Sunday, July 29, 2012

To eat or not to eat?

One of the many aspects that I'm loving about being a parent is that I get to pretty much design my own life curriculum for baby L. It's a huge responsibility- even at this young age- deciding what we'll teach our daughter. What we expose her to, what we tell her is important, what books we read to her, what we show her, what activities we do. 

I think about random little things that even today I find special- like a certain kind of shell you can find on the beach- and I realize that I have a clear memory of my mother telling me that these shells were special and hunting for them with me. We spent a whole beach vacation investigating when high and low tide where, when the best time to go shelling was, and when we'd be able to find these special tiny shells. I may have found these shells interesting on my own, but it was my mother labeling them special that truly made these shells stick with me for life. Whenever I see them I have to stop, pick them up and pocket them. 

That's what we get to do as parents. Put labels of what is important on the things around us and let that stay with our children for life.

With that being said, I am going to come out and say it, my family is not going to stop eating at Chick-fil-a. I know. It's a horror. It's especially a horror because I just saw a picture of Sarah Palin proudly eating at a Chick-fil-a. I do not want to be a part of some political madness that involves Sarah Palin. Good grief, please stop politicizing my favorite fast food chain. The more the left comes out against it the  more the right embraces it. 

My husband's family has a special tradition of Chick-fila. It's more than simply fast food for them. My mother-in-law grew up eating at the Dwarf House, the original Chick-fil-a restaurant. My brother-in-law proposed to his wife with a chicken biscuit. Instead of throwing a garter at their wedding they threw a Chick-fil-a cow. Chicken biscuits in the morning are a special family treat. To them, and in turn to me and my new family, Chick-fil-a is a special family experience- not a place where we go to eat when we're hungry and are in a rush.

And yes, we dressed up Baby Lipstick for Cow Appreciation day. And it was her Halloween costume last year. 

This does not mean that we support the Cathy's statement on same-sex marriage. But refusing to eat Chick-fil-a wouldn't teach my daughter to be more understanding and tolerant. It wouldn't teach her that some families have two daddies and some have two mommies and that those families are special and wonderful and love each other just like we do. It wouldn't do anything to the life curriculum I have laid out before us.

Instead I plan to continue to read her the book "Daddy, Papa, and Me". Maybe even read it when we go to Chick-fil-a just to counteract any "anti-same-sex marriage thoughts she may pick up while there" as though it's a disease that's catching. I plan on teaching her that when we don't agree with people we still listen to their opinions and talk to them. (After all, her father and I have a "mixed marriage" with our political beliefs). I plan on teaching her empathy and compassion and an understanding that even people that are different than us still deserve the same rights and freedoms we are blessed with.

Two years ago in one of my kindergarten classes a little boy had two mommies. Nobody thought anything of it. Five year olds are blissful happy with what is presented to them. Of course he had two mommies. Some kids only had one daddy, some only had one mommy. Some only had a grandmother. Five year olds appreciated the meaning of family in a way we older, more cynical adults forget to. 

Raising a daughter who understands the importance of same-sex marriage means more to me than not giving the Cathys my money. Because frankly, at this point I'm willing to bet that the left's denial of the fast food chain hasn't hurt them much. Tell me that the more your Facebook feed is filled with comments about Chick-fil-a the more you are having trouble not craving one of their milk shakes or their waffle fries. And seriously, now it's become a rallying point for the right. Why do that? 

I will keep the Lipstick family tradition of Chick-fil-a because it's a family tradition, and that's important. I will keep exposing my daughter to the world around us, and will work harder on planning a life curriculum that encompasses empathy and an understanding of fairness that she'll take with her the rest of her life.

No comments: