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Two dads eating dinner

Two dads eating dinner

Is Understanding Our Differences Too Much to Ask?

It seems to me, that we have forgotten what “understanding” actually means. Sure, we are okay with talking about tolerance and acceptance, but when it comes to living these words, we don’t really do it.

But wait, let me explain this a little more clearly by starting with a simple history – I wrote a book about preventing child sexual abuse and it was embraced, celebrated even, by all those I was fortunate enough to come into contact with. I gave readings and talks in countless bookstores, schools, religious establishments, and youth serving organizations. This book was welcomed from Barnes & Noble to festivals sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church. Everywhere I went, from Charleston to Atlanta and beyond, I was welcomed and thanked for my advocacy and prevention efforts. It was both rewarding and humbling to be a part of a movement that started with a simple, rhyming children’s book.

Fast forward to my latest endeavor, another simple, rhyming children’s book. Only this time, the book is about understanding, and how we, as humans, are far more alike than different. Sounds innocent enough right?  Wrong apparently. See, in this little piece of literature I talk about how we are alike – we all need love, and food, and rest, and clean water and air. Still have your attention? Enter the part about not actually agreeing with someone else, but being nice to them anyway. Still with me? Enter the part about our differences – like some of us being heavy or thin, or having brown or white skin. Still okay? Seems everyone in charge was still okay at this juncture in our little story too.

Now enter the pages where we learn that families can be different. Even if a family is vastly different from ours, it is a family nonetheless.  Whether there are many siblings or just one. Whether a child lives with his grandparents, or with an aunt or uncle, we are still far more alike than we are different. Still okay with all of this information? Okay, now  here’s where it gets “ugly.” Enter the pages where the children have two moms or two dads and that’s where people start to shut down. Seems that understanding and acceptance don’t apply when we are talking about children being raised by parents of the same gender.

It has been roughly the same answer at each and every venue thus far. I am getting all yes, of course, please come read…until we get to the part about two daddies or two mommies. Then I am told the message isn’t in keeping with the core values or the comfort level of each and every bookstore, preschool, and church. It seems we are all for understanding, acceptance, tolerance, and being nice, as long as we get to draw the line somewhere.

We Are Just Alike wasn’t supposed to be a book about gay rights. It was supposed to be a book about being nice to everyone, no matter if you agree with them or not. It was supposed to be a book about the universal similarities among us, no matter how different we may seem. I guess it comes down to what we are willing to accept, and tolerate, and understand, and from what I can gather, we really haven’t changed all that much throughout history; we just chose another group to pile our hatred on. Are we really only okay with acceptance and understanding when everyone in our children’s circle of friends is from a home with one mom, one dad, and a golden retriever?

You tell me.

Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE! As a survivor of child sexual abuse, she is dedicated to raising awareness about the culture of abuse in order to prevent it. Laura lives on the beach in Charleston, South Carolina.

Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE! As a survivor of child sexual abuse, she is dedicated to raising awareness about the culture of abuse in order to prevent it. Laura lives on the beach in Charleston, South Carolina.

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Buy her book here.

 

 

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