As a parent you are often confronted with the issue of what to tell your children, and when. McCain has been getting some mileage out of the electoral wasteland that comprises many pockets of the urban and rural poor by accusing Obama of wanting mandatory sex education for toddlers. True, but only to an extent. Obama would like to see kindergarten children warned about getting into cars with strangers. He doesn’t want the Kama Sutra on the curriculum.

 

At what age then do you offer the Kama Sutra? At what age do you discuss homosexuality, or AIDS? When do you talk about your own convictions regarding fidelity, thrift, God, temptation, failure, your dreams for the future, your follies of the past? How do you balance the roles you assume when you have children – of being a good father, a caring and considerate husband, a friend, a bread winner – with those that define who you are: a vocal critic of the privileged elite, an impassioned advocate for the underprivileged? How do you maintain the sense of who you really are when so many are depending on you to be who they need you to be?

 

I have a number of principles I live by that have helped me navigate these difficult waters. They don’t deal with specifics, except to illustrate some key points, and of course the devil is in the details, but they do cover the larger picture. I may be wrong, and even more likely I may be seen to be wrong, but I am not thoughtless, and perhaps what I have to say might be of some use to you as well. I have seven of them- the perfect number – and to avoid tedium I will post a couple each day. I welcome your feedback and perhaps you might be willing to share your thoughts on the subject in the comments.

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