So I read something another parent posted today that said something along the lines of how she wasn't going to let people say negative things about their bodies in front of her child, so her body image wasn't destroyed. And I read this blog, again by Maria, where she discusses, among other things, some close minded thoughts on Sandra Bullock adopting a black kid, and how people worry that he won't be able to understand what it means to be black, since his mom is white, and won't be able to deal with racial slurs.
Here's the thing.
We all want Utopia for our kids. We want serenity, and beauty, and peace and love. We don't want them to experience evil, or hatred, or pain, or unfairness. We want them to keep the innocence we don't get anymore. We want them to believe that every fairy tale has a beautiful, shiny, happy ever after.
But they're not going to get that.
The world can be an amazing place. The people I meet on a regular basis wow me with how amazing they are. I live a fantastic life, and I'm very, very lucky to have the amazing friends and family that surround me. Sometimes the wonder of life overwhelms me.
You can't discount the darkness in the world, though.
There is hatred, and prejudice, and evil. There are people who intentionally hurt others for no real reason. There are people who hate based on sex or race or ethnicity or religion or orientation or body type. It's a sad reality.
Shielding your kid entirely from the negative things out there, to me, sets them up to be crushed. If they don't know that sometimes, people aren't good, it hits them that much harder when they realize it. It's a fine line. You can't, and shouldn't, raise your kid to be a jaded jerk who thinks everyone is out to get them. But stopping anything negative from being said around them just puts them in a big old bubble that someone, someday, is going to pop with a giant bang.
I don't know exactly when or how I'm going to broach things with the girls. I don't know how to someday tell them that there will be bad things in their lives beyond "Mommy won't give me a sucker for breakfast." I'm sure I will botch it a little, I'm sure it'll still hurt when they discover it. I'm not, and never going to be, the perfect parent. And it's especially hard to address hatreds that I really don't understand. I can't tell the girls why some people hate gay people, or black people, or whatever, because I don't get it. I don't get to use my lack of understanding as a pass, though. My job is to raise my children to be decent people who make the world a little bit better. I am incapable of doing that if I never address the less pretty side of people.
And, in case anyone's wondering, I have no idea on the bat issue yet. I'll probably update the last bat blog whenever I do.