Quotable Kids...including Bristol Palin?

The weather is warmer, the trees are in bloom and we're down to a manageable 25ish days of school left. The kids are antsy. Today we gave new seats in my algebra classes and there was the expected amount of b-ing and m-ing. But I got a chuckle when one kid complained about having to sit in the front row and now he couldn't sleep, and one of the other kids shouted out, "First world problem!". So what, if it's a stale internet meme. Still funny in the moment.

But later this afternoon, my friend emailed me a link to Bristol Palin's blog, where she commented on President Obama's remarks on gay marriage. So, there's going to be 14 bazillion comments on that post by tomorrow, and I'm not going to link from here, because I think it's probably inflammatory on purpose.

Her general point was that President Obama was swayed into his position by influence from his children, and that was somehow wrong because "...there's also a time when dads simply need to be dads..." and presumably he should have set them straight. Point their moral compass or something, as perhaps Bristol wishes her own father did (ahem, unwed teen mom, ahem).

Marriage can be a great and sacred thing. I've been married almost 9 years, and we have plenty of greatness and sanctity in our relationship. And plenty of hardship and turmoil and fighting and making up. Because marriage is hard. I hope that I do a good job of modeling marriage for my daughter and that our family is one of many models that she will be witness to growing up.

But when our kids look around at our culture, they also see marriages on television as game show prizes on programs we know as "REALITY TV"! And a 50% + divorce rate. That's just hetero's, folks, because we don't let anyone else try it. And I want to point out that lots of people grow up healthy and normal even though they watched parents go through divorce and then build blended families. Divorce is not a ticket straight to the loony bin...I happen to know a lot of very normal, functioning adults who are products of "broken homes".

Our kids see all this, and when we tell them that gay people can't get married because "marriage has been a certain way for thousands of years" - to loosely paraphrase Britain's comments...they are apt to say "That's dumb. Why does it have to be that way?" And maybe, "Well marriage used to be like that, but it's clearly not that way anymore!"

I work with teenagers. They question everything.

Then I come home to a two year old. She questions everything.

If I don't have a good reason for doing things a certain way, that should be a cue for me to listen to their questions and challenges and ask them if they have a better way.

 I had a good reason for front-row sleeper boy today..."Son, you are on the verge of failing Algebra 1 and you once expressed an interest in becoming an engineer. You are going to need Algebra. I want to give you a front row seat so you don't miss anything, and I can help you turn your study habits around."

Sometmes it's "I don't want you to keep chatting through class with your friend over there, because I've already tried a bunch of ideas to remind you to be quiet. So now I want you to sit here because the other kids want to hear what I have to say and you are disrupting that."

One of those reasons is about about his needs, and one of them is about my needs, but they are still both valid reasons.

But if I didn't have a reason? Well, I should listen to the kids. President Obama was simply commenting that his kids didn't seem to have the social stigma associate with being gay. What's the big deal, they wondered?

Just because people are young, doesn't mean they don't have good ideas. Innovative ideas. Compelling ideas. They are really good at pointing out absurdity, and it makes us cringe.

But it's good to listen to them.

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