Tuesday, April 07, 2009

One Mama, Obama, and Notre Dame

I sat down at my computer to try to put into words my thoughts on the controversy of President Obama being invited to give the commencement address and receive an honorary degree from Notre Dame. Unfortunately, before I could even begin to process my thoughts, I heard language coming from my kitchen that was not the voice or character of any of my kids. The words spewing forth were derogatory, degrading, and profane. Upon investigating, I saw the source of the vile verbiage was not one I had given birth to, but one MTV had spawned. The show was one of those cable offerings that seem to be popular simply due to the number of times the participants, seeking their own fifteen minutes of fame, can squeeze in insulting conversation and gestures between being bleeped by the generous censures.
My turning off the television caused my thirteen-year-old, who was doing his homework in the kitchen, to lift his head and offer, “I was watching that.”
“I know,” I informed him, “and that’s the problem.”
“It’s just a show,” he attempted to reason. “Why can’t I watch it?”
“If I don’t allow you to talk in my house the way that guy was talking,” I explained, “why would I let some stranger from MTV talk like that in here?”
“But it’s not going to change me,” he tried to justify. “Just because I listen to it, doesn’t mean I am going to start talking like that.”
With four kids, this was an argument I had heard many times over the years. Whether pleading for a movie, video game, or song, each child would try to argue the same futile argument that their actions would not change just because of what they watched or listened to. They never won this argument, and my son wasn’t about to win this time either.
I took a deep breath and began an explanation I had given to his brother and sisters before. “It’s not about any lack of faith in you or how you might act if exposed to something I disagree with. But if something is completely against my beliefs and I welcome it into our home, I would be a hypocrite. You deserve better of me than that.”
And with the television turned off, I went back to my computer to pursue my original task of trying to explain my view on the most pro-abortion president being asked to give the commencement address to the graduates of the most visible Catholic university in America.
But then I realized, I just did.


Anonymous said...

Tammy, I wish more people had your convictions. It makes me smile to know that one day, your children are going to get married and have wonderful children, because of your influence (and Brad's). It's a tough life for children who aren't allowed to do whatever they want. Thanks for taking the high road.

Anonymous said...

What was offensive? The language or the point of view? I respect your view to limit your children's exposure to people and views that differ from your own. But,by shielding them, do you feel you are not allowing them to develop their own opinion? How can they work, play or study with others who share different views if they are not exposed to differing opinions. This country allows for freedom of speech and you exercised your right to turn off something that was offensive to you. At some point though, you will need to step back and let your children make that decision. I am neither a pro-abortion supporter,or a pro-Obama supporter, and I believe we have become desenstized to sex and violence on television, but I still need to listen to the evening news from time to time.

Liz said...

Hmmm, last time I checked, parents had rights to their kids till they were 18. It is up to the parent to mold the child in family values. When the child is old enough to do that, I'm sure he will. But a mother and father have the right to choose what they want their family values to be. This family has 4 great kids and everyone one of them is an individual in their own way. My brother raised his son to be his "pal" and now he is a psychotic mess-literally--he is in a mental institution because he was allowed to do what he wanted with no family values. You keep doing what you do Tammy! Liz

Anonymous said...

Liz is on the right track.... It is parents responsibility to raise and teach their children. They are children and can easily be influenced by things they hear and see. We need to show them right from wrong....so stand up for the right. Thanks, TAMMY!! My 13 year old can come to your place anytime.... and does!

Deb in NC said...

I agree with Liz also; keep up the good work. The world needs more parents like you.