Focus On Your Own Damn Family
April 5, 2008

This is essentially a repost from January of '07, but one that I feel bears repeating, particularly in light of the people wailing and gnashing their teeth about Thomas Beatie's decision to bear a child.

I will admit that I am somewhat confused by a woman who undergoes much of the sex-reassignment procedures and becomes legally declared a man ... but does not wish to have the genitalia changed as well because "he had always wanted a child." That's not my understanding of transgender and sexual re-assignment, but I will admit that it's only my understanding of it. I'm not gonna dictate what Thomas can and can't do. It's up to him.

What I'm pissed off about, is how any time there is a non-traditional family brought into the media, people instantly begin wailing about "good old family values" and "these people are going to ruin their children's lives."


I am sick to death of this utter CRAP about "traditional family values."

My father was raised by a mother and father. His dad worked hard. His mom stayed home with the kids.

My mother was raised by a mother and father. Her dad worked hard. Her mom stayed home with the kids. They went to church every week.

My parents were raised by people with "traditional family values." My parents had "traditional family values."

That did NOT make my parents good parents.

I did not turn out well because of my parents' traditional family values.

I turned out the way I did partly because I have always had an exceedingly strong sense of self. Because I stumbled upon books which nurtured me and encouraged me in believing that there was normalcy in the world. Because I had teachers who nurtured me even though they never did seem to realize just how much I needed that nor what was wrong.

What creates a well-balanced child ... and a well-balanced adult ... is not just a mother and a father. It is not what we erroneously call "traditional family values."

What creates a well-balanced child is love and attention and boundaries and knowing that all of this comes from someone who genuinely cares for you.

Is the ideal situation for a child a male and a female figure in their lives? Honestly, I don't know and I'm not sure that this is the best question to ask. The problem is that we simply do not live in an ideal world. We live in reality. And it's freaking messy and muddy and unclear down here in reality.

As for the idea that this Mom and Dad family is the Christian way to do things ... since in the U.S. and in the U.K. that seems to be the loudest voices of complaint ... let me set a few things straight.
First, it was not just Mom and Dad until perhaps the last 100 years (or less). Instead, it was most often either an extended family or something closer to a village or tribe. With multiple adults responsible for helping to love and discipline the children - not just one mother and father.
Second, Jesus was not born in the ideal situation. He was born to a mother and father, but he was not born in the rarified air of a good home. He was born, through no real fault of his parents, in the most real and common of places. In the mess and muck of a stable. Not the sanitized manger scene that we usually see.

Why bring up the manger? Because everything about Jesus in the Bible comes down to Jesus being very grounded in reality rather than intense numbers of rules.

To my mind, "family values" should simply mean that a child receives both love and discipline and knows that the person or people taking care of him care for him.

Ideally, children should probably know that they can trust all the adults around them ... that all the adults around them can administer trustworthy and valid and fair discipline.

But we don't live in that ideal world. And many of us prefer to discipline and raise our children according to our own ideas and our own beliefs.

So this old concept of "traditional family values" that is so carped on, is really something of a fallacy.

And, when we look at the reality that many children live in today: abandoned to orphanages, abused and taken from their family of birth, bounced from one foster home to another for a myriad of reasons. Children with "special needs" tend to be in a particularly grim situation. Their special needs mean they need more attention and understanding ... and often more discipline handled in a more thoughtfully fair way.

Is this the "family values" that people are carping about? Leaving these kids in the system?

If we can get children to an adult or adults who can handle the child ... who can give the child the love and discipline and let the child know how much they care about the kid ... isn't this preferable to keeping the kid in the system?

To my mind, this means no discrimination over the person's religion, their marital status, or ... if they're gay or not.

Those so-called "traditional family values" that people babble about ... what are they really?

Because to all appearances, my parents had those values. And I would not wish my childhood on anyone, much less a child. I said earlier that I would have been ecstatic to have lived in the worst inner city 'hood with a parent or parents who really loved me and cared for me. And I stand by that. I would rather have been raised by two fathers who loved me and took care of me. I would rather have lived with two moms who disciplined me and encouraged me in a rational manner.

I would have rather put up with the teasing and bullying at school for that ... than the utter isolation I went through.

And I think most children out there in orphanages, foster homes, and group homes would feel the same way.

Let's quit whining about what the absolute most ideal situation is ... let's live in the reality that these kids are living in. Get the kids adopted out to people who will care for them and not worry about if the family values of every family exactly and totally matches our own.

To borrow the words of those who seem to oppose gays adopting children the most, "please, let's think of the children."

Posted by Red Monkey at April 5, 2008 2:19 PM | Struggles | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


Maria said:

I'm totally with you! I don't get it either, but whatever floats his boat. :)

April 5, 2008 8:22 PM


Crackerbob said:


April 5, 2008 10:12 PM


Josh said:

Very well said.

April 6, 2008 12:17 PM


Lasha said:

Hey. First, I want to thank you for standing up and voicing your opinion on such a matter. I too am disturbed about the ideas you talk about, primarily "traditional family values." It's pretty unfortunate that we live in a world that is the way it is with these "morals," the media, beliefs, religious influence and so forth.

I grew up in the same "traditional family values" style with religion, and certain beliefs about gays, and people of other cultures. Fallacious is the perfect word for it. I am grateful that I too was presented with new ideas and have been nurtured by those such as my teachers and friends that were older and wiser than myself. I can honestly say that the internet has played a big role in my "evolution" from these "values."

Hopefully I plan to write about these types of issues on my blog as well, and try to spread the word about what's really happening out there, and how to try and think out of the grasps of these "traditional ideas." Thank you.

April 6, 2008 7:34 PM


Dee said:

Hey Ender. I had to post a comment here. No I did not grow up in the traditional family. Dad didn't marry Mom, and we two couldn't have been happier. I am convinced that I would have felt more isolated if he ( a stern, conservative, silly man) were around. Instead he barely noticed me and you know what I am fine. Kids thrive in any environment where they are cared for and loved.

April 8, 2008 12:18 AM


PandoraWilde said:

I couldn't have said this better myself. Excellent post.

April 8, 2008 1:33 PM
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