Jewish World Review Feb. 3, 2010 / 19 Shevat 5770
Take PC out of parenting
By Marybeth Hicks
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I'm not sure how to explain my reticence to speak up.
Perhaps the dark-brown muck oozing its way into the roots of my hair is causing me to doubt my credibility. Perhaps the aluminum foil squares hanging wildly in my face are cutting into my self-confidence.
Or maybe it's the knowledge that one of the women whose conversation I am overhearing — and whom I dearly wish to admonish — will soon stand over me with a pair of scissors and my hairstyle in her hands.
Whatever the reason, I don't comment. Instead, I pretend to read a magazine while listening to two women, both mothers of 12-year-old middle school students, lament the difficulties their daughters are having on Facebook.
"I just cannot believe the things these kids write on their walls," one woman says.
"I know — and in their text messages too," the other agrees.
Worried about their daughters' emotional health and about the long-term consequences of rumors, gossip and high-tech teasing, their chatter continues for a solid 15 minutes. It's a rambling, estrogen-infused diatribe about the indignities of the nasty texts and Facebook comments their daughters endure at the hands of other, meaner middle-schoolers, but also the great parenting strategies they use to make sure their girls do not respond in kind.
"I said, 'You had better not do that.'"
Oddly, though, at no point in their conversation does either gal question the wisdom or necessity of 12-year-olds participating in social networking sites or of owning and using cell phones to communicate with their 12-year-old posses.
I say "oddly" because this is the first thing that pops into my mind, and the very comment I'd love to blurt out. In fact, what I want to say is, "What hallucinogen are you women taking? Facebook was not created for immature, overemotional, pre-pubescent 12-year-olds."
But again, I don't say anything because it's not polite. In fact, commenting on other people's parenting is considered more than just intrusive or rude; it's politically incorrect.
The result was a "politically correct" tragedy that has changed the lives of more than a dozen families.
Political correctness is wreaking havoc similarly on our nation's children. The public schools are fraught with bold and bizarre ideas such as "gender education" and graphic sexuality classes that make the former notion of "health" class look like a reading primer from the 1950s.
Curriculum has been hijacked for political purposes, with revisionist history, "climate science" and PC literature at the forefront of the public schools' outcome-based agenda. Now, the Obama administration is suggesting that children spend even more time in the classroom and less time at home with their parents.
Parents who speak out against the PC establishment that influences their children are labeled bigots or racists or homophobics or prudes, simply because they want to protect their childrens innocence and keep them from indoctrination at the tender age of 11, when, for example, fourth-graders in Massachusetts can be asked to draw pictures of the reproductive sex act.
It's clear that remaining quiet isn't serving our children's interests. We need to worry less about how we're perceived and more about the generation being raised by people who are politely keeping the truth to themselves.
Now to call and make my next hair appointment.
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JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of more than 20 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.
© 2009, Marybeth Hicks