Uncle Roger's Notebooks of Daily Life
Friday, June 01, 2012
I've touched on the reasons (other than, duh, it's the right thing to do) why I fight for equal rights for all in the past, but I'm not sure I ever shared the reasons I drag my kids into the fray. It's important to me that they be a part of this for a number of reasons. And with this explanation I must also present an apology -- I apologize to the LGBT community because I have been using you.
For the last ten years, I've been using your fight for equality and civil rights as a classroom for some very important lessons for my kids. You see, there's no better way to learn something than hands-on and I have taken full advantage of this opportunity to school my kids in what they need to know to be productive and positive members of society. I want them to grow up knowing that they are in charge of the world, not the other way around, but that they must be responsible with that charge.
And so, here are some of the lessons they have been learning courtesy of the LGBT community.
Make a positive change in the world -- No one should ever feel powerless to change that which needs changing. Instead, we each have a duty, I believe, to make the world a better place for everyone than it was before we got here. That can mean something as minor as complimenting a stranger on a nice outfit or providing support to those making changes or as big as leading the fight for major changes. We've been somewhere in the middle, but I'm hoping they're learning to make a difference.
Be involved; don't live a passive life -- Sitting on the couch watching a football game can be exciting, I suppose, if you like football, but it certainly doesn't compare to actually being at a game -- but neither comes close to the thrill of playing the game yourself. Likewise, sitting in your office listening to your iPod on your headphones is nice but being at a concert is much better -- and better still is playing a concert yourself, even if it's just a concert for your friends in your backyard. Reading about change in the newspaper is good; being that change is better.
Stand up for others -- I have a saying: You have the right to defend yourself and the duty to defend those who cannot defend themselves. While the LGBT community can certainly defend itself, they are still a minority and each of us has the responsibility to stand with them and demand respect and equality. Today it is the LGBT community; when my kids are my age, it might the poly community, or sentient robots, or immigrants from another planet. Whatever the case, I want to make sure my kids will stand against oppression and discrimination regardless of their own personal stake in the matter.
Celebrate diversity -- My kids know the difference between Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and Thai curry and I wouldn't have it any other way. They're all different, but each is gloriously delicious. As is the many, many other types of food they've tried. Likewise, their musical favorites range from South African a capella to Finnish Kantele players with Freddy Mercury and Bach thrown in for good measure. Diversity only ever leads to wider and greater experiences. My kids are perfectly at ease with all sorts of folks -- an improvement, I might add, over their father.
History Happens -- Sometimes, things happen that change the world in a big way. Being a part of such events is something to remember and share with kids and grandkids. The fight for civil rights going on now is one such historic event and I want my kids to be able to tell their kids that they were there.
Do the right thing -- It's not always easy to do the right thing. It's not always the popular choice and it often comes with a higher cost. And yet, it's what we must do. Teaching kids to make the right choice no matter what just by talking about it doesn't always do the trick. Diving in the deep end and actually living it, however, really gets the point across.
So, yeah, as a dad, one could say that my family and I benefit more from our involvement in the fight for equality and civil rights than do those whose rights we fight for.
This post is part of Blogging for LGBT Families Day 2012.