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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Respect Authority? What To Teach Our Kids

I'm have no clue how to be a Daisy/Brownie/Girl Scout Mom. I usually leave that up to my fellow group leader, who actually was a Girl Scout. But she was late. So I had the children teach me the pledge, which led to them trying to explain the Girl Scout Law to me. I loved the questions that came out of that--do you have to be friendly and considerate to people you really dislike? (like our school's horrible principal?) 

The girls said yes. 

What if they are mean back to you? 

That provoked a lot of thought, argument between obeying the "law" but "respecting myself," and no final decision. 

What does it mean to be a sister to every girl scout?  I loved the answers to that one, just as I love that our troop has blondes, brown faces, girls in hijab, atheists, Muslims, Lutherans, Mormons and Jews who all take seriously being sisters to one another. 

But then, there's respect authority. I didn't mention it to the girls--the other Mom showed up and we started our meeting. 

But it sure gives me pause. What about the girl scout parent whose daughter threw a tantrum when we were camping, because she wanted to sit on the *other* side of her best friend--the side my little girl happened to be on? So that parent came and asked my little girl to move? 

I was across the room, too far to get there, but I heard my child calmly say, "I don't want to. I sat on that side this morning for breakfast." 

I wanted to cheer. 

What about the parent at synagogue who stormed up to the mom of a kid on the spectrum, saying, "He was so rude to me just now. He talked back to me and said I was a bad woman." 

"What happened right before that?" spectrum mom asked. 

"She told me I was an awful child and my children were to stay far away from him."

"Did you tell him that?" 

Well, yes." 

"And you were upset because why?"

"Because he spilled grape juice on my daughter's dress." 

At a synagogue, during the blessing over the fruit of the vine, when ever kid spills grape juice now and then. 

What about when the School's Principal tells your kid's psychologist that your kid has no disability because she doesn't see it? And thus refuses to follow the law and and science to support the child? 

What about when the authorities tell you to keep your eyes down and drink at a separate drinking fountain? 

What about when the authorities tell you that you must go to the city hall and register as Jewish? 

What about when the law says police can harass somebody and they should have no recourse--as we have personally observed with friends and adopted family of color? Or as happened to Chris Lollie, when he was waiting in a public space to pick up his children from preschool? 
Chris Lollie and his two-year-old son. 
No, respect authority is a challenging one. Maybe we should change that to--respect the authority of those whose behavior proves them worthy to wield it? 

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