We use our children to justify any political action while doing nothing to help them.
I am turning off comments on this post. I understand this essay garnered some strong reactions. And I am happy about the conversations. But it's hard to monitor everything at the moment. And I was really disappointed to see some commenters talking about people should not be "allowed" to have children. Those kinds of comments are hurtful, and the logic leads to forced sterilizations and discrimination. This is a community of a lot of kind and thoughtful people and I rarely have to do this. Thank you all for reading!
Lyz, I have no words and yet I've reread this like 3 times already. This one hit.
The United States is the only UN member that has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Child marriage is legal in most of our states. Along with book bans, some public schools are bringing back corporal punishment. We have literal nazis marching in our streets. And I'd say we have them in some of our governors' mansions and seats in Congress, as well as that "mom" group that wears their little uniforms with their embroidered logo. It shouldn't be this way -- for our children or any of us.
P.S. The author's name is Mintz.
I feel like every week all I can say on Wednesday is “Thank you”, but also it needs to be said. So thank you. I hope someday as a culture and as a country we actually do better by our children instead of using them as cheap props for political axe grinding.
I have been saying for a long time that America hates children. Because culturally, we do. All the “protecting children” rhetoric you talk about is really about controlling them- what they see, what they’re allowed to think, how they’re allowed to behave. We have a public sphere that’s been almost completely privatized, where children must be accompanied by adults at all time. We run public education on a shoestring and focus almost exclusively on “standards” and tests and credentials and “racing to the top” rather than recognizing that children innately want to learn and want adult praise and interest, and that as adults we should be gentle with those instinctive needs: we turn school and so many other activities for kids into competitions, taking advantage of their desire to please us to push them into ignoring their own needs, and treating the kids who break down under the pressure as “behavior problems.” We don’t treat kids as people with feelings. We see them only as extensions of our national achievement- and status-obsessed ego.
This is really a powerful post. I'm teaching a banned books class this summer, and I think this will be a good piece to include. I also just ordered the Minsk book. Thanks for this.
Childhood is hard. There is no power or agency, and behavioral expectations are unrealistic. Kids that I know have financial stability, but lack emotional support and understanding. They know how to pose for Instagram, though. 🙁
I gave up trying to keep one of my twins in her own bed. It would take over an hour to get her settled, then she'd crawl into my bed at 3am anyway, so to ensure she's getting enough sleep, I eventually told her to just go to sleep in my bed. We all sleep better now.
I swear this state is doing its best to chase my kids away. Two of my daughters are queen. They have no bodily autonomy and now they may lose the right to marry their choice of spouse. I fully plan to be visiting them in other states when they leave home.
I try so hard to give them a life where they are loved, valued, respected, and safe. We have conversations about their body being theirs alone and that no one -- not even your parents -- gets to touch you without permission. I tell them every darn day that they are loved just for being themselves, not because of accomplishments, beauty, or anything else. Why is this such a hard lesson for society????
Howdy; child of the 1980s who grew up to pretty much reject religion, as you stated here. I know this isn't exactly what you wrote about today (although you did lean into it a bit), but I'm despairing here in Iowa with all the stupid bills our legislature is trying to pass. So I'm hoping to commiserate with others here in the comment section.
Some in our government and religions groups want to protect the unborn, but after they are born they don’t care. Everything in the world right now is backwards. Read the title of DeSantis’ new book ‘The Courage to be Free’ yet he takes freedom away from the people at every turn. Republicans spout religion yet spread hatred and try to divide our nation. We must be vigilant in what is right and true and not allow these people to divide us. They are causing confusion and division in order to be in power. That’s why we have to keep level heads and think for ourselves.
Nine year old in my bed the last two nights. This hit so hard, I’m reeling
This was a powerful post, Lyz. I am appalled at the parents standing up at school board meetings demanding that they be the arbiters of a good education and beneficial curricula. Many of them strike me as folks that might, in an ideal world, not be allowed to have children in the first place. The family unit as the basic element of society, with parents having the ultimate control of what their children learn, is scary. In all of the "developed" world, there is not a population so out of touch and essentially ignorant as the average American, at least those who fall on the right side of the equation. As you indirectly pointed out, the majority of our citizenry is more progressive and enlightened on most issues, at least social ones, but the presence of that very loud, overly-empowered and, frankly, crazy 1/3 is threatening to destroy what is good about America. And it's so easy to drag the kids out and exploit them. I'm a child of the 60s, but I have never felt more longing for the new generation to rise up and overthrow the tyranny of parents and family
Whenever someone talks about the Enlightenment view of children, I tell them the truth: it originated with "Emile, or On Education", written in 1762, by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who had 4 or 5 children by his mistress, and put each and every one of them in an orphanage. So from the very beginning the whole "golden children" idea was purveyed by someone who was a bullshitting abuser.
I needed this today. Thank you.
I’m thinking of getting back on social media just to share this post. I don’t think I’ve read a more cogent argument about this
My ex-wife works with LGBTQ adolescents, and she is so overworked because these kids are in crisis. She says these laws like the Tennessee one that would outlaw anyone getting gender-affirming help will trigger a mass suicide of kids. She’s seriously considering running for office--and I hope she does