As I was watching The TODAY Show while working out on the elliptical this morning, I couldn't help but think there really are no rules anymore.
What do I mean by that?
Well, the story which prompted my thought centered around the news of Bruce Jenner's recent actions which, in turn, shed light on the transgender population. This is not the first celebrity to decide to live as the opposite sex he/she was born into the world as. My initial thought then led to my next thought which was about same-sex marriage.
This isn't going to be a post about the pros or cons of either of those topics, so if you are looking to begin an argument, don't bother.
What I want to write through/process in this post is the role tolerance is playing in society and how it may be affecting our families.
For example: Television programming, news sources, music lyrics, movies, and social media expose us to a wide variety of information and images (choices, relationships, lifestyles) everyday, right? This practice creates an undertone of consent for the differences in one another. I mean, let's face it, in our world we don't have to be heterosexual to gain approval, we can choose to be married to a same-sex partner and it will be welcome and very tolerated because we live in a culture which promotes few rules and a pendulum which continues to swing further and further towards showing compassion for everyone's lifestyle choices. The reality is it looks extremely judgmental if one does decide to say anything in opposition to a particular preference in sexuality, religion, political party, parenting practice...
A few of the many other areas of life where society's message of "no rules" or "be extremely tolerant" apply are: working moms vs stay-at-home moms, parents who choose public schools vs private education vs homeschooling, parents who allow teens to drink before the legal age, families who practice a religion vs those who don't, people who live above their means vs those who make saving or donating a priority. You get the picture.
It's all acceptable in our culture of tolerance. Sure, there may be individuals here and there who vehemently oppose one or more of the above choices, but society promotes the idea everybody's life choices are within the realm of acceptance.
I can't help but wonder with all of the tolerance we are practicing today how this affects children growing up in a world with so much acceptance.
I would think it makes life pretty confusing, wouldn't you?
I am not saying we should take ten steps backwards and only promote two-parent, heterosexual families who practice a traditional/weekly faith regimen and send all of their children to public school while living in a home they can afford on one income.
What I AM saying is this: Life is complex, it is constantly giving our kids (and us, for that matter) unlimited choices. Because each of us filters a ridiculous amount of information on a daily basis we begin to feel as if "anything goes". Therefore, in order to try and navigate the waters, our role as moms and dads makes it is essential we be available, both physically and emotionally, to listen/ask questions/find out what our kids are thinking and feeling about the confusing world we are all living in.
Parents of today are, to a great degree, responsible for shaping what the world looks like tomorrow. That shouldn't scare us, it should empower us! In the culture of confusion and tolerance we [moms and dads] need to be the steady in the storm. So thinking through how we, as leaders of our families, feel about topics like sexuality, spirituality, financial priorities and what is socially/morally acceptable are key in helping our kids figure out where they will stand because it will influence their choices everyday and even earlier than you think.
Would you agree we live in a world where the pendulum swings heavily toward tolerance? How does this attitude affect our children? I would love you to share your thoughts with me, here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.