Wednesday, 4 September 2013


This morning, after dropping my two boys (seven and three) off at their respective schools, I returned home and scrolled through Facebook. In the midst of the usual photos of cats and last night's dinner, I chanced upon this post, written by a godly and virtuous woman (no doubt) named Mrs. Hall. The essential message of this post was this: she has teenaged boys, and she doesn't want them looking at sluts online.

Interestingly, The Godly Mrs. Hall chooses to pepper her post with shirtless photos of her sons and husband, all the while chastising the various online sluts who post photos of themselves in their bedrooms and (gasp!) also wearing bathing suits.

Now I get that The Godly Mrs. Hall is horrified at the thought that at some point, her sons will probably see a naked woman. Even worse, they are probably going to have sex with a naked woman. As a mother to two young men myself, I'm having a hard time understanding why she's so preoccupied with thoughts of her own children's sex lives, but then again, if she's someone who has to constantly hover over her little cherubs in order to make sure they aren't trying to reach out and touch someone, I get that she'd be worried.

Oh, but make sure you check out how SWEET her kiddos look shirtless. It's totally okay though, because it's DIFFERENT - at least according to this comment:

Anonymous says:
September 3, 2013 at 1:02 pm
I can understand some of the posts referencing the boys without shirts. Modesty applies to all. However, just to provide perspective, it is known that men (and boys of pubescence and beyond) are stimulated by sight. Ladies (and girls) are not nearly ‘turned on’ by what they see and far more motivated by what they “feel” – either physically or emotionally.

After dealing with Christian teenagers for 30 years, one thing I have learned is that without proper guidance boys will say they “love” a girl just to get physical gratification, and girls will give up their purity just to hear boys say they “love” them.

God simply designed males and females differently.

Unfortunately, in our current culture, human nature is turned on its ear and the world at large is purporting lies as truth when it comes to purity and God’s design for human sexual relationships. The result is frustration and sorrow beyond measure.

While the author may have used different illustrations, the message is no less true or needed. I applaud parents who care enough about their children to provide distinct guidelines. As the father of two daughters, I could be no more blessed than to know that the parents of their future husbands made such an effort to keep their minds pure.

Really? Males just can't "help" it? Ladies aren't as "turned on" by sight? Anonymous AND The Godly Mrs. Hall have a piss-poor understanding of human sexuality and relationships if they truly believe that males and females fit so neatly into those narrow little packages. 

Here's an idea: if you have children, period, teach them that their bodies are their own, and no one gets to touch it without permission. When it comes to sex, nothing less than an enthusiastic yes is what they should wait for - you want your partner to be as ready to take that step as you are. And no, the female form is not an object to degrade, or use, or control. It is her own, just as your form is your own, and you are the one responsible for your thoughts - not someone you see prancing around in her pjs. 

Oh, and - 

Update: According to Jezebel in an awesome rebuttal post, The Godly Mama Hall reposted her blog with appropriately attired sons. Good thing, because I'd hate for some lustful cockmonster (in the apropos words of Chris Kluwe) to see those. Additionally, I found another post at Unchained Faith that has a fantastic reply as well. 

Sunday, 10 February 2013

"His mom says we can't be friends anymore"

A couple weeks ago, Vlad came home from daycare and told me that his best friend's mother had told her son that he could no longer be friends with mine. They're six, by the way.

At first, I was pretty stumped - I mean, it's not like Vlad skips school, deals drugs, or is a bully. He's an energetic boy, a bit of a class clown, doesn't know a stranger, and is always ready with hugs and compliments ("Chief, those are my favorite sweatpants that you wear! You know, I like how your hair sticks out of your head like that in the morning!")

Then I reflected on some odd conversations we'd been having lately. He came home from school one day and told me dejectedly that someone had told him that since he didn't know who Jesus was, that he was going "down below". I was a little taken aback - who tells a six-year old they're going to hell? When I asked him a little more about the conversation, Vlad told me that his friend had asked him if he knew who Jesus was, and when he said "Oh, no, I don't know him", his friend said that people who knew about Jesus went "up to heaven and lived forever" when they died, but people who didn't, or who did bad things (these "bad things" weren't specified, so I'm sure this could cover any number of things in the imagination of first graders), went "down below" where they never got to see their families again, and "lived forever being punished."

What. The. Fuck.

First, a bit of background, in case you don't already know. I am an atheist. My husband is spiritual (meaning he's meditative and reflective when he has big decisions to make, and probably more of an agnostic when it comes to things like whether there's a bigger creative force at work on the universe). We have some really interesting discussions on religions, reincarnation, what happens when we die, energetic forces at work, science, aliens, and pretty much anything thusly related. And one thing we very much agree upon is that when it comes to belief systems, we will allow our boys access to any and all schools of thought, we will only share our personal beliefs with them when asked, and that the boys will be encouraged to think about their own beliefs as they get older. We will not impose our beliefs (or lack of) on them (at least as little as possible; it's pretty much impossible to discuss such things without outlining why you do or don't ascribe to certain systems - however we do think that by being as neutral as we can, this will help foster a mindset of "think for yourself" rather than "this is what you should think".)

But back to the issue at hand. I don't think I can adequately express to someone who hasn't experienced it what it feels like when your child has been hurt - and not physically (because that can be dealt with in its own way). But when your child has been rejected by a grown woman and told by his best friend that they can't be friends anymore, you can't exactly kiss that away.

Here is what I find most interesting though: if your belief system is so frail, so weak, that a six-year old boy who is born an agnostic (as all children must be; you aren't automatically born with religion as an instinctive behavior sewn in) can derail what you're teaching your child, you're doing something wrong. If you're so frightened of outside influences making your child question the things you're telling him, you're doing something wrong. If you need to control things like who your child plays Legos and Super Heroes with in order to indoctrinate them into your way of thinking, you need to send your child to a religious school or keep them home - because I can assure you, my child will not be the only one yours encounters who is, according to your twisted ways of thinking, going "down below".

Vladimir will get over this; he makes friends easily, and fortunately he doesn't seem as bothered by this as I'd initially worried he might. I hope we handled it well; both his father and I have talked with him about it, and reiterated with him that while what happened was not okay, we accept that people believe different things, and we respect that.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to peruse my Recipes for Heathen Cookin' book; I have Sunday dinner to make.