Wednesday, October 15, 2008

another debate

I recently wrote a letter to the editors of Brain, Child magazine. I was going to wait to see if they print it before posting something about it here, but it's only a quarterly and I'm impatient and they might not print it and if they do they might edit it (ee-gads!). So, as we are about to move into the comedy and tragedy of another debate night, here's what I said:

25 September 2008

Dear Eds:

As I write this, the two presidential candidates are preparing to debate each other in Oxford, Mississippi. While there is part of me eager for this political face-off, I find that the debates in Brain, Child are consistently my least favorite part of the magazine.

A yes/no debate, this black or white, head-to-head sparring, strikes me as - if Scott Lozier (who made some excellent points in “Should Vegetarian Parents Raise Vegetarian Kids?”) and the other dads will forgive me – an extremely male concept.

I appreciate the idea of breaking up the essays with a different kind of presentation, but I feel strongly that this is not it. We could contend that despite the duality constructed for the sake of argument, as they say, we still know that there are more than two sides to any issue and myriad experiences, emotions, and thoughts that go into wherever we land toward our goal of raising children to be healthy, loving adults. However, by displaying important issues in this all or nothing format it can be tricky to keep in mind. Those other multiple perspectives we “know” exist or the pieces of truth to be found on a side we generally disagree with, have a tendency to roll under the dresser forgotten with the cat toys and the pacifier (should babies be given pacifiers?? yes or no??).

I often feel the arguments in the debate are written poorly on both sides, unlike the caliber of writing in the rest of the magazine. The “opponents,” in fact, are sometimes in agreement in more places than not, though it's easy to miss such junctures in philosophy since the nature of a debate sets us apart from the very beginning, lands us rigid, determined to prove our point. There we are, fingers in our ears, glued to this or that state or blue state.

It occurs to me that I do not necessarily wish our power as parents to reflect the higher offices and workings of our country – particularly in its currently crippled state of economic and social standing. I would much rather be part of a thoughtful grass roots rumble with its eye on a future that embraces cooperation, innovation and, most of all, conversation.

1 comment:

bobbie said...

There will be those who find this post ill tempered and argumentative. I do not. I think it is very well thought out and controlled.

And,hooray for conversation.

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