Recently I’ve culled my expectations for my kids down to five big ones. Here they are, in chronological order:
1. Learn to wipe their own asses
2. Read obsessively
3. Play an instrument
4. Nurture a passion
5. Be a liberal
This list outs a few basic things about me: I’m practical and immoderately idealistic; part taskmaster, part dreamer; part outspoken smart ass, part tea-sipping pacifist. Which may or may NOT bode well for raising sane kids; time will tell, or rather, therapy bills will tell.
In any event, I’m confident my first four expectations will fall into place without massive effort. But number five is a different story,
The more conservative PAL can’t help but pull the kids (gently) under his right wing. But since I’m hell-bent on cultivating the buds of liberalism I can already see pushing up at the fertile soil of their souls, there’s no doubt our funkhouse will flourish with lefties.
This entre into liberalism is as close to homeschooling as I’ll get, and includes all sorts of “lessons” I’m loathe to put into practice (cause I have the patience of a day trader), but for the sake of an entire generation’s salvation, I’ll give it a shot.
If I don’t start the acclimation (do I mean edification?) process now, I may end up the only liberal in my house which makes for sordid odd-man-out scenarios I’ll be compelled to pepper into my short stories.
Here’s how I propose we start liberalizing our kids:
1. Play Monopoly and insist all their money go toward defending Park Place with tanks and spy planes and whatnot. But that’s not in the rules, the kids protest, and Park Place doesn’t need our help. Oh Contraire, you say, if your government is LIBERAL you won’t see that, otherwise, you’re S-O-L, sweeties. Up the ante on the lesson: When they’re not looking, sneak 90% of their money and heap it in an “Invade and Shoot ‘em up” pile.
2. Read the Bible at bedtime. Liberals galore—including the amiable protagonist in the second half.
3. Sit the kids out on the back porch for the night; deny blankets, pillows or water until they go get a job. Yell through the screen door: This is what happens if you’re homeless in a conservative world. Don’t be homeless. Don’t be conservative. Clear? That’s what I thought. Bring them in before it becomes a memory they one day exaggerate in a memoir, then cuddle and practice spelling E-M-P-A-T-H-Y.
4. Run into their rooms at 2 a.m., scream, turn on the lights, scream some more, puke (if you can) on their pillows. Rattle them to their contended little cores. Wait for them to mumble, “Mom, what are you doing?” Answer: You want a world without birth control? A Santorum world? Then let’s hope you don’t get pregnant in high school. Otherwise, plan on not sleeping a full night ‘til you’re incontinent, is all I’m saying.
5. Refuse a Band-Aid next time someone scrapes a knee. Demand an insurance card. She gives you what she has in her piggy bank. Laugh out loud, say that hardly pays for you to open the Band-Aid, let alone hand over a Sleeping Beauty Band-Aid. You chide, welcome to a conservative healthcare system. Think about maybe one day checking “liberal” on your voter card, sista.
Meantime, while my kids work on mastering the forward to aft butt wipe, I’ll be taking them to more independent coffee shops. We’ll sit next to same sex couples and talk about how they’ll one day be allowed to get married or give a homily.
We might even get out pom-poms and pipe cleaners and do some kind of craft paying homage to liberalism. Probably not, but you can. Then send it to me and we’ll tape it up.