This post is about the two latest tragedies to hit my Facebook feed. Brock Turner and the Orlando Shooting. This is how I used these tragedies to teach my boys valuable lessons.
Now you wouldn’t think that this would be something that I would actually talk to my boys about. Most parents do their damnedest to shield their children from the news and any negative stories that come on. However, my children are in school and they hear it all. So over this past year I have come to see these stories as opportunities to educate my kids on things they won’t learn in school and teach them very important life skills that many of us really don’t think about. Like teaching our boys NOT TO RAPE!
Now here is where I’m going to get the most personal I’ve ever gotten on my blog: I am a survivor of childhood rape. I am one of the many statistics in this country. What is it?
I don’t talk about it much on here because even though I have healed from my past hurts and trauma, it’s still not a subject I broach with very many people without having a damn good reason. Brock Turner is a damn good reason. Being a mother of two boys is a damn good reason for my writing this.
As a survivor, I bring a unique perspective to the table. I raise them to respect all living things but to also understand that not every person in this world is worthy of their trust. That may sound biased and pessimistic but that is the world we live in and I have to know my boys are aware of that fact.
Right now, I want to talk about the conversation I had with Conner. The letter that the father wrote to the court and the lenient sentence the judge rendered was appalling. I told Conner that a young man violated a young woman while she was passed out and not able to defend herself or even consent. His first words were, “Why would someone do that?” Out of the mouths of babes!
I talked to him about the letter the father wrote, excusing his son’s behavior. Before I could “teach” him anything, he said, “How can his dad think what his son did was okay? Why didn’t he take care of her? Why did he have to hurt her?” Obviously I’m doing something right.
I talked to him and let him know that neither myself nor his father would ever condone that kind of behavior and he said, “Don’t worry mommy, I won’t do anything like that ever! Besides, I know women can kick my butt.” Then of course he laughs and I laugh with him.
He may not know the power of hormones (which is not excuse) but he does know right from wrong. He does know that forcing anyone to do something against their will is wrong! I have talked to him about this before. As a survivor I feel very strongly that my boys need to understand what consent means and how important it is.
We parents believe that as long as we teach our children right from wrong and do our best to live good lives, our children will follow suit. Sometimes though, we need to have conversations. It’s important that our boys know how to be men. They won’t learn it on their own, despite popular belief. All of our children need guidance and nowadays, teaching our boys NOT TO RAPE is one of them!
The second tragedy was the Orlando shooting. It is a horrible thing to know that despite teaching our kids to accept one another, they are still bombarded with pictures of hate in this world. The news today makes me wonder if Adam’s Autism may actually shield him from certain things because none of this influences his behavior towards others. Of course, he doesn’t watch the news but this will still be a conversation that I will have with him.
Conner, on the other hand, always asks me why people are so mean to each other. I wish I had a straight answer for him. He knows that the victims were gay. His response: “So what if they’re gay! That doesn’t give anyone the right to kill them! Mommy, I just don’t understand people sometimes!”
I teach my boys to treat others with kindness, understanding, and respect. We aren’t meant to be one size fits all. That would be boring. It’s important for me to teach them tolerance in the face of hatred and that is how they see the world. “After all” says Conner, “We all have to live on this one planet so let’s live on it together.” If only the adults in this world saw it that way.
Thanks so much for reading,
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