Sticks and stones
The number one rule in our house is to be kind to one another - be kind with words, be kind with our hands...don't hurt one another.
I'm not saying we always stick to these rules. Wanda has developed a mean two-footed kick of late which she brings out when she's frustrated with me or her sister or life in general.
I also have a small rule on the wall for myself saying 'no swearing in front of the kids' (spell swearing allowed on occasion eg f-e-c-k). And I recorded an EPIC tick in relation to this goal when I heard about John Key's latest faux pas. This time telling a radio DJ that he was "munted mate...look at your gay red shirt"; hot on the heels of his comment that David Beckham is "thick as bat sh-t".
"Duuude," was all I said cringing and shaking my head, as I looked out at the olives.
Part of our family ethos of treating one another well is that by doing that at home hopefully the girls will continue to practice this in their dealings with friends, preschool, school, with the environment and beyond. (I also want the girls to understand that they need to MEAN they are sorry when they say it...dreams are free my friends, neither Rome nor Kung Fu Panda were built in a day).
To help reinforce my parenting, I would like my country's leader to practise integrity, compassion, formality and awareness. Why? Because he is our leader. He is our representative. While what he said was an awkward fail at humor and bro-manship, mosthorribly he made it sound like gay kind of sucks. In fact he said it was weird. What kind of Prime Minister gets into the position where he has to defend saying something homophobic?? Then not say sorry properly but to actually defend it by saying he learnt to say it from his kids (?!)
If that's how things can roll then next time I don't like the price of petrol that attendant better watch out for a double footed kick to the solar plexus, a whack in the back a la Diana and then "TV for three more minutes!" shouted very loudly in their face. (Followed by tickling to ease the tension.)
THE best thing for me about kids, outside of being pummeled by them when Elmo is off, has been 'raising my game' because of them. Other people don't need children to do this, but I did. Diana and Wanda have made me begin to clarify who I really am at my core. They've helped me figure out what I really believe in and want in my life, and they've put me on the path to make that happen. I'm way less passive. And I'm way less angry. I realised I couldn't expect my kids to act like some Zen masters - eg be kind, be polite, say "stop that I don't like that" if someone is picking on them - IF I myself couldn't model good behaviour in front of them.
This means I'm working (present tense!) on my integrity- behaving the same at home as I do in public with people, family, friends and the girls. And I'm working on being as kind as I can be with the girls, with myself and others.
Mocking something for being 'gay' is not kind. Nor does it shout integrity to vote for gay marriage, but use the word gay as a put down. John Key has a powerful position and his words can pack a punch.
Our gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans kids are nearly FOUR times more likely to kill themselves in New Zealand as straight kids. Unfortunately we all know what it's like to lose someone in this most painful of ways. So if NOT saying the word gay like it's something bad helps create a more accepting community for all of our children then I say it's a fabulous place to start. Rather than calling it being politically correct, we could call it...'being kind'.