Most of the topics The Hare is interested in are books, games, gymnastics, school and friends. Although, last year, there were a few interesting talks about four-letter-words written in the class bathroom. There are teachable moments everywhere, and the bad words gave us a window to explain vandalism as well as inappropriate vocabulary. When The Hare is frustrated about having a disagreement with a friend, we are able to talk about compassion or forgiveness and not just about communication skills. The Tortoise has asked us more direct questions in the last couple of years about homosexuality, marriage and abortion. But even at twelve and thirteen, I think it is important to first ask them, “What do you think?” before answering. That way you know where their heart and head is and not give them more information than they are ready for right now.
However, it’s hard to know how or when to talk about things like religion or world-views in a way that is honest, informative and interesting, especially if those topics don’t ever come up in normal conversation. So, for the most part, we just have to live an exemplary life. A life that projects the kind of perspective we hope our children will develop.
A few nights ago, The Hare and I were watching an episode of HGTV’s Design Star. Throughout the show, different decorators are interviewed, giving a few personal details about their life. It’s a way for the viewers to get to know the contestants outside of their design work, perhaps even give us a better understanding of their design style. In this particular episode, one of the male designers made a comment about how excited his husband and adopted son are to see him on television.
Within seconds The Hare turned to me and said, “I’m glad he’s married and has a son. It’s not good to be alone.”
“I agree,” I said surprised by her comment, “And it sounds like his family is very proud of him.”
A few more minutes passed while we watched commercials. Then The Hare spoke again.
“You know, I didn’t even know he was gay until he said that. I just knew gay people were the same as everybody else.”
“You are totally right, ” I said proudly, ” they are the same as you and me.”