Thursday, October 20, 2011

Parenting License? No.

Do we really want to be like China, guys? I don't think so. Recently I watched a YouTube rant by Kicesie (I won't dare embed the video, as she is known for descending on bloggers who do with threats of legal action) saying that people should have to have a license to become a parent. I disagree with this on so many levels! First of all, I probably wouldn't have been given a license to have my daughter. She was unplanned, but definitely not unwanted! I wasn't married when I got pregnant with her. I was married months before I gave birth, but if we had lived in a place where people had to have licenses to give birth, there is a good chance she would have been forcefully ripped from me, and I would not have my beautiful baby in my arms right now. You may think I'm exaggerating. Maybe, maybe not. But I think that it is a slippery slope when a government is allowed to decide who should and should not have children. Just look at Nazi Germany. Or China today. Secondly, some of the people that the majority think "shouldn't be allowed" to have kids are some of the best parents. I have an acquaintance who got pregnant at 17. She gave birth at 18 and is now one of the most loving, fiercely protective mothers I've ever met. She is married now and pregnant with her second baby. One of my best friends wasn't a teen mom, but her first child was born out of wedlock. Did this make her a bad mother? NO! She and her boyfriend eventually got married and had another baby, but she was a loving mother even as a single mom. Then there is the income issue. I grew up with children in poverty. Sometimes their lights were shut off for a few days. Sometimes they couldn't pay their activity fees on time. Sometimes their parents struggled to have dinner on the table every night. But you know what? Some of their parents were the kindest people and the children grew up in loving families. That is more than I can say for some of the children of the older, elitist parents in the city I live in who have children only to carry on their name, or because they want someone to mold into a younger version of themselves. I went to college with a girl who nannied for a family like this, and she said that the mother was constantly at an event of some kind, or working out rather than spending time with her children, but always made sure they were stylishly dressed before they left the house! Wow, way to show your children what's most important. Anyway, I digress. Love is what is important in a family, not being an older parent or having a six figure income. Children from working class families quite often grow up to be strong, hardworking, well-adjusted people. I know many adults who prove that, including some of those closest to me! Lastly, most people who don't want children these days don't have them. It has become more acceptable to not have children, so many people don't! I'm not a supporter of abortion, but I do support birth control. If you feel you would be a terrible parent, you don't have to make any babies! Quite simple. There are of course other things to think about, like race quotas, which I could write a whole blog on, and what the terms of such a license would be. If the person giving the licenses disagreed with your religion or political ideology, would they refuse to issue one to you? What if you were disabled but still able to raise a child? Would your past mistakes haunt you? If you'd spent time in a treatment facility as a teen would it affect your chances of getting a parenting license? Would your entire life's history be under scrutiny? Would your facebook posts be used against you? All things to think about. In conclusion, having to have a license to become a parent would prevent some very capable people from having children. I wonder if Kicesie thinks she would be allowed to obtain a parenting license?Some more things to consider:In China, there is a parenting license. Women who have become pregnant out of wedlock have been given forced abortions, something no one should EVER have to go through! Women who have had one child (or two in rural areas) who become pregnant again have been given forced abortions.Women who have one child already are sometimes forcefully sterilized.This is all behind the idea that only certain kinds of people should become parents, and people should only have certain sizes of families.I believe that all people who want children should have the chance to have their own. I believe that good families can come in all sizes. Read more about China's policies on children, and the testimonies of Chinese women here: never, ever want America to be like this.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Some thoughts on why some kids dislike reading.

As someone who really enjoys reading now that I'm not in school, I've been thinking back to why at certain times in my life I didn't like to are just a few thoughts on why adults seem very good at sucking the fun out of reading for children.

Real life examples!

*In first grade, I loved reading the books from the American Girls collection. During library time at school I asked the librarian if she had any. Her response? "Yes, I do, but those are for my third, fourth, and fifth graders." I wasn't allowed to read them because I was "too young." I'm not even sure I checked out a book that day, I was so disappointed.

*From grades 2-5 I absolutely loved The Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley books. Yes, they were happy and corny and fluffy but they were my escape. I was told my one of my family members that they were "soft reading" and had little value. Yeah, maybe I wasn't learning tons of facts but I enjoyed reading them! Isn't that good enough?

*In 2nd grade, I wanted to do my book report on one of my all-time favorite books, Little Women. My teacher said absolutely not, it was much too grown-up of a book.

*In 4th grade, I had read many chapter books but still occasionally loved to look at the picture books from my earlier childhood. Who doesn't love picture books, seriously? I had to learn to shove them under the bed and pretend I was doing something else if someone walked into the room, because if they saw I would most definitely be asked "What are you reading that baby book for?"

*In the 5th grade, we had free choice reading, but only if the books were in our "reading level." Well, my reading level was quite high, and there were far fewer books available than the other levels. After I'd read the books in my level that interested me, I chose a book from the level below mine that I'd been wanting to read for awhile. It wasn't a picture book or anything, it was thick and had chapters. My teacher said "No, it's too low for you. You need to pick books in your reading level." When I told her that I'd read all the ones in my reading level that I liked, she told me to pick one of the ones I hadn't read because I might "learn to like them." Since I had no choice, I started doing that, and pretty much quit looking forward to reading time since the books that were left in my reading level held zero interest for me whatsoever.

*As a child, I had several books I loved to read, over and over and over again! Every time someone saw me reading a book I'd read before, they'd say something like "Awww, haven't you read that before? Why don't you pick a new book?" Well maybe because I didn't WANT to pick a new book! Favorite books are like your favorite comfort food, they never get old!

*In my college class, English 1020, instead of reading a novel and then writing about it and sharing our opinions in class, we would read two chapters a week and then beat them to death! We would dissect them down to the most miniscule details, while the instructor harped about meaning and symbolism and what the author was really trying to say. If there is any way to make a book far less enjoyable, this is it! I've heard some high school teachers do this as well. Luckily, they weren't mine or I would have never read as much as I did in high school!

Why do we do these things? Why do we suck the fun out of everything for children? Can someone please answer me this? We push that reading is wonderful and healthy and fun, yet we try to take all the enjoyment out of it.