Teach your children well

Since I had Isabel in the new car with me today, I quickly discovered that Sirius has not one, but two kid-friendly radio stations: Radio Disney and “Kid Stuff,” a Sirius-produced format. In listening to Kid Stuff in particular, I was mildly surprised by the almost leftist-sounding songs they were playing. One was a Barney song about how families are built only out of love, and so every kind of family is OK (the song’s case studies were a single parent household, a grandma-headed household, and a divorce situation, so nothing completely outré, but still). Another was a song about rising and shining and being with the sun that sounded kind of hippy-inspired. And then there was the one about how the Earth survives because the woman in the tree went to live there because her cause is just — I’m assuming that’s a Julia Butterfly Hill reference.

At first I thought that this was rather agenda-driven kids’ radio. But as I thought about it some more, I realized that most parents do teach their kids to be liberals, or at least progressives, in the beginning. We want kids to start out thinking that people are generally good, and that you should accept everyone around you, because people are all basically the same the world over. That there are different skin colors and that’s OK. That there are different family arrangements and that’s OK. Etc. Because we don’t want the embarrassment of apologizing to the Jews down the street for our kid saying that their whole family is going to hell because they’re not Christian. Even worse if our kid prefaces it with “My mom says …” So instead we teach our children tolerance from the get-go, or at least I presume most of us do.

Because, really, how sick and disturbing is it of parents to teach their children right off the bat to hate? To make distinctions between the two-parent families in their classrooms and “everyone else.” To tell their kids that they can’t play with “certain kinds” of kids, whether it’s because of those kids’ religion or skin color or what have you. Clearly some people choose to make those distinctions all by themselves as they grow up. I’m glad that my walk through kids’ satellite radio today made me realize that tolerance is what kids are being taught, at least at the beginning.

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