How many of us have been asked the questions, “Mommy, which of us is your favorite? Who do you love more?” As parents, we know there is only one answer to questions like these…”We love you all, equally.”
The truth is we may love each child equally, but they are not all the same. And, at times, we may like one child’s behavior more than the other’s…the good student, the good athlete, the good manners…sometimes we can’t help ourselves, they are a reflection of the best in us, or so we hope. Other times, they are insecure, selfish, withdrawn…and they seemingly reflect the worst in us, or so we fear. Our constant challenge is to recognize the good and the bad in our kids and parent accordingly. If we expect our kids to be exactly the same, we’re just setting ourselves up for disappointment. If we expect our kids to be “perfect” in our eyes, we’re setting them up for a lifetime of therapy. We must accept that they are going to be different and love them unconditionally…and equally.
Although we’ll certainly have different opinions about the paths our kids travel in pursuit of their own life, liberty and definition of happiness, our responsibility as parents is to help shine a light for them…to help them find their own path and send them post cards of encouragement on their way. The American ideal of “liberty and justice for all” applies to all our kids, not just our “favorites.”
In California, we had a ballot initiative that allowed the public to vote on the civil liberties of a minority group. The majority voted for Prop 8, which banned gay marriage and restricted gay rights, thereby requiring the state to amend its constitution to prevent that minority group the same liberties as the majority under law. In essence, Californians said “why can’t you be more like your brother?” Oops, we picked favorites. Today, the Supreme Court stepped in and made rulings that ended Prop 8 and declared DOMA unconstitutional, saying “we won’t pick favorites.”
Gay rights activists have spent the last few years making sure lawmakers are still paying attention. The reality is we should all be paying attention. This is about civil rights. Not just for the adults demanding equality, but for their children who deserve it, too. The U.S. District Court ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, so it became a matter for the Supreme Court of the United States and today they upheld that decision. Whether or not you personally agree with the gay rights movement is really not the point…rather, do you believe you are entitled to certain rights that others should be denied? Do you think children deserve to grow up in a loving family, regardless of who makes up that family unit? Do you support freedom of speech even if you disagree with what someone else is saying? Do you support freedom of religion even if you don’t agree with the way someone else worships? Do you support someone’s right to bear arms even if you don’t like guns? Do you believe your child’s gender, race or sexual orientation should preclude them from the same privileges under the law as someone else’s child?
Our nation has been here before…with civil rights, the women’s movement and now gay rights. So, who better than America’s moms to let our kids know that black or white, girl or boy, gay or straight we are there, supporting them and loving them…no matter what anyone else says or does. We might not like our kids’ behavior all the time, but it is our responsibility to love them all, equally.