Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Lessons in Love

I am sat in the car with two four-year-olds and two seven-year-olds and they are discussing love.  They get on to the topic of marriage and one of the children says:

"Women and men get married."

To which one of the others replies: "Yes, and did you know that men can marry men, and women can marry women?"

Everyone confirms that they do know this and so the conversation switches to Power Rangers and who's daddy has got the smelliest bottom or something equally important.

Some weeks later I am at a church hall at the end of a Scout parade (a parade that one of my children took part in - I don't just hang out at these things!), the hall is full so I stand in the reception area and amongst all the posters advertising cake sales for charity and services for families and children, there's a publication called the 'Pro-Life Times' which has a headline screaming words to the effect that damage on an unspeakable scale will happen to children if they are taught in schools that equal marriage is ok.

As someone who is not homophobic and as a person who believes strongly that women should have control over their own bodies and reproduction, I am not 'Pro-Life's' target demographic.  I respect everyone's right to their own opinion and freedom of speech,  but what astonished me most about the leading article of this paper was that it assumed children need to be taught what love is; that they wouldn't already know.  It also assumed that everyone in the church and their entire network of friends and family are straight...

When my children and their school friends discuss love they're not talking about sexual preferences, ancient laws and institutions, or tax breaks.  They don't feel their moral compasses, or their personal or life-style decisions are threatened by another person's choice of partner, or how they want to demonstrate their commitment to them.  They just see love as something normal and wonderful that is shared between people, and getting married as something that people in love do.  Their conversations are filled with love and light, they are positive and supportive, honest and healthy.

As cheerful as I am, it made me wonder why in a place that focuses so much on acceptance, support and community you could find a publication using the language of fear and shame to influence how our children should be taught about love.  I think they could use a few lessons from the little people.


Soundtrack: 'Lessons in Love - Level 42'


  1. Those kids have got the right idea. Good for them. :)

  2. Thanks Jessica, I was pretty proud of them :)

  3. that is true..some times these lessons give them strange ideas and spoil their natural opinions..children see love as love..

  4. Agree with you Rathi and thanks for dropping by the blog :)