By Sabrina Almeida
Mississauga, September 11 (CINEWS): As parents we want the very best for our children right? But who decides what that is or if our actions really reflect their best interests and not our own selfish motives?
Take for instance the hundreds of students who are being kept away from classes at the Thorncliffe Park elementary school. This educational institution has become the epicentre of the protest against the new sex-education (or ‘health’) curriculum. As I looked at photos of the kids being home schooled in the park I was appalled at the parents’ stubbornness and over what… Facts that their kids, in all likelihood, already know about but just need to put in proper context.
Are we willing to jeopardize our children’s education and perspective of the world just to hold on to our skewed values? Being parents unfortunately puts us in a powerful position to do that.
Change is everywhere. Even countries like India have been forced to deal with gender issues yet some here are demanding Ontario take regressive steps in the matter. The rest of the country having already adopted the new curriculum without any huge moral upheaval, what’s so different about us Ontarians that we demand a separatist approach?
Now that premier has asked the education minister and school boards to handle the matter, I certainly hope they stand their ground. Or, the education system can be held hostage at will. All you need is the numbers and judging from the recent goings-on ignorant people are not hard to find.
The irony is that parents are doing the exact same things they accuse the premier of. Being radical, imposing their views on impressionable children and trying to influence the school system. They’re trying to protect their kids they say. Since when is ignorance a form of protection. Moreover most kids don’t categorize their peers or friends according to their race, religion, values or gender. That’s what parents do! I’ve observed many conversations take on a communal slant as parents will question the background of their classmates and recommend or dissuade friendships on that basis.
The fact is that in creating such a hullabaloo about the matter, parents have drawn more attention to it than necessary. We all know how curious kids are about things that are taboo. Where might that lead in the absence of proper dissemination of such information? Self exploration or the Internet perhaps. A smart alternative, no!
So many immigrant kids are struggling to find the balance between their parent’s radical diktats and the seemingly free and open-minded Canadian society. Yet parents would rather have them become social misfits. Girls are worse off than boys too as they have to protect the family honour. It is largely their parents’ own fears or inability to adapt to change that reflects on their children, and creates a new generation of misguided traditionalists who will probably perpetuate this kind of thinking.
The sad reality is a huge identity crisis. Many of these kids have been born and raised here but are being forced to adopt an alien lifestyle just so that their parents feel better about their choices. The result is duplicity and rebellion with depression and suicide on the flip side of the coin. So much for acting in our children’s best interests. It’s a real shame how we mess with our children’s minds to suit ourselves or because we don’t want to be seen as disloyal to the community.
Parents are not above manipulating their children’s thought processes to steer them towards a particular career too. While it is sometimes about money and status or a following a family profession, it could also be a career that a parent might have liked to pursue but wasn’t allowed to. Many kids are faced with the dilemma of pursuing their passion or fulfilling a parent’s dream. Few stand up to them for the fear of displeasing them and out of a misplaced sense of loyalty. Dropouts, burnouts and disgruntled professionals are the result. Why do we raise our kids to believe they owe us?
As parents we must answer some hard-hitting questions. Do we have the right to plan our children’s lives without giving any thought to their dreams and aspirations? Should we exert our position to get them to conform? Are we letting them develop a personality and mind of their own or turning them into clones of ourselves?
The answers could have life-altering consequences. In the end we must also face the fact that given a choice our children might walk in the opposite direction. Even stage lifelong protests against us!