Monday, June 01, 2009
Truth and Reality
(For the 4th annual Blogging for LGBT Families Day I'm posting an edit of a something I wrote earlier this year. Have a great day everybody!) -Monica
When we read stories to our two year old son Danny that have a mommy and a daddy in them, we always change the words to say mommy and mama instead. We read this idea in a book on gay parenting (sorry I can’t remember which) and think it makes great sense.
It is possible to find stories that talk about families having two moms or two dads, but they are pretty rare. Todd Parr’s “The Family Book” is a great example, but it’s the exception not the rule. You see, we want Danny to know that that even though our family is not the same as a lot of other kids’ families, it’s valid. It’s is true.
Truth. You may ask, “If you value truth, why would you lie to Danny by saying there are two moms when there are not? Isn’t he going to realize that you’ve been lying to him when he can read on his own?”
Well, let’s take a look at this concept of truth in our world. Remember the Brady Bunch? What a fun show! (I can only imagine how all those kids out there who had step moms and step dads loved that the Brady’s were all step siblings.)
But let’s peel our onion back a little further shall we? Robert Reed played Mike Brady. The quintessential wonderful father. He was so handsome, so wise. Go on--admit it--you loved him. He was a great dad. But in real life Robert Reed was gay. And closeted. He was not free to live a truthful life, much less portray a character that was true to himself on that show. Can you imagine if they’d done a show about two dads coming together to “form a family—that’s the way they all became the Brady Bunch”? Forget Mike and Carol! Go Mike and Darrell! No, that was not an option then. (Sadly, not even now I don’t think.)
And what about Maurice Sendak? He wrote a children’s story that is generally regarded as a classic of American illustrated children's literature--“Where the Wild Things Are”. Mr. Sendak came out of the closet when his partner of many years died in 2007.
He's been quoted as saying that he didn’t think he would have been a successful author, particularly of children’s stories, if people had known he were gay. So you know that our star of “Where the Wild Things Are”, little Max, did not have two same sex parents. Because even if Mr. Sendak would have loved to have written a story where he and his beloved partner were the parents in that tale, he could not have. "Society" would not have allowed that truth to be told."
So where was I going with this? Oh. Truth and reality. When Danny’s old enough we’ll explain to him why we changed “daddy” to “mama”. I think he'll understand that we wanted him to see that our world is not as "abnormal" as some might think. Quite the contrary actually. In closing I'll say that one thing that always rung true to me was the though that "our values, beliefs and behaviors are "caught" not "taught"." We'd like our son to "catch" an understanding of the world that is inclusive of all. And that's the truth! -Monica