved in children’s activities. Say your personal life is too adult-centric for kids and you like it that way. Don’t keep saying you hate kids.
Unless you really do.
But then I’ll have no recourse but to consider you a bigot.
Now check out what these writers have to say on the subject:
I wasn’t sure whether I would write a commemorative post for the anniversary of 9/11 this year. I did, however, remember that I’d written something in an email to a friend on the first anniversary of that awful day. I’ve decided to share those reflections of the then 22-year old me. All commentary by my present self is done in bold type.
Last year on this very day, around this time (10-ish), I was home in bed (sleeping in cause school hadn’t started back and I didn’t have to be at work), only to be awakened by my then boyfriend, now roommate, with the words “ A plane crashed into the World Trade Center…and the Pentagon too.” For some reason…grogginess perhaps…it didn’t seem that serious to me at first, but I quickly woke up and thought to myself (I may have said it out loud too), “The Pentagon….this is deliberate.” I mean, the WTC crash could have been an accident, but the Pentagon? That’s an act of war.
I, in my naivete still didn’t understand the magnitude of all of this, until I started watching TV, and to my horror, one of the buildings collapsed. It was like slow motion…and all I could think of was…”all those people.” For a brief moment…one that temporarily paralysed my vocal chords and stimulated my lacrimal ducts simultaneously…I forgot that this was history happening right before my eyes. I only knew shock and sudden sadness and merciful compassion. Yet, I thought the worst was over…only to have the same feeling return repeatedly throughout the day as more lives were lost, and families were shattered.
Somehow, it only occurred to me later in the afternoon, that I had family right there in NY, some of them possibly employed in the vicinity of the WTCs. It was also then that a hint of personal panic set in, but it was luckily never given the chance to fully blossom. You see, by the grace of fate, or God, or luck or whatever, it was my aunt’s day off (she worked near there), my cousin had gotten a transfer to New Jersey (she used to work next to the WTCs), and my sister never got the chance to go to downtown Manhattan like she had been planning. Only my cousin’s boyfriend wasn’t so lucky…he was a fireman, one of the first on the scene…I heard he didn’t make it out. Funny how I had been in NY that summer for my other cousin’s wedding…I don’t think he [my cousin's boyfriend] had been there, but if he had, I never got to meet him…what if I had? It’s an eerie thought.
I’ve always said I wasn’t American…and I still say that, but funny how trivial that distinction can seem on a day like that. A year later, I go on with my life, my own little trials and tribulations, and I scoff when I hear words like “war on terrorism” and “homeland security”…all buzzwords…but then I see a story on the news or in the newspaper and I remember what I thought had faded….not the day itself…not the horror or the sadness…but that gut wrenching “this is for real” heartbreak. I didn’t expect to feel like this today…and it’s a bit of a challenge to sound cheerful as I answer the phone [at my then job] while I write this. So here’s my little contribution to the memory of that piece of history I can say I lived, like the generation of Pearl Harbor, or the Titanic, or some other event I took for granted.