Thursday, 11 April 2013

It's Time for a Conversation

It’s been quite some time since my last entry and I guess that there are a couple of reasons for this.  One would be that my world is pretty busy; being a full time working single mother of three boys takes up an awful lot of time and although I love to write, at the end of the day I’m so exhausted that I’m not sure my brain is functioning at a level that I need to be able to string together a stream of thoughts.  The second, and perhaps the biggest, reason is that I’m doing okay.  When I started the blog, my life was in such great flux that I didn’t know which way to go and I couldn’t figure out if I was on the right path in my life or not.  Today, thanks in part to the boys starting to get older and my life feeling like it is settling again, I feel confident that I’m heading in the right direction.  I’m happy, still lots of elements of my life that I need to focus on and in time I’m confident that everything will be just as the universe expected for me.  Thanks to everyone who has supported me over the past two and a half years, I am grateful. 

Writing is still core to who I am and in an effort to continue to nurture the side of me that needs to write, I’ll continue with the blog.  My focus though will shift from my own personal story of finding my path to my personal story about raising three boys in the crazy world we live in.  I hope that you will all continue to follow and read.

Today I want to write about something that is really quite personally troubling and something that I feel that as a generation of parents we are failing very badly at.  I’m sure that most of you have read the story in the news this week about a girl from Nova Scotia, Rehtah Parson, who took her own life after being raped and having photos of that rape spread throughout her peer group.   This morning I read in a local paper that a “friend” of hers was quoting as saying that “she didn’t think that things were that bad”.  So, I have to ask myself what could possibly be worse than being raped, perhaps it would be to have the people who you thought were your friends not take a stand for you and to sit in silence while photos of something horrible happening to you are being distributed.  I won’t even get into the issue that the police force in this town felt that there was no “adequate evidence” to pursue a legal case against the boys who raped her or who distributed these photos.  Instead I want to discuss the issue of friendship and raising children who have a voice and who are loyal.

Mothers of daughters, I urge all of you to teach your daughters that the most important role that they will ever play in the lives of others will be to be loyal.  Boys will come and go, the time they spend in their youth worried about what others say and do will pass, but the friends to whom they are loyal will stay with them their entire lives.  

On the day that my marriage broke apart, my circle of girlfriends had all contacted me before 9am.  They held my hand, they cried with me and they supported me.  I am the furthest thing in the world from being a feminist, I am extremely confident in my femininity, however I think that it is time to raise our daughters to be strong, powerful women who will not let what others think intimidate them.  I see it all the time as a mother of boys; girls today are too willing to do anything that they think will win them attention from boys.  It has to stop, as a mother of boys I need to teach them that the girls who are strong and stand up for themselves and their peers are the girls who will grow up to be women of substance.

Our generation has the incredibly tough job of being the first parenting generation who must be gatekeepers of what our children distribute throughout the internet.  We need to teach our daughters and sons that it is not acceptable to distribute, or participate in, any form of inappropriate behaviour that will be uploaded to a social media site where it will remain for the rest of their lives.  It’s time for a conversation everyone.  

Today I plan to sit my oldest son down and to ask him to read the letter that Rehtah Parson’s father wrote to the media.  She was a loving daughter; she was a strong person who could not carry on because the people who should have stood for her when she could no longer stand remained silent.  As parents, it is time for a conversation with our children about loyalty to others, about knowing when to speak up and knowing when to carry a friend that has fallen.  It’s time everyone, I hope that you will all sit down today with your kids and have a frank discussion about loyalty and friendship and doing the right thing, even when it is not the popular thing.

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