On parenting

I feel like I get more and more off-topic on this blog, but something really bugged me today, and I need to write about it.

If you have a kid (or kids), you know this already: Parenting is an act of courage. Now while Noah is little, it’s easy to love him. He’s sweet. He gives kisses and laughs and blows spit bubbles. In just a few years, he may be harder to love. He may not always do what Daddy wants. As he becomes his own man and thinks his own thoughts, he will choose to do things that I might never do. He will see the world through his own eyes. He’ll make his own choices.

That terrifies me. What if I don’t do a great job raising him? What if Misty and I mess things up?

The short answer, folks, is that it likely won’t matter. We will mess up plenty, but I’ll do my best to let Noah know he will always be loved. I know this post probably is random to most of you, but I want to address the parents out there: if your kid comes to you and says he (or she) is gay, or that he (or she) is in a same-sex relationship, you still have a duty as a parent.

That duty is NOT to judge your kid. Your duty is not to agree with their lifestyle, not to agree or disagree with the choices they make or don’t make. Your duty is to love your kid. Period. End of story.

I’ve just been slapped in the face with the story of a woman I know trying to manipulate her 30-something daughter into not bringing her same-sex partner to Thanksgiving dinner. It’s ridiculous. I’m tangentially involved in this dilemma, so I wrote the daughter a short note that included the following:

“My wish for you (all of you!) is that your mom could simply say, “You’re my child, and I love you. Your life is yours to live, and even if I disagree with it, I still love you.” IMO, that’s the appropriate parental response. But hey, what do I know? I’ve only been on the job for seven months.”

That, to me, is an adult response. Maybe it’s not your first response, but it needs to be the response your kids see, no matter what age they are. I’ve gotten past the point where I care very much if someone is straight, gay, or bi. What I care about is what kind of person you are, and who you choose to share your bed with rarely has anything to do with that.

I want Noah to grow up happy and healthy. I want him to be his own man, to stand on his own feet and fight his own battles. But I want him to always know that Daddy has his back, and that I’m here for him no matter what.

I wish all parents could say the same.

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